I’ve always been a big fan of trading cards. Ever since I first laid eyes on my brother’s collection of Elvis cards when I was really young, I’ve been fascinated by them. That fascination only increased when my friends were bringing the original Garbage Pail Kids cards to school.
I think my first foray into that world was actually Panini sticker albums instead of cards. The first one I remember having was the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe one. I followed that up with several others including more licensed ones and even the generic ones like the exotic animals album.
If my recollection is right, the first packs of actual trading cards I bought for myself were Awesome All-Stars and Greatest Gross Outs. These were imitation baseball cards that depicted weird aliens as baseball players in comic form. I loved those things, and my passion for cards only grew stronger.
Fast forward a few years and I was an avid collector of cards of all types. Baseball, basketball, football, non-sports, Panini stickers…if it was out there, I was interested in it. But 1992 may have been the peak of my fandom in my early years. It was that summer that a group of friends and I spent most days just trading cards amongst ourselves. It was also the year Topps released the 1992 version of their iconic baseball cards.
I was buying a couple of packs every week, and would proudly proclaim to my card trading friends that I was going to get the whole set. They were behind me and even gifted me their doubles on a regular basis. But what I didn’t calculate at that time was the sheer size of the set. Combine that with a meager allowance and you have the recipe for a failed attempt at collecting a whole set. Needless to say, I didn’t even come close.
Fast forward many more years to where I got on eBay and picked up a few packs of some random non-sports cards. Just the act of opening those packs once again got my juices flowing, and I started buying more and more old unopened packs. Before I knew it, I had an impressive collection of them. Figuring that there were more people out there in the world like me who enjoyed that feeling of ripping open a pack of cards and rifling through them to see what they had got, I took to filming the openings and sharing them on YouTube. You’re probably familiar since I’ve posted several of those videos here on Retro Ramblings.
One of the packs I happened to pick up then was the 1992 Topps baseball. When I opened a pack of those cards, so much nostalgia came flooding back to me. Memories of summer days and a promise I made long ago. Now we’re about two years removed from that day, and I had the itch to not only open some more cards but try to assemble a set.
The cards I started opening were Dick Tracy cards based on the movie from 1990. I had about 25 packs of them and I thought I might have a whole collection there. I opened them, put them in pages, and came up really close. It turned out to be a really fun evening, and then a thought hit me. What if I once again tried to assemble the complete 792 card set of 1992 Topps baseball cards?
All of my original cards are long gone, but what I did have was about ten unopened packs, plus the cards from three packs I’ve opened recently. I ran the idea by my friends at The Retro Network, and they’ve been really supportive. So much so that Karen’s dad has offered to send me a bunch of his doubles from the set!
So I’m going for it. It’s a project that I’d consider to be 30 years in the making. I ordered 100 trading cards pages from Amazon, bought a heavy-duty 3-ring binder, decorated the cover of it with a package from a pack of the cards, and wrote all 792 numbers down in a small notebook for keeping track of the cards I’m still looking for when I’m out and about.
While this is mostly just a personal goal of my own, I thought I would share it with you in case you’ve got something you’ve been holding off on starting for a while. Don’t wait. Go out and get started! As this project matures, I’ll probably share more of the journey with you here on Retro Ramblings. But for now, I’m going to go open another pack of cards.