What Kids Get Out of Collecting Baseball Cards
It's1958 in Newburg, New York. I'm eight years old negotiating a deal with my baseball cards.
"I'll trade ya three of my Baltimore Orioles for your Mickey Mantle card, and I'll even throw in my favorite Milt Pappas card!"
Celebrating his 13th birthday over the weekend, our grandson Greg Lague met up with his best buddy, Mitchell Ewell. Both of them are baseball card devotees. Overhearing them talk brought me back to my days of cat's eyes marbles and making my bike sound like a Harley by pinning my duplicate baseball cards to the wheel spokes.
"My dad used to do it, when he was a kid in the '80s, and I started collecting during COVID. My first card was a Deion Sanders from Greg," Mitchell said.
Does he collect them for their monetary value?
"Yeah, It's almost like a crypto-currency, because the longer the cards are around, the more value they have, depending on the brand, player, what year it is, and what condition the corners are in. The worth goes way down if the corners are bent and there are scratches on the front," he said. "But sometimes, if you get lucky, you'll find one with printing errors, that add value to the card! I also have a few cards that are mis-cut. It's pretty cool."
Greg said his reason for collecting wasn't just for the money some cards hold.
"There's such a great feeling when you open a pack and you find a card you really wanted!" he said.
The baseball cards in my era came complete with a stick of gum, but in 1991, Topps, Inc. stopped including it.
"Over time, it was messing up some of the cards and the serious collectors complained to Topps," Greg said. "And the last time we tried chewing the gum, it cracked into crunchy pieces, and tasted like drywall!"
Gum or no gum, it's still a worthwhile hobby all these years – and generations – later.
"You can make some serious coin collecting baseball cards," Mitchell said.
"But you can have some fun too, and learn a lot of interesting stats and stories about the players," Greg added.
Collecting cards makes baseball fun. Of course, the kids might not get every card they want, but that in itself is a valuable lesson to learn early in life.