Visual Evidence That My Parents Loved Me

As a member of the middle class, my childhood was in no way free of tragedy. My parents, thoughtful as they were, crippled my future writing career by failing to die or even divorce during my upbringing. Nor were even the holidays free from suffering: how I remember that fateful Christmas when, tense with anticipation to receive the NES game Baseball Stars, I ripped open that familiar rectangular present to find… Bases Loaded II. I still carry the pain of that moment to this day.

But despite the hardships that I endured, the fact that I never got a Pogo Ball and that my parents allowed me to watch Smokey and the Bandit at least a hundred times on LaserDisc, I would be remiss to leave you with the impression that my youth was unending disappointment. As proof that my parents did in fact feel some sort of affection for me, twenty-three years ago, they gave me this:

The picture sports an autographed rookie card and the prized Upper Deck headshot of 1989. Still, the eye is drawn upward to a pair of Ken Griffey, Jr. candy bars, made with 100% milk chocolate, which are probably still at least 98% chocolate today. But wrapped in its thin foil is more than just processed cocoa with alkali: they also trap in the heady potential of youth on the cusp of achievement. One sees them and imagines a group of boys sitting a patch of grass, biting down on Griffey’s head and tasting summer.

Thank you, Dad, and thank you, Mom. And a Happy Boxing Day to you and yours, dear reader.

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Patrick Dubuque writes for NotGraphs and The Hardball Times, and he served as former Bill Spaceman Lee Visiting Professor for Baseball Exploration at Pitchers & Poets. Follow him on Twitter @euqubud.

5 Responses to “Visual Evidence That My Parents Loved Me”

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  1. chris says:

    I don’t know if my perception is being colored by the fact that it’s the most expensive of the bunch, but that 89 griffey really does look great

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  2. Hugh Briss says:

    I feel your upbringing pain. So consistently caring were my parents until the fateful Christmas when my laser tag gun would not work but my younger brother’s did. Not even the ’85 Fleer Eric Davis rookie card could sedate my abounding temper tantrum.

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  3. danielschwartz.rotobanter says:

    Awesome. Traded both only a few sad years ago with the rest of my collection…for a backyard fence

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  4. Jason Cote says:

    Baseball Stars and Bases Loaded II? You missed out on the real NES baseball gem, my friend: Baseball Simulator 1.000. Greatest thing ever. Especially since you could create your own players, editing names, skills and even selecting whether a pitcher threw over the top, 3/4’s or submarine.

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