Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mint condition

After about a month of hard work, every baseball card I own is now put away and organized neatly in 3-ring binders. They had kinda been all over the place, in different storage boxes and whatnot and that was bugging me something fierce. As hard as it may be for some people to believe, I really do have some level of OCD that seems to occur randomly (as I mentioned here previously) so between having every single piece of laundry I own done, every dish clean and put away and the baseball cards situated, I feel pretty good tonight.
Like almost everyone else who collects baseball cards, especially if they have all of theirs from when they were kids, going through my old cards brings back memories, the three most traumatic-yet-ultimately-sort-of-rewarding-in-a-strange-way of which I will share with you now...
  • 1976: I was 12 years old and had bought several packs of cards at Angelo's at the Fairplain Plaza. I was really excited because in those packs I had finally gotten a Graig Nettles to complete my Yankees set (I didn't hate them yet). A bunch of high school kids jumped me behind Goldblatts and I was terrified they were going to take the Nettles card. But all they wanted was money, which I didn't have, having spent it on baseball cards, so they punched me in the stomach and left. (Note to those delinquents, if they're reading this: I still have that Nettles card, you bastards.)
  • 1976 (again): My next door neighbor, Robert, swindled me in a trade, taking Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan in exchange for Carlton Fisk and Luis Tiant. You could probably call Bench for Fisk a wash now but Ryan for Tiant is ridiculous. It wasn't so much that he was slick and conned me, it was that he whined and whined and wouldn't shut up so he just wore me down. I was pretty mad at myself for letting that happen and really regretted making the trade. An old lady who lived in our apartment complex, Florence Stokes, found out about it and she was pissed too. All the kids in the complex called her Grandma because she took care of everybody; being our guardian at the pool, giving us lunch and dinner and buying stuff all the time. So anyway, she took all the kids, except Robert, downtown to Barentsen's Candy Company and she bought me a whole box of Topps wax packs. It took me the rest of the day to open them but I got both Ryan and Bench back out of it, plus I still had the Fisk and Tiant I had gotten in the trade. (Note to Robert Graves, if he's reading this: I still have all four of those cards too, whiner.)
  • 1980, Fourth of July: I went over to Victor Kulich's house because I knew he had a Dave Parker rookie card and I wanted it. Victor was (and probably still is) an asshole. He didn't even like baseball and couldn't care less about Dave Parker but he wouldn't let me have it. I offered trade, money, all kinds of stuff but he enjoyed not letting me have it. Once, he threatened to rip it in half in front of me. Yeah, that kind of asshole. Anyway, I was over at his house trying once again to get that card from him and he was fooling around with things in his dad's garage that parents aren't supposed to let their kids fool around with. Yada, yada, yada, I wind up with a hole in me. Writhing on the ground in his front yard, screaming in pain, he thought I was kidding. He figured out real quick that I wasn't. He gave me the Parker card in the hope that I wouldn't tell anybody and he wouldn't get in trouble. Not that I could have kept it a secret even if I wanted to, but I didn't want to. So he got in trouble and I still kept the Parker rookie card. (Note to Victor Kulich, if he's reading this: I still have that Dave Parker rookie card. And scar tissue. Asshole.)

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