John, my friend since childhood, told me months ago that he had been saving something for me and that he’d deliver the next time that we saw each other. That next time, oddly enough, was at a funeral. I was a pallbearer and he works for the funeral home that was providing services for the deceased. True to his word, John retrieved a small collection of items from the back seat of a company vehicle.
Way back in early 1980-something, my friend Steve and I made the abrupt decision to skip Smalltown U.S.A. and headed off to conquer the outside world on our own. (Home Sweet Home- The Junkie Pad) There was an impromptu party at Brian and Patty’s farmhouse, from which Steve and I left at 3 AM and made the eleven hour drive to southern South Carolina.
I don’t remember being such a jerk, though it’s not surprising to me, but we left the final cleaning of our apartment to our friend Nicky. Who in turn called John for help. Amongst the trash and abandoned junk, John saved this amazing little collection of memorabilia for me. Kept it safe and pristine…for 35 years!
The cover photograph is my Senior League Baseball uniform from high school. The Central High School Fighting Falcons basketball jersey belonged to our friend Mitch H. (who I will return it to once I find him:). And lastly was a quart-size plastic bag full of trading cards (baseball, football, and basketball) all from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. Most of the trading cards are of little monetary value with traders, but the historical stories behind them are a treasure to the sports junkie, and also a part of American history.
Some cards pictured below were sponsored by Red Man Chewing Tobacco, something you won’t see anymore, tobacco in advertising. During a crucial time in the U.S. racial desegregation era, Jim Gilliam took over second base after the famous Jackie Robinson was moved defensively to the outfield and third base. Warren Spahn, like many other players of the era, temporarily left professional sports to fight for their country in World War II.
Back when sports heroes were heroes.
Thank you John, soooooooo much!