Patrick in the 1980s:
I can remember being the miniature version of myself in the early 1980s and being very interested in organizing everything I owned. I used to collect and organize my family’s VHS collection, my clothes, my bed stand display that was covered in Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joe guys. I organized the paper bags that the newspaper used to come in and everything in the tupperware cabinets. I can remember spilling out all the raw beans and rice on the kitchen floor simply for the fun of separating and organizing it all back into its respective containers. I think that my obsession and interest in keeping things in order is a result of the way things were at home when I was a small boy. There was a lot of turbulence in my life when I was a child and the only thing that helped me deal with it was organizing things. I think that it helped me identify a sense of control and order in my life, which was something I needed as a small and developing human being.
1988: The year that changed my life
I had my first experience with baseball cards in 1988 and that moment changed my life forever. I finally found an effective medium for which to cater my obsession with organization. It all made sense to me. Baseball cards were thin and I could fit large quantities in small spaces. They possessed monetary value, which complimented my attention to detail and taught me about investing. They were condition sensitive which sparked my interest in methods and best practices of card storage and preservation. Additionally, new cards were coming out every year which provided ample opportunity to enhance my collection. This was it, I was sold, I found my niche. I had no need to organize newspaper bags any longer.
My first acquisition of baseball cards was a small amount of 1988 Topps baseball cards and in that small pile was a star player. There it was, a Ryne Sandberg 1988 Topps #10. I remember looking my cards up in the price guide and the Sandberg was the only one listed with any significant value. This is the first baseball card I ever remember having. Hence, I consider this to be my very first baseball card.
I used to carry around this little black plastic box that had a complimentary black handle on the lid. This was where I kept my baseball cards. All of my cards were protected in penny sleeves. I liked knowing where cards were so I kept them in numerical order. Eventually, as my collection continued to grow, I retired that little black box. I don’t know what happened to that black box after I moved on to shoe boxes and single rows but it will always remain with me as a pleasant memory.
The concept of organization has become a deeply integrated personality characteristic. In some ways, I am still a lot like I was as a small boy. I still focus on keeping my life as organized as possible to maintain that same sense of control and order. This personality trait has helped me through a lot of very difficult times and has saved me from potentially putting myself in additional threatening situations. In some ways, order and control has saved my life. Inductively, I suppose baseball cards have too…
Question of the Day:
What was your first baseball, or sports card?
To see what’s currently on eBay from 1988 Topps, click here.