think outside the box? what's a box? you must be nuts.

Picture of the Day
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November 16, 2003


I started collecting baseball cards when i was 10. i was soon
obsessed. with tax, they cost 27 cents a pack. every time i
scraped 27 cents together, i was on my bike on the way
to the deli about 12 blocks away. sometimes i'd have
bills, in which case i'd buy 3, 7, 11 packs at a pop.
other times, i'd have nickels, dimes, and pennies--
exact change for one pack, hoping to get Rod Carew
and a couple others i needed to complete the '79 set.
other kids traded and flipped. i traded a little, but i thought
i could buy my way to satisfaction. i never did. i ended up
with doubles and multiples, usually of the most marginal
players--utility infielders and pinch hitters, the Bob Bealls
and Fred Stanleys, the guys most grateful for being
in the Majors. i also bought older cards from friends
who were selling off their older brothers' collections,
like the '76s and '78s in the background here, photocopied
at Blue Point library, ten cents each, 8.5x14. back then,
i never imagined i'd end up in the pacific northwest, or
that i'd be selling these bob beall baseball cards on ebay.

i didn't suspect there'd be an ebay, the internet, cell phones,
or a spiritual malaise creeping across the planet. (maybe i'm
just projecting. plenty people seem to be just fine, and i even
manage to laugh and smile sometimes. go on, keep buying.)

i wonder now about Bob Beall, a son of Portland, Ore., 31 when
this picture was taken, his professional career nearing its end,
unexceptional but competent, his big moment came early, 1970,
Northwest League Player of the Year at Walla Walla, Wash..
he got his one home run in the big leagues, which is one more
than i ever got but which at 10 was all i ever wanted. the only
reason i care at all is i still have 7 of him. they could be yours.