This column by Tyler Kepner of the New York Times is a must-read for anyone around my age or a bit younger. As it is, Kepner is two years younger than me and what he writes today is 100% on-point with my feeling and history with baseball cards in the 1970s and 80s.
The jumping off point is the death of Sy Berger, the longtime Topps employee who more or less invented modern baseball cards with the release of the 1952 set and beyond. Kepner notes just how important these cards were to young baseball fans and, in many ways, helped create baseball fans. In my case I can’t remember which came first, actually: the cards or watching the game? One certainly reinforced my love for the other, but I could not tell you which was the first mover.
I still have tens of thousands of cards. Most of them the worthless but charming as all get-out cards of the 80s, with a healthy amount of 1970s and a handful of early 90s thrown in. Kepner’s description of what it was like for people our age to collect and what the cards meant to us is absolutely perfect.
And, by way of some older baseball card content, my brother once got me the 1973 Topps set for Christmas. I wrote about that here and then, a couple of says later, wrote about the silly little cartoons on the back of every one. Enjoy.