Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Flea Market "Pack"

Buying packs of cards at retail price is a rip-off and we all know it. If you're like me, however, there's an undeniably urgent, persistent and insatiable desire to open a pack every once in a while. That itch probably stems from some childhood memory of ripping open packs of cards, trading them and sliding them neatly into my nine-pocket pages.

I'm far from that time and at a time when my card collecting has become a frugal hobby to say the least. That's why I pick up as many cheap affordable baseball cards I can. Of course I'll buy some packs this year. I'll take what my three bucks got me today over a pack of cards at Target any day:

1974 Topps Sal Bando #103
I know 1970's cards kind of fall into that not-old-enough category to be worth a ton, but they are from 20 years before my collecting time, so they still feel old to me. Plus the price is right when I can pick one up in fairly good condition and it has a name on the front that I recognize.

1974 Topps Vida Blue #290
Same as above. Plus, for some reason I love this staged picture. Hopefully the open-web glove that Blue is rocking with a batting glove under neath is for shagging fly balls during batting practice. Actually, judging by some other pictures it looks like blue pitched with an open-web glove. I don't think any pitchers do that today with fear of batters seeing their grip on the ball. 
1981 Topps Sticker Ozzie Smith #230
Just like many of today's packs, my "pack" included a mini. This card was in half-off box and I offered the gentleman $3. I always feel bad negotiating deals with card dealers because I know it's a pretty tough business right now, but it's always nice to have the convenience of not breaking a Washington. And I wanted to make it $3 to compare it to a pack of cards.

Of course actual packs have a chance at a refractor, game-used relic, auto, rookie, printing plate—or all of that combined of your favorite player. And I guess that's why we play the game. That game, however, results in all too often dupes of a no-name utility infielder and inserts that aren't related to baseball.

Like I said, I love packs and that's something I'll probably never quit cold turkey, but it's nice when $3 can get you some cardboard goodness instead of a lottery tickets chance at a big "hit'.

For the record I'd be willing to trade any of these cards and I have a ton more to trade. As you can see I had to resort to iPhone pictures as my scanner isn't working.

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