Saturday, February 8, 2014

Unfrozen Caveman Collector

The world doesn't need another baseball card blog.

Now that we have established that, let me start writing another baseball card blog.  This is my "background in the 'industry' post", so be warned.

I started collecting baseball cards in 1977.  That feels like it wasn't that long ago, but it was.  Some fun facts about what happened in 1977 courtesy of Wikipedia:

  • Apple was incorporated
  • Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both served as president
  • Elvis Presley had his last concert, and I'm pretty sure he died that year as well
  • The Clash released its first album....AND
  • Star Wars is first released in theaters.
Like I said, it was a long time ago.

At age 5, baseball cards were like toys at that point to me -- and boy, let me tell you, my cards from that era look like they have been played with a lot.  But, I started accumulating baseball cards in 1977, and from that point forward, I started spending about every dime and quarter I got on packs of cards.  I was a baseball junkie, and cards were an easy off-shoot from that love of the game.

When Fleer and Donruss started issuing cards in 1981, I was suspicious of these newcomers at first.  Once I saw their cards on the white card stock, though, I tried to buy as many of those as I could find.  I couldn't find a lot of them in the little Wisconsin town where I grew up, though, but I did try to buy them. 

Then MLB went on strike in mid-1981.  And I met my first major league player in person, too, right after the strike began -- Paul Molitor -- at a waterbed store in West Bend, Wisconsin.  I still have the photo I got from that's in rough shape:

That's tape, unknown residue, and probably some spaghetti sauce or something on this photo.

  At least I know the signature is authentic

Little did I know at that time that, apparently, Molitor had or was just trying to get over a major cocaine problem.  His agent at the time, Ron Simon, revealed that police in 1980 had to come to Molitor's Minneapolis home to make sure that Molitor was still alive.  Wow.

Things that a 9-year-old misses, I guess.

But, with that time waiting in line to meet one of my favorite players, I got hooked on cards, getting autographs, going to games -- the whole deal.

It didn't hurt that the Milwaukee Brewers were as good as they have ever been in their history.  I know because I was there.
I still hate the Cardinals.

1987 was fun too -- the 13-game winning streak to begin the year, the Molitor 39-game hitting streak, the Juan Nieves no-hitter.  Great times.

But 1987 was the last time that the Brewers were good for a long time to come.

I left for college in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1990.  The Brewers were not very good during this time, but I did attend my last game at the old Milwaukee County Stadium in 1992.  I started playing fantasy baseball at this point, which took the place of baseball cards as my summer pastime to follow the game. And, Bud Selig decided that he needed to prove the point that small market teams couldn't compete with the big guys by running the Brewers straight into the ground -- letting Molitor leave for Toronto, for example.

I stopped buying baseball cards when I went to college.  I didn't have a place to store them, I couldn't find a place to buy them for the most part, and, frankly, I'd lost interest by that point.

Throughout the rest of the 1990s and into the 2000s, I finished school by getting a second degree at the University of Georgia and became a rabid college football fan.  I also lived in apartments and condominiums that again did not have the room to store cards.

Finally, in 2009, I met my wife.  We bought a house a couple of years later after getting married, and now I have a basement to use as my hobby space.  So, last year at Thanksgiving, we had my baseball cards shipped to us in Georgia from Wisconsin.  I started sorting through the cards to figure out what I had...and I was hooked.

Now, I'm getting back into the hobby.  I feel like the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer at this point...."all your insert sets and 'hits' confuse my caveman mind."  But I'm enjoying the trips down memory lane and the new-found camaraderie on message boards and blogs, so I thought I'd start up the blog machine myself.

If you're reading this, thank you and welcome.


  1. Welcome to the baseball card blogging community! A place where you'll find plenty of snark and bitterness - but also a lot of love of cards (both old and new). A special thanks for joining my group break as well! And, finally, it's great to have another Brewers collector online - you can probably expect to be inundated with Brewer's cards once other bloggers figure out they can dump of Milwaukee's finest on you.

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog. I'd be happy to take everyone's poor, huddled masses of Brewers cards yearning to be free. :-)

  2. Tony, welcome to the blogosphere. I've added your wants to the Got it. Got it. Need it. blog. I look forward to your posts.

    1. Mark -- many thanks and thanks for running the Got it blog!

  3. Welcome back to the hobby, Tony. It's great to hear of another former collector returning! I look forward to reading about your collecting journey.

    1. Thanks and stay in touch -- see you at a Braves game this year?