The beauty of baseball cards — and the end of a collection

From SABR member Cee Angi at The Platoon Advantage on February 9, 2012:

I never slept well as a child. I have always had this nervous and anxious energy about me. I was afraid of monsters, robbers with face-masks, and the neighbor boys who taunted me with NERF guns. On nights when I could not sleep, I would sneak into my closet, clear a space on the book shelf, and sit there playing with the contents there within. 

There were nights that Teddy Ruxpin would read me stories while I played with the baseball cards that I became so enamored with. I read the numbers on the back, which somewhat ironically for someone who is now well-versed in sabermetrics, though they were very meaningless to me at the time. But I also studied the photos. I learned their postures and emulated the behaviors. I kept the catchers in a separate stack, because my father was a catcher and he was grooming me to play catcher, and I wanted to see how every catcher crouched behind the plate. And though the cards were just a snapshot in a much greater context, the stands, equipment, even the sun beating down on a players’ brow could all be filled in with imagination: that was the beauty of the card.


Even today, there is a certain rush that comes with opening a pack. I have opened so many that I have perfected the art of opening a pack in such a way that they cards can slide back into the plastic until there is time to catalog them. I realize that baseball cards have no real value, especially the new ones, yet I still get an irresistible urge to open and analyze a pack.

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Originally published: February 9, 2012. Last Updated: February 9, 2012.