I have mentioned this topic several times on my blog before, but I don't think I've ever devoted a full post to it.
If you collected cards as a kid, you probably had your favorite players. They played for your favorite team or they were an all-star that you saw all the time on TV. These are perfectly rational reasons for naming a player your favorite.
But if you were like me, you probably also had favorites "just because." When you look back on those "just because" favorites now -- as a rational adult -- you can't think of one logical reason why you would choose that player as a favorite. It was a player that you liked for literally no reason.
I had lots of those players in my collection. Most of them reside in the 1975 Topps set, as that was the first set I ever collected. I would look in wonder at Dave Nelson, Alan Foster, Dick Ruthven and hold their cardboard dear. They were fierce favorites of mine.
Ted Sizemore was another one. Truly one of my most treasured cards from that first year. And there's no earthly reason why he should have been a favorite.
He wasn't a standout player. He didn't play for the Dodgers (although he used to and he later would again). His picture wasn't notable at all. In fact, he seems to be sneering at the camera and, by extension, sneering at me, a 9-year-old boy, who just wanted to collect his card. Who wants to collect a sneerer?
If I look deeply into my 9-year-old self, as best as I am able to so many years years later, I'm guessing I liked the card because of Sizemore's long hair and mustache that I thought was so cool at the time. And I probably liked the card because of the brown and orange borders, what I would call "root beer colors" at the time. And there's something about that photo background that has an almost dream-like quality. I know I would think that was cool back then.
So those are probably the reasons that I considered a player a favorite that I had no reason to consider a favorite.
But I can't be the only one can I? For those of you who collected as kids, who were some players that you liked that you can't explain why you liked them? They didn't become a significant part of your collection and they didn't play on your favorite team, but you treasured their card anyway.
To this day, I can look at that Sizemore card and the thrill of having that card in my collection that summer of 1975 comes rushing back.
It's obviously meant something to me all these years later no matter how little I've thought about Sizemore since.
After all, this is the very card I pulled from that pack of cards that summer in 1975.