My dad was born in the 1940s and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He retired from his business job when I was in 5th grade and ran a Coin and Stamp shop for many years as his “early retirement.” He also had a small section of sports cards in the store in which I would help out on weekends and sometimes after school.
As a kid, he flipped cards against walls, got ‘leaners’, and banged the heck out of numerous cards for fun. He told me that he ruined a lot of Mickey Mantle cards from 1956-1959. I had a quick chat about the hobby with him the other day, and here are a few things he enjoyed in the 1950s, and then as a card shop owner as an adult, that undoubtedly influenced my participation in the hobby.
Even though my dad grew up in Cleveland, he followed the Baltimore Orioles. What’s more, he can’t remember why! And Brooks Robinson made his debut for the team in 1955, so he was my dad’s favorite player. I was born in Ohio as well, but we moved to Baltimore when I was little, so Cal Ripken became my favorite player (I mentioned this in a previous article); like father, like son.
My dad hated Roger Maris. Maris started his career in Cleveland but was then traded to Kansas City and eventually, the New York Yankees. Kansas City at the time was the Yankees ‘Major League Farm Team’, and the fact that Maris originally came from my dad’s home town of Cleveland (who also traded a lot of talent to NY), kept my dad from collecting him. Let’s just say I too wasn’t a NY Yankees fan growing up.
1969 Topps Basketball
As an adult, and in his shop, my dad became a fan of 1969 Topps Basketball. That influenced me pretty significantly, and I mentally “overvalue” the set financially today. It’s funny because he just had one complete set of it, but it had such a fresh look. When I got back in the hobby as an adult, basketball stood out to me because of this, but I’ve focused on collecting a high-graded 1978 Topps Basketball Set since it’s significantly less expensive.
My dad was always a fan of Yogi Berra and his Yogi-isms, but more so as an adult. “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.” Today, I only have a few autographed baseballs in my collection, but one of them is Yogi Berra. We dislike the Yankees, but Yogi’s post career transcended the team.
It was fun having a quick chat about sports cards with my dad. I wouldn’t be in the hobby if it weren’t for him, and it’s refreshing to see how the things he enjoyed have influenced the cards I collect too.