First Taste is FREE

It’s 1987 in St. Paul, MN. My eldest sibling, Debbie, is a police officer for the city and she stops by occasionally to talk with our dad and hang out with my older brother, older sister and I. This time, as she often does, she has a treat for us kids.

TOPPS_1987_PACK_ROBBY_THOMPSON

I think addiction runs strongly through my family because  my brother and Debbie both spent tons of money buying all  of the cards they could. I was only 8 and didn’t get an allowance but my brother would give me some of his doubles if I would stand in the alley with a baseball bat while he practiced pitching. If he hit me, he’d give me a “really” good card. He always seemed to bean me at least once.

My favorite player was Lance Parrish.

All-Star catcher - Lance Parrish

All-Star catcher – Lance Parrish

Why? I think I thought his name was pretty cool. Plus my favorite animal was the tiger. Plus plus he played catcher – my favorite position.

I now knew what I wanted to be when I grew up – a baseball player.

DSCN0572

Me – around 1989

I played little league for two years to some success. We won the city championship when I was 11 and even got to play at the Saint Paul Saints stadium.

But a child’s mind is easily distracted and I soon was more interested in comic books and left my baseball card collection in an old green shoebox.

Fast forward to 2014. I’ve had heart surgery to replace my bicuspid aortic valve. The recovery isn’t exactly sunshine and lollipops. I’m not sleeping. About 4-5 days after the surgery I slip into delirium. For the next 2-3 weeks I’m thoroughly convinced I am either dead or stuck in a dream.

Gradually my mind adjusts and I seem to be getting better. One day I’m wasting time online and a blog post about Donruss Diamond Kings catches my eye. I remember those! They were so cool!

1987_Donruss_DK_Supers More importantly they were also a part of my childhood. I’ve heard it said that when you’re feeling depressed it’s helpful to revisit hobbies you had when you were younger.

So I went to visit my sister, Debbie. She still had most of her cards and wanted to get rid of them. Memories flooded my mind as I shuffled through long box after long box in search of the Diamond Kings. I left her house with several complete sets and an addiction. I needed more cards! After several months on ebay I’ve acquired complete sets of the Diamond Kings from 1982 to 1992. They were all painted by artist Dick Perez.

I’m in the process of compiling the sets from 1993-1996.

What I’ve discovered is that collecting baseball cards has been very therapeutic. I have a specific goal that’s achievable within my means. This gives me a daily shot of happiness, especially when I track down cards for  a cheap price!

I’ve broadened my collection to also include the main Topps set for each year since I was born – 1979.

It’s been over a year since my surgery and I feel as if I’m doing very well. I’m going to use this blog to chronicle my continuing recovery through my newfound addiction – the chase for baseball cards!

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