Saturday, May 29, 2010

Me and Mike

A friend of mine gave me a 1989 Donruss MVP card of Mike Greenwell the a while back. It was a nice gesture, from one former collector to a current. We both cut our teeth in the junk wax days (of course we didn't know it was the junk wax days, you know) and left the card for me on my desk at work.

It sat there for a few weeks, in its penny sleeve, waiting forlornly for someone to love it as much as I loved Mike Greenwell back in the day. I remember looking at the Boston Glove, sitting on the bottom step of the stairs at my grandparents house, scanning the agate and league leaders. Greenwell started the season on a heck of an RBI tear, lead the league for a while if I remember correctly, and there was even talk of him breaking the RBI record. Maybe it was my fevered 12-year-old imagination. He finished the season in 3rd place on the AL RBI list with 119, behind Canseco's 124 and Puckett's 121. He hit .325 that year, with 22 home runs, back when 22 home runs was pretty good. I liked it when a 30 homer year was a big freaking deal.

So ol' Mike sat on that desk for a while, and I didn't really know what to do with him. I had the card, I had the card from 1989 and I had the card from 2009, when I ripped a $10 box for giggles, and because I liked the pretty rainbow the cards make when you line them up.

Being a fan of Poor Old Baseball Cards, I have often wondered just how cards get into such bad shape. So I had an idea. I would bring the card with me wherever I went for a week. But how? I couldn't put it in the pants pocket, that would be dumb. Everyone knows that would destroy a card in about 30 seconds once I sat down or it got soaked in buttsweat.

I had an epiphany. I am a photographer, and I bring my camera bag most places. There is a long flat pocket on the side. I stuck it in there. There is would be somewhat safe, as if a child wanted the card to be "ok" but also wanted to have it around.

And there it sat. Every once in a while Mike would take a ride in between the pages of my notebok and show up at odd times, like in the rain at a district track meet (hi Mike!) or at a podium shot. He never fell out, and always got stuck back in the pocket. His corners began to soften.

And I forgot about him. Poor Mike. He sat in the pouch for two weeks, then a third. At one point I felt him as I shoved my notebook in the pocket while hurrying around an assignment. I felt him bend, and felt bad.

I finally fished him out the other day. He was a bit worse for wear. You can barely read about the great year he had in 1988, way back when I was a kid.

I left the top of the scanner open so it wouldn't press down on the card and flatten it back into shape.

Poor old Mike. One of those great baseball legends of sorts, where a guy has a great career for a while and then slowly disappears, forever immortalized on a cheap piece of cardboard stuck in some old guys bag.

No comments:

Post a Comment