One of my resolutions this new year was to blog more than I did last year. With sufficient inspiration from Mark Aubrey's card collecting blog, I decided to create one about my twin passions: collecting books (Civil War, Tennessee history, biographies, baseball) and St. Louis Cardinals baseball cards.
I've loved reading ever since I was a kid and always dreamed of building my own personal library and writing my own books. I've been blessed to do both (thanks in large part to my very tolerable wife!).
I'm proud to say I'm a third-generation St. Louis Cardinals fan, and my father and I spent a lot of quality time together adding to his initial collection of Cardinals cards from the mid 70s to mid 80s. I remember he kept them in a hallway closet in cardboard boxes and rubber-banded together. (This was before the age of plastic pages and card holders.) Baseball wasn't very important to me growing up; I was more interested in Star Wars than playing sports. But as a junior in high school in the mid 80s, card collecting for their monetary value became a big deal so I started buying wax packs at convenience and grocery stores (50 cents for a pack of Topps cards).
Even though the new cards were cool (especially when Upper Deck and Score joined the "Big Three" of Topps, Fleer, and Donruss), I liked the look and feel (and yes, even the smell) of the old Topps and Bowmans of the 50s and 60s. Like most fathers, mine had a story about a shoebox filled with Mickey Mantles, Hank Aarons, and Stan Musials being tossed out by his mother when he left home. So he and I decided to build Cardinals team sets together. He took me to card shows at hotels throughout West Tennessee almost every weekend and we found local card shops in every small town in the area, searching for the cards we needed to complete our sets. We'd thumb through boxes of cards for hours and my dad would show ones to me and say, "Do we need this one?" (When I was young, I didn't need a checklist on paper; I had just memorized the ones I already had for a particular year.) Although I didn't think about it at the time, I look back now 25-30 years later and memories of those trips mean the world to me. Today, I can look at a particular card and remember where and how I got it.
After I married and began raising a family, I set aside the baseball cards and resigned myself to the fact that I may never complete all those sets. The mom-and-pop card shops soon disappeared and shows became a thing of the past. Then along came the Internet and a wonderful site called eBay. It rekindled my interest in finding those elusive cards, and I was even able to afford ones I thought I'd never own--rookie cards for Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton and Stan Musial cards! Since then, I completed all Topps sets from 1953 to 1991, and now I'm working to fill in gaps in my Bowmans and 1952 Topps.
My posts will likely be once or twice a week, maybe more. I'll share stories about my book and card collections and hopefully attract some followers who will share their stories, too.