No Better Way to Spend an Evening

Ted Williams' 1957 card

Last week, Dave, a friend of mine from college, drove an hour to meet me in Minneapolis. It was a special occasion: Nostalgia Night. Dave brought with him a few albums stuffed with baseball cards from 1957 through 1965, the golden age of collecting cards as far as we were concerned.

I remember biking home from the drugstore at seven years old with a box of baseball cards—filled with twenty-four packs at a nickel each—and sitting at our family room table lovingly opening each pack, checking each card against my checklist, and organizing them into appropriate piles. My happiness could not have been more complete.

Paging through Dave’s collection of cardboard gods was at once nostalgic, joyous and therapeutic. Dave said it best: “When I look at these cards, I go to a different place.” Me too. With one glance at the 1964 set, I was seven again. The players on the cards were frozen in time, forever young, and so was I. The concerns of today dropped away and for a few hours life was simple, innocent and pure again.

Every so often, I’d slide a card out of its plastic album page and flip it over to refresh my memory about that player’s team history and stats. But for the most part, we just looked at the players and told stories of an era gone by, when baseball players were larger than life and we’d drop off to sleep dreaming of our heroes.

When it was time for Dave to go, we promised to get together again soon. There were many years of cards to go through and many more memories to share. It was a good night. No, strike that. It was an awesome night. It was great feeling like a kid again.

Later that night, I e-mailed another baseball card-loving friend and told him that Dave and I had spent a few hours going through albums of cards from our childhood. His reply was simple and straightforward: “Possibly no better way to spend an evening.”


POSTSCRIPT: After reading this post, the friend I quoted at the end e-mailed me to say: “If I had to do it all over again I would remove the word ‘possibly.'”

Click here to view all my baseball-related posts.


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