The history and evolution of Midwest Box Breaks

Hello, my name is Ben Smith and I’m the founder of Midwest Box Breaks. In 2017, I decided to dust off my card collection. I had been collecting off and on since the 80s, but I put my collection away for quite awhile as “life” tends to consume our hobby time for adults with job commitments, children, etc. I  began to buy retail boxes at stores again, and even bought the latest Beckett Price Guides for each sport. Shortly after that was the purchase of Hobby boxes. Then I began to follow card accounts on social media and checking ebay for prices and deals. It didn’t take long to realize how much things had changed since the early 90s. It was a whole new world with new terms, new abbreviations, and new methods of collecting, especially with social media and the internet in general.

One day, a coworker and I were discussing cards and he asked me about Breaks. I had no idea what a break was but was instantly hooked. I spent hours and hours watching breaks and spent hundreds of dollars weekly trying various breaks from several different breakers. As all of my break mail began piling up, I started selling on ebay and Twitter. I came to the realization that it was way easier to buy than it was to sell. My thought was “It would be cool if there was a break group that encouraged and facilitated networking and selling as much as it did break related sales.” The light bulb had turned on and it was like in Field of Dreams when Ray became obsessed with his dream and vision. There was no stopping me. 

Looking back, I was very fortunate that I had so many positive influences and experiences when I came back to the hobby. I was part of a structured, organized Facebook group. The collectors I engaged with on Twitter were experienced, friendly, and honest. The Breakers I watched were engaging, trustworthy, respected, and accountable to the card community. In the spring of 2018, I went to a Cubs game with Chris Keller of Top Shelf Breaks. I told him what I wanted to do and asked lots of questions and he answered them all. Shortly after that trip, Midwest Box Breaks was born.

In June of 2018, I went live on YouTube to rip packs of cards for the first time. It was not great. I had no technical experience, no video experience, and learned on the fly. Our first break was Classics football, for $2 a spot, and I had to give half the spots away to get people to try us. My friends and followers were amazing, patient, and supportive. Many of the people from that first break are still with us today. I am forever grateful to that core group who propped me up and stayed with me like a parent teaching a kid to ride a bike. For the next few months, my goal was simply to learn and to at least break even. To get breaks filled, I gave away most of my personal collection and all of the cards I had acquired in the breaks I bought into the previous year. 

After about 6 months, I could see and feel things really starting to take off. Our core group of supporters had grown and our young reputation was solid. More and more people were collecting for the first time, or returning after a long time away, just like I did. The hobby was booming. We caught a few big breaks early (no pun intended) thanks to social media attention and support from hobby personalities like Phil Hughes and Gary Vaynerchuk. Then the sports world shut down for the pandemic, and we blew up. By 2021 it was too big to manage part time. In May of 2021 I quit my career of 22 years to run Midwest Box Breaks full time. 

In the 3 years since the full time leap, we have adapted and evolved to stay competitive, stay relevant, serve our members better, deliver our vision, and to build our brand. This is not your father’s hobby. Like anything, card collecting can benefit from innovation, technology, and being open-minded. We’ve been early test subjects for many new ideas and projects. Some have been successful, some have not. We are fortunate that our community shares our passion to learn and grow and is backed by their patience and trust. Two success stories have been key to shaping who we are today as a card community. The first is Break Club NFT, a project modeled after the core values and principles of our hobby community. You can join the free Discord for Break Club here: Break Club The second would be MBB Marketplace, a rapidly growing content and commerce streaming platform that is also powered by our amazing card community. You can check out MBB Marketplace here: Midwestboxbreaks.net


Why should I join Midwest Box Breaks?

MBB has been a trusted and respected member of the sports card community since 2018. We have appeared in several hobby publications, featured on numerous podcasts, partnered with some of the best companies in the industry, and even been on television a few times. Our member list includes thousands of trusted and respected members of the card hobby, including several professional athletes and members of the sports media. We donate thousands each year to several great charities and work with our local minor league teams the Fort Wayne Tincaps and Fort Wayne Komets. The MBB Card Community donates thousands of cards to young collectors every month. Our group is built to support and educate new card collectors and people returning to the hobby after several years or even decades away.



Our goals are to provide maximum value to the customer, and to create an entertaining community where collectors can buy, sell, trade, and network with trusted members.