Baseball Cards were not just collector's items when I was growing up. They taught us young boys many skills. One was the art of negotiation. We learned how to negotiate and make deals by endless hours of trading cards.
My generation also "flipped" cards. This was a form of kiddie gambling. Each flipper would flip cards high into the air. If your card landed with picture up and the other guys was down...you won the cards. This was many future poker players first exposure to gambling.
Baseball cards also taught many of us "boomers" stalking tactics. We would hound players at games or in malls or even send them cards in the mail to get them autographs.
Baseball cards were our toys. We employed our imaginations and spurred our creativity by inventing countless number of games.
We learned to "pimp" up our cars by pimping up our bicycles by putting spokes in the wheels of our bikes. Many Mickey Mantles and Willie Mays cards were sacrificed to pimp up bikes....today's card collector's cringe at the thought.
Many baseball fans got their start collecting cards. Topp's helped baseball become our national past time. Sadly, when Topp's lost their Monopoly...the popularity of cards and the game waned.
When cards became worth money, it seemed to take the innocence out of them. I still remember seeing the first "pack" of spring and the excitement of realizing that cards were finally out after a long winter of waiting on them. Baseball and baseball cards were my first love....another innocent thing ruined by money as the cards became valuable.