Fan Profile: Tyler combines his love of collecting baseball cards with YouTube


Before Xbox and PlayStation made virtual baseball and every other sport so real that it hypnotized young boys for hours on end locating fastballs with Pedro Martinez, hitting home runs with Jim Thome, and building a powerhouse in franchise mode, there were baseball cards.

The colorful cardboard portraits and action shots of heroes like Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, and Bob Gibson mesmerized kids with stats and stories and pictures that sparked the imagination. The batting stances seen on the cards would become inspiration for a wiffle ball game that could last deep into the night. Each card carried a certain mystique that could make a boy a fan for life. The treasures of the past are fondly remembered as ornaments in bike spokes or trading items to get your favorite player or in building a superteam in Strat-O-Matic.

And for every blissful memory, there’s the story of the mom who threw away the boy’s baseball cards when he left for college – just another harsh reminder that childhood was over.

Today, moms don’t throw away video game systems, or at least I don’t think they do. But they also don’t throw away quite as many baseball cards. The growth in television and entertainment has taken away some of the luster in collecting cards and memorabilia.

One young Cardinals fan still has an appreciation for the cardboard gods in this obsessive age of technology. Tyler enjoys the history behind baseball cards and collecting, but he also sees how the modern age can fit in with the nostalgia. […]

His love of baseball cards started with some help from the older generation.

“I started collecting cards when I was 8 or so and the reason why is my Grandpa actually got me into it,” Tyler said. “I saw his collection and I thought it was neat so I started collecting them too.”

After seeing his grandfather’s collection, Tyler began his own.

“I think the first card I ever got was in a pack I got at Wal-Mart one day,” he said.

From that day on, he was hooked. The anticipation that comes with a new pack never gets old.

“The best part of collecting is you never know what you will get if you buy a box or a pack,” he said. “It’s a good way to get to know the players better since the cards have stats and stories on them.”

Baseball cards are a timeless part of American culture. YouTube has quickly become a sensation and source for entertainment too. It may not require the same imagination as sitting outside the general store with a new deck, but the Internet sensation that features videos that range from funny and pointless to moving and memorable is also home to young fans sharing their passion and excitement in collecting baseball cards.

Tyler is among them, documenting the cards he gets from eBay to Wal-Mart. The box took him back in time, featuring Mickey Mantle and Rogers Hornsby, and highlighted some of the stars of today like Carl Crawford and Elvis Andrus. The YouTube experience allows fellow fans to see the cards as he does.

“It’s nice to see on YouTube the excitement that people get when they get a really good card,” he said.

One Mailday this summer was all about the St. Louis Cardinals, his favorite baseball team.

Let’s meet Tyler, baseball-card style.

First memory: My first cardinals memory was in 2004 when they made it to the World Series but lost.

Favorite player: My favorite all-time player would have to be Ozzie Smith because of all the great plays he had and his backflips.

Memorable moments: When Albert Pujols hit that home run off Brad Lidge in 2005 in the NLCS and when they won the World Series in 2006. Another good memory is when Yadier Molina hit that Game 7 home run against the Mets in the 2006 NLCS.

Proud Cards fan: The thing that makes us Cardinal fans the best in all of baseball is that we support our team no matter what, when we have a bad year we don’t go run and jump on another team’s bandwagon, we stick it out and wait.

Favorite baseball card: My Colby Rasmus 2009 Topps Triple Threads rookie autograph 3 piece memorabilia card /75. I collect him since he is my favorite player and it is my favorite card.

Hobbies: Video Games and watching the St. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, and Indianapolis Colts