Yesterday was Topps National Baseball Card Day. I have to admit that I did not know there was such a day. This discovery immediately brought fond memories to my heart. As a kid, every day was baseball card day. You see, collecting and trading baseball cards was much more than what it may seem. Collecting baseball cards is about love and friendship.
Growing up in the 1980’s, my father and I would comb through magazines and newspapers trying to find baseball card shows (there was no Google to search for them). Part of the fun was hunting for the shows. They were held at local high schools, hotel lobbies, and a few Boys and Girls Clubs.
Once at the baseball card shows, the fun really began. We would go up and down the aisles for what seemed like hours looking for that Mattingly rookie card, or a Munson in any condition. My dad would get excited about players from his generation such as Guidry, Munson, Nettles and Gossage. He would show me their statistics on the backs of the cards as proof of how special they were. One of my favorite cards was (yes, I said was… more on that later), a Thurmon Munson rookie card. We purchased a special card holder that had to be screwed together for that one.
As I got older, my baseball card collection expanded to Yankee yearbooks, tickets, posters, and much more memorabilia.
On long, cold winter days my father and I would look through the cards and memorabilia with excitement about the upcoming season, and learning more about our favorite ball players.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy flooded my parents’ basement. My collection of World Series newspapers, yearbooks, and baseball card collection that we had been amassing since the early 1980’s was destroyed. As I combed through the mess, a Jimmy Key card in plastic floated by. I picked it up and salvaged it as reminder of the collection we worked so hard to put together.
Although the collection is gone, the memories of creating it will live on forever.
I mentioned that collecting baseball cards is about love and friendship. Let me explain the friendship part.
Not too long after my collection was destroyed, I was telling a great friend of mine, Paul, about what had happened to my collection. Paul is one of the GREAT people in this world. He called me a few days later to tell me that he gathered some baseball memorabilia to help me replenish my collection!!!!
Cards, magazines, posters, oh my!!!! My collection was rebuilding. However, far more important than any baseball card collection, this was a prime example of how baseball cards serve as a conduit for love and friendship.
So, on this Topps National Baseball Card Day, I reflect fondly on baseball cards, the thrill of finding memorabilia that makes a collector’s heart skip a beat and most importantly the way it bonds friends and family members that simply love America’s greatest pastime.