Sunday, May 11, 2008

In Honor of Mother's Day, I Just Want to Say...

if it were not for both my mom and my grandmother, I would not be a baseball fan, nor would I be collecting baseball cards. Let me explain:

I was born in Manila, a city in the Philippines. My grandmother married an American soldier and lived in the US for a few years. She apparently watched some baseball, but was more of a boxing fan (she even welcomed Muhammad Ali when he came into the country for that Thrilla in Manila thing). Anyway, when I arrived in Chicago, one of the few things she would watch on TV would be WGN and the Chicago Cubs. This was 1987, the first year of the Andre Dawson era. She would watch the games, and be happy when the Cubs won (they didn't win that many games if I remember, they ended up in last place). She didn't really know the players, but she did know the game. And there I was, watching the games along with her. Thanks to her, I was introduced to Dawson, a second baseman named Ryne Sandberg, a shortstop named Shawon Dunston, and a pitching staff that consisted of Rick Sutcliffe, and some young guy named Greg Maddux. In 1989, she took me to my first game at Wrigley Field. The Cubs beat the Expos that night. I will never forget climbing those steps to get to our seats and just staring wide-eyed at the field. The grass could not be any greener. And just watching the game live was better than anything I had seen on the television. I think from that point on, I was hooked. She is 92 years old now, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't remember taking me to a ball game, but I thank her very much for introducing me to baseball.

When I arrived here, my mom was working at a bakery called Let Them Eat Cake in downtown Chicago. It was a very busy place. And although it was primarily a bakery, I had never seen more gummy candies in my life. Gummy Bears, Worms, bottles, bottle caps, apples, life savers. They had it all. They also, it seemed, to have an account with a certain baseball card company that coincidentally was a candy/confectionary company as well. Along with Ring Pops, and Blow Pops, this bakery also sold baseball cards. On my second day in the US, she gave me a couple packs of 1987 Topps Baseball Cards. I opened them, ate this pink slab of gum that was in the pack, and looked at the cards. The first thing I noticed was the wood borders, but what I was really interested in were the team logos that were inside this circle on the top left corner of every card. Now, I was a sucker for logos and brands, even in the Philippines, so I thought those logos were cool. I even had this idea of cutting the cards just for the logos and throwing out the rest. It didn't really matter who was on the card because, quite frankly, I didn't know who the players wereere, nor did I care (this was BEFORE the Cubs games). I just wanted the logos. After about 30 minutes, I put the cards down, and went out to play. I don't think I ever so those cards again. It was not until 1988 until I was formally introduced to the art of baseball card collecting by a bunch of the neighborhood kids, but I will always thank (or blame) my mom for introducing me to the concept. In 1990, I found out that one of her childhood friends worked for the Topps Company. My mom told her how I was collecting baseball cards and really liked the Topps cards. Imagine my surprise when a box came addressed to me, and inside was a complete set of 1991 Topps Baseball Cards. This was even before the cards went live. After going over the cards, I noticed there were tons of mistakes on them, the biggest one being the Keith Comstock Cubs card (he was with the Mariners at the time). I was ecstatic. I didn't even have to buy any cards that year. They came all at once!!! I couldn't get that thank you card out in the mail fast enough. And I still have those cards in my collection.

So Happy Mother's Day Mom and Lola. Thank you for introducing me to baseball and baseball card collecting.


JayBee Anama

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