It started the way most of these discoveries go. I was looking for one thing and found another.
Over the weekend I was looking for a particular collectible and I was pretty sure I remembered which box it was in… but where was that box?
I looked in the one closet and didn’t see the box I was looking for, but there was another box that I’d managed to ignore for years, and I looked at it and could not for the life of me remember what it contained.
So I pull it off the shelf and open it up… Some of my artwork from school, old papers, various tchotchkes… and a metal index card box. I remembered having the box, but I didn’t remember what I’d used it for.
I tilted the lid open and the heavenly host began to sing, because carefully placed in there were a number of non-standard-sized vintage cards and oddballs that all fell into the category of “I knew I still had these around somewhere! I knew it!” I’ll share the rest of these cards in the future, but for today it’s all about the two oldest cards.
I hadn’t seen these cards in such a long time – it’s probably been somewhere over 20 years – that I had started to question whether I had merely imagined owning them.
First up is a very creased and well-loved 1952 Topps card of Hank Thompson of the New York Giants.
Hank Thompson was one of the first African-Americans in the Majors, playing part of a season with the St. Louis Browns in 1947. He would go back to the Kansas City Monarchs (his Negro League team) for a year, and then would spend the rest of his career with the Giants.
Interestingly enough, he got MVP votes in two different years, but was never an All-Star.
The other card was another badly creased card, a 1955 Bowman Art Houtteman.
Houtteman pitched mainly for the Tigers and Indians, although he had a short stint with the Orioles. His career year was 1950 when he went 19-12, lead the league with 4 shutouts and was an All-Star.
These two cards came to me as part of a handful of poor condition cards given to me by a friend of the family. I was something like 11 or 12 at the time, and this was an amazing windfall to receive cards as old as these were… even at the time, the 1952 was somewhere around 25 years old.
So, anyway, there are two more cards to cross off the “I need to find those someday” list.