Saturday, May 9, 2009

No.23: Collecting Baseball Cards

1960 Topps Baseball Cards

Baseball cards are a big business today for serious (way too serious) adult collectors. In my childhood, however, they were a wonderful diversion for little boys. They provided hours of fun debating whether a Mays was better than a Mantle or how to pronounce Yastrzemski. And we learned useful bargaining skills trading “doubles” or “unknowns.” These trading sessions could be a brutal case of caveat emptor, and experienced traders often took advantage of younger or less knowledgeable collectors.

The cards were sold five to a pack along with a stick of the most wretched bubble gum you ever put in your mouth. This so-called gum was powdery and brittle and had a distinctive smell. In your mouth it disintegrated into little pebbles that took a lot of serious chewing to develop into something you could blow a bubble with. And it left a really vile after-taste. Of course the gum was just a necessary by-product of the real transaction, and we usually threw it away before we left the store.

I’m sure you could buy baseball cards all over Tupelo, but my favorite shopping venues were Wren’s on Clayton, Booker’s on Joyner or, if you dared, Dale Walton’s on Jackson. If the store had a new shipment, you might get four or five cards you didn’t have. Otherwise you might end up with a whole pack of doubles or even triples. The best use for triples was to attach them to your bicycle wheel with a clothes pin so they sputtered against the spokes when you rode down the street, converting your bike into an imaginary motorcycle.


  1. I found this blog through friends on Facebook. I graduated in 1970 from Franklin High School in Meadville, MS.(The southwest corner of the state. After 2 years at Co-Lin in Wesson, MS, I went to "MSCW" - BS degree from MSCW, Masters from MUW. I was surprised at how many people there did not know where Natchez and Vicksburg were, no way to explain Meadville other than south of Jackson.)
    So much of what you say here is "my life, too!" I love the pics and your style! I did come to Tupelo my junior year to a Student Council Convention. Yall were great hosts! I will be following! Thanks for the memories!

  2. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Stan Byrd emailed the following comment:

    I remember what a big deal it was when a Mantle changed hands.

    My favorite player back then was Don Mossi. He had world-class ears.