Sunday Conversation: Childhood Birthday Parties

The past few days I have been doing contract work at the Illinois high school basketball state finals in Peoria.

In my previous life, I was Sports Director at a number of radio stations in west central Illinois and covered high school sports extensively. Now, I enjoy working from time to time as a hobby working the IHSA state finals for various sports.

Due to winter weather in Wisconsin, I opted to drive to my mom’s house for the night. It’s only an hour from Peoria, and it gave me some time Sunday morning to look back at old photo albums in search of some childhood baseball card photos.

With the amount of collecting I did as a child and the amount of pictures my mom took I thought for sure there would be more baseball card photos. I did uncover my 1990 Annawan City League rookie baseball card. According to the stats on back, Jerome Walton was my favorite player. Not a bad choice the summer after he was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

Amazing how much technology has come along, as these archaic cards had the stats on paper glued to the backside of the photo. Today, you can order customized cards from Topps using actual Topps designs and look and feel like a real baseball card.

In past blogs I’ve mentioned my ninth birthday and a trip to ABC Collectibles in Moline, Illinois. It was the cream of the crop for card shops, and they even had a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. Can you believe they gave it away as a door prize at a 1988 card show?

Full article

1952 Topps Mantle Giveaway

Junk Era Demand

For my ninth birthday, in 1991, a trip to ABC Collectibles was what I wanted. I remember buying a 1989 Kodak Peoria Chiefs team set, and possibly a 1989 Topps Milwaukee Brewers team set for the Gary Sheffield card. That’s about all I remember. Back home, I got to open my gifts. Looking at this picture, it looks like there are some packs of Score baseball cards on the table, and what I believe to be a 1991 Fleer Chicago Cubs team set. (Also, note the Keystone Light my dad is drinking!)

At first I didn’t recognize the following gift. I had to really study the photo and think back. Pretty sure that it’s a small card box, similar to an index card filing box.

Looks like I’m wearing my Annawan City League baseball shirt. That must be my City League rookie season shirt from 1990. I think I was on the gray team in 1991. Also, my cousin Michelle is rocking a sweet “Just Say NO” shirt. After opening gifts, I probably paged up those baseball cards in that awesome baseball card binder you see in the foreground of this next picture. You have to look closely since Jeremy’s sweet Bolt tank top is taking up much of the frame. And take a look at that vintage television featuring some classic RBI Baseball on Nintendo. A VCR on the shelf above the NES.

Another shot of RBI Baseball. I was hoping my autographed 1990 Score Earl Cunningham baseball card would be pictured on the top shelf of that entertainment center. It was in a top loader for some time. For some reason, my parents allowed me to put random trinkets on that entertainment center. Sadly, the Cunningham was in the top loader for so long it ripped when I tried taking it out and it was tossed. He is an extremely tough autograph, and I’m always on the lookout for a signed 1990 Score Cunningham, or a signed baseball.

What a birthday it was. Funny how some of these memories stick with you nearly 30 years later. The photos help trigger some of those memories.

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