This is when I checked out of the hobby for the second time. 1994. I had no clue what was going on in the hobby until my re-entry in 2007. That's a lot to catch up on and I'm still playing catch up to a certain degree.
I've written at great length the reasons why. Card shops were disappearing from my neighborhood. Pack prices were getting ridiculous. My local drugstore, where I had always browsed freely, started keeping the packs in a locked glass case. The few packs that I did pick up were underwhelming. The strike. Blue skies. Barthy burgers. Girls!
It was a perfect storm of reasons that made me leave the hobby. In my absence, things grew worse (or better, depending on your point of view) with endless parallels, infinite inserts and countless card companies. If I didn't leave when I did, I surely would have found an exit soon enough.
Now, I can look back at that time, at a proper distance, and really take in and understand everything that went on during that time. The storm has turned into a dead calm today. Exclusive licensing and bankruptcy has shed the excess and we are left adrift in an ocean of stillness, waiting for something to make a ripple. It has gone from one extreme to another, which demonstrates that everything is cyclical, and we will see other companies get licensed again... eventually.
1994 was a watershed moment in my life. I had graduated high school. I found my first "real" job that didn't involve newspapers. I was thrust out into the world with my head held high, despite being weighed down by a mane of hair that had grown to the middle of my back. It was the best summer of my life, sprinkled with concerts, friends and care-free days.
In a way, 2011 looks to sample that magical summer. Maybe the hair won't be down the middle of my back and the concerts certainly will never be repeated, but the spirit remains true. This year has the potential to realize some hopes and dreams. I certainly won't divulge what those are right now, but as each moment passes, I will probably share.
What I'm willing to share right now is this package that arrived from Thorzul. He found two different Frank Thomas promo cards from 1994, in a dime box, at a card show. One is a Donruss Special Edition card and the other is a Pacific card. I think both are fantastic!
I sent two cards from his want list and a surprise throw-in, which I'm sure you saw yesterday. Yes, the career of that player wasn't spectacular, but it was autographed, and something I've been meaning to send over. See? My new found organizational project is finally paying off!
Thanks for thinking of me, Thorzul! I adore the cards, but the memories conjured up by the year are priceless.