Thursday, March 10, 2016

Making my 11-year-old self proud

When I was a kid, I constantly scanned the pages of Beckett and Tuff Stuff, feasting my eyes on cards I couldn't have. Sometimes, it was vintage, like 1972 Topps, which seemed like cards that were so old I would never own them. In fact, I remember being in 8th grade when I bought a lot of Yanks, and was floored when a 1972 Topps Mel Stottlemyre was included.

Beyond the vintage were shiny, beautiful cards that just weren't available at CVS or Revco, where I got my cards. Once in awhile I'd go to a local card shop and blow some money from shoveling snow, but I almost always bought several packs as opposed to spending my money on a higher end pack or single card. I'd always glance at the display case, looking at the shiny cards that belonged behind glass or in the pages of the monthly magazine. Those weren't for me. I was buying packs of Collector's Choice and Hoops, and if I splurged, Fleer Ultra. I don't think I even knew Topps Finest was its own set that came in its own expensive packs. I just wondered why they never fell out of my regular Topps packs.

We were a very blue collar, middle class family. I never had the new Jordan or Penny Hardaway or Griffey sneakers, even though I spent hours looking at them in Eastbay catalogues. Cards were like that too. I could have the affordable ones, but just not the ones behind the glass. It was better than nothing.

It has stuck with me to this day, and is part of the reason I love '90s cards so much. They represent the cards that are ingrained in my head. The cards I put on pedestals on that I saw in the magazine pages. Now, with the magic of the internet, and the fact that I have a little money in my pocket, I can now have many of those cards I wanted. In fact, I can have them for a fraction of the price, because they aren't too pricey 20 years later.

Take this card, for example:
Man, I remember seeing this set. The neon. The cardstock. The futuristic look. This card was probably $10 or $12 back when it was out. Barley won an MVP that year. Fast forward to 2016, it was basically a throw-in for me on a recent COMC order. Seriously, it was probably a quarter or something.

And the thing is, I have no use for this card. At all. I'll probably put it in my kid's HOF binder. It was just the fact that I can now own something that I never dreamed of when I was a kid. It's very superficial and pretty stupid of me, but I felt like I needed a card like that to help bring some peace of mind to my 11-year-old self.
I then snagged a Refractor, because, why not? Again, it cost mere cents. But a 1993-94 Finest Refractor?! In my possession? I had to. I picked Seikaly since he is a Syracuse guy. But seriously?! A Refractor. From 1993-94. That's big.

While I can't quite pony up for a baseball Refractor from 1993, I did pick up a couple base cards.
Now, where can I buy a pair of 1997 Air Max Griffey sneakers?


  1. I think you and I must be about the same age. I've been searching for Pacific parallels lately. The bad thing is they are now worth way more than they were at issue.

  2. I left the hobby in 1992... so I missed the 1993 Finest sets. I eventually grabbed a 93/94 refractor of Larry Bird... which I think I still own. But I have yet to add a 1993 baseball refractor to my collection. If I ever do end up biting the bullet... it'll be of #19.