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What Easter means to me.

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Let everybody else get chocolate bunnies, jellybeans and peanut butter eggs today. For me, Easter is a baseball-card holiday.

(Actually, for me, Easter is not a holiday at all; it’s a day I get off because lots of other people believe something I don’t. But I’ll take it.)

When I was a kid, I got the usual candy-filled Easter baskets like everybody else.

But, noticing my fascination with baseball, my folks started slipping a few packs of baseball cards into the basket as well.

It was a genius move on several fronts. The baseball season is just starting in mid-April, and a young baseball-mad kid appreciates cards even more than usual at that point in time. Plus, baseball cards are a treat with no sugar, fat or calories, which is rare in an Easter basket.

I especially associate the 1983 Donruss set with Easter. I own maybe three packs’ worth of ’83 Donruss, and I know for a fact they came from my Easter basket.

In 1983, Donruss was in its third season of challenging the established giant Topps. They’d gotten past some embarrassing goofs in their first year or so and were putting out cards that were reasonably attractive, yet still noticeably different from Topps.

Like any good baseball-card haul, my Easter take in ’83 included a couple of superstars …

Having abandoned their disastrous attempt to turn Johnny Bench into a third baseman, the Reds were planning to play him at first in '83.

Having abandoned their disastrous attempt to turn Johnny Bench into a third baseman, the Reds were planning to play him at first in ’83.

… a couple of people who would go on to greater success than they’d achieved to that point …

For one of baseball's good guys, Joe Torre looks rather churlish in this picture.

For one of baseball’s good guys, Joe Torre looks rather churlish in this picture.

… and a couple of never-weres.

Tony Johnson's major-league career was already over when this card appeared.

Tony Johnson’s brief major-league career was already over when this card came out.

My own kids are not as baseball-crazy as I am, but they have small card collections of their own.

They received three packs of baseball cards in their “spring baskets,” and are engaged in ripping them open as we speak.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to join them.

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