Friday, March 8, 2019

Card Spotlight: 3-8-19

1985 Fleer Star Stickers #68-73 - Tom Seaver (Stop Action)

Yesterday's announcement that Tom Seaver was retiring from public life, because he was suffering dementia, really got me thinking about his time with the White Sox.

I was excited that the Sox got Tom Seaver. He was still a big name and could bring veteran presence and stability to the mound. Within that time frame, Seaver won his 300th game. That was probably the biggest moment I remember of Tom's time on the South Side. From 1984 until early 1986, Seaver had a 33-28 record with a 3.67 ERA, pitched 547 1/3 innings and struck out 296 batters. That's not too shabby.

While this definitely wasn't prime years Tom Seaver, he was pretty good. I still got excited when I went to a game that he started. Little did I know at the time, that the Sox were getting progressively worse as a whole and was spiraling towards a dismal 1989 season. I didn't care. The Sox were my team and I was excited to see superstar players take the field in the Sox uniform.

I guess that had an effect on Kenny Williams as a player in the White Sox organization at the time, because he used that philosophy during his tenure as GM. Get that superstar player on the team. It doesn't matter that his best days were a decade ago. He's still a name!

One of the best memories of 1985 was going to the local drug store and picking up packs of Fleer Stickers. I would carefully peel off the stickers and place them in my book, lining the sticker up perfectly with the lines of the empty album page. It took me most of the summer and at least one trade before I could finish Tom Seaver's delivery. When it was done, I felt like I had accomplished something during summer vacation.

If I go back through my childhood boxes, I'm sure I will find this sticker album. I can say with some certainty that there are probably still one or two stickers missing from the book. Will I ever go back and finish it off? Never. It marks a time in my childhood that cannot be duplicated. Finishing the album off thirty-four years later will only serve to taint those memories. It will stand as a testament that I finished off Tom Seaver's delivery in six stickers, through pack opening and probably one trade.

I'd like to say I traded with Mark down the street, but it was probably Keith a street over. It's been thirty years since I've spoken to either. Childhood friends drift apart, whether it be disagreements, finding new friends, going to different schools, or moving to different cities. Whatever the reason, the only thing that you can hold onto are the memories of those friendships and the activities that you did together.

I had great friends back then. Mark, Keith, Eric, Ray and Roger. They all had their time in the sun and they all faded into the background of my life. I'll occasionally look back and briefly relive those moments. I'll smile and keep moving forward. It's the same with baseball cards. Sure, there's the connection of trading and showing off your collection to friends, but those cards evoke moments in time too. Every time I look through my collection or read about someone else's cards, those moments are living and breathing again. It is a privilege.

I wish you nothing but peace living out the rest of your life, Tom. I hope you are able to find moments or serenity and joy.

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