I have been reading blogs called blog bat around that multiple bloggers have been writing about how they came to be collectors and what they collect. I thought that I would try also.
The first time I remember cards entering my thoughts was 1967 Topps. We moved every two years, because my Dad was in the US Navy, and we lived all over. That year we lived in Norfolk, Virginia, I was 10 years old and it was the first year we lived close enough to a store that my parents would let me go by myself. I remember buying comics for 10 cents each or three for a dollar, and I remember buying cards and trading a few of them and putting some in my bicycle spokes. I don't remember keeping any of them, we moved again to Los Angeles where I attended my first major league game, the Dodgers and Braves. We lived there for 2 years before moving to the middle of nowhere in Northern California, a Navy base in the middle of a 400 acre cattle ranch. I followed baseball through my uncle, who drove Bert Campaneris in the A's victory parades in the early 70's. I went to high school in Eugene, Oregon and in my sophmore year the brother of one of my classmates was drafted by the Padres. Jill Roberts was a year ahead of me when her brother Dave Roberts was drafted from the University of Oregon. That is when I started following the Padres. I attended my first Padres game while I was attending Navy boot camp in San Diego. I remember watching Willie McCovey play first base for the team. I followed baseball sparingly during the next few years and got out of the Navy in 1979. I had several jobs after I got out of the Navy, and then in 1985 I was working at Waldenbooks and we ran a promotion that if you bought a baseball book you got a pack of 1985 Topps. They were cellophane wrapped and they came in vending boxes. At the end of the promotion we had four or five of the vending boxes left. The manager let me have them I took them to the local card shop and traded them for some Padres cards. I don't remember exactly what, but at that point I decided to become a team collector. I started trying to put together team sets from all the manufacturers. Luckily since the Padres hadn't only been around that long I didn't have to chase too many expensive cards, although I never did get the Dave Hilton '73 Rookie card. First one to tell me who is on the card with him will recieve two certified Padres autograph cards. I remember dropping an entire IRS refund check on Padres cards, and getting in major trouble with my wife. In 1990 I started working in one of two major card shops in Portland, I worked there for five years and then moved to the other major shop in the town. This made it easy to get the cards, but the card companies, started with the parallel nonsense. Since there were now so many cards to get I stopped being a team collector and started being a player collector. I picked about ten players and was trying to get all the cards of those players, Joey Cora it was easy to get all his cards, Kruk and Flann were also easy, but Gwynn, Gossage, Garvey it was hard to get all the cards of them. So I went down to just two players Tony Gwynn and Tim Flannery, and they both retired so I thought I was done, but no the card companies kept making more and more cards of Tony. So I stopped trying to get all the cards of Tony and just got the cards I really liked. I worked until 1997 in the card shop and then I went back to college when I was 36, (go when you are young it's easier). I was working full time, going to school full time, and being a husband and father so cards kind of got put on the back burner. After I graduated from Portland State University I got back into collecting and had to decide what I wanted to collect. I had some autographed cards of the Padres from before college, I put them all together and decided that I was going to try and get a signed card from everyone who had been pictured on a Padres card. I started buying lots on ebay and found a reputable company in Arizona, ABC Unlimited that I bought cards from, also from Jack Smalling. I got Smallings book and Harvey Musselmans' list and started sending out autograph request. I have got to meet some of the players that I got signed, breakfast with Rick Sweet, sitting with Tony Gwynn at a card show and sharing my collection with he and his agent, Johnny Boggs. I got to meet Tim Flannery and exchange birthday presents with him, I helped him pulled a prank on the minor league team he was managing. So I guess that makes me an autographed team collector, my collection of Padre autographed cards starts with Shawn Abner and ends with Don Zimmer. I have cards from 702 different players, coaches, managers, owners and a few front office people. I wish the card companies would make more none glossy cards, and would include more different players. Some of the players in the update and highlight set already have several cards in the regular set, show us some more players, bring back Topps Total and Upper Deck 40 man. Any questions?
Baseball card stories from Tom Mendonca
1 hour ago