Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to sit back and reflect on this great hobby of ours because, you know, Turkey Red baseball cards.

And also … collectors have a lot of cool stuff to be grateful for.

Like what?

Glad you asked, because I just happen to have 101 reasons to be thankful for baseball cards right here for your perusal.

1980 Topps Mike Schmidt
  • They show little pictures of your favorite baseball players.
  • You can collect them with your son.
  • You can collect them with your dad.
  • They sound better in your bicycle spokes than ebooks do.
  • They flip better than pet rocks do.
  • They fit better in your shirt pocket than comic books do.
  • Two words for winter: “commons-bin kindling”.
  • They’re high in fiber (at least the old Topps mushy ones).
  • They’re high in ink.
  • They smell good.
  • They have gum stains, at least sometimes.
  • They have wax stains, at least sometimes.
  • You can always hope and pray for that rare gum-and-wax-stain double-shot on one card.
  • You can get them cheap … sometimes.
  • You can get them free … other times.
  • You can spend a lot to get them — GOALS.
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle
  • You can collect all the cards of guys with green eyes who once saw a traveling show in Terre Haute, Indiana. #TypeSets
  • They are mobile friendly (see #6 above).
  • They fit really well in those nine-pocket plastic sheets. Almost like they were made for each other. Weird.
  • They fit really well in 800-count boxes.
  • They fit really well in monster boxes.
  • They fit really well in shoe boxes.
  • When someone knows you collect them, those someones give you lots of opportunities to get more. “Say, wanna buy some baseball cards?”
  • The Jose Uribe thing is too silly not to enjoy.
  • You can cut pumpkin pie with a baseball card … 1984 Topps Supers and 1985 Topps 3Ds are good for this. Those Perma-Graphics credit card deals, too.
  • They don’t melt when it gets hot.
  • They don’t freeze over.
  • They remind you what real sideburns look like. (Talking to you, 1977 Topps Chuck Hartenstein).
  • They were Sabermetricians before Sabermetricians became GMs in their 20s.
  • They show things you forgot about, like Keith Hernandez without a mustache.
  • They show things you wish you could forget about, like Pete Rose with the Montreal Expos.
  • The Montreal Expos still exist on baseball cards.
1970 Topps Montreal Expos Team Card
  • You can scrape your Thanksgiving plates clean with them. Early Upper Deck cards work well here.
  • “Baseball Cards” can also be used as a differentiator between the St. Louis Cardinals and the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
  • You can turn your space heater on high and pretend you’re right there next to Don Baylor on his 1983 Fleer card.
  • Lyman Bostock is still alive on his baseball cards.
  • Sandy Koufax still has a left elbow on his baseball cards.
  • Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Brien Taylor, Cory Snyder, Jose Canseco — all of them are the greatest ever, just waiting to happen, on their rookie cards.
  • Roy Campanella can run and bat and do everything on his baseball cards.
  • 1982 Topps Kmart.
  • 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly.
  • 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 1981 Fleer C. Nettles.
  • Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn are living, breathing spark plugs on cardboard.
  • 1983 Fleer team logos on player cards.
  • 1973 Topps player statuettes at the bottom of cards.
1973 Topps Reggie Jackson
  • 1976 Topps player statuettes at the bottom of cards.
  • 1975 Topps minis.
  • Orange O-Pee-Chee gum.
  • Empty RC cans with black-and-white player pictures on them.
  • Full RC cans with black-and-white player pictures on them.
  • There’s always room for J-E-L-L-O hand-cut cards from the 1960s.
  • Burger Chef baseball discs are proof that Burger Chef once existed and might one day return to this earth.
  • You made friends trading cards on the playground.
  • You made enemies trading cards on the playground, but some of them became friends.
  • The cards you traded for always smelled funny, but at least it got your imagination humming along — what happened to those things over there in that other house, anyway?
  • Fresh wax after a long winter still makes your saliva glands hum. Digestive health is very important.
  • Parallel universes … in one hand, you can hold a Los Angeles Dodgers card, while the other caresses a Brooklyn Dodgers cards.
  • Lou Piniella was a Topps rookie star for about a decade straight. #perseverance
  • You can survive the apocalypse with all the food issues you have stashed away. That 1987 Mac N’ Cheese is going to rock the rapture someday.
  • 1951 Bowman Larry Doby.
1951 Bowman Larry Doby
  • 1957 Junior Gilliam.
  • 1983 Topps Foldouts.
  • Baseball cards — at least the ones issued before 1990 or so — are low-EMF propositions.
  • You can carry a baseball card in your wallet and your mom won’t get mad when it falls on the floor at a family gathering.
  • Team sets in little baggies.
  • Cello packs with Dan Spillner on top.
  • Rack packs with Mario Mendoza and Bruce Bochte on front.
  • Rubber band marks.
  • Pin holes.
  • Commons boxes from 1986 that might have Cecil Fielder rookies in them now.
  • “Prospect” boxes from 1985 that might have Tom Niedenfuer in them.
  • Finding a stack of unscratched 1983 Topps game cards. Still time to win a trip to see the Orioles trounce the Phillies in the World Series!
  • Donruss puzzle pieces in every junk drawer and jewelry box.
  • Washington Nat’l Lea.
  • Fleer stamps that, you know, sort of gave you a buzz when you licked them.
  • Topps stickers that were shaped like the players when you unstuck them.
  • Topps stickers stuck to your mom and dad’s TV … still.
  • Your dad’s smug look when he tells you — again — how he used to throw away his 1950s cards because all he wanted was the gum. It’s good to indulge the old dude once in awhile.
  • Thanks to the bust, you can buy all those 1980s cards you coveted but could never afford.
1986 Donruss Jose Canseco Rated Rookie Card
  • You can use those old Topps Tiffany cards as mirrors.
  • You can use those old 1981 Donruss cards as toilet paper.
  • You can use those old Fleer logo sticker cards as … well, as logo stickers.
  • You can stop your collection at 1972 and pretend there is no DH.
  • The Cubs and Red Sox are not nearly so obnoxious on your old baseball cards.
  • Figuring out which set has Ted Williams in any given year is a cool scavenger hunt.
  • All Hrabosky stands just 5’1″ tall.
  • Floyd Bannister is Tom Seaver.
  • Johnny Ray is Barry Bonds.
  • The bat boy is Aurelio Rodriguez.
  • Billy Martin sneaking the bird.
  • Photos on the back of 1983 Fleer cards. Say what?
  • Comic book borders on 1990 Topps cards.
  • Fleer Super Star Specials. Great, great fodder for dad jokes.
1983 Fleer Joel Youngblood Super Star Special
  • Old copies of Sports Collectors Digest.
  • Finding a stack of cards at a flea market in the middle of nowhere.
  • Finding a stack of cards at a garage sale otherwise filled with toddler toys and racks and racks of clothes.
  • Finding that beat up, folded up, dirty, beloved Mitchel Page rookie card under a pile of your son’s Legos when you thought it was lost forever.
  • The mystery of how the Page card got under those Legos.
  • The smell of fresh gum … or stickers … or puzzle pieces … on a Saturday morning.
  • Childhood memories at your fingertips.

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