When I was a kid life was easier: we used to “flip” baseball cards and chew bubble gum. The game rules of card flipping were simple: flip your selected baseball card with a snapping wrist action and sail it up against a wall from a predetermined distance. The card closest to the wall “won” the rest of the cards during that toss set.
I was reminded of this childhood game the other day while visiting a collector’s flea market, where rookie Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Ted Williams, Roger Maris, Jimmy Piersall, and other priceless baseball cards were displayed in locked and carefully guarded cases. In the days of flipping baseball cards, “rookie” issues were expendable warriors, the first to be flipped in battle, as yet unproven at either the baseball park or the flipping wall.
The hermetically sealed baseball cards I saw in the flea market’s sterile cases were perfect, without circular scratches or deformities of any kind. Most of them lacked fingerprints and had never been flipped. I recalled those same rookie card faces (many of which are now worth thousands of dollars) fanning out from my stack of cards, spinning towards a brick wall, some with broken corners that slid up easily a few millimeters closer than competitor cards, or brand new hard ones that still smelled like fresh bubble gum and were great for knocking down “leaners”.
Eventually, all my cards were stored in shoe-boxes packed full of battle-scarred faces, forgotten in some attic until one day they disappeared in the process of growing up.
Sure wish I’d saved a few of those rookie cards, though.
Here’s a photo link for you baseball lovers out there.