So, without any further ado...
Like many collectors, I too have heard the horror story of my dad's card collection being tossed away. Topps itself even recognized this epidemic and dedicated a sizable insert set in its 2010 set called "Cards Your Mom Threw Out." Someday, I'd like to make my own insert set called "Cards I Probably Should Have Thrown Out," which would encompass nearly anything and everything released from 1988-1991. But I digress...
I didn't doubt my dad when he said he had all kinds of Yankees cards from the early 60s, since he grew up a die-hard Yankees fan. My dad's twin brother, who also was into cards, can back up the story. He said that all their buddies all had different favorite teams. Whenever they got together and bought cards and traded with their friends, my dad would get all the Yankees, my uncle would get all the Twins, another kid would get the Red Sox, etc.
They didn't know exactly how many cards they had, but their collection did take up "a few, probably 4 or 5" shoe boxes that they kept in their room. One summer, when they were 12 or 13, my grandma was cleaning and tossed out their cards, every single last one of them. They couldn't remember exactly why she threw them out; perhaps she thought they were too old to be buying cards or something along those lines. When I asked my grandma, she said she was just "tossing out junk."
After hearing this sad story and wondering what kind of cardboard treasure my grandma had squandered, I was disappointed that I wouldn't have any of my dad's cards handed down to me, or let alone even look at. On the other hand, it was neat to hear my dad's stories about his favorite player (Mickey Mantle) and the heroes of baseball from the late 50s and early 60s, as I showed off my Dale Murphy, Mike Schmidt, and Cal Ripken cards.
I decided then and there I was going to do whatever I could in my power to make sure my mom wouldn't throw out my cards. I figured I'd have my dad as an ally, since he wasn't lucky enough to have his cards survive. In the end, my mom didn't take much convincing and luckily I had both of my parents understand how much I enjoyed cards--sorting them, trading them, looking at the front, and diligently studying the statistics and info on the back.
One night we were at my grandma's house and my dad was helping rearrange some boxes in her basement. I was sitting at her kitchen table sorting a stack of cards (shocker, I know) when my dad came up from downstairs. He stood behind me for a minute or two, and then dropped something on the table in front of me.
Apparently, one card had escaped my grandma's wrath and had survived untouched in the basement for well over twenty years. It was a 1968 Topps football card of Rick Redman, linebacker/kicker from the Chargers. Interesting position combo, but apparently common back when players played on both sides of the ball.
Although it was just one card, it had two things going for it as far as I was concerned. First, and foremost, it used to belong to my dad. Secondly, I finally had an "old" card in my collection, something that was older than I was.
On the surface, the centering is way off, and the corners are anything but sharp. Warts and all, this card has more sentimental value to me that no price guide can measure. It has also inspired me to put the 1968 set together, just as my dad tried to do nearly 45 years ago.
Until next time,