Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today’s card comes with a bedtime story…

Once upon a time there was a boy named Charlie. He loved his mom, his dad, his little sister Becky, and his turtle Shelly. But most of all, Charlie loved baseball.

He’d spend countless hours in his backyard, throwing pop flies up into the air, making ice-cream cone catches to save imaginary games.

But as fate would have it, Charlie was just not very good at baseball. He had been hit in the face by many of those fantasy flies, enduring multiple bumps and bruises. A ball once caught him flush in the mouth and chipped his front tooth—it looked like a little peninsula. “I lost it in the sun!” he told his mom between tears.

Charlie’s dad was named Salvatore Etrada, and he dreamed that one day Charlie would join the family brokerage firm. He talked constantly to his wife about the future joy of having another Etrada working at Etrada.

Well, the years passed, as years will. Charlie grew older. Charlie grew into Charles. He went to work at the brokerage firm and was quite successful. But the dream of one day being a big-league ballplayer never quite died.

For Charles’ 25th birthday, Salvatore arranged the best surprise. He bought Charles a full New York Mets uniform, and arranged with the team’s manager Wes Westrum to allow Charles to spend the day on the practice field with the team.

Charles was overjoyed. He stretched and ran and threw with all the big leaguers. He felt like Charlie again.

Then, the strangest thing happened. Charlie was posing for a picture, pretending to pitch a baseball, when suddenly four bubblegum-pink letters floated into his view, just out of reach. He blinked twice, but the letters did not disappear: METS.

Charlie stretched to reach one of the letters, and he was finally able to grab the S.

There was a big whooshing sound, and the S snapped hard against his chest. Then he felt a tingling on his shoulders.

He didn’t think too much more about it until a few minutes later, when he was having a catch with one of the players. “Let it rip!” the player yelled to Charlie. So Charlie did. There was a loud pop of leather against leather, and the other player dropped his mitt and flexed his hand vigorously. “Ow! Here.” He tossed the ball back to Charlie. “Do that again.”

So Charlie did it again, with the same result. The coaches took notice of the sound, and began to form a half circle around Charlie. “Some arm you got there kid,” one said, spitting a big gob of brown goo at his feet. “Yeah, where you been hiding, Estrada?” said Westrum the manager.

Charlie was confused by all the attention. And did that guy just call him “Estrada”?

He corrected the manager. “It’s Etrada, sir. Charles Etrada.”

“Well, that ain’t what it says on the back of your jersey.”

Charlie strained to look over his right shoulder, and then his left. He saw that the name on the back of the jersey now read Estrada.

“You ever think about being a big league pitcher, Chuck?” asked Westrum.

Now of course we all know what Chuck’s answer was. Before he knew it, he was an official part of the team. He even had his own Topps trading card, which captured the moment right before he grabbed that magical S. The S that gave him a big league fastball. The S that changed Charles Etrada to Chuck Estrada.

His dad was sad at first, but the family brokerage continued to thrive. Eventually, all the people in the world got home computers, and Salvatore changed the name of the company just a bit, from Etrada to E-Trade.

And they all lived happily ever after.

You could look it up…

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