Thursday, February 9, 2012

Back in 1986....

I walked into

in Washington, Illinois with about $150 I got in birthday money that day. Back then, that was a haul for a birthday. Well, for 95% of us anyways.

I went in there with the intentions of buying some wax. This was the first time I had bought any cards.

Here is what was on the shelves:

2 boxes of

2 boxes of

A box of

A box of

Pretty standard selection in '86. Good stuff. Had only heard of Sportsflics so I bought a box of that along with a box each of the other baseball boxes.

That was not all there was.

There was also

And the I saw two of

I thought that was the dumbest thing I had ever seen. Basketball cards? Ha!

But my curiousity about them kicked in and I ended up also getting the football box AND only one of the Basketball boxes.

I left a whole box in the store.

With a backpack of carefully balanced wax I rode my ten speed over to Don's pharmacy and went into their little candy/ fountain soda area in the back of the store.

I loaded up on Fleer Dubble Bubble gum(the old, good flavor) and various chocolate cravings.

I also grabbed my first of many vanilla phosphates from the soda fountain. Holy crap! If you have never had one you must find out where you can still acquire this little nirvana. And to those who have had them, you know what I mean.

On my way home I stopped by a store I had passed hundreds upon hundreds of times. A White Elephant. I guess it was like a fusion between a pawn shop and a Goodwill store.

Up on the counter I spotted a shoebox of cards. They were all 10 cents apiece. I don't recall most of what I got but one card does stick out:

I thought that was the coolest card set I had ever seen. It made the anticipation of getting home and opening a ton o' wax even more intense.

So, I finally get home and set about opening all the goods.

The first card I remember pulling out of the '86 Topps baseball was

In my previous post I stated this was the card that got me into collecting, but technically it could have been the George Gervin card as well. But I'll go with Eric'27Hr/80SB'Davis.

After opening that box I moved onto the '86 Fleer baseball. Even today this set doesn't do it for me and I can't remember what I pulled of any specialness(yes, it is.....not)except this:

I loved it then and still have it now. Somewhere.

When I opened the Donruss box I did know what card to look for since my older brother had one.

I pulled one Canseco. But I also remember getting 3 RC's of the HOF challenged Fred McGriff.

No dig at Barry Larkin, but, come on. McGriff should have been first ballot.

When I opened the Sportflics I had no idea what to expect. Grabbing that silver mylar(?) and pulling it open sounded like an orange being squeezed real hard. It kind of gave me the nails on chalkboard chills. The cards were ridiculously different from everything else on the market(even though Hostess had used 3-D for years) but I loved them.

When I opened the football box, that might have been the coolest things I had ever done up til then. The borders were sweet, the colors were vivid and most of the pictures had sideline photos from games. I don't recall a Rice in there, but there was a ton of good stuff in that set. I still have the 3 Bruce Smith rookies and the 2 Reggie Smith rookies.

Now, when I opened the basketball box I was not to into it because I had opened all the other boxes and was kind of carded out. I went back to the cards from this box the next day and began looking through them. When I saw that there were only 132 cards in the set I thought I might get a couple sets out of it. As I went through the cards, at first, I didn't recognize anybody. I was only 13. But the more I read the stats and compared the players it became easier to figure out who was good and who wasn't.

Of all the boxes I opened that day the basketball box is the one I have the most memory of. I did have 2 complete sets. Plus an extra Jordan, Barkley, Malone and copious amounts of the stars.
That was a great day now that we know what that set truly is. But I never did benefit from my then unknown fortune. I traded all my basketball cards from that box in 1988 for 6 boxes of......oF.........OF........OOFFF!!!!!!..........1988

Hey, watcha goin' do? I wanted the donruss and didn't have a clue about the basketball cards. I'm not sure the dealer fully knew what he was getting either.

Well, that is my first memory of collecting. It was quite the day.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Your trading away the basketball cards is almost as bad as the Blazers drafting Bowie. :)
    Thats a great story. I wish I had that good of a memory about how I got into the hobby.

    1. It's a memory I wish would just go away. I think about it everyday. I doubt I will ever forget it. As for the basketball cards, I rest soundly at night.


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