It must have been 1990 or 1991 when my family spent a day at the Anchorage AK Convention Center. On this day, the Convention Center was full of vendors selling all sorts of stuff. It was almost like a flea market sort of environment. There were vendors selling kitchenware, hot sauce, gag gifts, and my favorite… baseball cards. At the time, my older brother collected baseball cards too and he spent his money at the one baseball card vendor. I can remember my mother giving us each $20 and I spent all of my money elsewhere at the gag gifts booth and immediately regretted it. I think the fella hard sold me on a bunch of stuff I didn’t need. Luckily, when I went back to retrieve a refund, the fella accommodated my request but I can also remember he wasn’t terribly happy about it. Oh well, I suppose my reaction was pretty normal for a kid that just spent $20, which was a lot of money.
My brother made out pretty well at the baseball card booth. There were a few monster boxes (5000 ct) full of late ’70s through early ’90s-ish. He cherry picked star cards from ’81-’86 Topps Baseball. A few notables that come to mind are the Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, and George Brett cards from ’86 Topps; Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson, and Ryne Sandberg cards from ’85 Topps, and the 1981 Topps Harold Baines rookie card. I remember being excited and sad at the same time. I was sad because I didn’t buy these baseball cards myself.
When my brother had all of these new gems in his collection, the card I wanted most was the 1981 Topps Harold Baines rookie card. It was a card that just stood out to me for some reason. I’ve purchased several raw copies over the years via dollar bins at various hobby shops and shows. Eventually, I wanted one single clean example so I grabbed this PSA9. I suppose the one reason why I wanted a graded copy is to have one really nice copy instead of a bunch of raw lower grade copies, and to remind me of this story.
To see the current eBay auctions for the 1981 Topps Harold Baines, click here.