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.)