Oh, Oh, Oh Oh Jackie Blue

Grass cutting money is how it was paid for. One of the kids in the neighborhood knew a guy. He would come to the house with binders of the old stuff. We would peruse through and buy the goods. From this came my 1956 Jackie Robinson. It was a nice example of the last card from his playing days, probably Vg-Ex if you’re grading at home, good color, centered well. I was into card collecting, working on the new stuff and researching the old. It wasn’t as easy as it’s been the last 10–15 years with all the interweb and eBay and Twitter Trading and gargantuan national and regional card shows – once this Covid/Lockdown has run its course, or course, on the latter. Back then a young collector needed his old man’s or older brother’s cards or maybe his older sister’s current flame to possibly be a conduit for getting to the older stuff. Of those options, zippo came through for me. No brothers and since I was a bit of a surprise to my 40 year old parents and soon to be graduating high school sister in May of 1965 that left the mid to late 70’s barren in terms of getting the prized shoe box passed down. Reneta Galasso ad ads in Baseball Digest. Left to my own devices it was the two local drug stores for Topps, the Winn-Dixie for Hostess and Kellogg’s and trading with other kids until word stated to spread about the Binder Guy.  Of course he seemed old in my eyes but was probably in his early 30’s back then and may have ended up being a local owner of one of the card shops that sprung up in Louisville in the early 80’s or worked the shows at the local malls and flea markets we would visit once driving gave the freedom to move around town.  It was those binders where I first saw and handled cards I’d only seen in my Sports Collectors Bible or in Reneta Galasso/Larry Frisch

laminate Back to the Jackie, that card in particular provided my first real hard lesson in life about unintended consequences resulting from poor decision making.  Why I had such a mental block as to the final outcome I cannot understand to this day but you can be sure that I am an ardent supporter of fully understanding a situation before acting. Laminate, that’s what it said “PROTECT Laminate in PLASTIC”, it read like a major advance for scientific progress as I stood there debating between the three choices I could make with my quarter. An NFL Mini Helmet, one of those Horoscope scrolls or the Laminate. starscroll Walking home with a 25 cent investment in the preservation of a then twenty two year old artifact was the act of a person wise beyond his years for Mr. Robinson would be preserved for the ages! There’s no suspense left, by now you have, no doubt, shook your head in disbelief.  This goofball actually laminated that card! Yep, I did it. Immediately the profound and irreversible error of my decision fell on me. A personal albatross around my neck, no need to wait for Iron Maiden’s 13 minute 45 second retelling of Coleridge’sThe Rime of the Ancient Mariner” in 1984, oh no! iron_maiden_-_powerslave The experience was mine then and there. Selling my collection of cards, including the entombed Jackie, in the Summer of 1983 to fund a not very exciting coming of age trip to Florida provided no exorcism either. To this day I can’t bring bring myself to fold, staple or mutilate a card. While @HeavyJ28 is doing his tremendous work of currently creating custom cards from existing cardboard to raise funds and awareness for some fine causes and museums, IMG_6738 this sweet Josh Gibson being an example, I “feel that old familiar pain”, to quote Dan Fogelberg, each time I see his scissors on Twitter. But as with baseball in general, there is always a shot at redemption and when our grandson was born on April 15th 2017 I purchased the card again, albeit in a socially acceptable form of sarcophagus this time.


This one will be passed down in the proverbial shoe box to that grandson one future day along with an explanation of who Jackie Robinson was, the transcendent things he accomplished and why learning from your mistakes can pay greater dividends than the initial loss.  Still wish I would have went with the helmet.bucs helmet

Should a reader happen upon this post and currently have the card which they use as an example of idiots in action, please let me know, it calls to me even now. Which is both a Bob Seger and a Barry Manilow reference, but I probably shouldn’t mention that…

Author: Jim Osborne

Ink on substrate, card and oddball sports issue collector, renewed runner.

9 thoughts on “Oh, Oh, Oh Oh Jackie Blue”

  1. When I got back into collecting in 2014 in earnest, I bought a big collection of 1977 Topps on eBay (like two 3500-card boxes). This was because, as a 5-year-old, I thought it was the best of ideas to do exactly what you did with your Jackie. My mom worked in a factory then where they made Mylar laminate, so she brought home a ton of the stuff. Five-year-old me then said to myself, “well, this is protecting the cards in plastic!” and wrapped up basically every 1977 Topps that I had at that time. Most of them ended up with horrific air bubbles and were about twice as thick as the normal card.

    I still have nightmares about it, and the only saving grace I am happy about is that I did not get an Andre Dawson rookie back then to ruin it.

    FWIW, I still have a 1971 Topps Rudy May card perfectly and sharply entombed in that plastic stuff.

    And, I thought I was the only one who had done that to his/her collection. Thanks for relieving me of that guilt!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I bought a small lot of 1961 Golden Press cards for the Lefty Grove in the lot. Walter Johnson and Cy Young are laminated, which is odd because they are the cards in the worst condition. Perhaps the person thought the cards needed to be laminated to stop them from deteriorating even further.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alas, the well intentioned mistakes of youth. As a kid I was savvy enough to recognize that my ’66 Mays, Koufax, and Bunning cards were superstars but dumb enough to glue them onto construction paper for safe keeping. I eventually removed them from their prison but blue paper stock can still be found on the backs where the glue was applied. As Don Henley would say, ‘Don’t look back, you can never look back.’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I poked multiple hones in a ’63 Roger Maris card because I hated him for breaking Ruth’s record. I still have it to remind of “the anger of having been a fool,” as Billy Joel sang. And thanks for mentoning Dan Fogelberg, a personal favorite. RIP, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

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