First Collection

This was supposed to have been written a week ago but, as I say often enough that it's more or less become the blog's unofficial motto, better late than never.

The finale of our "Copy NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour" series is a very special episode all about collections. When I was just a wee lad, my grandmother told me that everyone should have some kind of collection. One of my cousins collected wind-up toys, for example, and another collected pins. Over the years I've collected a lot of things: pins, Matchbox cars, and Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was younger; comic books, coins, Marvel cards, and tabletop game miniatures when I was a teenager. These days my collections are mostly unattended and gathering dust, but thanks to my stepdad's adamant stand against my mom getting rid of my stuff, I still have all of them. Even my complete set of Secret Wars II comics.

I can tell how jealous you all are.

Actually, it turns out there is one collection from my youth that has been lost to the sands of time, and it was my first: baseball cards. I started collecting baseball cards in first grade, which was when baseball and the San Francisco Giants first came to my attention

The mid-80s were a heady time for a young Giants fan. Those were the days of Candy Maldonado, José Uribe, Robby Thompson, and Rick Reuschel. I remember sitting on the steps above the playground when I was in second grade, opening a pack of baseball cards with my friends and desperately wishing for a Chili Davis card. Unlike most of my friends, I also always chewed the gum, even though it both tasted gross and tended to break into little shards when you first bit into it.

The mid-80s are also about the last time I actually paid attention to sports until college. Certainly it was the last time until about a year or two ago that I actually knew the names of a significant number of players on any team. Not that knowing those names or caring about the Giants translated into, you know, watching the games or anything. No, I don't think I've ever heard of any fan as passionate as myself at seven years old who had less interest in the actual game.

How about you? Did you have to have every single Nancy Drew book? Or perhaps your thing was G. I. Joes? Leave a comment, tell me all about it.