During the summer of 1980, the only people in my world that actively collected baseball cards were kids. There were three places that you could regularly get cards in my neighborhood: 7-11, the corner party store and the supermarket. If you couldn't get the cards you wanted in the packs, your only other option was to trade with your friends. If they didn't have it, too bad. It was just that simple.
I didn't go to my first baseball card show until 1984. Yet I was an aspiring baseball junkie and my fix started to rise above baseball cards. I would anxiously wait until Sunday mornings when the newspaper would print batting and pitching leaders. Sometimes my craving would be allieved by the 1980 Topps Super set, sometimes my Dad would buy me a baseball magazine where I would devour rosters, statistics and stories.
It was in one of those magazines that I saw this for the first time:
Now, if you need an explanation of what this is, chances are you didn't collect cards in the early 1980s.
Renata Galasso was my first exposure to card collecting outside of my little corner of the universe. I would equate it with when I stumbled across Blogger about this time last year. This advertisement truly perplexed my young mind. Adults did this too? You mean you can buy a whole set? My rubber bands and shoe box wasn't good enough? I don't think that I even showed this with my friends, instead keeping it a secret that I wasn't ready to share.
Eventually, I would forget about this ad as the $24.99 to spend on this was deemed way, way, way out of range on a passing folly such as baseball cards. My Mom wouldn't allow that; there were "more important" things to spend money on. If only she would know what would come, some of that supplied by ads like this.
I made my first purchase with Renata Galasso in 1983, buying a complete Topps set as well as a USFL set. I would buy a little more here and there, but I eventually found card shows and stopped mail order completely.
However, when I fell across this ad over Memorial Day weekend, I couldn't help but smile and recall how much of this madness all began.
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