My newfound passion for baseball cards caught me off guard when it developed a few months ago - considering I more-or-less stopped collecting more than two decades ago. I guess it's part nostalgia for the cards themselves, part wanting to see what I've been missing and part middle-age me me wanting to reconnect with 14-year-old me.
Baseball cards help me remember family trips to Riverfront Stadium and, later, to Tiger Stadium with Dad. They help me recall the countless hours spent in the family room with cards spread around me as I made up various statistically driven games. I'm pretty sure I invented fantasy baseball in 1978.
My first cards were '78 Topps. I love that set as a result. Later, my grandpa picked up a bag full of '76 from a garage sale. I liked them at the time well enough but I love that set now - largely because I realize what it surely meant to him to pick those up for me.
In 2011, as I reacquaint myself with this hobby, I'm both enjoying much of the new stuff - I happen to love the clean, sophisticated look of Series One - and I'm loving picking up older cards of favorite players, which I've been doing of late at a regularly held card show not far from me.
Last week, I snagged three cards of the great Al Kaline. The first, from 1967, is my favorite. It's just a classic pose. Love the fact that other players are just hanging around in the background. Love the snippet of the grandstands.
I think the next card looks great too. The black and white elements of the Tiger uniform and the card itself - splashed with a blue sky and the red that sets his name apart. I think I'm kinding of like the '71s.
And, finally, the third Kaline. I like the below card as well. I think the background is the best part - the chain link fence, the trees askew and, what is that, a radio tower? Mr. Kaline himself seems to be wearing down here compared with the '71 just two years earlier. You get the sense they found him wandering alone at the outskirts of the Spring Training camp before he half-heartedly posed for a shot or two and then went to take a nap. Why does it seem to me like he's about 48 here when he couldn't have been more than about 37?
In any case, the three Kalines were not all that I purchased at the show the other day. I'll post more through the next week or so.
Enjoy Opening Day!