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The Sports Card Bulletin

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This writing contest was an easy one. Participants just had to write something positive about the sports card hobby that they love to participate in.

Here's the winning entry and proud new owner of a Hobby Box of 2007 SP Authentic Baseball

I know that most collectors must have some horror stories about trades that went bad, auctions lost, less than reputable dealers and even problems with the mail. These types of things happen all the time with card collectors and are generally the most prolific posts on collecting websites. When I saw the topic for this essay in my email from sportscardfun.com I was ecstatic, what a change of pace. The more I thought about it the more I realized, that I couldn't, no mustn't let this story go untold. I emailed Ramon Ramos and asked if I could use his name in this essay. He has agreed. So.....here goes.

It all started back in December of '07. I was on the trading boards of Beckett. I had had pretty good success at trading for set fillers and tiger rookies & autos of players on the roster, which is what I collect. I came across a trader who was willing to put together a deal with me. It wasn't a very big trade, but he had a few of my harder to get needs. We got to talking about what the basis of our individual collections were. He seemed like a pretty nice fellow. Little did I know? So we agreed on the trade and I mailed the cards that he requested. I don't even remember exactly which cards were involved in the original discussions. Anyway, about 4 or 5 days later I got a package in the mail. Shipping alone was over $8.00. Much to my surprise it was from this trader. I had expected a small bubble mailer. What was inside was amazing. He had taken the time to send me, not only what we had agreed to, but around 100 to 150 commons of current and past tiger players. Not only those, but also a few autos as well as game used cards. Now don't get me wrong. Most of the cards were relatively low in value. The point is that he had to taken the time to pull all of these cards that he thought I might like.

The best part of the story starts here. Well, I emailed him to let him know how grateful I was for the cards that he had sent. I told him that I talked to my 11-year-old son about his generosity, and the great people in the card-collecting hobby, which was a great teaching tool in itself. We also talked about some of the specific directions of our collections in some detail, and that was that.

About two weeks later I got another email from him. He wrote that he had come across some more cards that I might like. I let him know that he had gone way overboard with the first box and thanked him again. I let him know that it wouldn't be right for me to impose on his kindness. Later that week I received another box in the mail. It was from him. Wow, this box contained about 200 to 300 cards. Again, mostly commons, with a few chrome cards, rc's, and game used cards. However, right on top, in bubble wrap & a screw-down ultra-pro thick holder, was a 07 topps turkey red refractor auto of Curtis Granderson in red ink. I couldn't believe it, one of my favorite players. I was so excited that I actually screamed out loud. When I looked up the card in Beckett I was even more flabbergasted. That card books for $100. I immediately emailed him and asked if there was some mistake. He let me know that he was glad that I enjoyed what he had sent. He said that card had found a good home. Well, I challenge anyone to say that all collectors are only in it "for the money." Ramon sure isn't and neither am I.
Michael Zembrzuski

Here are the rest of the entries!

I think collecting is fun because it helps remind you of great players from your youth and even older years.I think it helps you connect with the players and you get to learn things about the players on cards that you might not know if the information wasn't on the back of their cards.It also helps you know the age and birthplace of players.You can also have cards of the players from one or all the teams that the players you collect have played for.We all have players we follow because their from a team from the same state,or just a individual player or players,or maybe even a player that plays on a team that you like that might be in another state.We all have players we have watched for different reasons.Whether its geographical or for them being a nice person,or just because we admire their style of play.Most collectors have started collecting in their youth.We may have a large or small collection but it doesn't really matter.The game used cards that are made nowadays help us stay more connected to that player(s)since we can have a piece of memorabilia that, that the player we have even wore at some time.Cards are also great for getting autographs from our favorite player whether through the mail or in person.
fairman

During the beginning of my early teenage years, collecting baseball cards were introduced to me through a new found friend. Throughout the hot summer days we would find ourselves scraping every nickel and dime we could find just to grab a few packs of wax. With me only starting out collecting and being a rookie to the hobby, I was not exactly sure what cards were hot or not. After we both purchased a Beckett and began looking the cards up in the book is when it really got interesting. Simply pulling a card out of a $1.99 pack of card that was worth $20 then was exciting.

Having a friend that has shown be basics of collecting not only improved my hobby of collecting, it brought two strangers together as friends and are still best friends as of today. Its not all that strange that some people make friends merely by making small talk or even a joke to become friends, but with us, its happened over a few baseball cards.

The endless days of summers and after school time of sitting around trading and showing off our cards to one another will not be forgotten. Just as our cards have gotten older and a little more richer, so have our lives and our friendship. Those childhood memories will not be forgotten because those were some of the greatest times.
dirtysouthgaboy_79

My collection has a lot of rookie cards but, they are not my favorite thing to collect. My favorite thing to go after is memorbilia cards. They are sometimes a lot more expensive than rookie cards but, the value of having pieces of players jersey,autograph, or piece of a bat is always so fun to get, also they have a lot more value if they are numbered which usually is on the back of the card right under the certificate of authinticity or its somewhere on the front, different companies put it different places. My favorite memorbilia to collect is David Ortiz's or anything from the redsox. My favorite card out of my collection is my Jonathan Paplebon and Curt Schilling dual jersey card which i got from upperdeck.I do like rookie cards though, they are my second favorite things to collect. One of my favorite rookie cards that i own is a David Ortiz card but, it doesnt say David Ortiz it says his middle name David Arias instead of his first and last. The rookie card that is worth the most in my collection is the David Ortiz one marked at about eighty dollars if you wanted to sell it. I love collecting baseball cards in general and one day i hope to make a store and sell it to people who i know will take care of it.
Andrew Manson

When I was a little boy living in upstate New York, a hero of mine was Ernie Davis. He grew up in Elmira, New York, the town down the road from my birthplace and won the Heisman Trophy playing at Syracuse University, our nearest "big-time" college. When he died from leukemia much too young, it was my first experience with unexpected death and shook me and a lot of my playmates to our cores.

Years later when I was feeling down over the unexpected death of a friend at work, I mentioned the story to my two young sons. Unbeknownst to me, they pooled their allowance & chore money and scoured all the sports card stores and shows on our island of Oahu (to say that Ernie Davis was not exactly highly sought after in Hawaii would be an understatement). They finally managed to find and secure his Topps rookie card for my 40th birthday. That card started me collecting again and still holds an honored place in my collection..and in my memory.

Just shortly he died, I managed to secure a Ken O'Dea baseball card for my Dad. O'Dea had a singularly unremarkable baseball career, peaking as a backup to Mel Ott on the old New York Giants but he was a hero to my father, having been a friend and a teacher and a coach to my Dad.

Heroes have a way of never dying as long there are baseball or football or basketball or some kind of sports cards to remember them by. And although always fun to collect by yourself, they're a great way to develop family remembrances as well.
jzconley

First of all the hobby is great for people of all ages. In this downfall of economic times its one thing people can rely on to still brighten their day and the sheer excitement that you could pull a card that could end your ecomic troubles, at least for a little while. It the thrill of cracking the seal off a new hobby bow and staring at the twenty or so packs and the thought of what their contents may be. the great pull, your favorite player or team, a complete set, what have you. The hour or two of opening packs looking up there value, seeing what they are going for an so forth. But most of all its buliding your set, to have something to be proud and cherish for all your years on this earth. Its always going to be there. The hobby doesn't lie to you,manipulate you, leave you. It will always be there. Twenty years from now you can crack open your collection and see how the values have sky rocketed or plummeted. and show your kids your favortie ballplayers and the best ballplayers and your day and compare to the heros of their era. It will always bring a smile and joy to your life.
chopsueydude1318

About three weeks ago i got a craving for a box of cards. Instead of going out and buying a hobby box at my local card shop i decided to head out to my local Walmart to pick up a retail box of 2008 Bowman Draft to open. I didnt expect much to come out of it besides some good prospects and rookies. I thought maybe if i was lucky i could get an autograph or even better an autograph of my favorite player Evan Longoria. When i got home i opened it right away. In my eagerness i tore through each pack just yanking out rookie and prospect cards of players like Joey Votto, Clayton Kershaw, and Jay Bruce who were all players who i also collected. I was surprised to find in one of my packs along the way something i never thought twice about possibly pulling. It was an Orange Refractor of Rick Porcello limited to 25! I didnt think much of it until later on that day i saw on Ebay just how much it was going for! Graded a 9.5 it was being sold for $900! Raw it was being sold for $350! I could not believe it! The very next day i slapped it on a trade site to see what offers i would get. There was tons! One offer stood out in particular. He offered me 4 different Evan Longoria autos and 4 other Bowman Sterling autos i wanted! All those cards for my one card? DEAL! It was one of the best pulls i ever had out of a Walmart retail box!
Chris (Clrunyo)

The biggest positive I can relate to in the sportscard hobby world is the the fantastic network of trader groups. Nearly 10 years now I have been involved with various trade groups that have been the number one motivator to my sportscard collecting. Whether you are a vintage collector or modern day UV person you can find a group or two that will make your collecting goals a reality. Also, along the way you have a great resource for getting info on old sets, variations, new sets, Hobby news, etc. without spending hundreds of dollars subscribing to magazines that usually don't have specific details on what you collect. The other benefit I have found is the expansion of my collecting goals. I went from wanting to reassemble my sold cards as a kid to having sets as far back as the late 40's. Where else can you get involved with a bunch of people across the continent or world, that you may never meet face to face but still feel they are a person you have known for years. Finally, I think the ability to expand other collectors interests while you yourself are able to complete sets of your own is as rewarding as it can get for any collector. I have actually put sets together way I never purchased a single card but finished the set through trades alone. I think the trader clubs will continue to grow and expand to the point where all your collecting needs can be met by belonging to several trade groups. If you are not already involved with a trader group I would strongly encorage anyone to join. Happy trading!
griffey65

Hi my name is John and I'm a baseball cards trade-a- holic. And this is my story. I trade in the morning, afternoon and at night. I tried to stop, but just can't do it. I go shopping with my wife to Wal-Mart or K-Mart, or any mart at all.. I tell her. I'll meet you in front of the store. Then I head off to the sports card section. On a Saturday morning you will find me at a card show, any card show.. I'm the guy with the Mets hat on backward, like Ken Griffey Jr in one of his upper deck baseball cards.. The mail-man calls me by my first name. A package of in-coming cards for you John. Just glad I get home before my wife. Her and my sons think I'm going into my second child-hood.. I remember back in the day, a pack of baseball cards would cost a nickel. I would open as many packs as I could get, flip them, play colors and pitch them up against the garage wall with a few friends. Pack up my old shoe box with them.Clothes pin them to my bicycle spokes, so it would sound like a motorcycle. I might have put a 1968 rookie card of Nolan Ryan in them spokes.. Ouch!!!! All those 2 cents cola bottles I found and cashed in for a pack of Topps baseball cards. Then R.C. Cola came out with money mark under the cap of a bottle of soda.. Now, do I buy a R.C. Cola or buy a pack of baseball cards ? Sometimes they had a 25cents mark under that cap. You could get a lot of cards for 25 cents. But really!!!! I miss flipping and winning all my friends cards from them. ( Of cause I always won.. LOL ) I always look back on the good old days of baseball cards and wish I still had what every grown man blames his mother of throwing out when he goes off into the business world. For my birthday in 1999, my wife brought me 20 boxes of baseball cards. Every box had 5000 cards or more in them. I made a load of incomplete sets, because the guy she got these cards from, took most of the star cards. One day I started to look at all the incomplete baseball sets I had and said to myself. Johnny Boy!!! It would cost a nice penny to fill all these sets.. I searched some sites on buying single cards and the cost was crazy, because you have 5 different shipping costs. 5 different sellers to fill a set. I was thinking of selling them on E-Bay. I did some research on E-Bay and seen these incomplete sets don't sell to fast and it would cost a fee just to list them.. So I did some research on the good old internet and found SPORTSCARDFUN.COM. What a great Idea. I really didn't know they were around since 1999. Look at all the fun I was missing.. But, I'm at it now. My first trade was with a man named Phil.. What a great guy. He didn't need any thing I had, but he made the trade just to get me started with a point. I'm 54 and I feel 13 again. I love this site. I just joined and I'm starting to build my SCF page. I've done 12 trades and working on 3 more. HOF here I come.. Love checking my E-Mails and seeing another point added for a job well done. It doesn't get any better then this. Yes!! My name is John, and I'm a baseball cards trade-a- hol
JOKEEFEJR

My favorite part about collecting baseball cards has to be the fact that it brings out the kid in me. When I was a kid, cards were my life. I just knew they would be worth millions one day. Well, as most of us know, that didn't work out, but I am still getting joy out of my cards to this day. Because I have so many cards, and love baseball so much, I started sending them off to former players in hopes of collecting autographs. I have had some great successes, and it's this reason why I am still thumbing through my cards on a daily basis. I can not wait to see which former player pops up, or who is now a coach with our local minor league team. When I hear of these guys, I am quick to the mail, or to the ballpark in hopes of adding a new autograph to my collection. It really does bring out the kid in me and is great fun. I have actually bought a few boxes of newer cards recently just so I can put them in the mail. The value of the cards means nothing to me, although I do like the variety of new insert cards. I am only buying these to put them in the mail in hopes to checking my mail and finding an envelope addressed to myself. Good times.
BW

My name is Dee. My husband Matt is the one who got me into collecting cards. When we met I was a NY Giants fan. I would watch the Giants play every Sunday and that was it. Matt liked that I was a girl who liked sports Well It all started years ago when we were dating he told me he was taking me shopping at the mall. Needless to say I was thrilled at the idea that this guy that I liked...well, liked shopping too ! So he takes me to the mall and he looked at his watch and says "so we'll meet up in about 2 hours?" He brought me to the mall for a card show! ( talk about ulterior motives )
3 hours later we meet up and he's hunched over a folding picnic table thumbing through these cards.So sure I was kind of taken aback that this 29 yr old man was looking at sports cards but hey I liked him and later found out that I loved this goofball. OK that's another story.
Back to the cards So in order to speed up the process I asked him to hand me a stack and tell me "who's good" so that if I find that card I'll put it to the side for him. Well another hour goes by and boy was my back HURTING! I can't believe he can stay in that position for hours at a time. Well the years go by and I think I have shopped at every mall in the state of NJ not to mention the Flea Markets too! I have to admit I got into collecting cards and am almost " ALMOST " as crazy about cards as he is. I surprise him sometimes when I come home from a Wal-Mart or Target run I'll pick him up a blaster box. Sure I open up all the packs....but he gets the cards : ) We are also lucky to live in a town that has a minor league baseball team. I don't think either of us would follow baseball or collect baseball cards if we didn't live so close to the Phillies Blueclaws minor league team. So we buy boxes of baseball cards and pull the rookies to get signed when they come to town. It's pretty cool to watch MLB games 3 years later and see the guys who we've met and talked to make it big like Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Gavin Floyd and that's just some of the alum of the Phillies farm system. We have quite a collection of rookie autos. Matt says on the way up to Giants camp this summer in Albany that we will stop in to visit a Dave and Adams store but until then we'll just keep ordering from the website.
Happy Collecting,
Dee

Collecting baseball cards is many people's favorite thing to do. However, as you are all well aware, that the struggling economy is eating away dozens of hobby shops, perhaps the one you often visit. On the other hand, baseball card makes might decrease the price in order to stimulate growth in the business. What might happen next? Well, here's what I think.

First of all, the hard times are here and every family is taking their respective precautions in trying to not be severely affected by it. To some families, playing extracurricular sports for kids is a luxury, they do have a point. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, less than 12% of kids ranging from 9~17 participate in organized sports today, and this was when the economy was striving. To most families, collecting sports cards are even more luxurious than playing sports, as many parents today believe that playing sports can enhance your physical skills, but collecting sports cards will make you too addicted to "non-academic" things. That's why this industry is already on the margins of surviving when the next big bully came to town: Recession.

As Ronald Reagan once quoted "Recession is when your neighbor loses his job; depression is when you lose your job, and recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his!" Although the 3rd phrase may seem political, the other two are entirely realistic. Kids (you and me) do not realize what your parents give out for the money that you spend, and may think your parents are frugal; you may be angrier at your parents especially after the money stream tightens, cutting away many "can-have-but-doesn't-need" items, and this may be your baseball card supply. Baseball cards are, in fact, luxuries that less than 1% of the world population can afford.

An upside to this whole thing is competitive marketing, aka Capitalism. This form of business stimulates customer response, where it's not who sells it that matters, it's the price and customer demands. Many factors contribute to the sales price, and one of them is the current economy. If, say, everyone has wealth beyond imagining, then naturally sellers would bump up the price and hopefully score a larger profit. However, the opposite also applies: if the economy is faltering, then the prices would fall. So use your money wisely and you might be able to save lots of money!

The last point focuses on the entirety of professional sports. More people watches professional sports every year, and more start to "get involved" (watch TV, go to games, etc) annually. This would stimulate more companies to "budge in" to the field, meaning more competition, and consequentially lower prices! Professional sports have been evolved from the 1900s 9-men play-for-fun professional club to the downright-serious leagues of the 21st century, this undoubtedly contributed to the growth of sports card industry.
johnnytang

There are many great memories of my childhood. However, some of my fondest involved collecting baseball cards.

I was first introduced to the hobby around the age of ten.
My Uncle had given my brother and I some of his baseball cards from the 1970s and soon after we were hooked. We both loved baseball so it was only natural that we loved the cards with the players pictures and stats on them.

Growing up in Kansas City we were both big Royals fans and George Brett was our favorite player. His cards were always a hot commodity in my neighborhood and the focus of me and my brothers collecting.
I spent many days trying to wheel and deal with my brother to get him to trade me his beloved 1978 Topps George Brett. He never would part with it so I had to be content with my 1982 Topps George Brett.
It brings a smile to my face anytime I see either of those cards today.
I remember, my father was very supportive of our hobby as well.
Hearing the diesel engine of his truck rumbling down our driveway in the evening was always an exciting time.

Not only were we happy to see him home from work, we were also happy because every now and then he would have a few packs of cards for us.
On occaison he would even have a box of cards for us.
We would tear into our packs keeping a carefull eye on what the other was pulling.
Then the trading would begin.I learned the art of negotiating from those trading sessions.
I will never forget the distinct smell of cardboard mixed with bubble gum that came from a freshly opened pack.

But, as I grew older I drifted away from the hobby and my collection sat idle in my closet.
Then a few months ago I stopped to get some gas at a gas station and as I was waiting in line I saw they had baseball cards, so on a impulse I grabbed a couple of packs.
I got home and opened them and realized how much I missed my old hobby and the thrill and anticipation of opening up a pack.

Needless to say, I am now collecting again which brings me great joy, especially after a stressfull day at work to sit down and open up a pack of cards.
I have also recently found out that I am going to be a father and with that I have high hopes that my son will take up the hobby.
If hes lucky I may even give him my 82 Topps George Brett. Or maybe we can work out a trade.
justinb1976

Today I am writing about the revitalization I have experienced in the baseball card collecting hobby that I was very passionate about as a child. I can remember as a 10 year old (1978 or so) going down to the local candy store with my allowance money and buying wax packs with my friends and then we would go back to one of our houses and start trading cards with each other. Getting your favorite player for some other guy you had 3 or 4 copies of his card or getting that much closer to completing that year's set was such a thrill. Going forward some 25 years I can now still get the same thrill thanks to SCF and similar sites. I don't write this because it is for a contest but because it is true. Back in 1995 when my son was about four years old I was reintroduced to card collecting when I began buying packs again to introduce my son to the hobby I loved as a kid. We collected casually for several years but he never gained the passion like I did. In the early 2000's I discovered the huge market on e-bay and began my new interest in Game Used and Auto cards but the cost limited what I could get. Now some six months ago I was directed to SCF.com and the passion is back. I have the same excitement when I bust a box or even grab a few packs. Once again I open packs and make my traditional 3 piles, keep for sets; keep for Mets and Yankees teams and favorite players, or trade pile. The trade pile as a kid became put aside and forget about as an adult until I found SCF. Now I can't wait to hit the mailbox when I get home to see what is coming in that day. Getting the good feeling of helping somebody else get cards they want is also a positive from this new experience of trading online. I think that the popularity of online trading is a definite positive for the hobby and I look forward to future trading on SCF.
Thanks,
Mike (aka BA Benny)

My fovorite pull was my 1993 SP Foil derek jeter Rookie card as many of you know this card is tough to come by and any collector would be amazed at getting this card I collect jeter cards so to have this card in a pack back in 1994 was a real surprise I had no clue that the value would rise so high in the 14 years that I have had this card witch is whay I thought this would be a cool story to tell about I bought 2 pack of the sp not even expecting to get the jeter foil got some other cards that turned in to nothing over the years as we all know the players who are good then are not always turning in the way you expect in the pros ( example hal morris ) but the jeter card is probably my fovorite card and by the way is for trade for the wright cards lol but for real this card is my holy grail of cards and makes my collection that much more special as of date I have 2300 jeter cards and am still looking for mare so bring on the trades . as for the sp card it is in a screw down holder since the day I pulled it from the pack and am keeping it there for as long as possible thanks for reading and remember bring on the trades on the scf page thanks for your time
card Genie

My name is Jim Tatum and I have been buying cards since 1989. After accumulating over 500,000 I found I needed to make room and to specialize. I had to sell all my hockey racing and basketball cards. Believe me its hard to let go of nice Michael Jordan cards that had been with me so long they felt like family. People ask me why I collect cards.That is not the question. The question should be "Why doesnt everyone collect cards?" Card collecting is the perfect hobby. For handicapped people there are no limitations to the players,teams or sets they can put together.The rise of the internet means the demise of some smaller neighborhood card shops. But this is not necessarily a bad thing.Larger card shops buy in bulk and can therefore offer better prices to the collector (Yes like Wal Mart!!) The larger card shops can also sponsor web sites for collectors as well as search engines which the small shop can't. another reason to collect is relaxation. Had a bad day? Pull out your Joe Montana rookie card and thoughts come racing back of the games of his you watched- if you were lucky enough. Another reason to collect is profit. New cards sooner or later become vintage cards.Economic facts have proved nothing has risen in value like older cards.Not stocks,bonds or real estate.One one cent Mickey Mantle now worth $5000. (But dont chew the gum!!!) That is what- a profit of over a million per cent? when you collect cards every day is a yard sale. Cards to trade . Cards to buy. Cards to sell. Take a chance on a 25 cent rookie you feel has talent and watch him pay off. Or for the more conservative investor buy vintage or build sets. Or for the conservative investor buy a box or case after doing your homework. Thought for the day- Many collectors are buying boxes and not opening them (Hard to do!!) BUT every day there are more boxes opened of a particular product and therefore less unopened product. Even wrappers are going up in value. My new passion is non sports. what could be more American than Superman cards? But the choices for you the future collector are endless. But dont listen to me see for Yourself. all you have to do is start. But careful its and addicting hobby and there is no card collector rehab!!! I havent even listed some other reasons to collect but there is one more - Its FUN !!! Enjoy it as I have.
Jim Tatum

After coaching junior high basketball for twenty years, I decided that I wanted a closer contact with students other than just as a teacher. We were challenged to begin school clubs to try to better reach all students but especially "at risk" kids. I began a sports card collecting club. We met once a month after school, but I would let the kids come in at some lunch times. I did the club for seventeen years until my retirement.

I taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math. Since I had thousands of common cards, I decided to use them in my teaching. We would do batting averages, team averages, RBI averages, etc. This seemed to motivate their interest in math.

When I began the club, I assumed that only boys would show up but was pleasantly surprised that there were five girls over the years who were as excited about trading as the boys.
Not only did the students become interested in card collecting and trading, but I became "hooked" and still am. In my collecting and trading, the most surprised I have been was while vacationing in Canada. While my wife was shopping, I stopped at a card shop in the mall. The owner wasn't busy; he and I were visiting and talking sports for about an hour. Since I was living in the bay area in California, I talked mostly about the Giants and the A's. He didn't get a lot of baseball customers since we were in hockey country.
As I was about to leave, he said, "Wait, I've got something to show you." He handed me a ball and card attached to a wooden base. He explained how he had it signed by Vida Blue. As I was leaving, he said, "It's yours." This really shocked me because he was someone I had never seen before and whom you'd expect to only be interested in making money. To me, this showed he was a man who loved sports and people more than the dollar. This was the highlight of my Canadian vacation and made me have a really genuine connection to our neighbors to the North.

It's amazing how we can forget differences between people and nations because of our love for baseball and collecting.

In summary, my California students and I were making positive connections, and I was a part of the same connection between USA and Canada because of the great sport of baseball.
Ron Richey