Archive for Cardboard Icons

He finally said yes to the Mays… and Mantle … and Hank

Posted in Dad Life, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I was sitting at my desk sorting cards and labeling items yesterday when I came across a four 1969 Topps checklists featuring Mickey Mantle.

I grabbed these at a card shop a few years back and they’ve just been sitting around. They are well-love cards, most of the check boxes on the checklist marked. I pulled one out and asked my son: “Hey, you don’t have a Mickey Mantle in your Collection do you?”

Of course the boy responds that he does not.

“Well, would you like one?” I ask.

He smiles and says, “sure!”

I explained what the card is, and then asked about the 1963 Topps Willie Mays I had offered him in the last. This time he agreed to add it to his collection.

But before I handed them to him, I told him I had one more thing to find for him. I figured I had to round this collecting moment with the other major cardboard icon from that generation — Hank Aaron.

So I found the extra 1974 Topps Hank Aaron #1 I had and set it aside as well. We had discussed Hank earlier this week in context of Barry Bonds while we were at the Phillies-Giants game on Thursday night.

Funny thing happened though. As soon as I located the Aaron, I found a 1969 Topps Carl Yastrzemski behind it. That card also felt like it needed to be in my kid’s collection since we talked about him at the game while watching grandson Mike Yastrzemski round the bases after a homer.

These are the father-son collector moments I absolutely love. I’m sure these won’t be the last legends to head his way.

Sometimes I wish for simplicity

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When you look at your collection what is it that you see? What makes you proud? What still has you passionate about the hobby? Does the amount of cards or the complexity, or lack of focus, weigh you down?

These are the types of questions I often ask myself.

When I started collecting cards I collected because I enjoyed the idea of acquiring cards. Value wasn’t a big factor. Of course time has changed and I needed a focus, and as you know by now, value — or perceived value, or worth, or whatever you want to call it — most certainly does play a big factor in our hobby these days.

By the time I entered college I realized that I truly loved rookie cards because they were a player’s first card, often their most iconic card, and for better or worse the value of said first cards seemed to rise and fall with performance more than any other a player’s card. And so I determined that I was going to be a rookie card collector.

First it was a rookie card of every baseball player who had one. I actually pulled out a Beckett Almanac and started making a checklist of cards officially designated with the RC or XRC tag.

And then I narrowed it a bit to just Hall of Famer Rookie Cards, but I realized I was missing an entire generation of players who starred on baseball diamonds before Goudey cards were a thing. So I expanded to include t206 or any suitable tobacco or gum card released from HOFers playing days.

For the most part I had accomplished all I set out to do. I do not own a 52 Topps Eddie Matthews because they’ve never been affordable by comparison to what it cost me for other HOFers.

But I do own an authentic rookie or tobacco era cards of just about every other HOF player.

Ruth. Gehrig. Honus. Cobb. Big Train. Mantle. Mays. Aaron. They’re all there in my collection.

For all intents and purposes, my cardboard dreams have come true. I have accomplished what I set out to do — with or without the Eddie Mathews.

But sometimes I sit and wonder what my hobby experience would have been like had I not taken the plunge and sought out rookie cards.

Once I pulled the trigger on the 1951 Bowman Willie Mays in 2006, the seal was broken for me. I was no longer “just collecting cards” I was buying pieces of Americana; I was buying the most iconic baseball cards created. And because I had gone down that route, it seems as though I have spent the last 13 years chasing the fleeting feeling I got when my Mays arrived — and that is an impossible task. Because when the card of your desire arrives via whatever means, it usually creates a situation where you’re instantly looking for the next one that evokes the same emotion. It’s like a drug user constantly looking to match the euphoria they got on the previous hit.

Many people never collected the way I did when I actively chased the HOF rookies. In fact, most people are content with what makes/made them happy regardless of what it is. And in many ways I envy that; I have a great appreciation for those who find the same joy and express such passion in simplicity.

It’s nice to accomplish your goals, but inevitably there is a point where you begin to ask yourself: Now what?

The hunger, the passion that I once had for cards has waned a bit. And I have taken joy in reverting to player collecting. But it does at times feel like I poisoned my own hobby experience. I miss the ability to cherish my pulls, to enjoy cards for what they are and what they represent without constantly measuring them to the HOF collection. While I do not regret the path I have taken; I am not sure where I go from where. I’m not sure there is a suitable answer for the “what’s next” question.

In Memoriam: Frank Robinson (Aug. 31, 1935 – Feb. 7, 2019)

Posted in In Memoriam, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on February 7, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

1957 Topps Rookie Card.

Mission Complete: 1999 Pacific Crown Royale Baseball

Posted in Mission Complete (Completed Sets) with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

About two years ago, I visited a card shop about 45 minutes away and picked up a slew of Pacific branded boxes. Among them was a 1999 Pacific Crown Royale box.

I’ve always loved Crown Royale and was feeling really nostalgic about it so I figured why not. At the time my son and I opened the packs and then they got tucked into a box and in the closet.

Fast forward to late last year and After my son verbally expressed he was starting to enjoy the hobby, it set off a bunch of nostalgia bells and we went to another local shop. Among the boxes for sale was another 1999 Pacific Crown Royale.

I bought it, figuring we could build the set with the cards bought two years prior.

So we ripped the box — lots of fun and talk about quality — and we ended up being four cards short.

Well, the four remaining cards arrived this week via purchases from SportLots and COMC. I’m happy to say the base set and insert sets are done.

So, I now present you with the entire base 1999 Pacific Crown Royale set with the two standard insert sets.

TBT: My debut with Beckett and beyond …

Posted in Throwback Thursday with tags , , , , , , , on January 17, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

This morning I was flipping through my Facebook memories and found a picture published this day in 2012 that made me stop and think. The image was a copy of the Beckett Sports Card Monthly “Game Used Issue” published that year. The magazine has Tim Tebow on the cover, and on page 34 is a photo of a guy you might also know – me.

You see, this issue of Beckett Spots Card Monthly was my debut as a contributor to the magazine. Then-editor Chris Olds had reached out to me to write a first-person account about my discovery of an Earl Weaver Baltimore Orioles game-used jersey in a San Francisco Bay Area thrift store. The piece went with the theme of the month, and as it turned out, it really started a three-year relationship with the publication.

After the article was published, I was asked to write one or two others on other topics, and then ultimately was invited to be a member of the Beckett Media team at that year’s National Sports Collectors Convention held that year in Baltimore. Among the autograph signers was none other than Earl Weaver. I planned to purchase an autograph ticket and photo opportunity with Mr. Weaver to briefly re-unit him with his jersey from 1977, and have him sign it. I was tasked to document the piece for Beckett, an article that can be found here. it should be noted Mr. Weaver died some four months later.

After what seemed like a fun run as a contributor for the publication, I was given the opportunity to write a monthly column for Beckett Baseball Monthly, a publication that I and so many others grew up reading. I then penned my column for the magazine for about two years, and was able to assist with three special-edition magazines also published by Beckett Media.

My run as a columnist for Beckett ended in 2015 when there was shakeup among staff, and honestly it came at a good time for me as it turned out circumstances at home were also changing.

These memories are ones I’ll always remember, and I am forever grateful to those persons who made it possible.