I've always had the suspicion that cards in a box of baseball cards are not random. It always seemed that there were more cards of the more popular teams in the box. Or maybe it depended on where you lived.
I'm an engineer and I know that data is more important than suppositions. So this year I decided to check out my supposition.
I finished cataloging the Topps Series 1 cards I bought. I had 284 base cards, counting duplicates. With 30 teams, that averages to 9.4 cards per team. What did I actually get? I'm not going to show the whole table but the count of cards per team ranged from 3 cards for the Cubs and 15 cards for the Mets. Sounds unevenly distributed doesn't it?
What would a box or randomly distributed cards look like? It would not be a box with the same amount of cards per team. Random doesn't work like that. What it should look like is a normal distribution of cards per team around the average (really the mean, for you other nerds out there) of the cards per team.
Here's my crude drawing of what the distribution of cards per team looks like for my Topps cards.
bimodel but I can't think of why it might be. When I get the Series 2 cards into the count I'll revisit this.
Of course, I don't know if there are the same number of cards for each team produced. I expect that not to be the case. For example there were several Postseason cards featuring Giants. There are League Leader cards which I put with the team of the first player on the card (which is how I catalog them).