Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Blog bat-around: The reminiscence bump

There are some baseball card bloggers who are fantastic, seemingly natural writers. Then there are people like me, who neither enjoy nor excel at writing, but do it to stay a part of a hobby and community that they love. When I read Night Owl's Reminiscence Bump post and his mention of it as a bat-around topic, I thought it was a great idea but not something I would participate in. However, the idea of it stayed in my mind and I found that I had enough to write my own piece. I don't have the skill to create the kind of word pictures that Night Owl does, but here is a walk through some of my cardboard memories. Do note that in some cases the card does not match the year of the memory.

I was nine years old, first getting into baseball. I collected the Topps stickers but not the cards. I found two halves of Dickie Thon's card on the ground in summer camp. It was my first baseball card and I still have it today.

I was ten years old, and like so many others that year those wood-bordered Topps cards sucked me in big-time. I absorbed every fact on the back and every detail on the front, like the bandage on Mark Bailey's finger.

I was eleven years old. My mom had gone back to school so she often didn't have time to cook, and we would sometimes have dinner at a luncheonette called Palm's. The place is long gone, but I remember I would often gets packs of baseball cards there, opening them after dinner. I associate the orange backs of 1988 Topps with that place.

By 1989 the baseball card craze had hit mainstream. Both Newsday and the New York Post had weekly baseball card columns. There would be updates on hot cards but also about funny and interesting photos, and random trivia like "name the three cards in the 1989 score set that have action photos on the back". That was also my source for what the new year's cards would look like. I remember one of the columns showing this card and blasting Topps for coming up with such a boring design.

With cards available in so many other retail locations, I never had reason to go to a baseball card store. I did go one time though, around December of 1989, to look around. I didn't buy anything, but the card owner gave me a card from the brand new Score set, which was very exciting to my 12-year-old self.

These were the last years I collected cards regularly. I remember getting cards, among other places, at the Genovese drug store. When I think about getting cards at this time I remember Genovese and the unique plasticy smell  of Score cards when you first opened them out of the pack.

In 1994 I was 17. Though still pretty immature, it was the first year I stopped buying baseball cards. However, that year while working at a summer camp I traded some cards with one of the campers. As I never went to baseball card stores and didn't read magazines like Beckett, I was quite surprised by the unfamiliar cards this kid had. Fleer Ultra? Topps Stadium Club? Pinnacle? Collectors Choice?

By 1999 I was a senior in college, and among other things I finally had a girlfriend. She lived on campus without a car so I was her ride for various errands. One time we were in K-Mart and I bought a repack of baseball cards on a whim, the first cards I had bought in years. Most were from the years I collected, but there were a few cards from 1998 Score. It was interesting seeing what new cards looked like; I did not know until years later that Score was already out of business, which is probably why those cards were in the repack to begin with. By the end of 2000 I started buying cards in earnest again, and quickly became as fully immersed as I did when I was a kid.

In 2006 I was newly married (not to the girl from college). I had read about online baseball card trading but was somewhat unsure about it. My wife encouraged me to go for it, and I'm glad she did. (I'm very fortunate to have an understanding wife). This "Ellkis Burks" error card came from my first online baseball card trade.

In 2009 I decided to join the growing baseball card blog community. My first trade with a fellow blogger was with a blog called Topps Baseball Cards, and I received my first '09s in that trade. These days all the new cards I get are from bloggers, I never buy retail any more. Topps Baseball Cards last posted in 2011.

In 2018, after long thought, I decided to become a vintage collector, after buying a collection that was very expensive by my dime-box standards, but quite a steal from vintage standards. At first I tried to think of it as a side project, but it has become an obsession to the point where, though I still greatly enjoy modern cards, vintage is my main focus now.


  1. That came out quite well! Interesting to see everyone's perspective depending on how old they are. That Thon card is great!

  2. That Thon is fantastic! How do you store it? Do you have it displayed in your office in one of those one inch lucite holders? I have no idea what my very first baseball card was. But if I did and I still owned it... that's the treatment it would receive.

    P.S. If I ever get married, I can only hope I'm lucky enough to find a wife who would support my card collecting.

  3. Don't sell your self short, Bo! You did an excellent job with this post :)