Friday, July 27, 2012

The story behind: The Pack Gambler

Back when I was around 6 years old I remember my Mom and Dad driving my brother and I to the local convenience store to pick up the daily paper and a lottery ticket for the nights draw. When my Dad returned to the car he had a box with him. He reached around to the back seats and handed us a box of 1985-86 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards. We thought that was pretty cool of him to give us. We really weren't exposed to cards yet and this was something new and interesting for us.

We went home and began opening up the packs. We sorted the cards by team and then split everything in half so we each had the same amount. We both liked reading the stats on the back of the cards and trading with each other for our favorite teams. In Canada we didn't have very much Baseball come up here so when my Dad saw them at the local store he would buy them up for us. By 1989 we had a decent collection of both hockey and Baseball.  

1989 came the turning point for me and collecting. This was when I was introduced to my first card show. I remember a kid in my class and I were trading cards during recess and he invited me to come with him and his dad to a local card show. I had never been to one before and was super excited to go and see a bunch of people that collected cards. I was only exposed to the local store carrying a couple of boxes of hockey cards and the rare baseball box. Needless to say I was floored when I arrived. Dealers were set-up around the room with their displays of sports cards and memorabilia. The one thing that was prominent at every table was a new product I never heard of before called Upper Deck. People were buying them by the pack, box and case. I never seen such a sight of grown men buying cards and spending large amounts of money on collectibles. I felt very low on the food chain with my $10.25. An hour and a half later I came out with a couple of packs of the 1989 Upper Deck baseball and a couple of single Jose Canseco cards for my collection. 

After that show in 1989 it seemed like everywhere I went card shops were opening up. In strip malls, people's basements and anywhere they could fit one in. My parents found a shop recently opened in a guys basement. He had turned it into a mini show room of cards and comics. he did some of the local shows and was able to bring in new product when ever it was available. I remember my first factory set was bought there, 1989 Score Football for a whopping $9.95. 

Collecting starting picking up for me in the early to mid 90's. Card companies were producing more cards and different products to buy and card shops had a ton of selection. I was into baseball and hockey cards as well as Starting Lineup figures and 25cent mini helmets. I collected anything I liked and kept everything on display in my bedroom. Cards were organized by teams and players. Figures were displayed with their mini helmet beside them. I was having a different display every week. 

My habit continued into 2001 and then started to dwindle down. eBay was just starting up and gave me a place to sell most of my collection for some decent cash to buy other things I needed like gas for my car and new clothes. I kept in-touch with the hobby buying the random Beckett Baseball Monthly and looking on eBay for players I use to collect. It was a long 6 year hiatus away from collecting. 

In 2007 I saw an advertisement for the new Topps Series 1 Baseball cards and really liked the design. I went to the local (and now very rare) card shop by my work and decided to buy a couple of packs. I went home and opened them up and it felt like I never left the hobby. It was an exciting feeling to open packs again. I went back the next day and bought a few more, and the next week a couple more, and the 3rd week bought my first hobby box in 6 years. I was back and decided to take a new approach on collecting. I heard of a new rookie coming up playing Short Stop for Colorado and liked everything about him. I did some research and started to collect only Troy Tulowitzki cards. I bought online, at stores and traded for his cards. By the end of 2009 I had one of the biggest Tulowitzki collections out there. it was fun and exciting, but the down side to enjoying collecting and following baseball is you begin to like other players as well. this turns into collecting their cards and the snowball effect is in place. Now your collecting everyone under the moon and things can get a little expensive. 

The great thing about collecting is you can go so many different ways with a collection. Single Player, Team, City, Subsets, Companies,  you name it. Which brings me to the most recent and current state of my own collecting. Early last year I looked at the amount of money I was spending and what I was getting out of the hobby. I was buying every Baseball product that came out and the odd Football or Hockey product. I wasn't collecting anyone specific or a team. I was mainly buying a box and flipping the cards in a trade or to sell them off while they were hot. I felt like something was missing. So I decided to look at a different approach to my own hobby which was providing information to the average collector of what I was buying, my experience with the product and what I thought of the product.  

Over the last few months I have been involved in Case Breaks, Box Breaks, Retail blasters, and High end Hobby boxes. But my knowledge and information has still been limited to those that know me at the local card shop and limited postings within online forums. My plan is to use social media to add some value to the collecting industry from the "average joe" collector who loves the hobby and willing to spend money on any product. 

I know there are many people out there doing this already but I still feel that I could add some additional value to a wide range of collectors that love this hobby. I love sharing experiences with people and hope that this will encourage people to continue in the hobby and possibly attract new collectors. 

My mission statement over the next few months is to provide reviews and experiences of opening new and old sports cards products. I will use Twitter, Facebook, and this Blog as my main avenues to reach collectors. I will also add some YouTube videos in the future to share recorded experiences during a box or case break along with giveaways to followers. 
The main thing is that there is not a limit to the amount of resources I could run with, but will start off a little slow in order to make things right and enjoyable for everyone. 

Lastly, the reason behind the name. I consider myself as a Pack Gambler when I buy products. You don't know what you are getting in each case, box or single pack. It doesn't matter if your buying a Retail Blaster box or a high-end hobby product. Like most of us in this hobby you are taking a chance on pulling that Short Printed Rookie or Jumbo patch card. The odds are there for the sole reason to beat them, to be one of the winners in the hobby to pull that White Whale. I've been on both sides and continue to play along, hence the name The Pack Gambler. 

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