Its been a while since I have contributed anything meaningful to Gaslamp Ball, for that I apologize. A combination of adjusting to married life, bitterness for being passed for for the Travelling Jersey (I'll admit it) when I offered to bring it on my honeymoon, and the fact that I generally contribute on transaction value to the team and the Padres have not done much of anything worthy of a comment have all been factors.
However, here we are! Spring Training close at hand, the bitter cold (30 degree mornings is bitter cold in San Diego) giving way to less bitter cold but still cold mornings. Hope abounds as the season gets ready to kick off.
In resent years my 11 year old nephew has been very interested in my baseball card collection. It is a modest collection mostly of 1988/1989 Topps, and 1992 Donruss. I have a few other "Sets" of mid 80's (earliest I have is 86) to early 90's Upper Deck and Topps cards but they are all in boxes and not in display folders. However, I recently watched my nephew for a few hours and took out my 1989 Topps cards to show my nephew.
So, with many props to TheThinGwynn for the overall inspiration in these types of posts. I will give a little story about myself and my own Padres on Cardboard.
When I was 8 I went just as batsh*t crazy as any other kid for the ice cream man. It was not for the frozen confections however, it was for the baseball cards and rock hard gum. There was something very "Laura Ingells Wilder" about it all when I think about it. My family was pretty poor neither parent had college degrees, they were going through a messy divorce but they always managed enough change so I could go out and spend .75 on a pack of baseball cards.
I specifically remember the waxy paper, and turning it over and over again in my hands before opening it. When I would open it I had a very specific order I would do things.
1) Put the gum in my mouth, and start chewing.
2) Look at the cards one by one.
I was always looking for the Padres. I would slowly pulls the top card down to reveal the name of the team behind it. I knew that Tony Gwynn was the Padre of all Padre even then, but I was equally excited about any Padre Player I would get. So much so that I remember on my 10th Birthday my mom let me just go to the Mira Mesa Mall with her to spend $20 anyway I chose, and I chose to spend some of my money on the "team pack" for the 1991 Upper Deck Padres, which was a cathartic experience. I also remember the clerk saying something snarky about the Giants and A's team packs selling much better.
In the above picture are the 8 Padres I got in the summer of 1989 or 90 (I never remember how the years go with baseball cards).
Carmelo Martinez, John Kruk, "All-Star" Tony Gwynn, Gary Templeton, "Record Breaker" Benito Santiago, Marvell Wynne, Mark Davis, and Luis Salazar.
Few if any of my baseball cards are in "Mint" condition, because I actually played with them and loved looking at them outside of the plastic sleeves I would store them in. The pictures fascinated me. You have to remember that this was in the dark ages before the internet. I would imagine what the game or situation was like when the pictures were taken. The uniforms all seemed so awesome to me. I also remember being really annoyed that Topps found it appropriate to put the "Padres" in blue on the baseball cards.
I also used to play some sort of dice based game with my Uncle and Cousin where the dice roll would simulate at bat results, and so I needed a team of baseball cards to play.
There was something about the cards that also stimulated my need to create order out of chaos.
I spent my summers with my grandparents because my mom could not afford child care. One summer my grandmother bought a box of Donruss cards and let my cousin and I split the packs. I was in heaven. We traded duplicates, and I traded as many Dodgers (they lived in Riverside, which is apparently Dodger country) for my cousin's Padres as I could.
I later got my mom to buy me some folders with sleeve pages so I could try to get the whole collection, and I started to put them in the folder in numerical order leaving spaces for the other numbers. After a few summers of going to baseball card shops and looking for missing pieces and buying them dirt cheap, I got all but 12 of them for that set.
Overall I loved my baseball cards. I wonder on occasion if kids these days have anything similar. Pokemon cards maybe? Something about collecting and getting all these little pictures of guys playing a game was a real joy for me as a kid.
That about wraps in up. Looking forward to this season and contributing more!