Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Roped Me Back In

One of the things that's struck a chord with me as I continue to read others' thoughts about sports cards on the internet is that how many people have a similar story to their collecting habits. Most people, like myself, seem to have collected at some point in their younger days before giving it up for whatever reason. Somehow, we got roped back into somewhat peculiar habit of collecting small photos of professional athletes.

I believe the first packs that I saw since my high school days were given to me by my girlfriend sometime in 2005. What really grabbed me, however, is something that looks very similar to the pack that I'll show you in this post. You see, back in 1991, Topps put out their 40th anniversary flagship set with a serious new commitment to quality photography and all that. They also inserted at some secret ratio some "vintage" baseball cards from their first 39 years. At the time, I was gullible enough to believe that - according to people down at the card shop - Topps randomly inserted one of every baseball card that they ever made. Even if this were true, in failing to account for the unfathomably high production numbers and low odds of ever pulling something like this, I somehow believed that if I opened enough 1991 Topps packs that I could eventually pull a pristine condition card from the '50s. I wasn't expecting Mickey Mantle or anything, but I think I assumed that Topps had some sort of vault of uncirculated cards from all years that they could pull out on a whim.

So we now know none of this was true, but imagine my adult delight at seeing that 3 vintage cards were inserted into every rack pack of 2006 Topps. This was dangerous. This is what caused me to start spending actual money on baseball cards again. Since these have long disappeared from the shelves, here's a pack of this stuff that I actually got in a repack thing not too long ago.

Opening from left-to-right (right-to-left if you flip it over to pull out the cards...)

81 - Kyle Farnsworth
78 - Nick Punto

BB663 - Barry Bonds Home Run History 663 (I'd like to meet someone who collects these. Actually, no, I probably wouldn't. But if there are any Bonds collectors out there, I have plenty of stuff for you.)

6 - Nolan Ryan Record Breakers (1988 Topps) (Well, it is only an '88 Topps card, but no card of Nolan Ryan is a bad card. You could certainly do worse.)

163 - Flash Gordon (Here's the confusing Tom Gordon card where they took the time and effort to photoshop Gordon into a Phillies uniform - check out that Nike swoosh that's practically falling off of his shoe - but failed to change the team name from Yankees to Phillies. At least, I think that's what happened.)
154 - Ryan Church (The 2006 set itself isn't bad, but I wasn't inspired enough to bother to collect it, either. The only Topps base set in the past decade I am interested in collecting is 2003.)
137 - Victor Zambrano

Section 2, coming right up...
270 - Chicago White Sox (It was nice to see team cards included as Topps had gotten away from that when I stopped collecting.)
284 - New York Yankees

1 - Mickey Mantle Home Run History 1 (If I am following everything correctly, this was the only card from this monotonous insert set put in series 1 packs. Doesn't that make this card about 100 times more common than the others? They were still inserted at the same rates as series 2 and Updates & Highlights, which had 100 different cards to choose from. Also, again, I want to find someone who collects these.)

464 - Jeff Jones (1984 Topps) (Can't complain too much about this one, printing defect and all. I like 1984 Topps.)
103 - Junior Spivey (Probably one of the most disappointing free agent signings the Cardinals made this decade.)
129 - Joe McEwing
130 - Richie Sexson (I wonder what Sexson is up to these days.)
3 of 3 - Checklist

And now, the finale...

263 - Albert Pujols MVP (It's also very easy to convince me to buy something if Albert Pujols is showing on the front.)

242 - Felix Hernandez
132 - Russ Adams

9 - Alex Rodriguez Topps 2K All-Stars (Some of this insert set was available only through buying the MLB 2k6 video game, which I owned. I got three of those cards and they all had some sort of indentation on them from the plastic packaging. Others were inserted into 2006 Topps packs. On the back there is a video game representation of the player, which is kind of amusing.)
174 - Todd Burns (1989 Topps)
131 - Rod Barajas
300 - Ryan Garko
- Topps of the Class filler card

Does anyone else have a similar story to share?


Field of Cards said...

Oh is that true about the Mantle 1 card?

I pulled a ton of them from a box recently and thought it was just a messed up box.

night owl said...

This is the exact same item that got me hooked back on current cards in 2006.

I had returned to collecting in 2004 or so, but was just doing vintage. When I saw rack packs that had 3 old cards apiece in them, I was sold. I don't know how many older cards I got from those rack packs, but it had to be close to 200.

I completed the entire '06 set from those rack packs, and also got started back on completing the '86 set (since completed, too).

That was a great tactic Topps had. It certainly worked on me.

Erin said...

I did it, I did it. HA!