Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Looking through these boxes, I came across the player who contributed greatly to my growing addiction.  I'd always loved baseball, even as a kid.  I remember watching weekend games with my grandmother and my interest in one Bucky Dent.  Crush.  Well, I was a kid after all.  I outgrew it.
Enter the 1993 World Series.  After my introduction to cards, my interest in the game itself was renewed.  Just in time to discover the Phillies...and Darren Daulton.  He certainly wasn't perfect.  Dutch fought demons during his playing years and a few since retirement.  He's shared a few spiritual ideas which seem a bit quirky but upon closer examination, harmless.  Darren's given back to his community continually and he remains a Philly favorite.  But I digress...

Darren - who was this guy? The chiseled features, great hair.  I suddenly couldn't get enough of his at bats.  I must have all of his cards.  But I was through collecting.  I'd completed my first and last set with UD 93 Then and Now.  Well, it will  be fun.  Just get his cards, and only his.  That's not fair to the rest of the Phils though.  Perhaps I'll do a team set too.  After all, he didn't get to the World Series alone.  Dang it Joe Carter! My Philly dreams crushed.  Who are you anyway?  This card says you're an Oklahoma boy.  I'm from Oklahoma too.  Cool!  I'll collect your cards and maybe those of other players from the OK state.     

The 1993 Homerun

Hello, my name is Cracked Bat and I have a cardboard problem. Yes, a problem.  I can't find Daulton's autographed insert card from the 1994 Ultra set!  What?  That's not a real problem?  What's hitting bottom?  Does that mean the last pack in a box? Leave? You want me to leave? Come back when I can take the program seriously?

Collectors are sometimes their own worst enemies...
Going through my Daulton binder, I felt the urge return to chase down the remaining cards needed to complete the collection.  It had been years since I'd looked Dutch up on the net. To the trusty Google search bar I went. CANCER??   Darren has brain cancer??  My heart sank and eyes welled a bit with tears.  This can't be true.  He had surgery a year ago for a tumor. The cancer found was diagnosed as a glioblastoma.  A difficult cancer to treat as these tumors have tentacles which can leave malignant traces even after a successful surgery. This article shares information on brain cancer and the many other MLB players who battled heroically and lost.  We do cry  too young  often, never do I hear too old.  Too old to die?  Too mean perhaps. I read the obits regularly and naturally notice strangers my age passing on from this life.  They will always be too young, even twenty years from now.  So yes, he is  too young.  I am too young. YOU are too young. Forever young - my theme song right now. 

A Message to Dutch: my best wishes for a full recovery and a thank you. After waiting many years, my opportunity to meet you came at a Devil Rays/Rangers game in the summer of 2001.  After saying you'd sign a ball for me after practice,  I waited in the 100+ degree heat by the visitors dugout for an hour.  You returned to sign that ball, spoke with me for a minute and walked away, much to the dismay of fans lined up behind me.  Thanks for your positive attitude, your commitment to community, and the joy you brought into my own life.                       
June 2014

Oh,  by the way, I am collecting Bucky now.  Why do we cover ourselves in tattoos???  This   ------------------------->
is a much better look.

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