Yesterday might have very well been the best day in all my years of collecting.
Why? I'll get to that eventually. First, let me give you the backstory.
Some of you might remember the possibly real/possibly fake Johnny Evers tobacco card that fellow blogger AdamE was gracious enough to send my way a few days ago.
While I was pretty sure it was a fake, I still had a glimmer of hope that it might be the real deal. I wasn't about to send ten bucks (or however much it costs) to have Beckett tell me, so I wondered if there were any other options to know for certain whether the card was authentic or not.
Another member of the blogosphere, reader Michael, pointed me to the Net54 online forums, where this sort of thing is commonplace. So I went over there, made an account, and posted the link to my blog post that night.
Within minutes, I had a few people tell me that it was definitely a fake. The colors were off, and the Polar Bear back was never issued on an Evers tobacco card.
Oh, well. It was nice to have hoped it was real, but at least I knew for sure now. Even a reprint like this is still a neat addition for my collection. End of story.
Or so I thought.
Later that night, forum member Matt sent me a message out of the blue.
He wrote that he really enjoyed what he read on my blog, and said that it was "refreshing to see someone collecting not for value, but for the simple fun". Apparently, that spirit isn't found a lot on those forums.
What Matt said next was perhaps the best sentence I've ever read in my life.
"I'd like to donate a real T206 tobacco card to your blog/collection."
Words cannot describe the excitement that came over me at that very moment. I vehemently thanked him and sent him my address. Before I knew it, the card was on its way.
It actually arrived on Friday, but I wasn't around to sign for it at the time. So I had to agonizingly wait for a full day before I could go pick it up at the Post Office. Knowing that there was a real, actual tobacco card waiting for me just minutes away from my house made for the longest Friday I can remember.
I made that fateful drive to the Post Office the next afternoon, although I couldn't get there fast enough. After I signed for it, the postman handed me the mailer that held my first-ever tobacco card.
It held my biggest lifelong dream as a collector.
Frankly, I'm a little surprised I made it all the way home without opening the mailer in the car. Once I got home, I ripped open the package within seconds.
I took a deep breath and slowly took away the covering, which revealed my first tobacco card.
It's a beautiful sight.
I was literally rendered speechless once I held it in my hands for the first time. A real tobacco card! In my collection!
I still can't believe it.
At no point did I know exactly which tobacco card Matt was sending, but that aura of mystery made the anticipation all the more exciting.
The player featured on my very own tobacco card is pitcher/outfielder Cy Seymour. His career actually started in 1896. It's amazing to think that I have a card of a guy who played in the majors before the turn of the century.
He pitched for the first five years of his career, winning 25 games in 1898. Arm troubles forced him into becoming an outfielder, but it turns out that he was a pretty good hitter as well.
He hit .377 with the Reds in 1905, leading the league, and he'd finish with a fine .303 career average.
Here's a fun fact: Only Babe Ruth retired with more combined wins and hits than Seymour.
Thanks to my brand new tobacco card, the name "Cy Seymour" will have special significance to me.
But none of this would've been possible without the extremely generous donation by Matt. I cannot thank you enough for this. It means a lot to know that there are people in this hobby that will go to great lengths to help others.
It truly makes for one special story.