Posts Tagged ‘baseball cards’

No Better Way to Spend an Evening

June 29, 2011

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 (more…)

My Heroes!

January 22, 2009

In the summer when I turned seven, I came out of Capitol Drug in White Bear Lake with some packs of baseball cards. Standing on the sidewalk, I opened my treasures and . . . YES! . . . there was a card of Minnesota Twins first baseman Don Mincher! I couldn’t wait to show my dad!

When I was around four, my mom had prepped me for my dad’s arrival home from work on a day when the Twins played an afternoon game. My dad was a huge baseball fan, so when he came through the door at dinner time, I proudly announced “Don Minser hit a home wun and da Twins win!” My dad couldn’t have been prouder!

My dad and I shared a love of baseball. I used to sit on his lap with my baseball cards, cover up the names and have him guess who they were. We also used to trade initials. “Give me one!” I’d say, and he’d think for a moment, then say, “J.G.” “Jim Grant!” I guessed. If that wasn’t it, I’d go to Junior Gilliam, Jim Gentile, Julio Gotay or Jerry Grote. It was a great game for car rides. I remember getting him twice in a row with “J.C.”—Jim Campbell. I don’t know if he was humoring me or if he was paying more attention to his driving, but it’s a great memory that has stayed with me all these years.

My mom was also very loving and supportive of my baseball mania. I remember her surprising me with a box of baseball cards on a family trip when I was seven (I still remember getting Steve Barber, a pitcher for the Orioles). And it was her idea to take me out of school whenever a Twins player was featured at an autograph session at a local bank (see photos below). I couldn’t have asked for two better parents.

When I was in grade school, Dad went out in the back yard with a shovel, (more…)

Return to Ortonville

September 30, 2008

welcome-to-ortonville-sign
On September 12, after nearly fifteen years, my daughter Erin and I returned to Ortonville, the small western Minnesota town where my dad grew up. I had scheduled a reading for my new book at the Ortonville Library but that was only a small part of our agenda.



As kids, my sister and I were so excited when Grammo and Grampo's house came into view

As kids, my sister and I were so excited when Grammo and Grampo’s house came into view


I had always loved going to Ortonville as a kid. My family made the three-hour trip from the Twin Cities at least a few times every year, including pretty much every Thanksgiving and Christmas. My dad’s parents—Grammo and Grampo to my sister Cyn and me—lived in a wonderful big stone house. That was appropriate since Ortonville is located in Big Stone County.



We'd often drive in the back way so the car would be facing the street in front of the house


We’d often drive in the back way so the car would be facing the street in front of the house



My sister and I have wonderful childhood memories of Ortonville, and I am grateful that Erin was able to experience many of the same people and special places in Ortonville when she was growing up. Erin hadn’t been back since Grammo (more…)

Diversion, Good . . . Obsession, Bad.

September 21, 2008

roosevelt-dimes-albumI’ve always loved hobbies and collecting things. In my younger days, I spent many happy hours immersed in my baseball card, comic book, coin and stamp collections. I still harbor dreams of starting up some of those hobbies again someday.

However, such healthy pastimes can morph into unhealthy obsessions. So can a love of following sports. Or reading junk novels. Or trading stocks. Or watching escapist television shows. (I’m reminded of comedian Bill Arnold’s joke: “I saw a survey that says the average American watches 5½ hours of television a day. Can you believe that? I mean, c’mon . . . they’re missin’ a lot of good shows!”stamp-album

Turning to hobbies, guilty pleasures or other mindless activities to relieve stress for a few hours can be a wonderful thing. Using them to escape life altogether is something else entirely.

football-fan-painted-faceThere’s nothing wrong with watching a couple football games every week, following the rest of the league online, and playing fantasy football with a group of pals. But there’s nothing right about (more…)

Goodbye Baseball Cards, Hello Life

August 22, 2008

willie-maysWhen I was twenty-three, financial challenges forced me to sell off my baseball card collection. I realize how trivial this may sound to some of you. But I had been collecting cards since I was six years old and they were precious to me.

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. Saying goodbye to my baseball cards felt like I was losing my best friends—and a big piece of my youth as well. I miss them to this day.

In hindsight, however, I am glad I had to let them go. If I hadn’t, I would have continued to (more…)