Leaf Saves A Collector on Life Support
Every collector at one point or another has hit the wall I hit a few months back. That moment when you realize that you really don’t care about the next big Topps release or what new exclusive Panini America has signed. Or the latest Hobby controversy hitting all the related forums. For me, a man who once lived every moment of my life around “The Hobby”, I have been hitting that wall for the better part of three years or since the day I wrote my very last story for Wax Heaven. That was in 2009. A lot has happened since then but one thing that did not was the revival of Wax Heaven as the Wax Morgue. That fire was extinguished long ago.
It was a few days ago when I realized that it had been weeks since I read Stale Gum or even Beckett’s news blog. It had been even longer since I scoured eBay for cards to fit into my 1,000+ Jose Canseco collection. Once again in my 32 years on this planet life was moving too fast and collecting took a back seat, like it always does every few years. Trading cards is like that good friend that never leaves your side even when things look bleak. You can’t say no to the mortgage payment or your son’s dentist bill … but that 1998 Bowman Chrome Gold International Jose Canseco can wait.
I’ll see it again next week. Next month. Next year …
That’s all it takes to quit collecting and for many, one farewell is all they experience. It takes something special to bring them back. Back in 2007 after a decade-long break from collecting it was the magic of pack-inserted autographs and game-used relics that did it for me. Today, it is something much less special … to most collectors. It is a 2012 Leaf National Convention card of Jose Canseco. It lacks an autograph, a piece of jersey or bat, and probably even a serial number. Worst of all, it lacks an MLB logo but damn is it a sight to behold to that unpopular Jose Canseco collector. Can you guess why?
The reason is because this 2012 card is almost identical to Leaf’s 1992 release. It may have been coincidence but knowing Brian Grey I think this may have been 100% intentional. Just look at the 1992 card. Identical in almost every way, including the ball leaving Jose’ bat. 20 years is a long time. Turn back 20 years on my life and you have a 12-year old kid knee-deep into collecting and hero-worship. This was before the scandals. Before the prison time. Before growing old and fragile. Back in 1992 all that mattered was collecting every release from that year and the stats on the back. Those were good times. Good times that seem a lifetime ago. This 2012 card is a little throwback to those days and to a lost collector like myself, it provides a road map to the place I need to be again.
Collector for Life