Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Collecting the Sox: Baseball Cards

Baseball cards are one of the oldest and most common Red Sox collectables out there. They’ve been around since the team’s inception, and are still going strong today. The number of baseball card collectors makes up a large percentage of Red Sox collectors out there. As with most collectables, there are several reasons for their appeal.

They’re not especially hard to get. Obviously, if you’re looking for a specific card, it may take some looking. Although, eBay and the rest of the Internet has helped with that a lot. Generally, you can get cards in lots of places. Wal-Mart and Target usually have large displays devoted to baseball cards. Even your local convenience store or gas station usually has some by the register. So, grabbing packs of new cards isn’t a real hassle. Scrounging up older cards may be more annoying, but again the Internet has made this chore relatively easy.

These days, cards have become more than grainy pictures of baseball players on cardboard. Obviously, the quality has greatly improved since the early days. Companies have also inserted things like autographed cards into the packs. There are cards with pieces of game used uniforms or bats or balls stuck in them. Card collections are morphing into memorabilia collections as well. It adds a bit of variety to a collection.

If you’re focusing on Red Sox cards, and really why wouldn’t you, there are still a few directions. You can collect a favorite player, or favorite season, or just any card you can with a Red Sox logo on it. If you just love Josh Beckett, you can try to get as many Beckett cards as you possibly can. (This will take a long time to try to do.) But, you’ll end up with plenty of nice looking Beckett cards. Or, you could try to get every card of the 2004 Red Sox. Or, every card from the 2004 card sets. As with any collection, it should be tailored to your likes. I’ve thought about trying to get an autographed card from every member of the starting line-up from Game 2 of the 2007 World Series. (I haven’t started yet, but it sounds like it could be fun.) You can see that even with a very specific goal, it still can be an adventure to build a collection.

One perfect way to get it all is though team sets. You can pick a brand, and year and simply get every Red Sox card from that set. Say, the 1989 Fleer Red Sox team set. Then you’d have every card made that year by that brand featuring the Sox. It assures that you’ll have the stars, and the scrubs. That way you can flip through and see the whole team. It really is a way to preserve a memory of your favorite team.

As usual, storage can be an issue with baseball cards. You can store the cards in boxes. This will allow you to keep 5000 cards in an area about the size of a breadbox. Or, if you want to see the cards more easily, you can place them in protective sheets. These sheets can be put into binders to allow you to flip through them and see your collection. You’ll need more space for this method, but the trade off is easy access. A combination of the two is probably a nice approach.

No matter your goal, baseball cards are a wonderful way to display your love of the Sox.

How do you collect?

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