Thursday, November 25, 2010

A scene from an actual, currently-in-progress trade...

The following was part of an actual email I sent out this morning, concerning a trade I'm working on.

"Something that I really hope isn't a dealbreaker: I apologize in
advance for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause you,
but the original 81 Topps Nolan Ryan which I had listed as "(VERY
rough)" has been withdrawn from the trade list due to sheer
awesomeness. The one that was previously listed as "(rough)", upon
further review, has been upgraded to "(VERY rough)", and is available
as a substitute. Scans of both are attached. You'll understand why a sentimental person would want to keep the worse card of the two as soon as you see it,
and hopefully be sympathetic to my cause. I assure you, the other Ryan
is pretty busted, too. It's got 2 visible creases, a bum bottom right
corner (especially on the back), the face of the card is totally
scratchy and there may be minor water damage along the bottom edge.
Like the really bad one, it's had one owner for nearly 30 years, and
that owner put it through the wringer. It will make a fine addition to
your home."

This is the Ryan card I'm swapping into the deal. The scan doesn't quite do its condition justice, alas.

This card isn't the reason you're still looking at this page, though.

Without any further ado, I bring you...

The coolest 1981 Topps Nolan Ryan card in the world!

Yes, apparently, when I was 7 (Not 3 or 4, but 7!), for some reason, I decided to "cut the crusts" off of my '81 Ryan. (It would have to be the Ryan cards that I beat the hell out of, wouldn't it?) Again, as I'm looking at this, I feel that the scan does not do it justice. The surface of the card face is scratched to hell and back. There's definitely water damage on the back of this card. The card is also incredibly soft and limber to the touch. It's flexible, it's fragile but not overly so, and it feels like it's lived a very full life. It's everything baseball cards were supposed to be to kids, before the money men got involved and it all went south. To simply say that this card has character does it a horrible injustice. Taking it out of the penny sleeve it was in and holding it for a few minutes while I was scanning it for review by my trade partner was like a trip back to my childhood bedroom, where once, cards lay scattered by the hundreds, if not thousands, all over my bed and floor in huge, messy piles. I could visualize the lighting and the walls, hear the sounds of my old home and smell all smells, too, from the residual gasoline smell of my father's work clothes to the food cooking in the kitchen. It all sounds so cliche as I'm typing it, but as they say, these things get to be cliches for a reason.

So, now that I've talked up this card so much that its non-inclusion in my trade will totally torpedo a deal we've been working on for a week, when's the last time a card took you on a trip?


  1. No problem - I'll take whichever one you'd rather get rid of.

    I know the feeling - the 86 Topps Dickie Thon I am trading you is mint, in part because I would never trade this one:

  2. I've actually got the '86 Thon in great shape. It was a late addition to the have list. See details in the 800 page book I wrote in your email over a few messages. =)

    Man, that is one impressive looking card. If they could talk, y'know?

  3. I love this post... great story... that's one thing I don't think I ever did (cut the crusts) ;-)

    As for your question... the last time cards took me on a trip was yesterday. See for yourself:

  4. I've never seen those Denny's cards! I think I saw a later set advertised, but not those, and I've got none of the Denny's cards. Given how often I ate at Denny's in the '90s, I don't know how I managed that. Cool stuff, and a cool concept idea/product tie-in for an advertising set, too.

    I've had a few "wow, this set was awesome" moments like that recently. I posted about the '86 Topps minis about 10 days ago, which I spent time with for the first time in forever when I was getting together my trade with Bo, and I'm probably going to bomb people out with '81 Topps stickers (definitely my favorite baseball collecting experience as a kid) as soon as the complete set I ordered comes in.

    I can still remember how excited I was when I pulled the last '81 Mike Norris sticker (can you believe he had something like 4 stickers in that set?) I needed for my (sadly missing) complete album from a pack, after hunting for it forever. More on that when the set comes in.

  5. Mike Norris was the man! I'm a huge A's fan... and I remember watching him pitch. Look forward to seeing the 81 Topps sticker post... and I'll definitely check out your 86 Topps minis, since I busted a ton of that stuff when I was a kid.


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