We did it. My son and I completed our first baseball card set.
There is something special in this hobby about a parent collector who is able to pass down the hobby to their child or children, and at times I wondered if my children would ever be into the same hobby that i have enjoyed for almost 30 years.
I mean my kids (ages 7 and 5) have always been around my stuff, and at times they’d ask about why I collect cards, but when I’d offer to buy them sports cards they often pass, or ask for some cartoon cards, comic cards or something else. It’s cool; I get it. I’ve always been of the mindset that if my kids didn’t enjoy my hobby then I would not force it upon them. But I’ve always been willing to support whatever hobby they decided to take up.
And then just a week ago my son asked me about baseball cards. He wanted to know more. He wanted me to buy some. He wanted me to buy some for him.
insert tear drop.
Without hesitation I bought a blaster of 2016 Topps Bunt. He enjoyed it (and so did his cousin). I told him about Hank Aaron — one of the first cards he pulled — and how at one point Aaron had the most home runs in baseball. And when I said the name he remembered a conversation we had a few months ago about a signed 16×20 photo of Hammerin’ Hank that I have hanging on the wall. “That’s him!” he said pointing to the photo and then looking at the card.
So yeah, proud Dad moment for me. Anyhow, a day after we ripped into those packs, we went to a different card shop to pick up some supplies and he asked me about buying a few more packs of Topps BUNT.
For my readers who don’t know much about BUNT, it’s a price-friendly product that features a great 200-card checklist that mixes old and new players. In my opinion it has been Topps’ greatest effort to bring in the new collectors as the set is based on the popular Topps BUNT digital trading card app.
Anyhow, I looked at my son and he was genuinely excited. At that moment I decided just to buy an entire 36-pack box as it was only about $30. I figured it’d be something we could open together and maybe put the set together.
It took us a few days to open all of the packs, even with the assistance of his cousin. We could have rushed through it, but I wanted to take time and look at each card and read the player name and the team, in a way I was hoping that I was laying the ground work for future endeavors and the foundation of baseball knowledge. So when he started to get tired of opening or reading, we stopped for the day and later picked it up.
After a few days we finished going through the box. We separated all of the base cards from the inserts and then separated the code cards — which can be used to unlock packs of digital cards in the phone app.
The next step was to see if we had a complete set. I grabbed a stack of 9-pocket Ultra Pro binder pages and used a black marker to number each of the pockets. I figured this would be a simple way for my son (and his cousin who helped us at times) to see where the cards go. In a round about way this was another school lesson for them as they are in kindergarten and still learning some of their numbers.
And so we spent maybe a total of three hours over two days taking turns reading the card number and then finding its location in the binder. And by the end we had a complete 200-card set with 22 cards left over.
I’m sure some of you — if you’re still reading — are wondering what the entire set is worth. Honestly, not much in terms of actual money. I mean while there are some big names in here and some decent rookie cards, the set could probably be bought in its entirety on eBay for about $20. And yes, it’s easier to just buy an entire set, but what’s the real fun in that?
While not worth much money, this product just got my kid into the hobby, gave him a task to complete — which didn’t involve pixelated pick axes (yes, I’m speaking of Minecraft) — taught him some organizational skills; involved reading words, names, logos and numbers; involved hand-eye coordination as we placed the cards into binder pages, AND was definitely quality father-son time.
Never again will I call a low-priced baseball card set worthless as it can be priceless for others.