Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Summer of 74

I was ten years old in the Summer of 74, sheltered and oblivious to the war, peace movements - most any news that wasn't pleasant.   I spent those months free from school, riding my purple bicycle with my most prized possessions in the flowered basket.  I took my comics books and Highlights magazines everywhere I went, which was really only three houses in either direction of my own. My mother was somewhat overprotective, so it seemed anyway.   If I close my eyes, that summer comes rushing back so easily. 

I discovered music that year and begged for a radio of my own. We had so little money that a radio of any kind was a sacrifice for my parents. But I was very specific and asked for this one:

Holy smokes, I got it!!  Picnicking at Lake Thunderbird, I listened the whole day long, carrying that little ball on a chain until the battery died. I didn't realize batteries had a very limited lifespan.  With this little radio by my ear, there were many songs I waited for: Band on the Run, I Shot the Sheriff, Billy Don't Be a Hero {I was ten...} The Show Must Go On.   Oh, how I still love this music!

But the one song that takes me back to that muddy red lake every single time is Rikki Don't Lose That Number.  Why that song in particular,  I don't know.  The bass line and chimes hold me spellbound.  Even now,  when hearing it on the radio I find myself at the lake - drinking Shasta cola, listening to Steely Dan on KOMA.   That was innocence.  My mom would die the following April.  The next year would leave my life forever changed and 1974 would be the last real summer of my childhood.  My father would make the first of many poor decisions that would eventually destroy our family.

When I came upon the blog Summer of 74, it was a magnet.  I can't see this blog's name without feeling the emotions associated with 1974.  Author and Brewers' fan,  Matt Prigge began his blog in February 2017 focusing on the quest to have as many of his 74 Topps cards signed as  possible.  He's become an active trader, hosting contests, and winning over readers with his charm - and pictures of his pet rats.  Matt initiated a  trade with me, dropping a Tiger friendly package my way.

Autos: 2002 Total, 1998 Studio

I have over one hundred Catalanottos cards and two autographed, cracked game-used bats.  I plan to scale down the card collection.  If anyone else collects Frank, speak up.  Most show him in the Rangers uni.  Studio was great in 98!  This card stays with me!

Matt included a nice mix of Verlanders and Miggs.   Red foil parallels from 2014 Topps are always appreciated.   I have very few 2016 Flakes, all from trades.  I managed to resist the virtually non-existent temptation to purchase this holiday release.

Let it be known - I'm a gold-digger.  Sensing this, Matt included a nice array of Topps Gold from 92, 94, 14, 15 and 17.   Wow!  What?  Mumbling in my ear - not real gold?   Yet another disappointment from Topps.  Doesn't Panini put real gems in their cards?  What?? Man-made?  NOOOOOOO!

Matt, thanks for reaching out!  I will enjoy these cards!!  Give the rats a chin scratch for me!

As for my little radio, it's long gone.  In attempts to piece my childhood together again, I found an identical, new-in-box Panapet on ebay a few years ago.  I still haven't put a battery in it.  As long as my radio is safe in the box, it's still 1974 and life is perfect.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

A 2017 Bowman Chrome Mystery

After receiving an unexpected package from Canada, I'm seeking assistance from our Blog Wonderland.  The return address is illegible.  Kitchener ON is all I can make out.  The city is familiar  to me but while going over my trade spreadsheet,  I found the address unrecorded.  Perhaps the thoughtful sender could message me with a name, address and related blog info if available, or a reader could leave a comment pointing me in the right direction.

rainy day delivery
The package contained 2017 Bowman Chrome Tigers.  Five base cards:

Three refractors:

with a Hometown Hero to aide them in their journey to Michigan:

Verlander/150   Miggy/499
One gorgeous rookie auto:

I must admit Bowman looks good on Chrome.  The paper release did nothing for me. The cards are thick, sharp and shiny!   I'd like to offer proper recognition but am somewhat handicapped.  My memory isn't  what it once was - and wasn't great then.  

Step forward, reveal yourself; oh mystery trader!!