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Rediscovering the Happiness of a Hobby

Baseball card collecting. A phrase I say under my breath during introductory conversations with new friends.

I own it, but I’m self aware of the stigma that baseball card collecting carries into adulthood. Non-collectors often reply, “they still make baseball cards?” Well, yeah. Just because you grew up doesn’t mean I have to.

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Baseball card collecting is therapy. It whisps you back to your childhood. If you’re into opening packs, boxes, or cases, it’s much like gambling.

Baseball card album botton left. RBI Baseball on Nintendo. Does it get any more 1989 than this?

My collecting has taken off over the past four years. It began when I moved to a new city with time to fill. Target was two blocks away and my first several Friday nights were spent opening blaster boxes. And then it spiraled into several Craigslist truckload purchases.

But somewhere in between the hobby was no longer a hobby. In 2015, I bought my first case (Topps Heritage Minors). It was a rush and I wanted more. I learned how and what to sell to maximize my profit.

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Over the next two years I bought more cases. Heritage, Bowman, Allen & Ginter. It became work. Less and less did I enjoy the actual opening of packs. Instead of taking my time opening packs with a bottle of beer and something on TV, I raced through each box to get hits listed as soon as possible on eBay. It became all about maximizing my return.

Sure, most Cubs cards were set aside for my own collection, but any Cubs hit went on sale to finance the next big break.

After a day in the office (I work in sales), I came home to more work. And for what? To fund the next case that may or may not reach the break even point.

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Something had to change. I love baseball cards, but I wasn’t loving baseball cards. The hobby became an unrewarding business for me. How could I enjoy the hobby again?

Chicago Cubs collecting. Trading. Interacting. Buying and selling.

I’ve always pulled out Cubs cards and stored them away in boxes for my personal collection that had gone largely ignored in recent years.

Boxes and boxes of my non-Cubs cards sat alone and not worth the time sorting and listing in my Sportlots store. I should trade!

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Many times since the late 1990’s, I have collected Cubs cards and conducted bulk team trades. It all began answering an ad out of the back of a Tuff Stuff or Sports Collectors Digest. So, I decided I would begin team trading again.

But I needed a goal, and a hook. Sure, there are many other collectors out there willing to trade, but how can I attract more traders? I needed a goal. A crazy goal.

There are more than one million trading cards in my collection. I’ll trade them all for Cubs and can eventually boast I have one million CUBS cards. Now that would be something. So the One Million Cubs Project was born.

And it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve already met dozens of fellow collectors in the first month of this journey, made several great trades, and interacted extensively on Twitter about the project and the hobby in general.

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The hobby is a hobby again! I’m happy with my collecting goals and trades. I don’t come home from a stressful day of work to worry about how many eBay listings I need to post.

Many thanks to every one of you for helping me find the joy in this hobby once again. And trade me your Cubs cards!

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