The reason I am running this blog is because of whatever Matchbox car I received as a kid for the first time.
It happened so long ago, and when I was so young, that I can't remember what it was or what it looked like. But it sparked the collecting gene in me, and over the years that followed, I had accumulated a small traffic jam of Matchbox cars.
You've read all this before (I loathe how much I repeat myself here), but it is the reason why I've babbled so much about baseball cards for years and why I've devoted now five blogs to the hobby. Matchbox cars, with their mind-blowing features, such as doors and trunks that opened, and numbers on the bottom so you could keep track of your "set," started it all. There was even a carrying case where you could store your cars. I had that, too.
I was fascinated by cars when I was little, before I even paid attention to baseball. I played with them inside and outside. I drove the tiny ones that you pedaled with your feet. I counted the cars on the highway as I road in the back seat, noting color and type. Just before the period where my interest in diecast cars waned -- due to the cars now costing $1.25 apiece and my growing interest in baseball picture cards -- I filched a Matchbox from the toy section of a department store. I still remember what it looked like -- a fast little number in magenta with a hood that popped open.
Shortly after that point, I stopped collecting them and never went back. My collection was sold in a garage sale held by some friends across the street. I offered them up voluntarily and that was that.
I don't have any desire to collect them again. But I know -- probably like most guys know -- there is still that car-adoring side of me somewhere in there. I know that because of that extra excitement when I notice a car in the background of a baseball card.
You all know this one. It's the gold standard for retro cars on retro cards. I mentioned many of the things I just mentioned here when I featured that card the first time.
This card, too, from 2004 Topps, documents our 21st century fascination with the SUV. There it is parked over Jose Hernandez's left shoulder. It's silver. Of course.
This is one I rediscovered while researching yesterday's post (by the way, the 1982 Topps set is not a popular topic, apparently). There are a couple of other Pirates cards with cars parked in the background in this set (Tim Foli and Dale Berra, and this sticker). The Bevacqua card gives the best view.
I've let my car intelligence disappear from the time I was 8 years old, so I can't tell you the make and model of the cars parked there. I just hope it's something delightfully boxy, like a Chevy Caprice or Ford Fairmont or Dodge Aries.
I'm sure there are other cards with cars in the background. It'd be cool to get a card from each decade so I could see the progression of the cars.
Cars are on my mind because it's getting to that time where I'm thinking of buying a new one. It's not a favorite task. But I'm a simple guy with who doesn't need a lot of features.
Like when I was 8, get me a car with doors and a trunk that opens (and one where I can lock all my doors), and I'm fairly happy.