I’ve collected baseball cards since I was a kid. When I use the word “collect,” I really mean that I don’t throw away the ones I have. I’m not the sort of person who can justify a heavy investment in luxury items like baseball cards, lottery tickets, bottled beer, or plus-rated gasoline.
For someone who grew up at the rise of the junk wax era, my collection is and was pretty decent. When one of my father’s co-workers gave me a crumbling December 1987 Beckett Magazine, I sorted through my card and found that I owned the rookie card of a guy named Tony Gwynn. I took it to church to show my friends, and lost it. Later, I traded a ton of cards for a 1963 Carl Yastrzemski, which I always found difficult to look at because of the patch of sunlight on the tip of his nose, and which made him look like an elf. The card was worth $75 at the time. I took it to a card show, and had it stolen. Later on, in 1992, I pulled some fancy insert rookie card of Shaquille O’Neal, and it, too, was stolen. That one is hard to feel upset about now, given that it’s probably worth 20 cents. Still, I was a pretty stupid kid.