It has been a crazy week. By the end of the day, I'll have all of my report cards done and be rushing out of school to go home, pick up the family, and drive to the airport in Austin. From there, we'll be beginning our Spring Break visiting her sisters in northern California. After a few days, we'll be heading down to San Diego to see more of her family and most of mine. The trip will also include Disneyland and a guys' trip to a Spring Training game in Peoria, AZ.
As I write this, however, I can't imagine even getting my school stuff wrapped up, much less leaving the state and traveling with a two year old and a three month old. Wish me luck. Wish us luck.
But what better way to leave than with a BANG?
Yesterday an envelope arrived to my address (along with a few others that I'll touch on later) that held a card that has become THE OLDEST PADRE CARD I OWN!
Big deal, you say? The Padres have only been around since 1969, so why all the fuss?
Enough build up. This is it.
This is a 1953 Mother's Cookies card of Tom Alston.
For those who don't know, the Padres existed as a minor league team before they joined the majors in 1969. They served (at times) as a farm team for the Red Sox, Indians, White Sox, Reds, and Phillies. They were affiliated with the Pacific Coast League, which is currently the AAA league for half of Major League Baseball.
Does anybody remember when Mother's Cookies put cards in their cookie packages? I remember in the early 90s getting cards like Nolan Ryan, Jeff Bagwell, and Chuck Knoblauch. This was apparently an old practice, as they were doing it in 1953 (and before) with cards of PCL players.
Looking at his stats on the back, we see that Mr. Alston wasn't a superstar by any stretch during the '52 season. Doing a little research, from 1952-57, the Padres weren't affiliated with any major league teams. In 1954, Alston was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Dick Sisler and Eddie Erautt. Alston would become the first African-American to suit up for the Redbirds, doing so as the Opening Day first baseman in 1954.
He would play in 66 games in '54, batting a modest .246 with 4 homers and 34 RBIs. In the next three years, however, he would only play in 25 games, brining his batting average down to... .244. The exact same as he batted with the Padres in 1952. His last game was September 29, 1957.
I'm not sure that I even need to say it, but I love this card. I'd seen a few from this set on eBay from time to time, but they were always out of my price range. Then, a big wave of them hit all at once, and when they ended (with me empty-handed) I found this listing by another seller, made the minimum bid, and eventually got it for $11.49 (with shipping, just because I count that as a part of the price). Seeing as how the other cards from the set I've seen were going at ten dollars more, I was a happy camper.
Between the Heritage release date and the acquisition of one of the oldest Padres cards I've come across, this has been a great week on the collecting front, but a tough one at school. As always, the break will be well-deserved, but won't include a lot of rest. Such is life.
In addition, I made another acquisition that was (almost) as excellent as this one. However, it deserves it's own post, so keep your eyes peeled for that.