You all lent great wisdom to the question, are there too many baseball cards in the world? The answer you provided was, in the interest of brevity: Yes. For more detail, see below; or, just scroll down to the next question in the next to last paragraph. We apologize in advance for being a little contrary in this post.

Night Owl said, yes, there are too many baseball cards, and that is why he focuses on sets he is committed to and tries not to allow himself a wandering eye. flywheels offers the cards he doesn't want to other collectors. (But ALL your extra cards, flywheels? What percentage of cards do you dispose of by giving them away? Don't other people have to want those exact cards?)

paulsrandomstuff allowed that there are in fact entirely too many cards, and offers the quaint notion that there ought to be one card per player per year (unless traded midseason). Despite this awareness, he says he is  "too much of a packrat to throw any cards away." Thus, PRS is one who lives amidst cardboard.

dogfacedgremlin tries to stay with base sets only and avoids inserts and parallels. The rest of his cards go into player books for trade, or sit in common boxes. He says that right now, he has the space to do this, so his tone is not urgent about the imminent threat of being overthrown by cardboard and living in its midst.

The Wax Wombat gets joy (and sanity) from giving away what he doesn't need. Again, is this impulse, generous as it is, also passing the accumulation problem along to others? BA Benny defends the "too many cards" stance and says, basically, that big production numbers allow for variety, which in turns allows for blogging and trading and happily stepping down many different paths.

capewood provides some cold, hard figures: "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."

He also notes that anything not Phillies/Astros/players he collects will be given away, traded away, or THROWN AWAY.

Who else will admit they throw away baseball cards on occasion? Is this wrong to do? Especially if you can easily recycle. The people who say, "give them to kids at hospitals"--have you ever actually tried to do that?

cardsplitter busts only what he collects...unless he wants to check something else out for kicks. It's that UNLESS that gets everyone! He has boxes piling up. He hates the idea of throwing cards away, but does give them to his children to play with. Great use of detail here: "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 doesn't want every card in all the universe, but he enjoys discovery. He noted in this vein that letting one company produce cards is troubling, and if there were only a few cards made, then many collectors would quit because the fun/discovery factor would flatline.

Bo said he is "pretty omnivorous" and he's glad he won't ever be done. He too crunches numbers: "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."

That's 59,000-ish miles high.

mikepelfreyshouse admits his room is built out of cards. And "also alot of late 80s junk that I'm going to build my next house out of." Ah, implicit in that statement is: a house of cards! Notes CaptKirk42, "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. [Ed. note: In other words, GAAAAAH!] 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." Again, has anyone ever driven a pickup loaded with baseball card boxes to a hospital? Clearly, you kind-hearted folks are not from around HERE.

Back to the quarter-of-the-way to the moon concept. Wonder how high the pile of dollars would reach that are SPENT on baseball cards?

Which leads us to our next question....
Why collect something that everyone else can collect? Rather than, say, original artwork, or handmade jewelry, or handpainted tin soldiers...that is, something unique? Our theory: Most baseball card collectors, unless they are vintage specialists, are not into this pursuit for 'value.'

Thank you for providing your insights! You people rock. Moon rock, even.


flywheels said...

Yes, someone has to want the cards I have. The point I was trying to make is I'll gladly give away cards from time to time and NOT expect anything in return. Of course this means I'm giving away my hard earned money essentially, but if I can help a fellow collector out then to me it's worth it.

--David said...

Wow, flywheels shares my exact philosophy. In my case, though, I do collect Indians cards for the sole purpose of enjoyment and entertainment. One day, my collection will be given away or sold off or donated or something. I collect not because of any monetary value, but rather the personal value I get from it. I guess since I am not in it to make a profit, it's a little different than many collectors of stuff.

GCA said...

I see many people that are into cards for their value - because their goal is to flip them for cash.
I do not consider these people collectors, though.
There are collectors who only keep very high value cards of some specific player, team etc. And some of those people are disgusted by the sight of base cards.
They can do what they want, but I never advocate the destruction of any cards. I guess recycling 90's junk would be acceptable, as long as you try to give them away first.

capewood said...

I'm hoping to not throw away too many cards. If there are cards from teams I can't figure out who to give to maybe I'll have a contest at the end of the season.