Awww, my first ORG post.
I began collecting baseball cards around 1968 or 1969, when my brother and I would walk a couple miles to the nearest gas station every week with our allowance money (25 cents each) and buy packs of Topps bubble gum cards for 5 cents each. That's the only thing we ever spent our money on. I continued collecting for another 25 years or so, until the hobby priced itself out in the mid-90's. I've got probably 100,000 baseball cards in storage. Plenty of football and basketball cards also, but far, far more baseball cards.
I didn't get seriously interested in it again until I moved to upstate New York a few years ago on a job transfer. My girlfriend at the time loved hitting up yard sales and I quickly noticed that seemingly every other one had baseball, football, basketball and hockey cards. I rarely see them at yard sales in the central KY area, but they're everywhere in upstate NY. In most cases it was older parents whose kids had grown up and moved out, and they were just getting rid of stuff they had stored for years. A lot of times they were just cards from the 90's or 80's, but a few times I struck gold. I'm talking spending $2 on a big box of cards and later finding rookie cards of players like George Brett, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, Jerry Rice, Dan Marino, and many others. Even a couple Wayne Gretzky rookie cards. At times I was like a kid on Christmas morning. My girlfriend thought I'd lost my mind, haha.
It wasn't only yard sales either. The hobby is still thriving pretty well up there, so there were card stores galore, and hobby shops and toy stores had great deals on packs, as well as boxes. I got so many great deals at a hobby shop in the University Mall in Burlington, Vermont. Then I moved back to central KY a couple years ago and it's like the hobby doesn't even exist. There's one card store in Lexington, but it's a skeleton of it's former self. Very little to choose from, and what he does have is either worthless or way too expensive.
I hope the new deal Topps has will revive the hobby, but I'm not holding my breath. At least put out a few sets of inexpensive cards to draw kids back into it. When they took kids out of card collecting, they killed it, IMO.