3.31.2010

Are there too many baseball cards in the world?


We know there's too much overall STUFF in the world, as classically noted by George Carlin,

but what about baseball cards? Aren't there WAY too many baseball cards?

Did you know that if you stacked all the baseball cards that exist in the world into one pile, the stack would reach past Mars? Okay, that may or may not be true, but we're guessing it IS true. Do you ever find the sheer numbers of sets, cards, boxes, packs, inserts, sets, subsets, refractors, xfractors, bat, jersey, seat, and baseball relics, and the sticker and on-card autographs daunting? Does this ever make you want to curl up in to the fetal position and find another hobby? How do you, if you're a set collector especially, not get a feeling that there are simply too many baseball cards? Do you find it difficult to be selective? If you DON'T collect sets, and you open a blaster, what do you do with all the cards from the blaster that don't exactly interest you? If you're a tidy person, when do you give up?

14 comments:

thehamiltonian said...

I love George Carlin.

night owl said...

Yes, there are too many baseball cards. This is a heavy duty rant in the making, but I won't get into that. So, I'll just say, I focus on the sets that I am committed to and try very, very, very hard not to look at the others.

Kind of like a marriage, really.

flywheels said...

I'm not a set collector, but I do still love busting packs and the occasional box. Since I joined the world of card blogging I'm offering up the cards I don't want to other collectors.

paulsrandomstuff said...

Way too many cards... I'm beginning to think that one card per player per year is sufficient, unless they were traded mid-season. Anything else is surplus.

Of course, I'm too much of a packrat to throw any cards away...

dogfacedgremlin said...

I try to stick with base sets only and never really go after all the inserts and parallels. I have no desire to make a master set of anything. At least right now. Everything else I have goes into player books for trade or sits in common boxes until someone might want them. My only saving grace is that I have the space for now.

BA Benny said...

I think the choices make for an interesting hobby. What I find collectable or interesting may not float your boat but what you like may seem odd to me. That makes for a hobby with many different avenues to explore. That also is what makes all this bloging and trading so sucessful.
P.S. George Carlin Rocks!!

capewood said...

By my count, there have been 1,275,061 different baseball cards issued between 1980 and 2009. Although that's a pretty precise number it doesn't include a lot of kinds of stuff you used to see (like K-Mart cards). So round up to 1.5 million. I'd guess that the average release of each card (considering the vast over production in the 1980s and 1990s) is 1,000,000 per card. Multiply those two numbers together and, yes, there are probably too many baseball cards.

This year, I am only keeping Phillies, Astros, and the players I collect. Everything else is going to be traded away (for Phillies and Astros), given away, or thrown away.

May favorite line from George Carlin is about a table full of odds and ends. One falls off, is it an odd or an end?

Cardsplitter said...

I try to only bust what I am collecting, but sometimes I check something out for kicks. I never accumulate enough of most sets to be worth much of anything to anyone, so they get put in a box, which are starting to pile up. Singularly, a few packs don't take up much space, but after a while a bunch of disparate packs begin to take up a lot of space, while not providing much to anyone. I hate the idea of throwing cards away, but I have been known to give some to my children to mess around with. There are a couple Donruss '92s laying on my basement floor covered in dog hair that I just can't be bothered to pick up.

GCA said...

I know I don't want EVERY card in the universe, so the massive variety is good because I know there are cards I have yet to discover. Plus there are many that I know about that I still don't have. That's why only letting one company produce cards is a bad thing. If there were only a few cards made, then a lot of collectors would be finished and quit. What fun is that? And if you don't like the ones that the exclusive company makes, then you have nothing to pursue.

Bo said...

I'm a pretty omnivorous collector, and I'm glad that I will never be close to done. I would be sad if I had finished my collection and there was nothing left to collect.

Using Capewood's numbers, and extrapolating back from 1980 to the rest of the twentieth century, you could make a conservative estimate of 2,000,000,000,000 baseball cards in existence.

A card is roughly .5 mm thick. That ends up being 100,000 km, over a quarter of the way to the moon.

mikepelfreyshouse said...

my room is built out of cards.... also alot of late 80s junk that Im going to build my next house out of

The Wax Wombat said...

I'm so eclectic in my buying and collecting habits that the most joy I have in this hobby is giving away what I don't need. Keeps things sane too.

CaptKirk42 said...

yes way too many. Even just those 1980s-1990s over production years alone had like 20 or more card companies each producing sets that had 2 or 3 insert sets (chromes, refractors etc..) Now you have what about 6 companies making about 3 or 4 sets with 3 or 4 inset subsets and about 4 or 5 variations on the base cards. Not to mention the 3 or 4 variations on GUs and Autos.

As to your extra cards I say NEVER THROW THEM AWAY. Give them to someone else (an organization for kids, or a children's hospital) or RECYCLE Them. They are cardboard.

--David said...

I know I am late to this party, but YES, there are too many. That is why I recently had to get rid of all the cards taking up a roomful of space in my house! I have to admit, however, there is an empty space inside me now...