Friday, November 7, 2014

The box

I received a four-card box bottom from Mark Hoyle recently that I have been seeking for a long time.

It's not that it was particularly difficult to find, it's just that items like this tend to elude my brain. I think of them, and then because they're not on some readily available want list, they vanish from my thoughts.

But, yes, I've needed the 1990 Topps box bottom Tom Lasorda card for all of these years. And now I don't.

I've written before how glorious box bottom cards are and the lengths I went to in a previous job saving them from the trash compactor. Finding a 1989 Topps box bottom while working at a drug store and saving it for my collection was truly a hobby breakthrough for me.

But to explain why, I have to show you the rest of the box.

Fortunately, Mark sent me the whole box.

As a youngster buying cards from various drugstores in the various neighborhoods in which I lived, the baseball card box with the little marquee cardboard stand in the back wasn't merely a receptacle for packs of cards.

It was something to be cherished by itself.

And this was long before I knew that Topps printed baseball cards right on the box.

How cool would it be to have one of those boxes unopened and then rip the tab so the back popped up and you saw all of those colorful, gleaming packs before you?

Wouldn't it be great to own one of those boxes?

Keep in mind, often when searching for cards in an unfamiliar store, I was looking for the box, not the packs. I saw the box long before I saw the packs. From a distance in the candy aisle or walking toward the register, I'd scan the area for anything brightly colored that said "BASEBALL" or even "Topps". The box was my signal that this particular store was worth my time.

I didn't get to see the side of the box very often because it was usually hidden, next to another box displaying wax bottle candy or pop rocks or other kid-friendly junk.

Please note that Topps was touting itself as "The Real One" back then. Score and Upper Deck and all those other companies were apparently selling counterfeit cards.

That's the back of the box and an exclusive message to The Retailer, who apparently collected cards, too. See? I knew being a retailer was cool. Putting out boxes of cards and then being able to collect cards that your customers didn't even know existed!

That's the bottom inside of the box, and the card backs for the box bottom cards.

When I salvaged that 1989 Topps box from the trash compactor, I couldn't believe my luck. All those years I wanted to get my hands on one of those boxes and now I had one -- and it was free! It kind of made wearing that silly CVS drug store vest worth it.

Unfortunately, I loved cards so much that the box didn't last very long. It was cut up -- not very artfully either -- and those cards were stored with my other cards.

And, sadly, that is what will happen with this 1990 Topps box, too.

I might like the idea of having a box that displays cards.

But I like the idea of having the cards even more.


  1. Did you happen to save the side panel with the picture of the Jim Abbott card?

  2. Yes, I do own a box completely full of …. empty baseball card boxes. But it is actually not full enough, yet.

  3. You can't forget to cut out the Griffey card with the black reverse side. I still have these cards in top loaders.

  4. 1) I got one of the Lynn cards in a Fairfield repack last year. The "handcutedness" (I just made that word up) of it threw me for awhile until someone pointed out where it came from.

    2) Mark Hoyle has everything.

  5. Thanks for the reminder. I've been meaning to get back to collecting these eventually.