Whatever happened to collecting baseball cards?

Thinking back to my childhood, there were few things I enjoyed as much as going to my local baseball card shop (yeah they head those way back then) and searching for whatever treasures had avoided me to that point. I felt like a superstar if I managed to find baseball cards I had always wanted. Whether it was Ken Griffey Jr.’s Upper Deck rookie card or a rare card of a player with something extremely “cool” on it such as the Billy Ripken card with a special message written on the end of his bat, it felt like an accomplishment when I found what I was looking for.

A lot has changed since the late 1980s/early 1990s. Children today seem more content with playing online games than opening a pack of the latest popular card. So when did everything change?  The baseball card industry was at its peak in the early 1990s. New stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds, and new companies in the industry led to more exposure and, with that, a bigger footprint.  It is hard to find a guy who grew up in this time who did not collect baseball cards. Even my friends who had no athletic talent would collect so they could trade with the rest of us at lunch or after school. Trading a Cal Ripken for an Ozzie Smith card happened on a daily basis between my friends. I loved to trade my Mets cards, and my best friend loved to collect late 1980s Mets so it was a perfect combination. In the early/mid 1990s, the Rockies and Marlins joined the league and instantly became my new fix. Collecting them was a task that I would stop at nothing until I completed it.

It is safe to say I was a baseball card addict. My childhood bedroom looked like a shrine to the modern baseball greats. I don’t even know how I found the time to sort through all of the cards I owned, but when I recently opened one of the boxes I had saved at my parents’ house, I found a set of cards broken down by team and then each card was placed in the sleeve alphabetically (damn I was a baseball card nerd). This all seemed normal to me back then. This was before I had a driver’s license and way before I could drink alcohol, so what else was I suppose to do for a hobby?

The Major League Baseball strike of 1994 came at the worst possible time for the baseball card industry. Not only were there many new companies starting up, but basketball, football and hockey had followed baseball, and new sports card shows were popping up at most local shopping malls on a regular basis. Not only was getting the newest cards exciting, but collecting older/vintage cards had become a hobby for older baseball fans. However, the lifeline of the industry still was the youth of America.

Since what children deem as popular changes on a regular basis, it is easy to see why the industry could be forgotten during the 1994 strike. Attention was turned to other collectibles. Action figures such as Starting Lineups and McFarlands became a hit. People saw having a figure to display as a better way to show off their collectibles. All of a sudden, flipping pages in a binder to show off your best baseball cards was no longer considered cool.

Another reason for the industry falling off was collectors mistakenly looked at purchasing cards as an investment. Obviously over the years, the value of baseball cards has diminished and, with that, most baseball card collections have the same value as the lint in somebody’s pocket. Those who got into the industry thinking they were going to be able to live off what they make by selling their cards had a rude awakening. The outrageous prices being asked for cards would never be equaled, and there was not much profit to be made in the long run. This was the Tyson haymaker to the baseball card industry. What was made for fun had now become a business, and a failing business at that.

In all honesty, the instant uppercut dealt to the baseball card industry in the late 1990s by the overpopulation of the market still is felt today. Sure, Topps and a few other brands are still around, but the industry is not what it used to be by any means. You may still find a handful of kids who thoroughly enjoy opening up a pack of cards and seeing what players they can add to their collection, but a majority of today’s youth would rather build a team on a video game than collect the team’s baseball card set.

I still have my Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken and Barry Bonds cards. I never looked at my baseball cards as an investment. I looked at them as a hobby. I plan to pass them on to my children one day. I still enjoy reading the stats on the back of cards and looking through the set for the best action picture on the front. I am still, deep down, a baseball card junkie. The problem is, in the future, I may not be able to get my fix.


Related Articles


  1. Hey there terrific website! Does running a blog such as this require a
    large amount of work? I’ve very little knowledge of computer programming but I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
    Anyway, if you have any suggestions or techniques for new blog owners please share.
    I know this is off topic nevertheless I just needed to ask.
    Thanks a lot!

  2. I got this website from my buddy who informed me on the topic of
    this website and now this time I am visiting this website and reading
    very informative articles here.

  3. My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a number of websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to another platform.
    I have heard very good things about blogengine.net.
    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your weblog.
    You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some material for your blog
    in exchange for a link back to mine. Please
    shoot me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!

  5. Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together.

    I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  6. Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to
    assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for
    some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very
    good results. If you know of any please share. Thank you!

  7. Unquestionably believe that that you said. Your favourite reason seemed to be on the
    internet the easiest factor to take note of. I say
    to you, I definitely get annoyed while folks consider
    concerns that they just don’t recognise about. You managed to hit
    the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal.
    Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

  8. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of
    your website? Its very well written; I love
    what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the
    way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1
    or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  9. My family members every time say that I am killing my time
    here at net, however I know I am getting familiarity daily by reading thes nice posts.

    Feel free to visit my web-site: 918kaya download (Siobhan)

  10. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting
    my own weblog and was wondering what all is
    required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any suggestions or advice would
    be greatly appreciated. Kudos

  11. Excellent way of explaining, and pleasant article to
    get data about my presentation topic, which i am going to
    deliver in college.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post Mega888

  12. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your website?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could
    connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for
    only having 1 or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

    Visit my web page: id test 918kaya baru 2021

  13. hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve definitely picked up anything new from right here.
    I did however expertise some technical points using this web
    site, since I experienced to reload the web site lots of times previous
    to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK?

    Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for much more of your respective exciting content.
    Ensure that you update this again very soon.

    Review my site; scr mega888

  14. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

    Here is my website … Xe88 apk

  15. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find
    It really useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to provide one
    thing again and help others like you helped me.

  16. What i don’t understood is actᥙаlly how you’re now not actuallү much more well-appreϲiateԀ
    tyan үou might be now. Уou are very intelligent. You recognize thus signifіcantly on the subject of thіs
    topic, made mе individually beⅼieve it from a lot of various angles.
    Itts liuke men and wօmen don’t seem to be fascinated except it’s one thing tto accomplish with Lady gaga!

    Your own stuffs great. At all timjes take caee of it up!

  17. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your web site in internet explorer, may test this?
    IE still is the marketplace leader and a huge component of folks
    will pass over your fantastic writing due to this problem.

  18. Hello, I want to subscribe for this weblog to obtain most up-to-date updates, therefore where can i do it please assist.

  19. I blog frequently and I really thank you for your information. This
    great article has truly peaked my interest. I will bookmark your blog and
    keep checking for new information about once a week.
    I opted in for your Feed as well.

  20. I’m really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility
    problems? A few of my blog readers have complained about my website not working correctly
    in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any tips to help fix
    this problem?

  21. Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this
    website? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with
    hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.
    I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  22. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future
    and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I
    could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice.
    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I want to read more things about it!

  23. Greetings! I’ve been following your weblog for a while now
    and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a
    shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to tell you
    keep up the fantastic job!

  24. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this blog.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between usability
    and appearance. I must say you have done a great job with this.

    In addition, the blog loads super fast for me on Opera.
    Excellent Blog!

  25. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to
    say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog
    posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope
    you write again very soon!

    Check out my blog post – id test pussy888

  26. Hey I am so happy I found your webpage, I really found you by accident, while I
    was browsing on Google for something else, Regardless I am here
    now and would just like to say kudos for a tremendous
    post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it
    all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so
    when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the
    excellent jo.

    Check out my homepage – pussy888 slot

  27. Hey I am so glad I found your blog page, I really found
    you by mistake, while I was browsing on Askjeeve for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a
    remarkable post and a all round thrilling blog (I
    also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it
    all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read a great deal more,
    Please do keep up the great b.

  28. Today, I went to the beach front with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her
    ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off
    topic but I had to tell someone!

  29. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.

    I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or advice.
    Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article.

    I desire to read more things about it!

  30. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and
    tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube
    sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.

    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

    Also visit my webpage … mega888 online (Demetria)

  31. This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read post!

    Look into my webpage :: mega888

  32. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your
    blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify
    it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing,
    it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one today.

  33. Yes, exactly what you said. I’m with you on this all the way.

    I go back to the 1970s, when the idea of putting these cards in a binder in the first place was unheard of. I think people went back, at some later time, and decided that previously worthless cards from that era must have some monetary value. And this was right around the time that Upper Deck came on the scene, and Topps went from “Topps Chewing Gum, Inc.” to “The Topps Company” and “Phillies” went from just another word to something that has to carry a trademark sign after it. All these things changed collecting. I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did.

    Thanks for writing this.

  34. Tyson haymaker…nice.
    Dollar value doesn’t matter to me, already started a collection for my 3-year old. Nothing like opening a pack and getting a Mike Trout rookie card to go along with a Dylan Bundy, Jurickson Profar and Matt Moore.

    Nice read.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button