Childhood Flashback: Baseball Card Collecting

June 27th, 2011 by Larry

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I can’t put my finger on that specific point in time, but there was a point where playing 8-bit Nintendo games, listening to 90′s alt rock, & watching reruns of Saved by the Bell became desirable, and ironically cool activities again. I’ve recently fallen back in love with baseball, and that obsession has led me back to card collecting. When I’m at the store these days, I look for a display and grab a few packs of Topps 2011 baseball cards. The last time I opened a pack of baseball cards, prior to this year, was probably 1992.

Topps, who are celebrating their 60th Diamond Anniversary, have made card collecting fun for people nostalgic of the past, as well as any casual fans of present-day baseball. Like most people, going into this season I knew a few players that are considered stars of the game. I also had a some prior knowledge about most of the Atlanta Braves, and my hometown Texas Rangers.

I think Topps realized there has been a significant gap between the baseball fans of yesteryear, where a large percentage of fans were into card collecting, and today’s more casual baseball fans. Topps’ 2011 collection does a great job at rekindling the nostaligia.

After the jump, I’ll highlight some of my favoirte things that Topps is doing this year.

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The regular cards feature spectacular photography on ultra-glossy card stock. Having worked in the print industry for many years, I get excited over these kinds of things! Don’t hate! Also, I love that the Texas Rangers team card features a photo the team celebrating after beating the New York Yankees to a pulp, leading to the franchise’s first World Series appearance. I said, “Don’t hate!”

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Since it’s Topps’ Diamond Anniversary, they’ve outdone themselves with variations of player cards. To me it’s both funny and ridiculous to get a David Ortiz card that is “prism’d the f*** out“! This gimmick seems to make more sense on grocery store bicycle stickers or a Pokemon card, but I’ve never seen this done to a baseball card before, and I’m all for it!

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I’ve definitely never seen anything like a commemorative team patch embedded in a baseball card before! This is definitely something that is harder to get. I’ve opened over 40 packs of baseball cards this summer and have only scored one of these guys, but I love the idea. You can also score randomly inserted baseball cards autographed by current players and legends, or even cards with a swatch of game used jersey, baseball, glove, or bat. This definitely raises the excitement factor when opening a pack!

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My favorite cards are these Kimball Champions Baseball Card Inserts. The insert set consist of 100 mini-sized cards measuring 1-15/32″ X 2- 11/16″. The set recreates the 1888 Kimball Champion cards which are highly sought after vintage pieces. Nevertheless, I love how they have a colorized photographic portrait of each player coupled with an illustrative action pose on the same card. These cards are super small, but they paint an epic scene. Plus, how can you be mad at getting a Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron, or Jackie Robinson baseball card? You can’t!

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At $1.99 per pack, Topps 2001 Series 1 & Series 2 packs are available everywhere and they’ve definitely brought me more fun lately than over-paying for a blind box vinyl toy. Ahem… KidRobot, I’m talkin’ to you!

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