Monday, April 11, 2011

Trading Cards

Keith here.

When I was a boy, my grandfather distributed Topps baseball cards. (Pez, too, but that's another story.) As you can imagine, I had quite a collection. I traded them with my chums and even clothespinned a couple of duplicates to the spokes on my bike to get just the right sound as I pedaled around the 'hood. I was eight when we moved from Chicago to Palo Alto. My cards disappeared. My mom probably saw no reason to keep them. I guess the reason old cards are worth so much now is lots of moms saw no reason to keep them. (That one Willie Mays card on the left lists at $400; his 1952 rookie card lists at $3000.) I had some autographs, too, including one of Dale Long who hit a home run in eight straight games.

A baseball fan I remain, and my friends and colleagues know it. At the instant my Giants won the World Series last fall, I received a text from my literary agent that said, "Now you can die in peace." Thanks, Josh.

Nowadays there are shows where cards are sold and where all-stars sell their autographs, but I'm not interested in baseball cards and autographs anymore.

Two weeks ago, on March 26, I spoke at TEDx in San Jose. All attendees were given a pack of cards, one for each speaker. (That's the front and back of mine below.) People brought my card up to me to sign. For a moment - at least in my head - I was an all-star. And heck, don't we writers deserve the recognition that ballplayers get? Why doesn't someone start producing writer cards anyway? What would I give for a Malliet or Jaffarian? I'd buy one at any price. How about trading? Would anyone take 10 Raffels for one Hank Phillippi Ryan or Karen Olson or Cara Black? No? Okay. I'll give up a damaged Raffel for five Orloffs. (If he wins the Agatha, though, it will only take two.)

Let's deal!

19 comments:

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I love your card, Keith. Cute idea for a speaking gig. I talked about cards yesterday over at Criminal Minds, but my idea was to use them to pick up the opposite sex. You can see where my mind wanders... http://bit.ly/e1v34q

Beth Groundwater said...

I love the baseball card idea for a conference, Keith! So, here's a question back at 'ya. What are a writer's vital stats that you'd put on the back?

Keith Raffel said...

Sue Ann, your mind wanders? Or dwells?

Beth, good question. Let's look at the baseball example. Like Willie's card, the back should be filled with stats. Of course, we need to list all books by year with publisher, featured characters, and awards won. Can't do number sold. (Everyone would lie.) Maybe some blurbs. How about writes right or left? Mac or PC or iPad? Any other ideas?

Alan Orloff said...

Great card, but I would have preferred an action pose. Banging on the keyboard or talking someone up at a signing, perhaps. Believe it or not, I actually saw Writers' Cards at a conference I was at recently. (No Raffels, though!)

As for the trade you proposed, Orloff's are a dime a dozen, I'm afraid. Kind of like Ed Charles was back in 1967 -- good only for putting in the spokes of your bike (yes, I collected Topps' cards, too).

Keith Raffel said...

Aw, c'mon, Alan. I was just funnin'. Would rather have an Orloff than a Chandler (but not a Hammett).

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, I LOVE it.

(I collected baseball cards, too...wish I had 'em now. And Beatle cards, too, did you?)

G.M. Malliet said...

Love this post. And, oh, the memories of that clacking sound made by the spokes of my bike! But I used playing cards. I wonder if anyone ever noticed the ace of hearts was always missing.

Jeff said...

(Ignoring all of that Giants winning World Series talk...)

I love this. Can you imagine the deals that might take place in the wee hours in the bars at Bouchercon???

Darrell James said...

Keith- I've always been a baseball fan too. I must of had a million baseball cards and, as with you, they disappeared sometime in my late teens.

I think we writers should have trading cards. Let's see... what would an authographed Darrell James be going for in the year 2061?

(A guy can dream, can't he?)

Kathleen Ernst said...

I grew up in Baltimore, and had lots of autographs from Oriole players. In those days you could walk down the stadium aisles, lean over the fence near the dugout, and get players to sign. All my Oriole stuff disappeared as well. Oh my.

Love the idea for writer cards, though!

Keith Raffel said...

Hank, there are 750 active on major league rosters. There were 4Beatles. I wonder how they managed to make a whole pack out of them? Did they list songs or groupies on the backs of the cards?

Gin, I think everyone just knew the ace of hearts belongs to you.

Jeff, your card featuring a photo of you hanging ten in your jams would, I suspect, go over big at the Romantic Times Convention, provided it's very late and the bar has very cheap beer.

Darrell, don't worry, Diana will dig deep to come up with the scratch for your card.

So Kathleen, who(m) are we talking about? The Robinson twins? Boog? Kenny Singleton? Jim Palmer?

Victoria said...

I love this idea... in fact I talked about it a few weeks ago on FB... http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001287068782#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=172641582788034&id=100001287068782

Keith Raffel said...

You beat me to the punch, Victoria!

Shel said...

What a COOL idea! I could have a blast with that...

Beth Groundwater said...

Hey, someone changed the background and type colors! Was that you, Keith? I have to admit that while it's not as cool-looking as it used to be, it IS more readable.

Lois Winston said...

Love the more readable blog. My eyes thank you!

As for baseball cards, when my parents moved us from the city to the suburbs, they sent my sister and me to Girl Scout camp for 2 weeks while they packed. I could have paid my kids' college tuitions with the baseball cards they tossed, including Yankee team cards from the 1950's. :-(

Alice Loweecey said...

Keith, so clever!

Deborah Sharp said...

What a great idea! Love your card, too, Keith. My problem would be that the Mama Veil wouldn't fit on a writer's card.
PS: I'll trade you a Raffel for a Richard Castle, from TV.

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, Why would I want a Castle? But I'll trade you two Raffels for a Beckett!