Thursday, May 1, 2014
Anarchy in the UK
I've collected baseball cards for a long time now.
Every now and then, I'll stop myself and wonder exactly why I collect in the first place. It's one of the hardest questions to answer because it can go in a number of different directions.
The thrill of finding a great new card for my collection. The history behind some of my oldest vintage pieces. The joy I get out of organizing. All of these reasons have a role in my continued love for collecting.
One of the biggest factors, however, is the simple appreciation for the stories behind some of my most treasured pieces. I've always said that I wish my cards could talk. I'm sure they'd have quite a few tales to tell.
That was certainly true with a few cards my dad recently picked up for me.
You see, he found himself in a thrift shop recently. In it was a big box of assorted cardboard. He dug for a while and pulled out a few things he thought I'd like.
I've been in a few thrift shops in my day and have seen cards on a couple occasions.
So, then, what made this particular find so fascinating?
They came all the way from England.
My dad took a grand trip to the UK a couple weeks ago. In fact, you can read all about it on his very own newly-rebooted blog.
During a rare break from buying tons and tons of records, he went to a thrift shop. At some point, he found a big box of miscellaneous cards. Seeing as how he was in England and all, the vast majority were of the soccer variety.
But, against all odds, my dad actually unearthed a few baseball cards from the lot. And they weren't your run-of-the-mill overproduction era cardboard, either.
They were oddballs. America-centric oddballs, at that.
The cards he found come from the 1993 St. Louis Cardinals Police series, a set that was released by the Kansas City Life Insurance Company.
They're a tad too oversized to fit in my binder, but that doesn't take anything away from their greatness.
Here's a look at the backs.
Each card contains a fun safety tip. Mark Clark advises you not to dive into uncharted waters.
These things are pretty neat on their own. But the question they pose make them infinitely more interesting.
How could cards from a regional American oddball set end up in a thrift store in England?
Your guess is as good as mine.
I don't have a rational explanation for how an oddball of the less-famous (yet much saner) Canseco brother ended up across the pond into an British thrift store.
All I know is that these cards originated in St. Louis, somehow drifted their way into England, and ended up back into my collection in the Chicago area.
This is why I wish some of my cards could talk. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if cards have built-in tracking devices at some point in the future for this very reason.
Until then, though, I'll never know how Ozzie Canseco ended up in England.
I can't even venture a guess.