Finding the Right Woman (and the Right Card)

I think a lot of us went through a phase where we recognized that collecting cards wasn’t cool, that making it known at 18, 20, 22 years old that we were working on completing our 1967 Topps set was not the best pickup line. “Hey, how’s it going? I gotta tell you, finding a Near Mint Juan Pizarro high number is really tough. Can I buy you a drink?” It doesn’t work.

I gave up on cards during college, though I’d occasionally buy packs. Once graduated (and single), I made up for lost time and bought the sets I’d missed from 1981-1984 (though not the 1984 Fleer Update, dumb!). Then I got back on the trail of my 1967 set.

You know you’ve met “The One” when you can openly fess up to what you perceive as your most embarrassing traits. Karen was “The One,” and not only did she quickly know I collected cards, but she came with me to shows! That’s true love. It was at one show, I think in New Jersey (let’s just say New Jersey, it’s a good setting), that having Karen along made all the difference.

Down to my final few ‘67’s, I found a dealer with a nice supply in nice condition. I got what I could and now, with one card to go, but the one card I didn’t see, I asked – “Do you have a Red Sox team card?”

“I don’t,” I heard him say, or was it “no,” I can’t recall. Whatever it was, it was bad.

I bought the cards he did have and we walked away from the table.

“I can’t believe he didn’t have the last card I needed,” I said, moaning the words out, Eeyore style.

“No, he did have it,” Karen said. “He said ‘I have it someplace else.’”

Really? How did I miss that? We headed right back and Karen was dead right. He had the card, it was in another box behind his table. He got it and it was beautiful. Thanks to Karen, it was mine.

Sure, I would have gotten the Sox team card eventually, yet, in my mind, I never would have completed the set without Karen. It’s a better story that way and that moment is eternally connected to that set and this card:

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Author: Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

5 thoughts on “Finding the Right Woman (and the Right Card)”

  1. Very Interesting. I’ve been collecting since I was about 10, but then not really until maybe mid to early 80’s. I’m 60 now and thinking about cataloging, organizing and maybe liquidating my (I’m estimating close to 1 million cards and memorabilia items). It’s just getting to be too much, takes up too much space, and I don’t want to leave a burden on anyone (family) for trying to clear/clean it out. I got a ton more I’d love to share with you, but right now the time and space is short – so I’ll end with this – I was born in Williamsport, PA – grew up in South Williamsport, PA (about 3/4 mile from Lamade Stadium where I worked every summer from the time I was 8/9 until 14/15 when I actually went to work a with a company) and I think I have more than 1 or 2 stories that would intrigue you. With that, my email will be listed – and I look forward to hearing from you and maybe meeting you next summer – I’m starting to make plans to be in Cooperstown summer pf 2020 for Derek Jeter’s HOF Induction. Regards – Dave Bausinger PS – my wife is a librarian and I will be finding/checking out your books.

    Like

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