Seven years ago today, Night Owl Cards began. Inspired by The Baseball Card Blog and a few others, I tossed out my first effort in the middle of the night on Sept. 13, 2008.
It's a little known fact that the seven-year mark in card blogs is termed the "Mantle-versary," after the jersey number worn by the obsession of the Topps trading card company, Mickey Mantle.
I've known about Mickey Mantle from the time I first started buying cards as a 9-year-old. He showed up in the very first packs I ever bought, way back in 1975.
And this were two of the first cards I ever pulled out of packs that I purchased.
And the cartoon on the back of Gorman Thomas' 1975 Topps card clued me in to Mantle's uniform number.
Even though Mantle retired four years after I was born and played for a team I learned to dislike at an early age, I was forced to know the history of Mantle. As a card collector it was a requirement, and soon I knew other things about Mantle and cards.
Like how this is the most expensive/important/hobby-shaking card ever to exist ... well, not this card exactly. This is one of the hundred different reprints of the 1952 Topps Mantle that have been issued by Topps since the '52 Mantle first came out.
During my absence from the hobby in the mid-1990s, Mantle passed away at an early age. And Topps decided to pay him homage by strangely removing card No. 7 from the set. By golly, collectors were going to know, No. 7 was a big freaking deal and No. 7 was Mantle's number.
When I did return to modern card collecting in 2006, Topps was doing other weird things with Mantle, such as issuing cards of Mantle on modern card designs.
And everywhere I turned there was a Mantle home run card.
I mean they were everywhere.
And even I got a little out of hand with them.
But after awhile it became tiring. The cards lost meaning. There were Mantles in every set.
There were insert Mantles and gimmick Mantles and cards your mom threw out Mantles. And Mantle monstrosities like this:
In the early months of this blog, I wrote about how sick I was of Mantle cards. I've never once tried to collect a Mantle card (with the exception of the 2006 HR Mantles -- because I had a sickness), but they kept falling into my collection.
Year after year, you could be guaranteed of new Mantle cards, like it or not.
Today, mercifully, there doesn't seem to be as many Mantle cards as there were seven years ago. Topps doesn't have a contract with the Mantle family anymore, but it's still holding that No. 7 in the set hostage. Series sets are now numbered to 331 or 351 because we don't dare put another player at No. 7 in the flagship set.
It's pretty silly, and it's also pretty silly that I own around 140 different Mickey Mantle cards and only one was issued when he was still active.
But this is what happened when I signed up for card collecting. My father's generation started this hobby as we know it and some of them were Yankees fans and Mantle was their guy. And apparently they still haven't gotten over Mantle's passing because we've got to do weird things with the No. 7.
But at least I got another blog topic out of it, which is very important as I enter year 8.
This blog will continue on as it has the previous seven years. I don't have the time I once did, and I admit the ideas don't come as easily, but I can't imagine not doing it, so that's an indication that I'm still not sick of it, or that I'm addicted to blogging.
As you know, this blog isn't about Mickey Mantle. It's not about the Yankees or even about baseball. Actually, it's not about the hobby or about baseball cards.
It's about me.
And that's me.
Now pick up the shattered remains of your image of who you thought was writing this thing and let's get moving. We're entering year eight here.
Thanks for reading.