Monday, December 31, 2018

The Reminiscence Bump

Night Owl's post about the memories of life events between the ages of 10 to 30 for most people over 40 has inspired several bloggers to follow suit in illustrating what certain cards or years trigger in their minds.  This is my timeline, but I think I will be expanding on it in future posts.

It's 1978 and I'm in 7th grade and I have a handful of '74 Topps cards whose origin I can't recall.  These are the only cards I own.  I take them to school and trade with a few other guys, but I'm not collecting seriously yet.
The Brewers guys are my favorites, mostly because their uniforms are interesting and the blue color on the team tabs is nice.  Pedro is the happy go lucky dude, while Eduardo is the serious one - at least in my mind.  I've heard of the Yastrzemski fellow, so I'll hold on to that one for a while.  (The Yaz scan is my card.)

1979 - Now my neighbor friends are all into cards and we start set building.  My entire collection fits in one binder and two of those Topps lockers.  The first set I complete is '79 Topps football.  I get down to one guy on the Jets to finish the set.  This then leads to...

1980 - I complete the 1980 Topps baseball set.  I'm trying to remember which card finished it off, but I know it wasn't Rickey.  This set becomes the "default normal" set to me for all time.  It ends up defining the line between vintage and modern at the time and still separates the eras in my mind.  Even though it's almost forty years old now, it never seems "old" to me.  1980 starts a run of set building in both directions that continues to this day.


1981 - Error mania begins.  I love variations and collecting "master" base sets.  I still have the xeroxed printout of all the 1981 Donruss errors in my list binder.  I'm not sure that I hand collated all three sets in '81, but I dive right in to all three companies' offerings one way or another.   I watch a lot of baseball on TV and enjoy Fernandomania in '81.
At some point, I find that I have a few cards of some players that I kind of like and turn them into player collections.  These are from the various singles I have at the time that are not yet set builds.  I call them my "Collectibles". 

1982 - By now, I've discovered a card shop in Hanover, PA that becomes my regular source for new sets.  I make it a yearly habit to buy two out of the three products, and hand collate the third.  From what I know, the full sets only cost like $10.  They are mostly hand collated by the shop, but the Donruss sets come in the company issued boxes, so they may be factory sets.

  I actually have the entire calendar year of 1982 documented.  I kept what you could call a "journal" of sorts for a few years during this time.  In this little travel planner book, I scrawled a very bried blurb about what I did each day.  Most of it is playing pickup sports out in the fields near my townhouse, school work and things that went on there, visiting relatives (including my Dad since he and Mom were divorced), and doing kid type stuff around the neighborhood with my friends - including trading, buying and selling cards.  I was the oldest of my bunch by a couple years, so I wasn't as involved with kids my own age at the time.

I will be posting different specific entries in the book that are card related.  I will also try to find the other books as well.  Stay Tuned!

1983 - Set building is in full swing.  This should be about the point where I started taking boxes that I got from the deli department of the grocery store I worked at and gave them to the card shop in Hanover.  Regular white boxes weren't as prevalent then, so you just used what you could get.  These were the perfect size.  Plus, they were free!

And this happened...

1984 - Graduated from high school.  Got my three sets, which I considered lucky at the time since the Donruss set was a bit harder to come by.  Pretty sure I bought Donruss and Fleer in one shot and built Topps by hand.  At this point, between the three sets, other things like Fleer Star Stickers and Donruss Action All-Stars, there was too much being put out.  You couldn't collect it all.  (Boy, we didn't know the half of it back then, eh?)
This would mark the end of the first phase of my collecting life.  I would switch over to comics in a little while and not buy any cards for a long time.

1989 - Bought two wax boxes of Topps just to see what they were like, since I hadn't seen any for five years.  Can't tell you where I got them.  I think they cost $25 at the time.  Liked them OK, and completed the set eventually, but this didn't get me back into the hobby.  I was completely oblivious to the whole overproduction era and how cards took off in the following years.  Was into comics until about 1993, and then gave those up too.

Fall/Winter 2003 - Had just resigned from my job at the computer manufacturer.  I knew that I would be working for the local school system soon, but had a couple months in between to work it out.  Decided to get back into cards when I did a project about my 1909 NY Giants team photo and ordered some reprint cards to go with it.
Discovered that current cards had expanded into inserts, parallels, game-used jerseys,  autographs, eBay, grading, and everything else.
Found a couple of the card shops nearby were still around and dove in again.  First cards I bought were a short set of 2002 Fleer Focus Jersey Edition football.  (1-100).

2004 - I win my fantasy football league for the second consecutive year.  Running Backs are the strongest performers in that period, and I had one of the best.  Turns out he's a high character guy as well.  He becomes one of my most dedicated player collections.

2005 - Washington gets a baseball team.  Frank Robinson leads them to an exact 86-86 record.  I go to a couple games and start to follow the team.  I still like the Orioles a bit better, but it's cool to have two local teams now.  The Redskins and Capitals aren't doing much otherwise.

2009 - Topps issues a parallel set in Series 1 that is available a whole blaster at a time.  I didn't know about them until I had pretty much wrapped up the base set, but since you can get them separately, I jumped in.  Unfortunately, they changed their minds in Series 2 and forced us to buy them a few at a time while piling up Series 2 base singles.  I balked.  Still haven't finished them.

Mid-year, I post this custom from Goose Joak and design a back for it.  It's the first card-related post I put on this blog, but the only post in 2009 at all.  I continue to post about three to ten times a year for the next several years until 2016 when I go about once or twice a week.  Then finally, in 2017, I started posting regularly.

And the rest is ... in my archive.

Like I mentioned, I will be posting some more about daily happenings of 1982, plus some miscellaneous memories that are triggered by specific cards.  I also figured out that I can document when I worked on various 70's and 60's Topps sets by when the lists were composed using Word.  The file creation dates spell it right out.

For now, Happy 2019!


  1. Interesting. I don't have anything that I wrote back when I was young outside of a couple of things my mom saved. Wish I did.

    You completed sets much more efficiently than I did as a youngster.

  2. If I could go back in time, I'd totally start up a journal. That's kinda why I started up a blog. I wanna be able to go back and read about my cardboard adventures. Happy New Year!

  3. You were a set collecting fiend even as a kid!