The Fifth Blog Bat Around comes to us from dayf, the original Cardboard Junkie. He asks us...
What is the best experience you have had acquiring cards or memorabilia?
This is a bit of a bittersweet question for me and I considered not doing a post because, as some of you know, about eight years ago, I "lost" my entire massive childhood collection of ten of thousands of cards I had been collecting from 1986-1996 including not only cards from those years but hundreds of vintage cards from the 60's, 70's and 80's that I acquired as well. But that is a story for another post, one that some hardcore Card Junkie fans know I have subtly eluded to a few times but a story I may never have the will to write fully. For those that don't know, I only recently started collecting again, last year in fact, after a 12-year cold-turkey hiatus.
But this is supposed to be a happy story so enough of all that! Now I have had several wonderful experiences acquiring cards as a kid. Card shows, card shops (they had those back then!), grocery stores, yard sales, etc. But I always found the most fascinating experiences were when you discovered cards completely by accident, sometimes simply being given them. For free. That takes me to what I think is my best ever baseball card experience.
Let's go back to 1990, when I was a young teenager, right smack dab in the middle of the height of my card collection. Now my mother, like everyone else's, abhorred my collection. I think she told me to stop after my second pack. I don't think any of my other relatives collected baseball cards except my one cousin, Chris. His mother, my aunt Joyce, attempted several times to trash his collection too. He was several years older than I was and I assumed his collection was long since lost. Then, one day, completely out of the blue, my aunt showed up with several boxes and bags of hand-me-down clothes like she always did after each spring cleaning it seemed. I always rolled my eyes because it was always crappy, out of style stuff no self-respecting teen would ever wear to school. But this time she also had a large box. By large I mean the kind of large box you might get from a grocery store if they were nice enough to give you free boxes to move with. She set it on the table with a thud.
It was his collection. Or what was left of it.
There to my utter amazement were literally handfuls upon handfuls of '79,'80,'81 and '83 Topps. I dropped everything and sat at the dining room table transfixed for literally hours poring over the cards. It was like I had ripped boxes of the stuff. After quick inspection it appeared there were maybe a few packs worth of '79's. There were also several hundred '81's and nearly complete sets of '80 and '83. Wow. I sat there and poured over each card, reading all the backs like it was some sort of ancient artifact. They were all nearly mint too, it was like going back in time. I could tell Chris was no novice as nearly all of the star cards and rookies were missing except a Frank Viola '83 rookie that slipped under the radar. BUT, nearly all the 1980 Topps stars and rookies were still there, except the Henderson, which, I already had, but that's a whole other story. Hey, I'm getting some great future post ideas here! I can't possibly describe how exciting it was to shuffle through mint Ozzie Smiths, Nolan Ryans, George Bretts and Pete Roses.
What I wouldn't give to have all those cards back and use the wonders of the blogosphere to finish off those sets. Not to mention the Bay to sell off the doubles for extra card money.
*Sigh* Well, maybe someday, when I win the lottery, I can go back and finish what I started...