Breaking up the Big Box: Cards for Kids

I’m Autistic. I had a real knack for sorting things out. So when my dad found a large tool box that I could put my baseball cards in, and sort them by team, I took it another direction.

Oldest cards first. Dourness, then Fleer, then Topps, then Upper Deck (alpha order by card company). Within each set, commons were followed by card price from least expensive to most expensive. Any cards worth $1 or more got to go into the album pages.

So within each team compartment, I had uniquely sorted rows of baseball cards in a particular order. Did I mention that I’m Autistic?

Any disruption to the so1989-topps-new-york-yankees-baseball-card-team-set-6.gifrting process made me real angry. My friend Aaron and I were HUGE in the Super Nintendo game Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball. The game did not have a MLBPA license, so fake names were used and could be changed. When Aaron wanted to make it a point to return the names back to their original names, he plucked through my baseball cards and scattered them all about within the tray. Boy, was I irate! We didn’t play much of that game after that.

I’d add cards and have to fit the rows within the box correctly. Then the toolbox couldn’t hold such a massive collection. When I was in middle school, my Uncle Mat had a larger index filing cabinet he didn’t use at his doctor’soffice, and I soon used it to fit all of my cards. There’s still plenty of room in that box, but when I moved it around my parents house (first upstairs, then in the basement, then back upstairs again), it got to be a pain in the butt. Each drawer had to be removed and the trips back and forth (two trays at a time for 15 trips) got to be exhausting.

Eventually, I moved away and the cards were all moved once more to my parents’ spare room. The unique filing system held for nearly 20 years.

Then, when I started to put together my shoebox of stars (referred to many times in this blog), the detailed filing system got messed up. Only this time, I didn’t really care as much, as long as cards of the same team were in the correct drawer. Sorry, Aaron!

When I got to wanting to trade again just recently, I thought to myself: Do I really need all of those duplicates?

When I was collecting, I not only wanted more cards than my best friend Jared, but I wanted more cards than any other baseball card collection among the entire student body at Merrill School! Quantity overruled quality, and here I am left with a pile of cards with not much to do with them.

So I’ve decided to turn quantity into quality. Even with the common junk wax stuff.

I’m going to go through my card box at home and remove all of the duplicates. Basically, I’ll have certain baseball card collections:

Shoebox collection: One of every star player on every team they’ve played on, unique cards, cards I’ve had since I was 5, and cards of players that have a unique story to tell. This will be the box that I present to others when showing off my collection. I have it at home. My “want list” posted earlier helps fill in the gaps in this collection.

Traditional collection: The big box at home, cards I’ve accumulated until the time I “stopped” collecting (by 2002) with no duplicates … EXCEPT if they were cards that I received over 20 years ago from my Uncle Scott – him giving me his card collection was my last memory of him before he died. I will actually be in the process of finally removing them from my parents’ house in the fall.

Album collection: Any card that books for over $1, with no duplicates, plus autographed cards. This is a collection of my greatest cards, along with certain stacks of autos/game-useds, and stacks of cards in hard plastic cases I keep in a separate drawer at my parents’ house. Once I have the gaps filled in my shoebox collection, the search for more expensive cards will begin.

Give-and-trade collection: Any duplicates from my traditional and album collections, and any collections I have (or will) receive in bulk. Toward the end of my collecting days, I bought up boxes of cheap cards with the intentions on doing SOMETHING with them. Never did. I tried selling them, not a lick!

I call it the give-and-trade collection because these are cards I’m hoping to either trade quantity-for-quality, or plan to give away to local Tee-ball teams.

If I can successfully master this plan, kids participating in the Coloma Park District Tee-ball league (remember, I was a Rock Falls kid) will get cards of players on their team: Athletics kids will get Athletics cards, Padres kids will get Padres cards, and so on. There are only 12 teams in the league, so I’m thinking each team will get cards from another team name not in the league (sans Nationals, Rockies, Marlins, D-Backs and Rays since those teams are all post-junk-era).

Not sure how many cards per kid to start out with. If I can prolong such a give-away, I will.

The big question about this … those kids aren’t going to know who these players are. Keep in mind the cards are “old” to them. 1989 Upper Deck doesn’t seem old to me, but that’s approaching 30 years ago – 30 years ago when I was collecting was the late 1960s. Then these kids can look at their tablets and Wikipedia and figure out who these guys are. Then they can trade (putting emphasis on the “trading card” thing), perhaps sell, accumulate, learn skills that go along with these things, maybe even some statistics, a little history, rekindling of father’s card collecting memories, who knows. EVEN use those cards to get cards of more recent players they have perhaps heard of, and morphing into the game-used/autos side of things.

I look at this as promoting the game of baseball for our youth.


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