Monday, October 17, 2011

The Best Trade I Never Made

Have you ever looked through your collection of baseball cards or sports cards and noticed how many memories these little pieces of cardboard can stir up? I’m always amazed at how many seemingly ‘common’ cards in my collect have a story behind them.

I can think back to 1980 when a neighborhood friend of mine out in Kansas pulled a George Brett card out of a pack. George was the hottest thing in Kansas back then and I remember thinking how lucky he was to get that card. Every time I look at that card in my collection I think of that kid carry the card around in his pocket the whole summer.

I remember the first Tiger card I pulled from pack in 1978 was a Dave Rozema rookie card with the gold rookie trophy in the bottom left corner.

I also remember my first true vintage card was a 1958 Steve Boros card my friend gave me back in 4th grade. The card had a crease and some badly rounded corners but I didn’t care, too me it was really cool (and I still have the card in my collection today).

The reason I bring this up is that I had the pleasure of breaking open a few 1981 Topps vending boxes and I came across a card that really stirred up some memories.

The 1981 Topps baseball card set was the first set I ever completed. I remember buying one wax box for $9 at a local card show which gave me a good start on the set. Then, week after week, I would go to the local drug store which had baseball cards for sale and I would buy pack after pack I also did what any kid did back then……I traded like crazy with my friends.

By the time school arrived in the fall I was down to the final card I needed; card #705 Ted Simmons. As luck turned out, my best friend happened to have doubles of that card and he wasn’t even a Cardinals fan. I thought it would be simple to pull off a deal so we made plans to trade cards one day after school.

Well, as we all know, trading is not always that simple. We haggled for at least an hour and although I can’t remember exactly what I offered him I’m sure it was a good deal. How could it not have been a good deal? I was trying to trade for a single common card! Alright, maybe Ted was considered a minor star but I’m sure it was a good deal.

My friend declined to trade and I couldn’t believe it. I went home that night still missing that final card and I couldn’t understand why my friend wouldn’t make the simple trade.

I was upset but a few days later I received a mysterious envelope in the mail with no return address. I opened the envelope and guess what I found inside….

That’s right; my friend mailed me the card and asked for nothing in return. I completed my first set of cards and I was happy as could be. To this day my friend and I still keep in touch even though we live in different parts of the country and sometimes I wonder if this old Ted Simmons card had something to do with it.