Friday, November 18, 2011

My first job

From 1975-83, my job -- no matter what my mother said -- was to buy baseball cards.

Never mind those chores around the house, the paper route, the brutal trips door-to-door to shovel walks. Those weren't jobs. Those were lessons in humiliation or boredom.

I took my REAL job seriously. If there was a pack of cards available, I would try to buy it. For most of that period, I had time to perform my job only on weekends, because of money issues and the previously mentioned menial labor. But within that narrow window, I would vigorously buy cards. I'd go where the cards were and with whatever money I had, I'd buy cards until the money was all gone.

I was very good at my job.

When new card sets like Fleer and Donruss appeared, I'd do my darndest to buy all those up, too. I wasn't going to avoid them just because they were different. They were cards, weren't they? My job was to BUY CARDS. Period. Consider them bought.

Then there was the begging and pleading for Frosted Flakes because there were cards inside those boxes. Mom didn't understand. This wasn't mindless wishing. This was my JOB! Get the cards! And we need to make more trips to grandma's, too, because she's the only one I know who buys Hostess cakes and there are cards in those packages! I need to get them! You don't want me fired, do you?

I did this until 1984. That was the year I walked away from my job. I phoned it in with the 1984 Topps set. I just bought the entire set from a friend. With '84 Topps out of the way, I turned my attention to '84 Fleer. But I walked away from that job, too. It just didn't interest me. As for '84 Donruss, I was fired from that job after one pack.

I didn't get serious about cards again until 1989.

But while I've managed to recoup most of what I lost during those years between 1983-89 (there are a few exceptions), 1984 has been the most difficult for me. I walked away that year and it seems like the year is still making me pay. "You want your job back? You quit this job! Who are you, George Costanza?"

Fortunately, there were people like Jeff still slaving away at the Card Buying Job in '84. He contacted me recently about some cards from that year that he thought I might need.

And that's how I ended up with:

Two cards from a team set that's taken me a generation to complete, all because I ignored the cards in 1984. Both of these are former Nebulous 9 needs.

Jeff also sent me a few 1984 Donruss needs:

I believe that's the first time Donruss called Gossage "Goose" on the front of his card. Fleer did it one year earlier.

I still have the nerve to try to complete this set after shrugging it off after one pack in '84. I remain 70 cards away, but I'm confident I'll finish the set off one day.

Because I'm back at my old job, baby!

Acquiring baseball cards. No matter where they may be.

It's good to be back.


  1. That's funny. I actually used to price out jobs I did in people's yards by what cards I wanted to buy at the local.

  2. Every snowday I'd go out and shovel my neighbors' walks for $2. At the end of the day, my mom would drive me to CVS or the LCS and I'd blow it immediately on cards.

  3. My collecting career had similar pauses. Stopped after high school is '84 (bought all three sets whole). Then didn't get any until I got two boxes of 1989. Still didn't return in force until 2003.

  4. You've got more '84 Donrusses plus the '84 Fleer Beckwith coming your way!

  5. I remember those days, scrounging, I mean working, so every penny could go to the local store for whatever cards they might have in stock.