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  #1  
Old 02-17-2021, 11:24 AM
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Default The Card That Got You Hooked

A few weeks ago I started a thread here about your favorite card in your collection. I loved reading all the stories that were posted – so much history and nostalgia and sentimental value.

That got me thinking about another topic – the card(s) that hooked you on the hobby and whether or not you still own them.

In 1987 I was 8 years old and visiting my uncle in Bloomsburg, PA. During that visit we stopped at a gas station and my mom bought me a pack of 87 Topps. At the time I had only a passing interest in baseball, and had never even seen a baseball card before. In that very first pack my mom bought for me was an 87 McGwire. I remember getting back to my uncle’s house and him telling me that that card could be worth serious money someday – but that I couldn’t get ketchup stains on it or fold it up in my pocket. He told me about how his father, my grandfather, had owned a grocery store in the 50s and 60s and would give him and his friends packs and packs of Topps to play with and trade. How he treated so many Mantle and Mays cards like they were worthless, trading them away for Robin Roberts’ and Johnny Callison’s because he was a Phillies fan, and how I couldn’t do that and had to keep the McGwire safe – it felt like a treasure I had stumbled upon. I was hooked on the cards before I was hooked on the sport, and throughout the year my mom would buy me a pack or, if I was lucky, two, every time she went to the grocery store.

By Christmas, I probably had 75% of the 87 Topps set complete, but was still missing one of the key pieces – the Jose Canseco Topps All Star Rookie. I loved those cards with the Rookie Cups. Such a simple concept but the guy who came up with that at Topps should have won employee of the year. My friends and I held Bruce Ruffin, Robby Thompson, Pete Incaviglia, etc in such higher regard than we should have because of that cup, but the prize was the Canseco.

On Christmas morning 1987 I found the complete set of Topps under the tree and I finally had my Canseco. Buying 50 cent packs for me every so often wasn’t a big deal for my mom, but spending for the complete set was huge. At the time, I thought Santa brought it, so that was lost on me, but looking back I know it was something we probably couldn’t afford. But paired with the McGwire that’s what did it for me. I had my treasure.

However, because boys are idiots, a few years later I was enticed into a trade. I sent the Canseco to a friend for a package headlined by an 83 Bench. I had never seen a 1983 card before – it might as well have been a 1953. I pulled the trigger and my 87 set was no longer complete.
I immediately regretted it. By this time I knew that my mom had bought me that set, and I knew that it was a sacrifice. I think it was at that moment that cards became more than cardboard for me. There was something more there, about baseball, and family, and sacrifice, and history, and fun.

Anyway, luckily for me the story has a happy ending. By 1991, the kid I traded the 87 Canseco to still had it. I had spent a few weeks piecing together a complete set of 1991 Fleer Pro Visions by identifying the black borders hidden in the yellow base cards in the wax packs. I traded the set to him for the Canseco and a few other cards. Here is a pic of that exact Canseco, and the McGwire from the very first pack of cards I ever opened. They’re kept alongside my Mantle and Mays and Robinson.

Do you still have the card(s) that got you hooked?
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File Type: jpg canseco.jpg (38.6 KB, 662 views)
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2021, 11:32 AM
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1959 Topps Roberto Clemente was a gift from my dad. He paid $10.25 for it in 1982. Never forget it.


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  #3  
Old 02-17-2021, 11:49 AM
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My first card is loooooong forgotten and to be honest, completely irrelevant and inconsequential....

my first piece of MEMORABILIA though is well remembered.

Last edited by Huysmans; 02-17-2021 at 11:50 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-17-2021, 11:53 AM
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The 1989 Upper Deck Griffey Jr got me hooked on modern. A T206 Killian Portrait got me hooked on Vintage!

Last edited by Jason; 02-17-2021 at 11:54 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2021, 12:04 PM
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For a split-second, I thought they made a card for EVERY game I watched.


1964 Topps- World Series Game 1- Koufax Strikes Out 15 - PSA-8.jpg
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2021, 02:09 PM
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1971 Topps Clemente was the card that started it all for me.
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  #7  
Old 02-17-2021, 02:47 PM
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Nope, none of the 1st cards. Had complete sets 1967 thru 1990 all sold years ago, collecting interests changed.
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2021, 05:53 AM
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I had baseball cards. Got into them pretty good in 1980. I think Burger King gave out cards in 78 or 79 , but they were Yankees and we were Mets fans. Drakes gave out some. For the life of me, I have no idea where my uncut Drakes sheet is. Probably from 81 or 82. I remember being disappointed it came in an uncut sheet. I remember being very disappointed it was bent. Mom was pretty good with my stuff, but that one is long gone.

My uncle gave me a ‘66 Koufax that I still have. My only Koufax to this date. Should have bought the 55 back in the day. The one that got me hooked on T206? A beat up old Irv Young. One of my favorite cards in the collection. Bought it for $8. Thought i was robbing the dealer that sold it to me...
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2021, 07:54 AM
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Funny thing is, the card that got me hooked was a 1980 Ricky Henderson rookie card. I paid ~$4 for it out of my own money in 1982 at the newly opened card shop in my town. I was 8/9 years old. I still have it and the condition is not superb, but that led to my life long collecting bug. I only wish I had developed a love of pre war much earlier.

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  #10  
Old 02-18-2021, 08:51 AM
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The design of the 1965 Topps and I still have them.
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  #11  
Old 02-18-2021, 09:35 AM
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A sharp '66 Koufax in a shop when I was probably 10 or 11. It was my first true vintage star card - I had some older ones at the time, but nobody on the level of Koufax. Years later, I realized it was terribly OC left to right. Probably would have topped out at a 6, but I had no clue as a kid. I've heard countless other stories of adult collectors now who didn't even realize their cards were OC as a kid - just further evidence that certain aspects of condition evaluation today are the result of collective bias.
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  #12  
Old 02-18-2021, 09:52 AM
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First card that got me into the hobby?
1991 Stadium Club Frank Thomas - I loved that shot, the way the bat is pointed towards the outfield in mid-swing

First card that got me into vintage?
1953 Topps Satchel Paige
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  #13  
Old 02-18-2021, 10:42 AM
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1984 Topps Mattingly
He was /is my favorite player of my lifetime.
I had to ride my bike at age 13 about 6 miles each way every week to pay a few bucks at the local card shop until I paid it off (it was like $15-25) in the mid 90s.

Yes I still have it. Picked up a 84 Donruss for nostalgia purposes a year or 2 ago at a card show to go with it.

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  #14  
Old 02-18-2021, 11:28 AM
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The first cards I really remember were 1971 Topps baseball and specifically Brooks Robinson. Still a favorite card.
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  #15  
Old 02-18-2021, 11:32 AM
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Sure! I still have the first cards from the first pack I opened, which was 1986 Topps. There was a Wade Boggs and an Eckersley in there. But the card that hooked me was the George Brett base card. When I got that one, I was in love. It's still safely in an 800 count box along with the rest of the 1986 set that I pieced together from packs with my dad. That will be the last box of cards that goes if I ever have to sell everything.
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Old 02-18-2021, 11:49 AM
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From my early collecting days...I recall desiring the 1975 topps mvp cards...the 1976 cards depicting all time greats...but I think the 1977 Burger King Pinella stands out as being a card I always coveted due to it's limited print run. I didn't acquire one until my 30's!
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  #17  
Old 02-18-2021, 01:57 PM
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Default Starting Card

For me it's the 1962 Post Cereal Willie Mays. My favorite player on the back of a cereal box while pushing the shopping cart for my mom in the Food Fair. I saw the box, got excited and she bought the cereal. Still have my original card.

Last edited by skil55voy; 02-18-2021 at 01:58 PM.
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  #18  
Old 02-18-2021, 02:51 PM
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My first Pre-War card was 1933 Goudey from the Frisch catalog. They'd give you a random common and it was Jack Quinn.

My first T206 was Harry Pattee bought my dad at a Wisconsin card shop.

Though no specific card got me hooked. I just started collecting them when I was little, and bought Topps packs from a local grocery store.

Last edited by drcy; 02-18-2021 at 03:20 PM.
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  #19  
Old 02-18-2021, 02:57 PM
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I started collecting as a kid in 1989 so obviously the UD Griffey was the hot card at the time. Packs were 2 or 3 bucks each at the time. Never did pull one, but traded for one at some point later.

My first vintage card was a 58 Mantle/Aaron. I thought it was so cool that it had both players on it, and couldn't figure out why it was cheaper than a similar card with only one of them.
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Old 02-18-2021, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tulsaboy View Post
Sure! I still have the first cards from the first pack I opened, which was 1986 Topps. There was a Wade Boggs and an Eckersley in there. But the card that hooked me was the George Brett base card. When I got that one, I was in love. It's still safely in an 800 count box along with the rest of the 1986 set that I pieced together from packs with my dad. That will be the last box of cards that goes if I ever have to sell everything.
kevin
I also started with '86 Topps, age 9. The cards I still have that I know are originals I pulled from packs in '86, I can tell because some of them have thumbtack holes through them.
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  #21  
Old 02-18-2021, 03:28 PM
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First Card I owned got me hooked
1987 topps jose canseco, grew up in bay area when i was a kid, he and Will Clark are my favorite player

First Card i don't owned as a kid but got me hooked
1986 Donruss Jose Canseco, my dream card when i was a kid

First vintage card i bought when i get back into this hobby
1954 topps hank aaron SGC 7 for $1200
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  #22  
Old 02-18-2021, 03:36 PM
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Pulled this rookie card (and some other Royals) out of a penny box in a Florida drug store while on a Disney vacation in the summer of 1985. They were the first cards I ever owned.

Later that fall I watched as he went on to win World Series MVP for my home town team.

In love with cards ever since.

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  #23  
Old 02-18-2021, 03:40 PM
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1980 Topps Rickey Henderson, pulled at a flea market from a sealed pack

The guy that sold it to me opened a card shop and I work for him on the weekends - I got paid in packs!

Pre-war was a T201 Double Fold Tris Speaker purchased in Boston, soon after I purchased the Barry Halper Auction books - read and completed it during the plane ride on my Honeymoon

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  #24  
Old 02-18-2021, 03:52 PM
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The first cards I saw were on the boxes of Hostess snacks in the late 70s. Then packs of Topps.

In about 1980, I got one of the Dover reprint books, and I loved the T205s and T202s and Goudeys. I didn’t start collecting vintage for some time after that, but it was those reprints that hooked me on the old stuff.
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Old 02-18-2021, 03:59 PM
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1974 Topps Hank Aaron #1 All-Time Home Run King. Pulled it from a pack in ‘74 about a month after he had set the record. Later, about 1981, I got hooked on vintage when I bought a 1952 Topps Tommy Glaviano at a flea market; the first non-current card I’d ever bought (or even seen for sale).
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Old 02-18-2021, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbsports33 View Post
1980 Topps Rickey Henderson, pulled at a flea market from a sealed pack

The guy that sold it to me opened a card shop and I work for him on the weekends - I got paid in packs!

Pre-war was a T201 Double Fold Tris Speaker purchased in Boston, soon after I purchased the Barry Halper Auction books - read and completed it during the plane ride on my Honeymoon

Jimmy
I would have signed up for that job in a heartbeat.
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Old 02-18-2021, 04:26 PM
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My grandpa bought season tickets for the TB Buccs in 77-78. After that I started collecting Tampa Bay football cards. I caught the baseball bug in '83/'84 when Strawberry & Gooden kicked in.
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  #28  
Old 02-18-2021, 05:53 PM
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1972 Topps Willie Mays, with my dad regaling my brothers and I with stories of his exploits on the New York Giants back in the day. Still, without a doubt, my all time favorite card.
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Old 02-18-2021, 06:39 PM
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I can't say that a particular card got me into collecting, it was probably more my oldest brother who passed along his collection from the 60's to myself and my other brother that spurred me to collect the current (1970's issues, starting with 1975 Topps). And my mom helped foster this passion by always needing something from the grocery store that was 1/2 mile away, and I was given a quarter to walk there to get it. When she found out that I was spending that money on buying cards, I feel she stepped up her needs for me to make a grocery run .

There is definitely a vintage card that spurred me to immediately (actually within a year) stop collecting contemporary cards and switch to strictly prewar. It is the shown T206 of Mathewson that I picked up, along with 4 other 1910 era HOF'ers, at a card show in the early 80's. The other cards were cool too, but this Matty card in particular just caught my attention and I haven't been able to shake the hobby since.

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Old 02-18-2021, 06:53 PM
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That dark cap Matty is my favorite T206. And the first one I ever got.
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  #31  
Old 02-18-2021, 07:41 PM
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My first vintage card was a 1958 Topps regular issue card of Brooks Robinson. The $3 price tag for the rookie version seemed a bit steep to me, a 15-year-old at the time (1975), so I opted for his second year card, and it was pretty sharp, probably in solid excellent condition. The price was 75 cents. No, I don't still have it.

Last edited by robw1959; 02-18-2021 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 02-18-2021, 07:57 PM
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For me, it was a 1971 Willie Mays. The neighbor next door had recently moved in and we went back to the barn in his backyard where there was a stash of baseball cards left by the previous owner. We divided them up three ways and I got the Willie Mays, creases and worn corners and all. It was a true 'barn find' and started me down an on-again, off-again relationship with little pieces of cardboard.

And yes, I still have it. Recently put it in as part of a '71 set I was working on. It's by far the worst condition card in the set.
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  #33  
Old 02-18-2021, 07:59 PM
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Default 1959 Topps Red Wilson

The one card that triggered my passion for collecting was a 1959 Topps Red Wilson. He was in the first pack of baseball cards I bought that summer when I was 6-years-old. My mom made such a big deal out of me getting a Detroit Tiger in my first pack of cards that my dad came in from the next room. They were both teachers and my dad was a coach. So sports ran in our blood. But from that summer day in 1959 right through today, I’ve been a collector. And yes, I still have that 1959 Topps Red Wilson.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:25 PM
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The 1985 Topps McGwire got me hooked. It was the first single card I ever purchased. It was $20 in late 1987. Over the last 10 or 15 years it seems like I have always had a PSA 10 or even once I had a BGS 10. However, now I have no Gem Mint copies. Wish I would have kept the BGS as it is now out of my price range.

The most exciting card I ever opened from a pack was the 1986 Donruss Canseco in 1988. Once again it always seems like I had a PSA 10 or even once I had a BGS 10 and now only a PSA 8

In 1990 I opened a pack of Leaf that had TWO Frank Thomas rookies. It was nice but didn’t match that original Canseco feeling. That is one of my only PSA 10s that I do have.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:55 PM
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Great stories, guys. Thanks for sharing
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:22 PM
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I can't remember what it was as a kid. I do remember opening 1985 packs and looking for the USA cards. I remember the McDonalds football cards from 1986 being all the rage at my school. I loved those cards. And I remember when the first 87 cards came out and being very interested in what the new design would be.

For prewar, I was searching ebay for some of the old Cardinals greats to see what was out there. I saw the Gold Medal Foods Ducky Medwick listed for around ten dollars and I couldn't believe it. It never occurred to me that the old cards that seemed the stuff of legend when I collected cards as a kid could be so easily acquired. And the R313A set was ideal to draw me in, being a small set relatively inexpensive, packed with HOFers, and made of players of my two favorite teams. Serendipitous. Turns out the Medwick was mis-listed so there was a chance that it wasn't widely seen when I found it. That also got me hooked - that bargain hunting aspect. Soon after, I got a pretty good deal on the National Game Runner Sliding that likely pictures Cobb. I never thought I'd own a 100-year-old Ty Cobb card.
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Old 02-18-2021, 11:46 PM
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I remember getting into the hobby with my dad in 1987 and we started getting the baseball factory sets each year. Then, in 1989 we decided to open packs and make sets. We live in Michigan so we got into football first because of Barry Sanders. We ended up getting into Score because the Proset boxes cost too much. When they first came out Score was only $18 a box and Proset was $3-$4 a pack here. When I saw the first Score Barry Sanders we pulled in a pack I was hooked and I have been collecting pretty much anything that I thought looked good ever since. I still have the first set that my dad gave me back in 1989 and have bought and sold several more over the years. I have three sets including a factory set now. I'm always looking for that set and particularly the Sanders. The first and only vintage project so far is the 1970 Topps baseball set. I started that about four years ago and it took about two years to finish it. I picked that set because I remember seeing a bunch of them from my dad's old cards from when he was a kid and I liked the look of the gray borders.
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Old 02-19-2021, 12:40 AM
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It definitely started in 1972 for me. Probably the Tom Seaver card or the Mets team.
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris6net View Post
It definitely started in 1972 for me. Probably the Tom Seaver card or the Mets team.
The '72 Seaver is one of my favorites. I love those spring training shots with players in the background. In that one you have a stoic looking Seaver in his blue satin warmup jacket. Great stuff!
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:06 AM
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First T206 that I bought when I was around 14-15 yrs old. Got me hooked on T206, although I didn't go after the set until I was an adult.

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  #41  
Old 02-19-2021, 12:09 PM
MR RAREBACK MR RAREBACK is offline
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Ty cobb
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  #42  
Old 02-19-2021, 04:07 PM
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I've never been a Mets fan, but the 1985 Dwight Gooden was such a hot card at the time, I spent months of trading to finally get one off a elementary school friend of mine and for the longest time considered it my holy grail until I ordered a 1972 Willie Mays from the back of a Beckett Catalogue for $12 at the age of 9.

That remained my favorite for years to come.
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  #43  
Old 02-19-2021, 07:29 PM
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In the summer of 1968 I was old enough to push a lawnmower and began mowing some elderly neighbors lawns for $3. The local mom-n-pop gas station was just 1/10 of a mile down the street and I took my 2 gallon can down to get the gas needed and and used what remained up to the next dollar to buy cards. Gas was about 35 cents a gallon.
.
I still have the 68 Mantle, Killebrew, Kaline and other stars, but the Ryan rookie was in a pile that stayed on the living room floor too long and Mom tossed them into the burn barrel in the back yard.

I added more lawns, and cards, through the next 8 years until I went off to college.

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  #44  
Old 02-21-2021, 04:03 PM
EddiesDryGoods EddiesDryGoods is offline
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Me too!
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:07 PM
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Playing baseball as a little kid got me into cards way back in 1972. The card that got me hooked on collecting vintage was a 1961 Jim Gilliam card I got in a trade. After holding that card I was hooked on vintage even as a youngster. The majority of my vintage collection I acquired before I was an adult.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:33 AM
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Default 1986 Topps

Like a couple of others have said, mine was the 1986 Topps set. I don't think any of the particular cards were the key to getting me hooked though. During that summer I was 11 and spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandmother was helping me by buying packs and trying to complete the sticker album. On the sticker backs there was an offer to send in 100 or so backs and $10-15 for a complete 1986 set. Grandma wrote out the check and helped me package up the backs. Seems like it took forever but when that complete set arrived I could not believe it. I still have the set and have even sent off and received some of them as TTM autos. The set is in a binder like a prized possession to this day with autographs sprinkled throughout.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:41 AM
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'57 Aaron
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  #48  
Old 02-23-2021, 10:33 AM
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Of all things...it was 1978 Topps Bob Watson.

As an 8 yr old given his first baseball cards, I remember the realization the he was the Astros player in the Bad News Bears ("Let the kids play").
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:39 AM
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I first bought cards in 1965, but it was really 1967 when I started collecting seriously. I had all the cards from the first 6 series, but kept buying hoping for 7th series cards. Instead I kept getting 6th series cards and ended up with multiples of every 6th series card. This was my favorite card being an All Star and World Series hero from my favorite team. I got this autographed at a Willow Grove show.

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Old 02-23-2021, 12:40 PM
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From my first year of collecting cards. Koufax became my favorite player
and the Dodgers became my favorite team. This is not the Koufax card I had as a boy. I would love to find the one I had. I was so mad at Koufax when he retired after the 1966 season, I wrote "ex" in front of the word pitcher on the front of the card making it say "ex pitcher". If anyone has this/my card let me know. I still regret selling my childhood collection of 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969 Topps cards.
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