March 10, 2007
Before I fell in love with a girl, I fell in love with a baseball card company.
Today, when I found an old letter I wrote in 1994, time stood still ever so briefly. I hope it reads okay for a scan. As you can see, I was as obsessed with design and the merits of quality checklisting then as I am now. And by the way, that 1992 regular set is one of the nicest designs Topps did in the decade, right up there with 1991 Stadium Club and 1993 Finest.
Later that same year I wrote back (I don’t still have a copy of the second letter), because at the time I was trying to get the entire 1987 Topps set autographed, card by card. Of course, I didn’t know what to do with the checklists, so I sent one to Topps for an official Topps autograph. As it turns out, I didn’t get far with my project. I think Gary Carter wanted me to make a donation to a charity in return for his autograph (I didn’t have that kind of money), and then I must of run out of stamps, because the only one I have is this very cool, one-of-a-kind checklist autographed by Arthur T. Shorin.
OK, so the letter I got back was just a form letter, but it was personalized just enough for me to believe that there was someone at Topps who not only had read my own letter, but sympathized enough with my deep yearning to see how baseball cards were made (I still would like to see this, and with Topps Case Break videos popping up on YouTube, you'd think they'd snag Ryan Howard for a few hours and have him narrate a trip to the Duryea factory, right? Topping out at 4 or 5 minutes and with good editing and a snazzy beat, who wouldn't watch that?).