The Magic of the Unopened Baseball Card Wax Packs

I bought three packs of baseball cards last week at a used bookstore for $1 apiece and thought I would open the packs and write about what I found inside, similar to Brad Balukjian's The Wax Pack. (Find it here on Amazon.)

Twice today, I have tried to open a pack, but I couldn't. Twice today I have reached for the green one to open it, held it in my hands, and then stopped.

There's a Barry Bonds rookie card in the green pack that's worth $325.

Barry Bonds hit 762 home runs over a 22 year career, the most home runs in professional baseball. His rookie card is pretty important to baseball card collectors, and it's in there.

Until I open it. Then it's not.

There's a Greg Maddux rookie card in there. Maddux threw 3,371 strikeouts over his 23-year career. But if I open it, there won't be. It's worth $220 until I open the green wax pack.

Bo Jackson's rookie card is in there, as long as the pack remains sealed.

There were 792 cards in the 1987 Topps series and so there's a .12626% chance that any one of those cards are in there, but as long as I don't open the pack, they're all there.

In the red pack, it's a Tom Glavine rookie card ($335). In the blue pack, it's a Ken Griffey, Jr. Rookie card ($500). If I don't open them, they're still in there.

This is not Schrödinger's Cat. That's too easy of a joke, and it's also not accurate. If you make that joke, it means you didn't read this far.

These three packs — I was 20, 21, and 22 when they were issued — represent a belief in the magic of optimistic unlikeliness. It's believing what *could be* in the pack that makes it fun.

If I open them, then I'll know. They won't be fun anymore. They won't be magic.

Right now, I have the best, most valuable packs of baseball cards from those three years. But if I open them, I'll have nothing.

So I'm going to leave them alone. As long as I do that, I have a Barry Bonds, a Tom Glavine, and a Ken Griffey, Jr.

I'm not going to open them. I'm not going to write about them. They're going to gather dust. For the next however-many years, I'm just going to look at them and believe in magic.

This dilemma reminded me of an old story called "The Lottery Ticket," by Stuart McLean, the host of The Vinyl Cafe, one of my favorite radio shows.

If you're interested, listen to this story. It explains perfectly why I've decided to never open these packs.

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.