Circumstances over the past 24 hours have me thinking about legacies, specifically how you will be remembered and what you will leave behind.
There was a shooting in my city yesterday, one of those horrific workplace shootings in which two people died senselessly and the entire community was turned upside down. This type of thing is disturbingly common now but it's an awful first for my city and it took place on the same block where I work. One building away.
It makes you think about a lot of things. One of the big ones is "have I done enough to be remembered?"
Oh, there are those who think that type of talk is selfish and "who cares" and "I'm going to live how I want to live and who gives a damn if anyone remembers me." Great. Enjoy that train wreck.
I think it's natural to think about your legacy, your contribution.
Legacies aren't just for famous people, celebrities or sports figures, Kirk Gibson limping around the bases on video for the next 100 years.
Those of us who are parents, we have built-in legacies with our children, both who they are and what we passed on to them. I try not to be one of those sickly sweet, over-the-top Facebook parents, but I'm quite proud of my kid and what she's done and her connection to me.
Those of us who are creative types also have legacies. God bless the creative types. Art can be displayed or handed down. Writing can be reread again and again, for centuries, really. Although much of my writing won't last centuries, I do feel grateful that I've been able to write for a living and write in the hobby and that my name is on my most of that stuff. Somebody three generations from now can get a kick out of how we used to write stuff on paper -- hey, that's my great, great grandpop!
Earlier today I was discussing signatures with The Shlabotnik Report on Twitter. Legibility and such. I mentioned the Harmon Killebrew story about how he believed in making his autographs as legible as possible so people would know who he is, and he advised younger players to do the same. I've thought about that a lot since I found that out and I try not to be sloppy with my "serious signing" -- which is a tendency when you age. This is about leaving your legacy, too.
And this leads into cards somewhat.
My card blog is well-read and has been going for some time, so there is the legacy of that blog. I am still surprised when people I just meet (online, of course, nobody I know outside of a couple family members reads this stuff) say they've been reading me for years.
People know what I collect and that becomes my legacy, too.
I collect 1975 Topps things and '70s things and oddballs and night cards and vintage and retro stuff and that's all my legacy in the hobby.
People know I'm a big fan of 1970s and 1980s Dodgers third baseman Ron Cey.
I didn't think I was anything special making Cey my favorite player. A lot of baseball fans who grew up during the '70s liked Cey, unless they were weird Giants fans. He was a popular guy. But I guess he wasn't popular enough, because as the years have gone on -- and Cey has now been retired for 35 years -- I feel like I'm the only one left.
Which is why I have a birthday card that Ron Cey signed for me, a penguin lamp that Ron Cey signed, photos and pins and posters of Cey, etc. "That's the guy who likes Cey -- I'll send this to him."
That's my legacy.
I just received the above relic card of Cey from Greg of The Collective Mind. There aren't a lot of Cey cards that I don't have -- it's pretty much only relics and parallels left now -- but this was one, and it makes me so happy.
I like that my legacy is that I am a fan of Ron Cey. And that I'm one of the few -- at least on card blogs anyway.
It does make me stand out, amid all the collectors of Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas, Derek Jeter and the like.
More from The Collective Mind, by way of his friend Stuart.
I do have several Adrian Beltre relics, but not this one. If Beltre ended up spending most or all of his career with the Dodgers, my legacy could have been being the biggest Beltre collector on the blogs. But I think I would've had some company there. So it's just as well that a lot of people think of him as a Texas Ranger.
Of course, my collecting legacy includes that I collect Dodgers cards, pretty much all of them, even silly stuff like this in which Donruss seeded this particular insert across a bunch of different products, made them all very similar and then serial-numbered them differently, and if you have all of that figured out then your legacy is "The Dude That Knows What The Ef Donruss Was Doing In 2005."
That's definitely not me, so I'll be sorting these incorrectly in the next few weeks.
This Whit Merrifield card from Greg means I just need Cal Quantrill and Kolten Wong to finish the base portion of 2020 Heritage.
Because, as my card room will tell you, one of my big legacies is my set collection. The '56 Topps set that I just completed could be the biggest card legacy of my collecting career. It will be sold someday, hopefully complete, and family members will benefit.
Legacies are important. They connect you to people in life and to people after you're gone. So hold on to them. And figure out what you legacy is -- everyone has one, usually more than one.
You can't go around in life thinking you don't matter or that nobody cares. Because that's when there's trouble.