Posts tagged ‘baseball cards’

My Baseball Memorabilia – An Illustrated List

Carew Poster.JPG1969 Poster containing the TWINS Home schedule for that year, autographed by Rod Carew
I got this at a Father/Son banquet at church in the winter of 1969. It is my most prized baseball keepsake.

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Ball from the 1993 All-Star game in San Diego from my sister in law Sandy
Sandy was living in Sand Diego back then, and she and her boyfriend went to the All Star game that year. I gave her a hard time about not bringing me a souvenir when she first came for a Christmas visit… and wouldn’t you know, lo and behold, she had this ball all wrapped and ready for me. Red Face time.

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Matchbox Truck with the Twins logo
No idea when and where I got it. It’s just cool

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Stan Musical’s HOW TO HIT record album, distributed by Phillips 66
An actual record, complete with a sheet filled with pictures of how to bat. The record includes radio clips of Stan Musial’s biggest moments in baseball and the voice of Stan Musial actually giving batting tips.

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My oldest baseball card – a 1953 Topps Peewee Reese
As an adult, I got back into baseball cards as I saw the market exploding. I went down to a card shop in St. Cloud and found this card – as well as others. I was born in 1953, so it was cool to me to get this one.

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My Paul Molitor Rookie card, 1878 Topps
Like I said, I got back into baseball cards as an adult, and found myself with nearly a full set of 1978 Topps cards. One of the more valuable cards is this Paul Molitor rookie card – and who knew bck then how he’d be connected with the Twins.

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. . . and many baseball cards, including several complete sets. I have a good many boxes of cards and some complete sets. My thanks, might I add, to an understanding wife.

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Collecting Baseball Cards

 

baseball card - willie and ron.JPGThey came from companies like Topps. Fleer. Donruss. Even Post Cereal boxes. Bowman, too.

We bought them at Woolworth’s. The Newsette was good, and my great aunt Margaret ran the Maco News, so I had a good inside line there. (In fact, she gave me a bunch of cards from the store when I broke my arm. I remember it as fifty 1964 TOPPs cards – what a great gift for an 11-year-old with a broken arm.) Any extra coinage went to baseball cards no questions asked.

Topps was the only brand available when we were kids. Every year found a new style. The waxy paper wrappers were different colors – bright yellows, reds or greens. The cards themselves were made of card stock, color pictures of every player in the major leagues, and then other cards like league leaders in different categories, team cards, and checklists.

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My friends and I kept them in cardboard boxes or grocery bags. We’d put them in our bike spokes for cool noises. We traded them or used them to play our own home-made baseball games, especially on rainy days. Ah, these games, all of them made up from our own inventive minds.

There were those who were just baseball card guys. Like me, they didn’t have a good number of cards, but they loved them all the same. Then there were those who had a Fort Knox worth of cards, mostly because an older brother had started a collection and handed it down to the younger brother, creating a dynasty of a card collection. These were the guys who really knew how to trade and how to amass everything out there.

Even as an adult, I love to buy a pack every year just to see what they look like. In the 1980s, the baseball card collectible world exploded, so I got into buying cards again, and of course, that market collapsed so I now have a closet shelf full of boxes that are full of card stock that is worth virtually nothing any more. I have a few 3 ring binders full of special cards – the entire 1978 Topps set, my favorite cards that I have, and a few other complete sets. I also have a set of old timers (the Babe Ruths of the day) put out by Conlan as a memorial set in honor of my dad. They are the players of HIS day.

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So even though the economic value has been killed, I still have a good many cards that I enjoy. I don’t know what will happen to them in the future, but for now, they are mine.

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Some Books that I Read Over and Over

I read some …. But not like most folks.  I don’t read a whole lot of modern-day authors… I’ve tried, but I just can’t seem to get in the swing of the Nora Roberts group … or Patterson, or Harry Potter…. No apologies, no excuses…I just don’t.  I do, however, read.  The list below is just a sample in no particular order at all … and by no means complete….. I start with John Steinbeck because his work is really the first serious literature I ever got hooked into and then I go on from there….

East of Eden – John Steinbeck

Pastures of Heaven – John Steinbeck

Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

These four books came to me in college.  Professor Dorothy Anderson was teaching a class in oral interpretation, in which she assigned us one author to use as a final project.  I selected John Steinbeck and have not been the same since.  Here’s a bit about each of them… and by the way, I’ve read more than these four, but these are my favorites all the way.

EAST OF EDEN – the story of the Trask family and how they grew from an eastern pre-Civil War family into an industrious family in California… and how along the way they met extreme blind success, deep anger, hollow disappointment, and some sharp realizations about free will.  There are interesting characters, both male and female – the patriarch of the family and his two sons, the estranged mother of the two sons and her rather interesting handicap, the family down the road with their large ethnic tendencies … and there are some scenes to evoke laughter (particularly when the Trask men learn to run an automobile from a guy named JOE), to bring thought (the family manservant and his circle of elders learning about the Bible), and the machinations of one rather amoral establishment.  I have read the book enough to have worn one out and have bought another.

PASTURES OF HEAVEN – not so much a novel as it is a collection of stories about the characters that live there – a lonely old man free of his parents, a child with artistic flair, a man who finds homeschooling more than just schooling … so many interesting folks.  This one, too, has been replaced just recently.

GRAPES OF WRATH – Yes, that one.  The Okies, the threat of organized labor, the dustbowl of the 1930s.  It’s all there, and it sings to me every time I read it.   The Joad family might have been my family had the Swedes gone south to Oklahoma instead of the prairies of the Red River of the North – the same bad breaks, the same subsistent existence….

OF MICE AND MEN.  Lenny the lesser.  Rabbit hutches and dreams and dogs and swamping out the bunkhouse owned by uppity ranchers and sexy wives.  Taking care of the disabled, from old dogs to even Lenny the lesser.

And now some other authors….

GRAND OPENING – John Hassler

Here’s a small town.  Here’s a new grocery store and the people who have moved from the big city to get back to the land and enjoy a neighborhood… and some of the trials therein.  John Hassler wrote some of his stuff right here in the town where I live, which makes it all that much more alive.

HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY –  Douglas Adams

The goofiest book, probably ever.  Do you want to travel through space on a towel?  Do you want to taste a pangalactic gargle blaster?  Do you want to see Earth II?  Do you think the earth can be developed and designed by mice?  When in a silly mood, here you are.

THE GREAT AMERICAN BASEBALL CARD FLIPPING, TRADING AND BUBBLE GUM BOOK  – Brendan Boyd and Fred Harris

I am a baseball fan.  Top to bottom, side to side.  I am at best a fair weather football fan, can’t tell you many of the rules about hockey…. But baseball?  You got me, pal.

This book is so unique.  It discusses collecting baseball cards before baseball card collecting was a money-making proposition – in other words, it discusses baseball cards the way me and my friends did it … cussing out getting the same card 25 times in one year.  Not getting the one card you need.  Ever.  Never.  Seeing what the cards look like and how they change every year.  This book has molded some of my writing style, especially when I write nostalgia type things.  There’s a hilarious section on NON Hall of Fame players that is a riot to read.  So, when spring training starts, I get out my copy of TGABCFTBGB and go to it.

IT – Stephen King

Going to reunions can be real bummer.  The people are so very likable, but there’s always that one character who screws things up for you and always has, ever since elementary school.  Ride you bike down the hill, explore the sewers, get the old gang together to discuss an old curse, and how to get it removed.

CHRISTINE – Stephen King

If Jack Nicholson had been a car in the SHINING, he would have been CHRISTINE.  CHRISTINE is a 1957 Plymouth… black, finned – one of those great 1950s road boats that we associate with James Dean and Thunder Road and punks.  However, Christine herself is not under the control of those who own her…. In fact, you can reverse that.  Christine is jealous, vengeful, and not the least squeamish about taking things into her own hands.

THURBER’S DOGS – James Thurber

This is a collection of James Thurber’s short stories.  I didn’t care for Thurber at first, but his kind of wit grew on me – he’s sort of a prototype Garrison Keillor, talking about his childhood in Ohio, where the characters included shoe throwers, moping dogs, and house servants who just didn’t get their English right.  I particularly enjoy his spoof of a detective radio show in which all the characters are animals – See the dog as the detective.  See the frog who owns the pool hall who talks with great impediment (BUNG WUNG SCRANG TO DENG! – and yes within the story, the frog makes perfect sense…..).  An enjoyable read – one story a night works well… but you sure can do more than that if your wit craves it.