There was something magical about collecting baseball cards as a kid.

Each new pack you opened had infinite possibilities. Would your hometown hero be in there? (Darryl Strawberry!) Or, was it just a stack of players you didn’t know? Also, did you get any doubles that you could trade or sell?

Topps packs were extra special, thanks to the stick of powdery pink gum that crumbled in your mouth and stained the card it was up against.

Before the internet, baseball cards were my primary source of info on player stats, uniforms, team logos, and epic mustaches.

As a kid, playing with baseball cards also meant spending time with dad. I remember sitting on the floor, sorting cards by team, talking baseball, and using player stats to learn math. It was the best of times.

Baseball Stadium
Baseball Cards

From 1986-1992, I dedicated endless hours to my collection. It was carefully organized, stored in mint condition, and a source of great fun.

To celebrate those cards of my youth – as well as some of the classic cards from my dad’s era – I created a series of Baseball Stadium Baseball Cards. They combine some of my favorite baseball card designs with photography from baseball stadiums I’ve visited.

May the art on this page help fill the void left by a season without baseball. In my mind, the Mets are currently 58-1 and cruising towards a World Series title!

Playing rough with baseball cards in the 1950s

Kids shreaded cards in bike wheels and threw them against a wall … FOR FUN!

Growing up, my dad would share enthralling stories of how kids used to actually, gasp!, – play with their baseball cards. These are a few of my favorites. 

To make their bikes have a clicking sound, kids would put cards in their wheel spokes. Each time the card passed the frame of the bike, it slapped it. Put enough cards on the wheels, the sound is consistent. And, your Ty Cobb rookie card now tattered. 

Meanwhile, the “toss your best cards against a wall” game awarded prizes to the player whose card was closest to the wall. The prize, naturally, was all the cards. This is why so many cards from the 1920s – 1960s have rounded corners.

Shoeboxes full of gold

A ’52 Mantle here. A T206 Honus Wagner there.

As a kid, I remember stories of people who found old shoeboxes full of baseball cards in their parents’ attics. These discoveries always meant a big payday for the finder … and they also inspired a generation of card collectors.

We all shared the dream of writing our own success story. Unfortunately, we didn’t understand how many of these cards were being produced. 

How many other people had a mint condition 1989 Ken Griffey Jr Upper Deck rookie card? (a lot, apparently)

The reality was, the production numbers for my generation of cards were through the roof. There was no way someone was going to make a Ruthian discovery in my shoeboxes. 

Today, my collection is worth roughly the same as when I carefully cataloged and stored them: 25 years ago. Alas, my Griffey will not be putting my kids through college.

When was the last time you bought a pack of baseball cards?

I still buy a pack of Topps every year to see what’s new … and hopefully get at least one Mets player.