Saturday, November 03, 2012

A Stack of "Old Cards" Cards my Father-in-Law!

A few days ago, my father-in-law went to visit his aging (and ailing) parents.  While he was at their house, he poked around their basement a bit and found a stack of beat up baseball cards.  He instantly thought of me since no one in his family collects cards anymore and so he grabbed the stack of cards on his way out of the house.

A day later, the stack of cards from my wife's grandparents house are in my hands.  Like any proper stack of old cards, the cards are held together by a tightly wrapped rubber band.  

I remember doing that as kid to my cards as well - sometimes you simply don't have to worry about what Beckett says in terms of book value.  When I first saw the stack of cards from a distance, I could instantly see that the cards were in rough shape.  Between the rubber band, the rounded corners, and the wavy cardboard I didn't hold out much hope that I'd discover the next great collection of gem mint Mickey Mantle rookie cards or anything.  I did, however, hope to find some sort of well-loved treasure.

What did I actually end up with?

Well, here's a better photo of the top of the stack of cards...

Yeah, that's a Mookie Wilson card ripped in half.  A 1987 Mooke Wilson.  

The same 1987 set that I have a full shoebox of extras sitting around with nothing to do with (though to be fair, none of my 1987s are ripped in half).

The rest of the stack was much like the top card - mostly mid-to-late 80s cards (with some football cards thrown in the mix).

I don't know much about 80s football...but I can say there were a dozen football cards including this 1980 Topps football card (easily the most interesting football card in the stack).

I might not know much about football cards from three decades ago, but I do know a fair bit about baseball cards from that era.  The stack of cards consisted of about 40 baseball cards - since there weren't any true "treasures" in the stack, I decided it might be fun to try to find the biggest duds in the stack.  That is, what's the worst card in the stack.

One of the first awful cards (in a stack of bad cards) that I encountered was this Tim Conroy card.

Poor Time, he's got more creases in him than a hockey game (do they even play hockey any more?).  Unfortunately for Tim, like all Athletics he's always the bridesmaid and never the bride.  No, his card pales in comparison to this Mike Scioscia card from 1986 Donruss.

Why is this the worst card?  First, it's Donruss (circa 1986).  Second, there's a huge chunk of one corner missing...and a fair bit of a second corning missing as well.  And third, it's got some sort of funky stain on the back (not shown) that adds a bit more injury to the other numerous injuries.  

The stack wasn't all duds though - there were at least two decent players - the first being Lou Whitaker (who comes pre-creased to fold up like a pocket sized map)!

The second decent player is Mario Soto (who also happened to be the only Red in the entire stack).

I guess I got lucky in that the Soto is probably one of the cards in the top 10% in terms of condition!  

Finally, there was one other card that I really did like - this 1984 Cubs Leaders card.  

I'm a sucker for the team leader cards from sets of yore - and I happen to love when the back consists of a team checklist (which this one does).

Oh, you know how I said that the Mike Scioscia was the worst card in the stack?  I lied.

The worst card is actually a card that happens to be in the best condition...



You've been warned:

ACK!  1991 Fleer.  My eyes, my eyes!

Seriously though, I laughed hard when I uncovered this "treasure" in the stack.

Now, although the stack of cards didn't produce anything that Beckett would say is worth money...and I wouldn't use any of the cards as trade bait, the stack itself brought me a lot of pleasure.  For one, it's great when your father-in-law thinks of you and does something specifically designed to make you happy.  It's even more of an honor when your father-in-law happens to care absolutely nothing about baseball!  For that reason alone, this stack will end up as one of my treasures (well, I might find a way to rid myself of the football cards but the rest of the stack will end up as a treasure).  

In the end, that's what card collecting should be about. It's about memories.  It's about kind gestures.  It's about fun!  And yes, I had a blast going through the stack!  These cards will forever hold memories akin to the 1987 Topps Reds' Leaders card that my dad gave me when I was a little kid.  The book value is meaningless to me - it's the personal value that matters.  And for that reason, this stack of "old cards" truly was a treasure.

Thanks Dad #2!

PS:  Given the relatively young age of the cards, it's clear that NONE of these cards ever belonged to my father-in-law or his brother.  We have no idea where they came from - our best guess is that perhaps my wife's grandparents picked up some cards at a flea market or yard sale (by accident)?  It's a mystery that is unlikely to ever be solved, but that's ok.  The gesture is really all that mattered!


night owl said...

One of the previous owners of those cards obviously got some twisted thrill out of torturing mid-1980s cardboard. Sick, sick person. :)

unclemoe said...

It's almost like they're so bad that they're cool. I like the Whitaker.


Spiegel83 said...

It is a shame that the Scoscia is beat up and missing a corner. I sadly don't own a copy of that card in any condition.

CaptKirk42 said...

Fun story. Ah if those cards could talk. Sad that cards in their mid to late 20s were tortured so much. I'm almost surprised you didn't have to wait for the cards to "dry out", if they were water logged I think they would be dead.

If you have problems unloading some of these "gems" there is always the blogger who does "pooroldbaseballcards" sorry I forget his name.

As far as the Football I happen to be a Rams (and Redskins) fan. If that Rams card needs a home let me know.

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