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More than shiny cardboard: a baseball card

Honus Wagner

People all over the country enjoy the hobby of collecting baseball cards. It’s something many people start out doing as kids, and they trade cards with their friends—looking to find a hidden gem or a player they currently admire watching. As we get older, some of us look for cards from many years ago, and sometimes wonder who the player even is. The fascination that comes with looking for baseball cards from eighty, ninety, and one hundred years ago is that we become fans of a game we never saw.

Players that we’ve never heard of come across as baseball cards. Everyone has a story and we wouldn’t know many stories of America’s pastime without the 1886 invention of baseball cards. The first card was created by Goodwin Tobacco, who created a baseball set of twelve players from the New York Giants (I bet it would be interesting to be the owner of one of those cards.)

For over 100 years, baseball cards have given fathers and sons many meaningful moments. The father shows his old collection to his son and it gives him a reason to start collecting and caring about the game. This cycle is repeated, giving us generations of baseball lovers that become at peace around baseball.

Personally, I started collecting at a young age just like many others. I played an arcade baseball game that would give me baseball cards instead of tickets. This sparked my interest as a kid and made me want to know the players of generations before me. To this day, I still am captivated by baseball of many years ago than I am of today’s game.

Even though I cared more about historical cards, I still loved watching the present-day game and I remember wanting two cards (Torii Hunter and Dontrelle Willis.) I grew up a Minnesota Twins fan, so it wasn’t a surprise why I wanted the Torii Hunter card, but I wanted the Dontrelle Willis card because of his unorthodox pitching style.

The other factor that has come into play is how much money certain cards are worth. The 1909 Honus Wagner card sold for a record 3.12 million (yes over 3 million dollars for a baseball card). The amount people pay for baseball cards is incredible and confusing. How can a card be worth this much? I don’t have the exact answer for you, but I guess it’s the same reason rare comic books can get the same type of money.

Collecting baseball cards as a kid is something you look back on and cherish later in life. Where I grew up, it was common to go out to the mall for baseball card shows and try to find a card no one else would have. I still occasionally go out there to see what historical cards Eddie has to offer. You must be comfortable around the baseball collector you’re getting cards from, especially when the cards are from many years ago. Who was/or still is your person to visit when needing baseball cards?

A baseball card is much more than just plastic or cardboard. If you think about it, collecting cards gives the opportunity for people to become lifelong friends and share their admiration for the most peaceful sport we know. More than likely, you have a card that means something more than all the others. Maybe it was your first card, maybe it’s your favorite player, maybe it has a certain sentimental value or maybe it’s a hidden gem of a player from a long time ago, but there’s something in your collection that stands out to you.