Edward Marlowe || Staff Writer
Hello, my name is Edward Marlowe, I’m 27 years old, and I still collect sports cards.
Though I am a man with multiple hobbies and collections, my oldest and dearest of pasttimes began when I was 4 years old.
On weekends, my mom and grandmother would set up as antique dealers at the Nashville Fairgrounds for one of the biggest flea markets in the region.
For whatever reason, they believed baseball cards would interest me and, for whatever reason, they were right.
Every weekend, without fail, I remember my mom coming home with large packs of 1988 Topps Baseball Cards for me to open.
Any other kid would have jumped at the chance to snag the not-so-incredible gum carefully placed in each wax-wrapped pack, but for me the cards were far more important.
It wasn’t so much the colors or the glossiness that captured my attention; it was the stats and the history on the back of each card that excited me the most. Players were always captured with action poses or talking and having a good time with others.
Each card I read meant I was getting to know the player on a more personal level, even if it was just his batting average, runs batted in and stolen bases for the season.
The hobby only intensified as time went on, as I began toting my collection to school with me. Before Tomagotchi’s, Pokemon, my friends and I were swapping sports cards for other cards and lunch money.
One of the worst trades I ever made came in second grade when I traded a 1989 Fleer Rickey Henderson for a 1991 Donruss Mark Grace, straight up.
Even now, I still wake up in cold sweats and dry heaves, wishing I hadn’t made such a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad trade. Unfortunately, what’s done is done and I’ve moved on, but not without countless hours of crying and mental therapy to guide me on my way.
Live and learn.
I remember one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received came to me when I was 5 years old. I’ve still got it, and I will always have it even if I die a starving, broke man.
Encapsulated in a gold leaf hardcase was the 1987 No. 1 overall draft pick, Ken Griffey, Jr., debuting his Seattle Mariners look for the 1989 Fleer set.
It was his rookie card.
At the time, it was impossible to envision what he would do for the game of baseball. Everyone knew he was young and talented. Everyone knew he was going to be good. No one knew he was going to be great.
After batting .284 for his career, belting 630 home runs, collecting 2,781 hits, 1,836 RBI and garnering a spot on the MLB All-Century Team, “The Kid” solidified himself as not only one of the greatest baseball players of all time, but one of the most highly collected athletes in sports card history.
Though adulthood has consumed my funds in other areas, I still find myself perusing the card asle in Walmart, searching for cheap packs of cards of the now multiple sports I enjoy.
Most of the time, I decide I would rather eat a nice dinner later in the week and put the cards back. But every once in a while, I say the hell with it and drop a few packs on the conveyor belt and immediately open the cards as soon as I get in the car.
Maybe someday I’ll pass them on to a child who loves sports and collecting as much as I do. Maybe someday I’ll sell the bulk of them and put a child through college. Maybe someday I’ll hide them in an attic and 50 years down the road my family can find them and sell them for thousands of dollars and lead happy, money-filled lives.
But for now, I’m content with sorting through all of the cards, picking out the good ones and shelving them neatly into binders and polyurethane-free pages so they won’t discolor and bend.
It was just last year when my fiancé bought me the entire 2007 Topps set for my 26th birthday.
How did I react, you ask?
Like I was 4 years old all over again.