How They Make Sports Trading Cards: Pretty Much Exactly How You Assume They Do
By Perry Michael Simon on December 22, 2010
From the How They’re Made department, a thrilling nine-minute video of football cards being sliced, sorted, and packed:
Surprised, huh? Nah, me neither. Turns out that it’s all the way you’d expect, mostly untouched by human hands, and absolutely, horrifically boring. They get printed in sheets, sliced apart, sorted, packed, wrapped, and shipped. It’s hard to imagine any other way to do it.
I collected baseball cards as a kid. Football, basketball, and hockey cards, too. I still have a lot of them. It was what boys did back then. You’d try to get the whole set — sure, you COULD buy one from the guys who advertised in the back of the Sporting News, but where was the challenge in THAT? — and fail miserably, because for every superstar’s card you’d get a hundred of some scrub that barely made the majors the previous season. I still have piles of cards for guys like Rich Nye and George Lauzerique — who? — and far fewer Hank Aarons or Mike Schmidts.
When adults started to get involved and drove the prices up and made it into an investment rather than a play thing, it became unappealing, and I haven’t bought a pack of cards in decades. But every once in a while, I pop open one of the boxes and binders I have laying around, and I remember when February would roll around and I’d go to the candy store on Valley Road and the first boxes of Topps baseball cards would appear on the counter in all their wax-wrapped glory. That meant Spring was coming, and that meant hope. I guess some people get that same reaction with Apple press conferences, but I miss that feeling.
What did you collect as a kid? And why? Share your obsession in the comments below….