Thursday, July 7, 2016

Baseball Cards for a Birthday

The title of this blog post riffs off of Sylvia Plath's poem "Poem for a Birthday" (and Dylan Thomas, too, who shared her birthday though he was born 18 years earlier and wrote his own birthday poem, "Poem on His Birthday". Plath also wrote "A Birthday Present" which is among my favorites by her.). Anyway... One of the best things about the baseball card collecting that I recently picked back up is that it gives me something to ask for for holidays and other special occasions, like birthdays, in lieu of shirts for work, slacks, socks, and some of the other dreaded detritus of adulthood.

Fortunately, my birthday has always fallen at a good time as the baseball season is in full swing. I was astonished to get an absolute haul of ye old sets. The below join complete Topps base sets from 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987 and Topps traded sets of 1984, 1985, 1988, and 1989.

1983 Topps Traded (though lacking the Darryl Strawberry of course...Hmmmm)
1986 Topps Traded (fortunately this included Barry Bonds, HipHip Jose Canseco, Will Clark, Bo Jackson, John Kruk, and, well, all 132 cards)
1987 Topps Traded (complete)
1988 Topps base set
1989 Topps base set

I haven't gone through the base sets yet to verify that they are in fact complete. In my experience they are not, but generally it's the common scrubs that are missing.

Growing up and sharing a birthday with a twin was overall a good thing. There was always someone to play with (when we weren't fighting, which wasn't really an issue until High School) be it baseball, hockey, basketball, or football in our neighbors yards, which she hated (we didn't want to tear up our own yard). Someone to collect and maybe trade baseball cards with, too. I think our favorite game was Running Bases in the backyard with whomever we could get to be a third and/or a fourth player.  Did anyone else out there play that? I'd suggest we meet up and try it but suspect we'd need an EMT on call... 

A bad Photoshop crop job to remove someone in the image;
notice  we were so skinny we had to fold the pants over!
These box sets above were from my brother who, last weekend, played catch me with in the street in front of our childhood home for about a half an hour or so just like we used to do more than half our lives ago. I had brought my Dale Murphy Rawlings baseball glove home for this purpose, and also to bring it to the Nationals game. But getting to play catch was awesome. For my birthday this year I am getting a new glove. My first in about thirty freaking years! I'll retire the Murphy glove, therefore, and start breaking in the new glove this weekend. 

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Great story and great birthday treat!

  2. Happy Birthday! We played "running bases" all the time back in the day, except we called it "hot box".

  3. Thanks Tony & Tom! It's always interesting to know what things are called. Soda/pop etc. -Peter

  4. I've seen more than a few Traded sets sold as complete that were missing the star Rookies. Notably the Griffey missing from 1989.