Category Archives: Memorabilia

Jim Ed

I didn’t really think about baseball cards for a long time. They were an early obsession, but between the ages of about 12 to 26, they weren’t much of a thought. Sometimes I looked at the boxes I had stored in the closet, sometimes I flipped through the assembled binders and looked reverently on random images of Andre Dawson or Scott Cooper I’d accumulated. But otherwise, it was a past hobby, replaced by CDs and whatever else.

There were little flickers of that old impulse through that dormant period, though. I picked up a Pedro Martinez card in a cereal box while I was in college somehow, and I’ve hung onto that ever since. And one day while I was combing through a flea market looking for records, I came across two cards for a dollar each that caught my eye — Carl Yastrzemski’s 1981 card, and this one, of Jim Rice in 1977.

He’s smiling and happy to be posing for the photographer in this shot, likely before the Red Sox played the Yankees in some brutal division tilt. He looks like an easy going guy. And he was the most quietly terrifying dude in the game at the time. Continue reading


Aspirations for greatness, via Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez, in the midst of doing what he did.

Pedro Martinez, in the midst of doing what he did.

If I glance to my left from my desk at work, I can see various things taped up: concert setlists, band photos, album covers, little trinkets to keep me motivated and feeling like I’m at home. One of them is a Pedro Martinez baseball card, circa 2003. He’s pumping his fist, probably after another strikeout.

Thanks to a quick decline in baseball card quality the past couple of seasons, the collecting bug that I rekindled around 2010 has flamed out again, leading me back to the occasional, nostalgic purchase. I still seek out individual Red Sox each year, and I pick up stray cards of players I like on the cheap. In terms of space and money spent, it’s a much more affordable existence.

This weekend, I was tooling around again for the first time in a few months, and sort of instinctively started looking for Pedro cards. Soon enough, I found a 10-card lot of ones I mostly didn’t have, priced around $3 total, and took the plunge. The entire exercise probably took around 10 minutes.

Tomorrow afternoon, there’s a very good chance that Pedro is going to be announced as a 2015 Hall of Fame inductee, along with Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and maybe a couple of others (John Smoltz? Mike Piazza?). It’s a feather in the cap of an incredible career, and it feels nice to know that he’s being acknowledged for his work. But that’s not what I was thinking about when I went searching for those cards, because I don’t think much about the Hall of Fame anymore. Continue reading

Tim Wallach and admirable obsessions

I don't really know why, but I think I'm keeping this.

I don’t really know why, but I think I’m keeping this.

There’s no denying my first impression. I was impressed and intrigued.

As David Roth writes in only that way he can, J. Corey Stackhouse is on a mission to collect every Tim Wallach baseball card ever printed. And when I first read that without finishing to the end, I thought, “interesting. I’m trying to do the same thing,” for a few guys, anyway — Jason Varitek, Pedro Martinez, Dwight Evans, Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice, to name five. I’ve even got a few doubles and triples that I’ve held onto.

But that’s not it, of course. He wants every single one ever printed. And he’s documenting the process. Continue reading

Strikeouts, walks and cryptic 2013 predictions

As painted-on uniforms go, this one isn't bad.

As painted-on uniforms go, this one isn’t bad.

I’ve been off the baseball card game for a while. Not that it’s a huge change; the days of buying complete sets and boxes are about 20 years past, and the deteriorating quality of Topps (and the fact that Topps is the only company in the game now) have left the urge to buy lots of packs or splurge cards minimal. There’s always nostalgia, but that only goes so far.

But I still have my Red Sox binder, and the urge to keep accumulating players as they pass through Boston is still strong. It’s more of a scrapbook than the investment portfolio I thought I was assembling when I was 10. Alas.

So in the throes of winter and this typically weird New England cycle of mild, sunny days in the 30s and near-blizzards with highs of 4 degrees, I’ve renewed myself a bit to picking up some of the Red Sox cards from the past season. It was a memorable one, of course, and having certain guys in the binder became important. So joining the stalwarts David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek and curiosities like Darren Bragg,  Corey Bailey and Darryl Irvine are Ryan Dempster, Shane Victorino and even Joel Hanrahan. And of course, Koji Uehara. Continue reading

Bases Loaded 3

I was asked ever-so-nicely to contribute to this offseason, and I have a piece up there today outlining how I channeled my baseball obsession through the little-discussed Bases Loaded 3 for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Included: my customized Red Sox, the mythical Bases Loaded 3 league and notes from the 1990s, all working to chronicle how much time I had on my hands as a 15-year-old.

So, please, read and enjoy.