Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jelly Beans

Not from Morpheus!

That’s how this all got started.   Actually – that’s not quite true.   I’ll get back to those jelly beans in a moment.   This all got started with a 1986 Topps Doug Corbett baseball card.   I don’t know where Doug came from but I like to think that HE found ME. I still have him somewhere, tucked away in a treasure trove pile of youthful memories that now rests in our basement.   Ah!   Here he is......say hello, Doug.

I just noticed - Mattingly's number!

My HS football team has battled Apopka HS many times... 

My first card.   As you can see, it's well loved.   Nice "fuzzy" corners and a couple of meandering creases.   Original gloss, though!   I think now that I’d like to find out more about Doug.   It’s only fitting since he is responsible for everything that has happened since he turned me into a collector...

I fell in love with baseball at some point.

I loved to watch it, in person or on television, with my grandfathers or with my Dad.   They loved baseball and I loved them, so I loved baseball BIG time.   We would always talk about it.   Sometimes, I would just listen to it.   I can remember listening to baseball radio broadcasts on Boy Scout camping trips.   Out in the woods, around a fire whilst eating horrible things!   It was all good so long as I could follow the Braves on their quest for greatness.

I learned about the sport, its teams and their players.   Naturally, I sought out heroes – those I would cheer for and even emulate.   Yes, I even played baseball from time to time.   I have the post-game Dairy Queen mini-helmets to prove it.   Little League was fun but my career never quite played out the way I had dreamt it would.   Which is a shame because I practiced my autograph until it was absolutely perfect.   I would have been SUCH a cool major leaguer.   I still get way too excited when I sign anything.   Alas, even a second, Favre-esque comeback attempt for me in high school was thwarted by reality.

Like a pile of scalps, much soft-serve met its fate in these...

That’s okay. 

There were other ways to immerse oneself in the religion of baseball and that's where that '86 Doug Corbett became the gateway.   I happily spent much of my youth, along with some of the best friends I ever had, at the altar of baseball cards.   I’d save everything I earned to buy them.   I would study them and trade them with my partners in crime.   My mission? Acquire every Don Mattingly card in northwest Florida and then try to get at least ONE of everything else.   A Saturday afternoon couldn’t be perfect without a stop by TBS Comics & Baseball Cards to fuel my collection.   I would organize my cards and memorize the players. I couldn’t get enough and life was simply perfect.

And then life changed.

Don’t worry.   This is not “VH1-Behind the Music”.   I didn’t crash a Mustang into a Hotel 6.   No, life rolled on.   I got older.   I started playing competitive golf and football.   Necessary extracurricular activities became important for new future dreams.   Besides, my baseball heroes decided they weren’t getting paid enough in ’94 and quit.   Fine, then!   I needed to grow my music collection binders more than my Super Star baseball card binder……plus there were too many different types of cards anyways.   There were sparkly cards and foil-y cards.   Baseball cards that didn’t come with gum and cards that were way too expensive.   They were more about money than warm summer afternoons anymore.   I bet Doug Corbett even shed a tear.   But that’s life and life doesn’t stop. 

High School, girls, college, adulthood and everything in between happened.   Doug was locked up safely with the rest of my collection at my parents’ house.   A career in the Navy happened.   That made keeping up with baseball even harder.   But there was my favorite part, too.   Along the way, THE girl happened and, unlike baseball, I know the exact moment that I fell in love with her.   The first moment.   She was the coolest person I had ever met and yes, she liked baseball, too.   I tricked her into marrying me and we eventually had a perfect little daughter.   She is a beautiful princess who makes me smile every day and reminds me the world is a pretty great place.   Jobs changed and the zip codes flurried by.   

Then one day…..the jellybeans showed up.   A friend (who’s more family than friend) handed me a jar filled with pink and blue jellybeans.   I was told to count, sort, organize and divide.   I did so feverishly, just as I had with those little pieces of cardboard so many years ago.   In the end, there was one jellybean left.

One jelly bean to rule them all, one jelly bean to find them..

One blue jellybean that has brought us here today.

I was going to have a son.   In an instant, I knew…I needed to find Doug.   I missed my old friend and more importantly, there was now a new life that he needed to touch.

And so, here we are.   My boy has joined us (happy and healthy) and my little girl just told me the other day, “Daddy, I’m starting to really like baseball!”   I told you she was perfect, right?   My love for baseball has been rekindled and I couldn't get enough.   Fortuitously, Doug and the rest of the treasure trove have been recently delivered from their parental deep-storage resting place (thanks, Mom and Dad).   I liked to picture it being wheeled out of the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.   Everything looks to be in good shape, too!   Here’s a look:

Bay Bridge Series hat and Starting Lineups!

Good shape is a relative term, though.   It is a couple of packing crates full of assorted, wonderful, random STUFF.   It needs to be re-discovered, re-organized and pared down as much as possible.   My wife is excited about those last two goals.   I love my wife, so therefore I love those last two goals A LOT, too.   I’m also under the delusion that there are some people out there who might like to dig through that treasure trove with me to reminisce, share or even tie up loose ends?   Ah, to trade again!   I have discovered many of my fellow collectors out there in the Internet ether over the past year.   It’s been fun re-discovering our hobby.   I have received a rookie's introduction to new terms like Blaster's, "hits", patches, swatches, relics, chrome and heritage.   Your blogs are a joy to read and I can only hope to capture some of the same passion and joy regarding my collections as you all have with yours.   Thank you for your warm welcomes and friendly encouragement to share my own thoughts.   The chase in on to rediscover the old stuff and acquire some new treasures for the next generation.   Maybe a few things for Dad along the way, too!

So…without further delay….it’s blog time.   My first blog, to be exact.

Crazy?   Probably.

But I feel like this is a tale worth telling.   A story about baseball cards - the heroes and times they depicted.   A story about the fans who cheered them on and the world that was better for all because they did.   A story that includes Doug Corbett, our national pastime and a bunch of jelly beans.

This is a story about baseball, life, a little history and a LOT of cardboard!


  1. If I can't be the first follower (damn that lost collector!), i'll be t
    he first commenter.
    Great opening post! I'm really looking forward to your stuff!

  2. Ryan! Welcome aboard. Great first post. As someone who has traded with you and conversed via email, I can say you'll do well here. Excited to see what you have in store.

  3. Ryan! Woo hoo! Glad you decided to join the fun. Love the post - well done! Endless congrats about your growing family.

    I've had a great time trading with you and hope to do many more.

  4. Welcome aboard is right! Great start to the blog, I'll be sure to stop by often.

  5. Good to see you finally take the plunge!

  6. Glad to see you on here, good luck with the blog!

  7. Welcome to the club...you'll get used to the smell eventually. Great first post, BTW.

  8. What an absolutely great introductory post! Glad you decided to blog up!!

  9. I look forward to reading your perspective on everything cardboard!

  10. Welcome to the Loony Bin! Looking forward to following.

  11. Glad to find a new blogger. Great first post. I look forward to many more.

  12. Always room for one more. Welcome!

  13. (Charlie from Lifetimetopps - blogger doesn't like wordpress any more)

    Awesome first post!!!! My wife and I've got our first kid on the way - so this is one instance where I could actually get her interested in a blog post :)

    Good luck with the blog!

  14. Welcome to the party. Looking forward to reading your posts and doing some trading!

  15. Congrats on the new blog, and the upcoming new addition to your family. Looking forward to reading many a post from you.

  16. congratulations on the new blog, the family & a warm welcome to the sports card blog-osphere.

  17. Alright! Good luck with the blog and the family!

  18. There always room for more card blogs and judging by your first post, you'll be great at it. Welcome to the greatest community on the internet.

  19. And he starts out with an Angels card! I like this blog already!