References to one of collecting's "bibles" have popped up on the social medias the last week or two.
That's nothing unusual, as revered as it is in the hobby, I expect homages to the Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book to continue long after I'm gone.
I first wrote about it in 2011 after finally receiving a copy. And I've leafed through it many times since, always delicately because something with so many images of cards from the '50s and '60s makes me nervous.
It now sits on my card desk in a place of honor where it will never likely leave, except when I'm picking it up to be amused by a snippet about Neil Chrisley or Eli Grba.
One of the recent online references was from a post on Cardboard Junkie. In showing off his copy of the book, he mentioned that he's known a few people who have collected every card that is shown in it.
I was impressed. And I immediately wondered how many cards pictured in the book that I owned.
I knew it would be some paltry total and I'd immediately be embarrassed and disgusted with myself for collecting so many cards from 2012 when I could've been collecting cards made iconic by a single book published in the early 1970s.
But I pressed on to uncover the humiliating details.
It turns out there are 243 card images in the book. Add the five cards pictured on the front and you've got 248 total (there are other versions of the book with different covers and different cards pictured on the front).
I went through and counted and I have 48 cards in the book.
That's 18 percent. It seems shabby but actually I was rather pleased with that number. I thought it would be a lot less.
And I'm continuing to add to my TGABCFTABGB stash. In fact, three of the cards in the book arrived in my collection just yesterday from reader Jonathan:
Thank goodness I had the book handy because that is what told me that Joe Koppe is pretending to be a left-handed shortstop on this card.
I've ignored '50s and '60s cards for a long time, especially '60s cards. But in the last 7 or 8 years, I've become increasingly enamored with them. With the exception of one page of ancient black-and-white cards, that's all that is in this book, cards from the '50s and '60s.
1969 Topps images of players like Walt Williams, Roy Face and Aurelio Rodriguez are the most recent cards in the entire book, which just tells you how long ago it was printed.
One thing I noticed when tracking down cards that I have is how nicely conditioned the cards are in the book. It seems a bit at odds with the spirit of it, although there are a couple of examples of cards that have been taped.
But, for example, this page:
Don't those cards look fairly sharp?
Here are my copies:
One looks like it was thrown into a bucket of gravel and one has been laminated and wasn't even in as fine a condition as the book version before being encased!
Another striking example.
It's a hoot to be able to do stuff like this. I never thought it would be so cool to own a card that is also pictured in a book. But that's the power of Brendan Boyd and Fred Harris. And the power of Choo Choo Coleman.
Also, when you're digging out your card, you get to read such amusing writing, and, yes I'm not too shy to say, referring to Silvera's pose as looking like someone preparing to catch a bag of chicken salad sandwiches from the press box sounds like something I'd write.
Most of the card images from this book that I own are Dodgers or from the 1956 set, both of which are exceptions to my rather casual accumulation of '50s and '60s cards.
Here is one example. Page 73 shows five cards, including the above three stacked on top of each other.
I own just these two. Because Dodgers are involved.
There are two or three pages in which I own every card on the page and that filled me with a significant sense of accomplishment that almost nobody would understand except for people who have read the book.
The best example is this page:
Yup, I have all four.
So 18 percent isn't all that bad when you can say you have cards like that and cards like this:
Even if mine is significantly worse for wear.
Still, a fun little exercise to further pay tribute to the Original Card Blog. And something to do once you've read the pages inside and out.
A handful more that I own.
Oh, and I can't forget this: