My Personal History

julycoaron

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Here's something I posted today on Facebook. Thought some of you might be interested.

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Fifty years ago this month, I began a love affair which has outlasted all other loves. In May 1970, I went to my very first Dodger baseball game. I had been to a game in Wrigley Field two summers before, but I really had no idea what was going on. By 1970, however, I was in a different place.

Through an odd set of circumstances, I became the equipment manager for the Neff High School Junior Varsity baseball team in the Spring of 1970. I started to learn the fundamentals of the game. The Los Angeles Times sponsored a program where “A” students were awarded six Dodger tickets – a pair for three games. The first game was a contest between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, May 24, 1970. My father, who had been a star athlete in high school, was thrilled that I was finally showing an interest in his favorite sport.

The Dodgers won 8-1 behind the pitching of Alan Foster and the hitting of Willie Davis and Jim Lefebvre, who got three hits apiece. No home runs were hit in the game, but Von Joshua had a triple and Tom Haller and Maury Wills each collected a double. Billy Grabarkewitz raised his batting average to .398 with a pair of singles.

On the other side, I got to see three future Hall of Famers: Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda and Hoyt Wilhelm.

I became obsessed. I read every book and article I could get my hands on. I became a student of the history of the game. I watched or listened to every Dodger and Angel game on TV and radio. And, to the chagrin of every woman in my life since then, I started buying baseball cards. (One girlfriend liked to tell people that I collected pictures of men in athletic uniforms.)

I was not content to put together a set from that year, I sought out earlier years of cards back before it was fashionable. By 1975, I had accumulated complete Topps sets back to 1954 (plus assorted cards from other manufacturers: Kellogg’s, Milk Duds, Hostess, Fleer, Bowman).

I was on the JV team in 1971 and 1972. I got into one game. (Thanks, Coach Wade, for a day I’ll never forget.) I played Intramurals in college and in Law School. I coached two seasons of Girls’ Softball. I’m still playing catch with my grandchildren.

My collecting hobby has gone through phases; I completely stopped from 1997-1999 and again from 2007-2012, and went through purges in 1977 (when I graduated from college), 1983 (when I moved to Northern California), 1991 (when I needed money to landscape my new house), 2006 (when I got married), and 2018 (when I retired and moved to the coast). I still have thousands including some complete sets from the 1950’s. I still buy cards most years and try to complete a set. I sell on eBay. Every once in a while, I’ll buy something on eBay.

I still get to two or three games a year. I watch games on TV when I can. I am fortunate that my terrific wife shares my love of the Dodgers and is knowledgeable about the sport. We’ve been to Fenway Park. We’ve been to new Yankee Stadium. But for me, there’s nothing like walking into Dodger Stadium.

And in today’s world, when there are no new games, the world of baseball is still at my fingertips. And when I hold a stack of cards, I feel like a kid again.
 

PRosefan1

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I remember getting catalogs from Kit Young back in the old days. That's how I used to get what I wanted before I became an ebay member back in 1999.
 

mrmopar

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Forgive me if I am recalling incorrectly, but it is Brian, correct? I do recall the law background too.

I recall transacting with you a few times, likely over Dodger items. Ebay and perhaps one of the other sites I used to visit before this became home. I was not fortunate to live in So Cal as a kid, as my parents were both both there but moved North before I was born, but I share a similar passion (yours sounds much more dedicated than mine) for the Dodgers.

I don't follow the game as I once did as a youngster, although the last couple of World Series appearances were somewhat fun (when they were winning) and very stressful (when they lost). I enjoy the game through the cards and collectibles much more. The hunt for cool items I knew of and sometimes, those I never even knew existed. Landing them is a thrill, losing out to someone else of missing an opportunity can be painful at times.

Thanks for the memories. I have a few myself, but they seem to get a little bit cloudier each year passing.

Curt
 

bbctrader

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Great story - I have a very similar past - although the Yankees replace the Dodgers! AND, I wasn't smart enough to get the old sets back then. Although, I did get some great cards from The King of the Commons - Bill Henderson - I got about 120 Topps 1969 High numbers and stars for $22 delivered. Oh if only.....
 
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