Saturday, April 28, 2012

Where's your 3D glasses?

My older brother and I didn’t have a lot in common growing up. One thing we did have in common was claiming the cereal prize. My mother got so tired of these internal wars that she initiated who ever could see the prize after they poured there cereal could claim the plastic bounty. As many of you know they pack these in the bottom of the cereal bag so it could take a few days before the hint of the plastic corner could see daylight. 

During one summer I was in an awful slump claiming the prizes that I got a great idea. I opened the new box of Frutti Pebbles from the bottom and immediately secured the prize.  Triumphant at last! It was a Fred Flintstone ice cube mold. I poured some lemonade into the mold and 3 hours later I had a lemonade ice cube that I proudly slurped on in front of my brother.

These kind of acts were typically the case unless one of these precious gems was in the cereal box. 

One thing that my brother and I could agree on, was that I get the 3D baseball cards as he could care less about baseball.

Last week I ordered a set of 1980 Kellogg’s 3D cards from ebay and they arrived yesterday and they look great!  I didn't have very many of these, but the few I did have went into my collection and got looked at just as much as the other cards. I just remember they looked really cool. So when I saw this auction I bid immediately.

Looking over the set I pulled my 3 favorite players from that era.

Willie Stargell, 1st Baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates. At that age I could see that Willie was a great leader and everybody listened when Willie had something to say. I always wished I could get a "Stargell Star".

Reggie Jackson, Outfielder for the New York Yankees. Reggie was the premier superstar of the time. Reggie was dynamic and could change the game with one swing of the bat and often did.

Pete Rose, 1st Baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. Pete rose was nicknamed Charlie Hustle. The guy would run to 1st base on a walk!  To this day when I think of hustle and giving 100%, I think of Pete Rose.

All 3 of these players were great in their own way and played on great teams that all had very unique dynamics.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I’m back!!!

I have not bought a pack of cards since 1986. There are many reasons as to why I stopped, high school, college, married life and children to name a few. My youngest son is starting to dabble and I think this will be an awesome thing to do together.

So….. It’s official I am back to collecting again!  I have unpacked a bunch of my cards and will start working on completing some “older” sets.  The hard part will be what set(s) to start first.  I will be sure to keep you posted on these developments and I am thinking of posting my want list as well.  I think this will be the best way to get back in to the swing of things as I have a lot of baseball, football and hockey sets that need some attention. And frankly, I am bit overwhelmed with all the different series out there of recent. I have come to realize that some manufactures from my youth have fallen by the wayside and there are some new faces in the game. I will let my son figure out what he wants to collect and encourage him, but for me I think I will stick to the past for now.  There is going to be card show in a few weeks that isn’t too far away and I am looking forward to taking him to that.

I want to think all of the nice bloggers out there for all their great work. I stumbled onto a few and that was what rekindled the fire.  I enjoy reading them and everyone has a great story to tell and to share.

My blog moving forward will entail some collecting stuff, retro and nostalgic stories from the past along with some top 5 and top 10 series that I will share and anything else that comes up that is interesting.  I am looking forward to sharing some more very soon….

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How it all began

Let me take you back to 1979. This is the year I discovered sports. Keep in mind we only had the 3 channels at the time.  The evening news and the local newspaper was generally the only place to see sports and those were through quick score updates and brief highlights. Unless there was a premier event on a major network, you probably didn’t see it.  Our social media was being outside, so TV watching was more of a time killer when it was raining or to cold to go outside.

The first sporting event I ever remember watching was the Super Bowl that year between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. Later that year I went to my first sporting event. The town I loved in had a minor league hockey team and I caught a couple of those games and from there  I was hooked on sports.  My friends and I started playing street hockey and football in between riding our BMX bikes and playing bloody murder. 

Later that year I discovered the World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles.  Since the Steelers won the Super Bowl I decided to pull for the Pirates, but to this day one of my favorite logo's has been that Oriole bird. 

Of all the other sports I was introduced to that year, there was something about this game of baseball that drew me in like no other.  This game had more sights and sounds to me, more stories within the stories than the others. It seemed so much more calculated and precise than football. Maybe that it didn’t have a time clock and you have to play until someone wins, unlike hockey. It’s hard to describe exactly what one thing that grabbed me that year, but make no mistake, I fell in love with those sports as well and they have things about them that I loved, but baseball, that was my passion.

What are your earliest sports memories?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baseball Cards and Life Skills

From 1980 to 1985 I lived and breathed baseball cards. I would spend my allowance on these “cardboard treasures”, when the allowance was gone then came the spare change pursuit. No sofa cushion would go unturned to find a nickel, dime or an instant pack, a quarter. Every chance I had to go to a drug store or gas station with my parents fueled my passion. I was a card junkie and I needed my fix. This addiction spilled over to football and hockey cards as well, but never to the level of baseball cards I had amassed.

I not only collected cards, I studied them. I read every cartoon on the back and every highlight. I would sort them by team, then alphabetically. During “Monday Night Baseball” or any other broadcast, the rubber bands came off the two teams playing on TV.  They not only went head to head on TV, they went head to head on my living room floor.  Later in the season came set-building time. And eventually enduring the winter until the next year of cards would come out.

I spent many a dollar and many an hour with my cards, and I think they helped me learn a few things along the way. For one, I think they taught me organizational skills.  By sorting and resorting my cards, I always kept them in neat piles or in team sets. I could find my 1982 Chet Lemon faster than Lucy could pull the football away from Charlie Brown. To this day I feel I am a highly organized person.

Any set collector knows his best friend is his want list. A want list is a list of cards needed to complete your set. It is very fulfilling to cross those off, especially the last few, to complete your set and move on to the next set. I am a list maker and it stems from my youth.  Almost daily I make a list, cross things off and get things done.

If you ever opened fresh packs with your pals, you know what “got’em, got’em , need’em, got’em” means.  After scanning your new inventory you were ready to make a trade and, in some cases, get into some heavy negotiating that would make Mr. Trump tremble at the mere thought of going toe to toe with you.  I, like my pals, were trying to build sets, so deep down you wanted to help each other out in their quest.  These early high-stake sessions helped instill a desire to try to do all my dealings with a “win-win” situation attitude.

I have been pretty much out of the hobby for 27 years now, but these simple routines, that most every young collector did, have transferred into some pretty cool life skills, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My First Time...

It was March of 1980, a cold winter day and I had been ice fishing with my dad. We stopped at the local bait shop and there on the counter was something I had never noticed before. Baseball cards. The price was $.25 for a pack and I had a quarter in my pocket. I was used to seeing these cardboard pictures, but mostly relative to movies and TV shows. I had some Star Wars cards and knew about the "gum", so these baseball cards were not that strange of a thing to me. So I placed my quarter on the counter and took a pack out of the box.

On the way home I opened the pack and this was the first card I saw.

A familiar face as I had recently watched the 1979 World Series the previous fall and had remembered the "We Are Family" team. I can remember getting a Detroit Tiger card which was a big deal as I grew up in Michigan. I don't remember all the cards that day, but I do remember one more.

Steve Rogers? Why would I remember this young right-hander? Growing up, my family had a very close friend and mentor by the same name and I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen. His name on a baseball card.

I can remember that day like it was yesterday and that was the day I fell in love with baseball, baseball cards and I still cherish those days.