Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Notorious 5th Grade Flippa!!

My stories of lost and thrown out Baseball Card collections are like the other stories of lost and thrown out Baseball Card collections; Tragic.  There is no other word that adequately describes what it feels like to be in my 40's now thinking had so many...


Ready?  I was eight years old or so in the mid 70's.  In 1974 I purchased my very first pack of baseball cards as I was coming home from school at a newsstand/store two blocks from my home with my very own quarters.  By the time I got "a la casa" I may have memorized every stat on the back of each card.  I think that pack cost me 25 cents.  It was the old wax pack with the stick of gum that always ruined one card.  Now here's one thing about me...I wasn't one of the schmucks who put his best baseball card in the spokes of my bicycle.  That's what the gum card was for.

My mom threw out my first collection, if I remember correctly in a fit of rage over the unsatisfactory(?) state of my room.  Regardless, out they went.  Again, 1974! Think of the names not to mention the older ones given to me..  I had them.  I started a new collection post haste.

Later I had a paper route and I was rollin in the Washingtons Yo!  I was able to maximize my cello and wax pack habit at a prodigious clip.  I was able to absorb minor hits in the school yard flippin' cards.  But I was all about outlasting those scrubs I was contending with.  I was the Notorious Fifth Grade Flippa!!  Yeah Kid!

I restocked my collection nicely through my teenage years at shows and trading with friends.  I was back to "even-steven" in my collection to that point.

That 2nd collection I speak of went poof!  Yeah!  As in POOF!  When I returned from Military service, one of the first things I needed to reclaim was my Baseball card collection from my Mom's place.

The short version goes like this ~ "Mom, where's the chest I painted orange and blue that I kept my Baseball cards in?

Mom ~ "What chest my Dear?"

Me ~ "Ma?!"

Mom ~ "Look around you.  This place is different since you left.  I got rid of a lot of things.  I must have thrown it out."

So, Mommy Copperfield struck again; makin' my stuff disappear.  Pulling a rabbit out of a hat would have been cool enough.  Mind bending a pencil would have been Rad!  But throwing out my stuff sucks!

I have done a good job over the last 20+ years catching up and replacing what ever I could.  Of course there are cards I will never reacquire because of collector prices and other factors etc etc..

In the mid-90's I tried giving the other card companies (other than TOPPS) a fair shake and collected them also for some years.  Some years and sets were better than others.  But I cut that out real quick.  Things in the industry started getting way out of hand and I decided, if UGLY is winning the day, I'd rather not play anymore.

For me, It's TOPPS or nothing.  The TOPPS company started out right here in Brooklyn in 1938 or so.  In the 90's they left the Borough for lower Manhattan.  Chumps!

The last 7 years or so I was going right to the store and just buying two sets a year and that was it.  I was covered for the year.  This year I asked myself recently when did I stop having fun collecting baseball cars (somewhat).  The answer was easy; when I started SETS only and not buying packs like I used to during almost every trip into a store.  Go buy a Snapple? - Grab a pack of cards on the way out.  That was fun; - buying a pack or two a day and slowly putting sets together; keeping a number sheet to see who I had and who I still needed and using those lists to compare with friends and seeing what cards we could help each other out with.  And of course, using the scrub doubles to flip in the school yard like back in the day tuned into trading "commons" at the trade shows to fill in the gaps on the lists.  I could always rely on them for the 5 or 6 cards left it would take to complete a set.  I always bought the sets up front.  But I always went after making my own sets too.

The result in only buying sets and putting them right in the "vault" is clearly evident if you look at a shelf of binders with baseball cards I have.  Those binders are of course all filled with doubles, but arranged in my own special orders.  I categorized the cards among the rookies, big stars, special cards and team pics.  13 binders; 13 years.  Then.....*Ding!*

I got to thinking about it and went out to the store and dropped some cheddar on baseball cards.  I brought home almost $70 dollars in baseball cards the other day.  $70 would have bought me a mountain of wax packs in 1974.  Today?  No way!

I'll start you with a very handsome set of cards; the TOPPS Heritage series.  The 2010 players are reprinted in the 1961 style.  They are Sweet looking!

I'm not really one for anything but good old traditional TOPPS cards.  But this is a very nice alternative series.

Enjoy these goodies I received in my Topps Heritage series box I purchased.:

..and the ol' what the? ...card


enjoy the gum!


  1. The Ethier is sweet! I also love the team cards in this set.

  2. It's tragic baseball card story. We all experienced something like that. My dad caught me stealing change from his closet so I could buy cards. Man, he beat my ass. Cards went straight into the garbage. He threw away some good stuff too. I remember Don Mattingly's and George Brett's and Mike Schmidt's right in the trash while I cried in the corner. We talked about it years later, we were both sorry for what happened.

  3. BWaaahahahahahah!!!!!
    That Sucks!!!
    All we can do is laugh now!

  4. Oh yeah, I saw this Gil Hodges picture earlier and thought youmight get a kick out of it.

  5. Sweet ~ Gil wielded a big stick in his day.


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