Monday, March 23, 2015

Winning: Addiction as Therapy Sends a Pack My Way

Everyone has a story about how they got started in our hobby and, for many of us, we have our story about how we got back into the hobby.  My story is fairly mundane: through college and law school, I didn't have time or energy or storage space for my collection.  After law school, I lived in similarly small dwellings -- first an apartment in the close-in suburbs followed by a condo in the city.  Neither had a ton of space, so my cards stayed at my mom's house.

After I finally got married and my wife and I bought our current house, I found myself with more than enough room to have an office with my cards in my house.  Shortly after we celebrated 1 year in our house, my wife and I spent an extra day in Wisconsin that year at Thanksgiving to pull all my cards together and ship them back to Georgia.  Seven FedEx boxes weighing a total of just over 410 pounds later, my childhood baseball cards were mostly back in my possession again.  

My story pales in comparison to the story behind how Adam from a new blog on the block, Addiction as Therapy, got back into collecting.  As his first post, "First Taste is FREE", discusses, Adam has a typical blogger story -- collected as a kid, had heart surgery, and got back into collecting as part of his rehabilitation.

Wait, what?

Yes, he had surgery to replace his bicuspid aortic valve -- last year, in fact -- and is now a stay-at-home dad to two little ones under the age of 5. 

And yet, for some reason, here were are with HIM  sending ME  something.  In fairness, it was because his son wisely selected (randomly, I'll add) the Carlos Gomez Chipzzzzzzzz out of a hat. That meant Adam sent me the first pack of cards that I have opened all year (yes, seriously):

Adam taped the pack securely inside the envelope to some cardboard to protect it. That meant that these 9 cards all made it to me inside the pack in perfect condition:

Yeah.  Two Giants, Two Blue Jays, a painted Cub, a painted Brave, a team card, a Marlin, and a D-back.  No SPs, either.  To be fair, I'd have felt pretty bad if somehow this had been the all-chrome or all-printing plate hot pack of all Yankees that would be sold on eBay for thousands of dollars.

So, at least my conscience is clear.

Thankfully, Adam was also kind enough to throw in some cards from my want lists (which are updated for the mean time):

As over the top as those Studio cards from 1993 are, I totally dig them.  They are the anti-Panini, I suppose -- rather than no logos, the whole dadgum card is a logo.  And yet, I find myself drawn to these cards.  

Finally, Adam sent two Fleer Brewers stickers.  One of them had old Milwaukee County Stadium on the back.  On the left side, near the scoreboard, you can see Bernie Brewer's original home -- a beer barrel.  

That stadium still holds a warm place in my heart. Conservatively, I'd estimate that I saw at least 40 games in that stadium -- probably more -- during the 1980s.  That includes, in 1982, Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the California Angels and Game 5 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.  I also gathered somewhere close to 300 autographs -- at least -- at that stadium from both the Brewers and, as I got more confident in the mid-to-late 1980s, from the other teams that visited.  

Probably one of my least favorite but most memorable trips to the stadium also involved the Angels, but it was in 1990. My best friend in high school and I decided to go to a game.  It was a swelteringly hot day in Milwaukee that July day, and the Brewers fell behind right away -- badly.  They were down 7-0 after the Angels were done hitting in the top of the third. My friend and I were miserable, too. It was hot and we were planning on going out that night, so sticking around to watch a crappy baseball game just didn't make sense to my 18-year-old self and my 20-year-old friend.  

It was one of the first times I ever left a game early.  We left after the Brewers hit in the 3rd inning with the Brewers losing 7-1.  By the Win Probability chart on Baseball Reference, we left when the Angel had a 96% win probability.  We got in the car and drove the 35 miles back to where we lived.  By the time we got there, it was the bottom of the 4th, and the Brewers were in the midst of scoring six runs in the bottom of the 4th to tie the game off future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.  

In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Brewers scored thirteen more times to eventually win the game by the final score of 20-7.  

And we left early.

It always seems weird to drive by the old stadium location and see Miller Park there instead. My wife and I stay in a hotel in downtown Milwaukee when we visit up there (it gives us a respite from family, if you know what I mean), and we have to drive by the stadium site multiple times.  It still looks wrong.

Adam, thank you for the great giveaway, the great extra cards, and an excuse to relive some memories of my youth.


  1. Those are great memories! I never leave a game early either...except that one time. A few years back the Rangers were down by ten runs or so, and came back to win it. I don't remember the inning, or the final score only that I won't abandon ship again!

  2. I was just sent a bunch of Studio cards too. One of my favorite sets.