2004 Greats of the Game #123 Hoyt Wilhelm
Once upon a time, I was a starry-eyed kid who happened to collect baseball cards.
For the most part, the names on the front of the cards in my collection didn't matter. Sure, there were certain guys I liked better than others.
But all I wanted were cards, cards, and MORE CARDS!
It was awesome.
Unlike most other collectors, I never took an extended hiatus from the hobby. I've collected full-time for the last dozen years or so.
I did, however, take a year-long venture into the world of hockey cards back in 8th grade. Although I've always had a deep appreciation for the game, the sudden plunge into collecting hockey was fairly unprecedented.
After all, baseball has always been my "number one" sport.
I came to my senses about seven years ago.
If baseball is indeed my favorite sport, that's what I should collect. Fairly simple logic that I still employ to this day.
Still, I quickly took notice of just how much I missed in that year.
I relied on the shelves of my local Target to update me about the goings-on in the world of baseball cards. They helped me "mature" as a collector.
The $1.49 "power packs" quickly became a favorite of mine. The first set to hit the shelves after my "grand return" was 2006 Topps. Naturally, I bought packs upon packs of the stuff.
However, Target also introduced me to some of the darker sides of the hobby as well.
Ask a collector what comes to mind when they hear the term "Target sports card aisle" and you're likely to get a common response.
I used to love looking at the "odds" on the back of every pack I'd buy.
Back in the day, I must have gone through about 30 or 40 packs of the '04 Greats of the Game release. The odds on the back said that relic cards were supposed to come once every 24 packs. And I really wanted one of those.
Looking back, I still rank it as one of the best "legend" sets in recent years. Hoyt's card from the checklist is a thing of beauty.
At the time, though, I was disappointed. Either I was insanely unlucky, or something fishy was going on here.
Naturally, I took to the Internet to find out. It didn't take long for me to discover the whole disgusting concept of "pack searching".
That was the exact moment I decided to become the "low-end" collector I am today.
I promised myself that I wouldn't turn into one of those sad, sad people.
True, I've dabbled in the whole relic/autograph thing in the past. And, yes, although I no longer have any interest obtaining them, the ones I own are still treasured pieces of my collection.
But my love for dime boxes and such has always been there in some way, shape, or form.
I love my base and insert cards of Hoyt far more than the couple "high-end" ones I own.
So, thanks, pack searchers. You've shown me anything and everything to avoid in this hobby. I will never, ever be like you.
Unlike you, I realize that a simple "worthless" base card of Hoyt Wilhelm holds far more meaning than some piece of fabric.
Unlike you, I get to partake in all the joys and benefits that comes with being a "low-end collector".
And it really doesn't cost that much.
That just leaves me with one simple question.
What could be better?