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Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Acadamia runs amok, to make sensational, exaggerated point, August 22, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: House Of Cards: Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture (American Culture) (Paperback)
Collecting baseball cards evokes memories of crisp wax paper; the assault of a preadolescent nose with the aroma of sickly sweet, often stale, powder-sugar coated bubble gum; the thrill of your first Ted Williams card; and of clothes-pinning your sixth Pedro Ramos in your bicycle spokes.
In stark contrast, Bloom's book portrays collectors in the angry, white man role; discusses the collector's insecurities about their rapidly declining social position; their disturbing attitudes toward blacks and women; and their apparent inability to get a date in high school. Why is Bloom saying such disparaging things about the people who collect baseball cards?

Bloom spent some time in the late 1980s attending baseball card shows in Minnesota. His observations at the shows, sports card shops, interviews with hobbyists, and secondary research, form the basis for this adaptation of his doctoral thesis.

Baseball card collecting can evolve from a children's hobby to an adult's business. But the hobby took on an entirely new dynamic during the Reagan years. Many American boys collected cards, and in the economic boom of the 1980s, price's escalated, and collectors found (if mom hadn't gotten there first) treasure troves in long-forgotten, old shoe boxes. Unfortunately, many believed, including Bloom, that the newfound wealth corrupted the hobby.

Bloom's typical adult collector is white, male, and lower-middle class. In turn, Bloom blames these card collectors for failed marriages, deceit, deception, the manipulation of children, the exclusion and derision of women, and distancing the races.

But is the assertion valid that adult collectors are sexist, merely because the majority are male? Similarly, are they racist because a majority are white? Is the fact that Mickey Mantle's 1952 Topps rookie card sells at a higher price than Willie Mays' 1952 card, justifiable evidence of racism among the collecting enthusiasts as the author brazenly maintains?

The impact and social ramifications of collecting baseball cards appear to be stretched beyond the realm of plausibility to make an alarming, though questionable, point. Is it possible that collecting bits of cardboard, emblazoned with the images of childhood heroes, really be the cause of this much social discord?

But the author has missed a critical point. Bloom states that the cards, in and of themselves, "are of no real consequence." Most collectors would vehemently disagree. Baseball cards derive their value by resurrecting the reminiscences of the collector's youthful heroes. There is a collective social memory which envelops the collectors and their cards. The fact that trade guides indicate that selected cards may have some extrinsic value is nice, but for the majority of collectors, not paramount. The same native affinity does not permeate collecting spoons, stamps or coins, or even football or basketball cards. The fact that these collectibles are baseball cards matters a great deal.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 11, 2011 4:08:39 PM PDT
"Baseball cards derive their value by resurrecting the reminiscences of the collector's youthful heroes. There is a collective social memory which envelops the collectors and their cards."

Isn't that called nostalgia?
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