It was about 1955 when I was playing Little League baseball that I started collecting baseball cards. I can remember collecting the old Bowman cards that had the players pictured inside a TV screen. I don't remember how much they cost back then but they surely weren't anywhere near the prices charged today for baseball cards.
In 1990 I decided to get back into baseball card collecting and in a year or two I had 32,000 cards bought mostly by buying 50 cent packs of cards. I can remember John Olerud Upper Deck rookie cards selling for $5 and now they are probably worth a quarter at the most. The 1989 Upper Deck rookie card of Ken Griffey Jr. was the card that everyone wanted back then and at one time it was reported in Beckett Baseball Card Magazine to be worth $150 if I remember correctly.
My best card was a 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan card and I sold it for $120 at a card show. It probably would be worth more today since he was still playing when I had the card. I didn't collect just to be collecting. It was fun for me to read the stats on the back of the cards especially when I found a player that had played two or three years and had a season's worth of at bats. Sometimes it would be surprising how many homers a player would have stretched over 500 at bats. Cecil Fielder had a card like that in his early years with the Blue Jays.
The bad thing about 1990 was that they made umpteen bazillion baseball cards that year rendering the thousands of cards I had almost worthless. The same dealers that would sell you a card for $5 would make excuses to not buy any cards you might want to sell to them.
The 1990 Topps cards were probably one of the worst looking sets of cards I have ever seen. I had bought 50 cards of players like Larry Walker and Randy Johnson for $2.50 but those cards are probably not worth much more than the nickel they cost back then because they were in the Topps set.
When Upper Deck began making cards they revolutionized the baseball card industry by producing high quality cards that were worth more. The popularity of baseball cards seems to have gone down with the production of so many expensive packs today. Most packs of cards produced today cost at least $2 and up which is beyond the reach of most kids that collect cards unless they are from a wealthy family.
It has been many years since I sold my cards to my son for $600 and then he sold them for $700 but I wasn't really wanting to sell the cards but my son needed the money so I sold them including the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. card which may have went up in value after his 600th homer.
Just looking at the cards was what I really enjoyed about baseball cards. The cards today don't seem to show the closeups of players like the Conlon baseball cards which may be the best baseball cards ever made. The faces of the players on these cards seemed to tell a story since back in those days the players came from coal mines and other work to become professional baseball players. You don't see the character on the faces of players today like you did back then. If any of the readers of this article sees some Conlon baseball cards they should purchase at least one pack to see what a real baseball card looks like.