Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I inherited a large box of cards from my neighbor Steve when he moved away.

He was several years older than me, but cool enough to let me play stickball in the street with the bigger kids.

The majority of these cards were from 1965 to 1967, with some stray 1964s speaking to his first dalliances with collecting, and a small stack of 1968s signaling the end of the affair.

The cards were well kept—neatly stacked and lightly rubberbanded, with sharp corners and edges.

I can remember running through the piles: Koufax, Koufax, Mantle, Mantle, common, common, Rose, Rose, Rose. I added his box to my own burgeoning pile.

Then sometime in late 1976 or early 1977, a baseball card shop opened in our town. One day, I went in with this box of thousands of 1965-1967 cards. The owner offered me $100. Christ, I had never held a $100 bill in my life. So of course I took it.

I don’t regret this all as much as you might expect. I don’t spend a lot of time wishing I had the cards back, doing imaginary calculations. I mean, there’s no way the cards would have made it through my teenage years without being sold and/or swapped for a handful of magic beans, anyway.

Sometimes, though, I would like to have a couple of hours alone with that box. Just to sit on the floor and go through the stacks one more time: Koufax, Koufax, Mantle, Mantle, common, common, Rose, Rose, Rose…

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