In the Cards
January 01, 2008

We don’t do it often, but recently a couple of recovered items forced us down the ol’ memory lane and we realized some interesting things along the way. One of the more obvious realizations is that there are a shitload of baseball players that we never even knew existed.

We spent the holidays, like we do every year, with family in Denver and this time around our parents made us take home boxes full of our old shit. Apparently they were sick of holding on to it. Most of the boxes were full of junk but one box was overflowing (literally) with baseball cards. From 1985 to 1992 we collected baseball cards at a feverish rate. We thought, in our 10-year-old minds, that these cards would make us billionaires by the time we were 30. Well, we were wrong. All of those cards, all 100,000 of them, are worth about $200 total. All in all, a rather poor investment but fuck it, we were kids and collecting them was fun while it lasted.

During those years, J. Allen was unusually obsessed, taking his cards with him everywhere he went. Especially on vacation, where he would buy a new pack every time the family van stopped for gas. On one vacation, to Florida, J. Allen left his card collection in a hotel room. Not realizing it until the family van was 100 miles away, J. Allen had a complete breakdown upon the realization, forcing the family 100 miles back to the hotel where the cleaning lady had recovered the cards set them aside on her cleaning cart.

That may or may not be the same trip where Aaron lost his baby Ewok doll out the window but that’s a whole other story altogether.

So as we sat there a couple nights ago, going through our 20-year-old investment portfolio we quickly realized that these cards were damn near worthless. According to the handy-dandy price guide we picked up, we did have a handful of cards worth five bucks or more but a quick check on eBay and we discovered that we were only one of 500 people who were thinking about liquidating our collections, making the cards ever more worthless.

Fucking eBay.

But what was really interesting was taking a look at the “special” binders that each of us put together so many years ago. We’d pulled special cards out of collections, putting them in these binders because these were the “good” ones. Rookie cards, big names, favorite players and all sorts of other random cards filled the pages of these binders. Not a single card, in either of the binders, is worth more than a buck. Speculators we are not. Had we hedged our bets on these cards, like one might with a real investment portfolio, we’d have jumped out a window long ago. So let this be a lesson to all you parents out there – don’t let you 10-year-olds manage any investment opportunities because 10-year-olds are retarded.

But as we thumbed through all 100,000 cards we couldn’t help but notice the huge amount of people that we’d simple never heard of. We were fervent baseball fans during the time that we were in our collecting haze, so you’d think that we would at lest recognize most of the names that we ran across. But that was not the case. There are nearly hundreds, if not thousands of people that left us saying to ourselves, or out loud, “who the fuck is that guy? And why does he have a gay porn stars moustache?” Only one other statement was uttered more often than those and that statement was “Holy shit, check out this guys mullet.”

Another thing that we noticed was the lack of “stars” that one would expect to see coming out of such revered years in baseball. Of course there were the Barry Bonds’, the Mark McGuire’s and the Sammy Sosa’s, or any other number of roided out players that have been in the news lately but we aren’t talking about them. The players that we are talking about are the ones that were labeled as “Future Stars” or “Rated Rookies” or some other designation of potential. For that seven year span do you want to take a guess at how many of those players lived up to their potential? One. That’s right, one out of the hundreds of people that displayed enough talent to be labeled something special. We don’t want to speculate on why this is (probably coke) but that’s really sad.

But that’s kinda the way things go isn’t it? The ones most likely to succeed don’t always succeed. A lot of times the most success comes out of the weird guys in the back of the room making the jokes. Those guys are awesome.