Now, those same cards that I liked in the 90s are twenty years old, and I still like them. Still, when it comes to "vintage", I don't really have a whole lot in my collection. Some of the reasons for this include:
* As a die-hard fan of a team that joined the majors in 1969, there's only about a decade of "vintage" Padre cards.
* I like having cards of players that I like. Being born in 1984, there aren't really any vintage cards of players that I followed as a kid.
* I'm a pretty cheap son of a gun, so dropping more than a few bucks on a single card is a rarity. Most old cards that I'd be interested in are pretty pricey. And no hobby shop in the area, so it's all gotta come through eBay.
That said, I found a card recently that defied all three of these factors. It had a Padre tie-in, was somebody that I was a big fan of, and it was less than four bucks, shipped.
1951 Bowman #49, Jerry Coleman
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect when I ordered it, but in hand, it doesn't look that bad. The stock is sturdy, the picture is a little darker, and the edges are rounded, but I love this card.
For those who aren't in the know, Jerry Coleman is the radio voice of the Padres. My family didn't have cable when I was growing up (my parents and the siblings that live at home still don't), and some of my best childhood memories were of listening to my walkman while laying in bed and listening to the Padres game. I remember running around the room and waking up my brother some nights, celebrating a Padres victory, as narrated by Jerry.
He's pushing 90 now, and he's taken a break from doing the all of the games, so it's a special treat when I'm able to hear his voice now, especially since I'm only in San Diego for a few weeks a summer.
Aside from being an all around great, kind, humble, funny guy, Jerry is also a part of a select group of ballplayers to see military action in two wars, serving in World War II and the Korean War.
The Padres celebrated Jerry Coleman Day on September 15th of this year, when he became the second person to have a statue erected at Petco Park (Tony Gwynn was the first). Jerry, who was a second baseman with the Yankees from 1949 to 1957 (and retired as a one-time All-Star with a .263 career batting average), and an announcer and one-time manager for the Padres (in 1980), chose to have the statue feature him in his military gear. Did the guy fit-in in San Diego or what?
Even though it's smaller than a "standard" baseball card, this 1951 Bowman card fits perfectly into my collection (and is about a dozen years older than my next oldest card). For about twice the price, I could get one in better condition, but this works out just fine for me. School has been pretty rough this year, and getting this in the mail was a pretty nice escape for the week, even if it was only for a few minutes.