Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sports Card Collecting

By Christina VanGinkel

This morning, I opened up a box of cereal and out fell a Mark Teixeira card, of the Texas Rangers. It is an individual card, sealed in plastic, and is and Upper Deck card. This got me thinking about all of the baseball and football cards that my youngest son has collected through the years. He has folders of sports trading cards, with each card in a plastic sleeve to protect it from damage. He also has boxes of sports trading cards, some that were passed down to him from his cousin, and some from his older brother. Many of those that are loose are ones that he bought his self too, and just never got around to placing into folders. All of these are stored on shelves and in boxes in the top of his closet, out of the way for now, but never far from reach or from mind.

When he was just a bit younger, he would sit for hours on end, going though the cards almost every evening, matching up what he thought would be the all-star baseball or football team of his dreams. He would check stats both past and present, and ask his dad every so often for advice of some sort or another in relation to how a player might be currently rating out on the field. When he had a birthday or other occasion he needed a gift for, you knew you were tops on his list if he shared one or two of his favorite cards with you. The year my husband was in a devastating accident that left him in a wheelchair for some time, he made his dad a framed collage of some of their favorite players. He also took his favorite card of all time, an Emmitt Smith card from the Dallas Cowboy NFL team, and framed it in a simple frame he bought at the dollar store. My husband will cherish these until the day he leaves this world for good!

He has not spent much time with his collection in the last year or two, what with real life baseball and football, along with several other sports such as snowboarding taking up most of his free time. Still, his collection is never far from reach and I know that it will be something he most likely keeps into adulthood, possibly passing it down to some future child of his own some day.

Baseball card collecting has long been a hobby for both the young and old alike. Along with cards representing other sports, such as football, hockey, even wrestling, there are cards available that are attractive to those who enjoy the sports these cards are representative of.

Early baseball cards were given away in products such as Cracker Jack boxes, and when I was a kid, I can remember buying a single piece of bubble gum just to get a couple of cards. When my oldest son was in elementary school, he use to buy packs of assorted cards at the local grocery store whenever he could save up about a dollar. By this time, they had excluded the gum and you were just buying the cards.

Baseball and other sports trading cards are fun in several ways. If you get a double, and who has not at some time, it may be something that you want to hold onto. Maybe the player is a favorite, or you have an idea that the card might eventually go on to be worth money. Other wise, the card is prime for trading. Maybe you know someone who has a card you do want, and that same person wants the card you are willing to trade. Maybe a deal can be struck, and once it has been, the trade is made, hence the reference to many of these cards, being called trading cards.

Card shows are also quite popular events these days, with some small enough to be set up at some other event, such as a mee4ting of boy or girl scouts. Other times, the event is so large, that dealers drive in from all across the country to set up their wares, with tables filling a whole stadium. Often, other sports collectibles are also sold and traded at these events, but the sports trading cards themselves are still the number one attraction.

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