Your Turn: What makes the hobby fun?




By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

What makes the hobby fun?

It’s not an easy question to answer because so many different people collect for different reasons. It’s also a challenge because there are so many perspectives on what’s cool and what’s not when it comes to cardboard.

A simple card like that of the Rally Squirrel, a short-printed variation found in packs of 2012 Topps showing something that actually happened on an MLB field during an MLB game, can cause just as many groans as it does chuckles. But there’s no doubting that, no matter where you stand, it’s a fun card.

In the next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, we’re going to explore the subject but we want your take on something simple. We’ll run a selection of your answers in the next issue.

Tell us in the comments below …  What makes the hobby fun?

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter @chrisolds2009.


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  1. Nate Baustad 13 May, 2015 at 10:52

    Sharing collecting with young kids and remembering the joy of collecting as a kid makes the hobby fun for me

  2. Tony Lehman 13 May, 2015 at 10:57

    What makes the hobby fun for me? A few things. The great people who are involved in the hobby — especially the bloggers who write about their collections. Hunting down those oddballs from the 1970s and 1980s and, then, finding them. Figuring out what I have and don’t have and trying to get what I don’t have.

    Above all, though, it’s memories. Memories of players, games, plays, trips to the ballpark, watching games on TV, even trades with fellow collectors — all of which are stirred up by looking through cards, reading old newspaper articles, and recalling stories told to me decades ago.

  3. Mark morales 13 May, 2015 at 11:03

    Father and son bonding time. Nothing beats taking home hobby boxes and opening packs with my son, then organizing them by team. Telling him about players I looked up to such as Mike Piazza, Paul loDuca, Shawn Green and Jim Abbott

  4. Jared Larson 13 May, 2015 at 11:20

    For me personally it’s about “the chase.” I used to collect when I was a child but as I got older and hobby stores closed down I lost interest. A couple summers ago I suddenly got the urge to buy baseball cards again. I went with a friend and bought some and instantly remembered how fun it was ripping open packs. I did a little research to see how the industry had changed from the early to mid nineties and boy was I surprised. Now that I’m more educated about what is out there, it has grown into a full-blown obsession. Trying to get my favorite players auto’s, 1 of 1’s, or any serial numbered cards for that matter. It’s also the uncertainty of what you are getting in the packs. It’s always a mystery until you open it. Could be a huge hit or it could be nothing. It always leaves you on the edge of your seat. Am I finally going to get that Kris Bryant auto I’ve wanted so badly? Chances are no, but the possibility of getting a card like that keeps me on interested.

  5. Patrick Clary 13 May, 2015 at 11:25

    Collecting Rainbows of my PC(Eric Decker). Of Course, They all must be Graded by the Best. Beckett Hooah!.

  6. Jim Houston 13 May, 2015 at 11:46

    It is both a great metaphor for the game and a tangible manifestation of all that is great about baseball – the history, the future, the excitement and heartache, the long grind and the short burst all wrapped into beautiful, artistic, uniform- yet distinct – pieces of cardboard just like the game is packaged in a beautiful, artistic, uniform – yet distinct – cathedral that is a ballpark.

  7. David Johnson 13 May, 2015 at 11:52

    Finding the last card I need for a set is one of the funnest and most rewarding parts of collecting. It is exceedingly fun when the last card comes from a pack instead of just buying the single.

  8. bobby chalermsopone 13 May, 2015 at 16:43

    Waiting over 1 year for redemptions from Topps and getting replacement cards that are worth half as less as the card you pulled in your box. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. joe 13 May, 2015 at 23:13

    What makes the hobby fun for me: 1. Going to the card shop and opening packs with fellow collectors. 2. Some collectors today have short memories. In the mid 90 ‘ s to 2005 or 2006 it was about putting the base set together (that included the rookies) and getting inserts. Who remember chasing inserts like: Cheap Seats, Call to the Hall, Hot Gloves, Lumberjacks, the different parallels in Flair Showcase, Building Blocks and the list goes on. I miss that. That’s when the hobby was real fun. Today it’s all about the big hit to get rich. There few hard core collectors out there, that’s putting together a set by hand, not buying it off of eBay). I sometimes hate going to the card shop because most of the so called collectors in there get upset when they open a $600 pack and they feel like they got ripped off because they didn’t get that big hit. They aren’t collectors, they are the problem with the hobby. 3. Trading with fellow collectors to complete my set or help someone complete their set. No thought or how much money that autograph or memorabilia might be worth. Back then if you were lucky enough to pull one you knew that you had something special. I still have my 1998 Upper Deck Ken griffey jr jersey card. Have you tried to trade with someone today. Damn,1st they think you are trying to get over on them so they gotta look the card up on eBay to make sure it’s not worth anything, then they wanna wait until the check list comes out because it might be a short print. Blah blah, blah…..

  10. Pat 14 May, 2015 at 06:02

    Fun!!!! As a kid we collected cards and had fun with them…. flipping, trading, making noise in our bikes. Today, I can still trade and also collect and sell. The thrill of the hunt in every pack you open is exciting. Getting your favorite player…Roberto Clemente or team Phillies is still exciting. And as a seller you love to see the odd cards or the hottest players. Most rewarding is when I get a card into the hands of a family member of a player especially minor leaguers. it is soooooo exciting to know you made them happy!!!! I m still having fun.

  11. Isaac W 14 May, 2015 at 12:24

    What makes the hobby fun for me is the possibilities that can happen when you open a pack. Whether there could be a one-of-one or just some plain simple base cards, the idea of what could be will always be fun and entertaining to collectors no matter how old or young they are!

  12. Robert Braxton 15 May, 2015 at 15:16

    For me, it starts with Topps base set, each year a distinct design, marking that year indelibly in my mind, how old I was at the time, who my friends were, the other nostalgia of that particular decade/time. The SMELL of the cards … combined with the aged images … they’re like mini-time-machines. The base set have just enough value to make it STILL fun to chase your favorites. The fact that many of my favorites seem to be NO ONE else’s … I don’t know why, but THAT’S fun, too. The fact that some of them are EXTREMELY valuable and that even if I got one I’d have to sell it (lol) because I’m simply not in that tax bracket (lol), and yet, I can still (in most cases) afford some lower grade version of that card. Organizing my mini-massive collection, that it teaches me about inventory, and putting restrictions on myself and staying committed to those self-imposed restrictions. The fact that I played baseball, so if Topps will get with it, I could theoretically have them MAKE a card of MY lowly-career. And finally, because collecting this particular set connects us ALL in some way, even though we’re all different, we’re connected in some small way through this ‘little’ endeavor, that never dies, called ‘collecting cards’.

  13. Kevin St. J 16 May, 2015 at 13:25

    What makes the hobby fun?

    Opening packs, the thrill of the chase, setting and completing goals, sharing collecting stories, and creating memorable family experiences.

  14. Lambeau-Legend4 20 May, 2015 at 12:56

    I love the chase! I am a HUGE Brett Favre fan & I love the chase of finding cards that I need for my pc. Whether it be a simple base card worth $1 or a very rare, low numbered parallel or auto, I am always excited to add a new card or piece of memorabilia to my collection! It can be frustrating at times, trying to find a card you’ve been searching for for a very long time, but there’s nothing better than that feel of satisfaction of crossing off a card off your want list & putting it in the pc where it belongs!

  15. Torrey Copfer 21 May, 2015 at 10:09

    For me, it’s the thrill of the chase and hunt for the rare and obscure. Whether it be a 1/1 or a never before seen (at least to us in the USA collecting world) Int’l version of the player you collect. Just not your typical “cardboard cards” either, but stickers, phonecard, postcards, etc….any “card type” item of my player, I’m collecting it! Finding a 20 year old Panini Sticker of Michael Jordan that no one else has? What a thrill! I remember as a kid opening up 1990 Pro Set Football and searching for the Hologram and Santa Clause card; something special and different to find than just normal cards.

  16. Tim Campbell 28 May, 2015 at 21:04

    What makes the hobby fun? An affordable (less than $50) box of cards where you get 90% of a set (with all of the rookies). So, yes, I’m not having any fun with the hobby right now when it comes to opening boxes.

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