25 November 2015

Blast from My Past 2: 1993 Post Collector Series

I have always loved getting stuff in the mail. It is one of the things that drives me through each day. One of my enduring memories from childhood comes from the time my dad was stationed in Alaska for a couple of years. We had one of those communal mailboxes with the little keyed compartments and I would retrieve our key and make the trek down the road to get the mail almost every day. In the summer I could wear regular clothes, in the winter I had to bundle up, and during the spring thaw I'd wear rubber boots or wear regular shoes and get my feet wet from stepping in slush, mud, or puddles.

Being a kid I didn't have a lot of money, so much of my mail came from sending in cereal box Proofs of Purchase for items like card sets and Matchbox cars. I also made ample use of the offers in the back of magazines and comic books, mostly to order lots of postage stamps, sample catalogs, and anything else that could be had cheaply. Those 4-6 week shipping times were killers. Today we get agitated if an eBay purchase takes more than a week to arrive, but some of the stuff I ordered as a kid could take a whole summer vacation to hit the mailbox! I still check the mailbox every day, even though I know my wife gets the mail before I get home. It's part of my routine. This 1993 Post Collector's Series set was available in 3-card packs from Post cereals, but you could also order a set direct from Post. That's probably what I did, as I have a full set plus 3 cards. I must have pulled the pack of cards from a cereal box and liked them so much I ordered a set.

There are 30 cards in the set, and it is pretty well packed with star power from the early 90's. All of the big names make appearances, dressed in their airbrushed prison ball uniforms. I wasn't always hooked into any avenues for traditional sports cards from Topps, Fleer, and Upper Deck, so these food issues played a key role in my awareness of the stars of the day.

In fact, when I really got into card collecting as a teenager in the mid-90's I was mostly into basketball and non-sports cards, so these cereal cards made up the bulk of my baseball collection. I was too busy chasing NBA players and Independence Day Widevision sets to bother with baseball much beyond checking the standings every so often to see how the Astros were doing. I'd read the sports page in the paper, too, so I'd get whatever the big baseball headlines were.

I don't remember exactly when I started playing fantasy baseball, but Yahoo! has records showing that I've had teams all the way back to 2003. Maybe I played before then, but I can't remember for sure. For many years that was my main connection to baseball. I didn't watch many games, but I did keep up with the stats of individual guys, especially the guys who ended up on my roster. My 3rd-place team from 2003 included such luminaries as Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Aramis Ramirez, Juan Pierre, Edgar Martinez, Raul Mondesi, Marquis Grissom, Jim Edmonds, Bret Boone, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and Mike Mussina. Not a bad lineup, really.

I have to wonder a little bit if this kind of card issue would bring more young folks into the hobby of collecting today? I didn't have access to any sort of regular card shop when I was a kid, but food issue sets kept me generally aware of the sports world during my formative years. Maybe I never would have fallen into card collecting without them.

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