I want to remind everyone that this blog is part of SABR’s Baseball Cards Committee. I urge any of you slackers to join SABR , an organization filled with lots of great groups like this one, people who love to talk about (obsess over) biographies, records, the Negro Leagues, the 19th Century, statistics, poetry, board games, and dozens more. You are free to join any or all of these groups, and you are free to start your own. This group started last fall because Chris Dial and I said, “Hey, I wonder if anyone would be interested in a Baseball Cards committee?” Yes, in turns out.
After less than four months of work, this is our 100th post — a pretty fine output for a bunch of part-timers. I want to stress that this blog does not take an editorial position on what people should collect, or how people should collect. I have my likes and dislikes, and I am one of the more active posters, but the only thing keeping your favorite sets (or your favorite collecting habits) from getting their due is that you aren’t writing about it.
So step right up!
If you are a frequent blog reader, you might have noticed an annoying tendency to write disrespectfully about high-end collecting: extreme grade-sensitive cards, using grading services, and storing cards in lifeless albums and blocks of plastic. Qui, moi?
If I am guilty of anything, it is that I want to spread the message that high-end collecting is not the only game in town. I would suggest that the rise of grading services and condition-sensitive collecting drove a lot of people, people that didn’t want to spend $125 for this Jim Davenport card, out of the hobby. One of the reasons I was motivated to start this committee and blog was to show people that you don’t have to be rich to collect and enjoy your childhood hobby. (I have heard from many of these people in the past few months.)
Put away the price guide for a second and find out what cards you actually like, and how you enjoy your cards. That’s what we want to blog about. (You can buy a perfectly excellent 1965 Davenport for $5, and for $10 you can get one that would require a magnifying glass to find its flaws.) If you like collecting high-end graded cards, great, write a post about it and we’ll run it.
Thought of the day: “Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ would be such a cool painting, but two of the frame corners are chipped, so meh.”
So: if you want to want to build a set of 1961 Topps, all Near Mint, knock yourself out. If you don’t have 100 grand laying around, there is still a place for you in the hobby.
The card below would run you about $50 because (oh, the horror) it is only in “EX-MT” condition. The Davenport above, I remind you, is $125.
Ponder this question. If you woke up tomorrow and every baseball card in the world was suddenly worth 10% of what it is worth today, would this make you happy? Your collection just lost 90% of its value — that is horrible!
Despite a sizeable collection of vintage cards, I would be thrilled. I like getting more and different cards, and in this alternative universe I would be able to afford a lot cards that I can’t afford now. This would be wonderful.
I have read blog posts that “review” old card sets, and I am struck by how often I read: “A fine attractive set filled with stars, but the lack of a tough high number series drags the set down a bit for most collectors.” In other words, the set is less popular because the cards aren’t expensive enough. Pardon my French, but WTF?
My message is: if you like baseball cards, there is a place for you. Collect the cards you like. And for God’s sake, play with them.