Self Reflection: A New Beginning for Cardboard Icons?

As I sit down to write this, I think back to nine years ago. This blog was such an important part of my life at the time that I sat in a hospital room and wrote by hand — by hand! — the words that would become a post, dedicated to my daughter, who’d just been born.

I remember it clearly. My then-wife lying in bed recovering from giving birth. My daughter receiving the typical newborn treatment in another room. And me, scribbling away on a legal pad the thoughts about how my life had changed.

What did fatherhood mean for me and my hobby, one that had kept me out of trouble when I was a kid?

What would come of this blog, which to that point I had spent more than six months building and it was gaining readership, thanks to a few people who had plugged it along the way.

The answer, as it turned out, was not much of a change at all. Sure, there were a few minor tweaks to my buying habits, but this blog continued to give me something else to do — especially at 2 am while bottle feeding my newborn daughter, who if you haven’t figured it it turned nine years old today. NINE!

In cardboard terms, Joba Chamberlain and Tim Lincecum were the hobby darlings. Think on that. Feel old yet?

I still collected after her birth, albeit as haphazardly as ever. My focus had not fully taken place. And as I mentioned, this blog gave me something to do in those wee hours as her heart beat against my chest after being fed.

I was all about readership, and page views. This was in an age just before Twitter blew up — that really started toward the end of 2009. I had something to say damn near every day — I’m not saying it was important, but I had something to say. It was important for me to share thoughts about current cards, stuff I was chasing and what not.

Life continued in this fashion for years. I was happy. People saw me and my family and saw we were happy.

But we’re we really happy? Was my balance of card life and real life even?

About two years later I had a career change, and in that same time frame, my second child was born.

Two kids, a boy and a girl, a wife, a dog and a hobby with which I seemed to be having loads of fun.


Or was it?

In late 2011 I unearthed at a thrift store a game-used Earl Weaver jersey, (Google it, brother!), which as it would turn out would lay the ground work for me landing a dream gig — writing for Beckett Baseball/Beckett Media.

By this point, the Beckett name had been sullied. The price guide for which the company had become famous was pretty much obsolete. And for new-age collectors the mere mention of the company name seemingly gave them jumping-off point to bash writers — one specific one in particular, a good guy whom I have come to know really well and would defend to the end. The same guy — whom many trashed based on allegations or opinions of a handful — who would help me accomplish a boyhood dream: Write something for the magazine.

That one-time, first-person article was eventually parlayed into a longer gig that would last through 2015.

Happiness … I think.

That gig, along with the ease of Twitter, left this blog to sit fairly stagnant with the exception of a dozen or so posts a year. Readership dwindled as my sense of urgency to blogging long-form had been replaced by microblogging, which is, or was, what Twitter is often referred.

I’ve “given away” my thoughts and opinions on Twitter so often that it’s left me feeling as if I didn’t have to write — which is counterproductive for a guy who loves writing. And another problem with microblogging is there’s no way to really archive my stuff — at least not in favorable way.

When I started this blog it was always meant to be something I did for myself, but also something I could share with others. Additionally, it helped me see where my head was in the hobby at certain points. Self reflection is fun … and can be positive, even if it takes you to dark places along the way.

Over the last two years, life has changed again as I am going through a divorce. It’s not an ugly one, but it’s a divorce nonetheless. I’ve not really divulged details or chronicled it here, but it’s also opened my eyes to several things, including certain aspects of this hobby.

Remember that self reflection I mentioned a few paragraphs ago? Yep, this is where this comes in.

As I sit here, nine years to the day after my daughter was born, both of my kids are in school and I’m writing this blog on a phone as my car’s oil and other fluids get changed.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts about this hobby — some good, some bad — that I want to share. But I want to do it under MY circumstances: I want to WRITE them, not pass them out on Twitter so they can get lost among all of political stuff.

That said, I’m also wondering how often I can allow myself to take a break from life to do it.

I’m in a really good place in my life. And I want to pursue writing again. And while readership will likely never reach what it was, I still want to do it because getting my thoughts out makes me happy.

Thanks for reading,

Ben Aguirre, Jr.,

Former Beckett Baseball columnist.


Collector of Hall of Fame tobacco era and Rookie cards.

Collector of Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw.

You can reach me on Twitter and Instagram @cardboardicons. You can also e-mail me at

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