View Full Version : My Brother and I - Contest Entry

09-05-2010, 02:06 AM
My first baseball card memory just came back to me a few days ago. It was a memory Iíve missed, but I once again treasure.
I started collecting very young, following in the footsteps Ė as I did in many other areas Ė of my older brother. Being from Phoenix, we had to search far from home to decide on a favorite team. We were quickly drawn to the Yankees, though this was in the dry spell of the late 80s. We looked to Don Mattingly and always hoped for his success, but the team could never carry Jeremyís favorite to the playoffs. Our family had been cheering on the Yankees for years and years, and it seemed natural. Furthermore, my selection for a favorite player was natural as I picked the best player of the time, Jose Canseco. All I really knew of Jose Canseco as a 5 year-old is that he hit homeruns. Lots of them.
One day, on our way home from school, our mom gave into our request for a stop at the Ball Park, the local shop that invited us in many an afternoon. Even before my memories begin, Iíve been told stories of being wheeled through the card shop in a grocery cart, so that as a toddler I wouldnít touch any of the merchandise. I likely had just a little bit of money but decided to splurge on a pack of 1986 Topps. I knew these cards were really old (this was 1989) and so was the gum, but I didnít realize that there was no way it would contain a Jose Canseco card. I didnít know he was in the set. I didnít even know how to read at this point. I tore open the pack and sorted through them, putting aside the Yankees and the Aís. I wasnít able to read, but I could decode the bright green abruptness of one and the noble contrast of the other.
Once I had moved the two vaunted teams to the side, I looked for help from my older brother. The one that got me into baseball cards in the first place would go through the Yankees and Aís and patiently read me the playerís names on the cards that I instantly put great value on. Not surprising now, but devastating at the time, was the fact that I didnít receive a Jose Canseco. I didnít even get a Don Mattingly.
Though Iím a reasonable newcomer to the hobby, this is a memory that makes the hobby so important to me. I stopped collecting for a while as I grew. My brother stopped collecting all together not long after I stopped. As Iíve come back to collecting over the past 4 years, my brother has been in the background. As I made my favorite pull just a few years ago, I realized the first person I need to tell was my brother. Coincidentally, this pull was one of those teams. A Joe DiMaggio relic from Baseball Heroes. (how interesting that I knew the Yankees from their contrasting black and white when I was young and new to the hobby, and it was a swatch from the visiting gray of DiMaggioís wool). Every pull Iíve made, Iíve made a point of letting him be a part of by immediately emailing him. Iíve even convinced my brother to buy a box recently and to scour eBay for the cards we couldnít afford as kids. He may never come back to the hobby as I have, but he has become a participant at a distance. Asking for updates on companies and the ramifications of baseball news on the cards that still fill a closet at our parentís house.
In a few months, my brother will have his first son. Just a few weeks after I found out this new little man was to enter the world, I put together his first Christmas gift. A hand-collated set of 2010 Topps. This memory may be years away. It may never truly come to be. But it would be an honor for me, if my nephewís first memory of baseball cards is in anyway as special to him, as my first memory of baseball cards is to me.

09-06-2010, 04:21 PM