Kent Tekulve’s mission of mercy.

The days are few when I can claim to have made small children happy, but there’s a chance that this might be one of them.

Cruising the ‘Net last night, bourbon at hand, I read a story from California about some generous-minded firefighters in the Fresno area. They’re collecting baseball cards to replace the collections of local kids who lost theirs in the recent wildfires.

This, of course, aligns with my interests. So this morning I dragged together:

-A couple of packs’ worth of 2018 Topps, which I think were the most recent cards in the house, and thus the most likely to be familiar to the kids.

Nestled in with those cards was a ringer — a single common card from the 1969 Topps set that a now-deceased former co-worker gave me 20 years ago. It is old, but not rare or particularly valuable. I hesitated a moment, then included it.

-A selection, more or less at random, from the big pile of 1988 Fleer cards I recently acquired.

(I say “more or less at random” because Fleer had the annoying habit of grouping players from the same team together on the checklist. If I’d just grabbed a run of 25 cards, some kid in California might have ended up with the complete 1988 Philadelphia Phillies, and who wants that? So I tried to take cards at random intervals, for a broader selection.)

-That initial post about my Fleer purchase led an online friend to mail me a box of unwanted cards of around the same vintage, a gift previously mentioned here. A stack of those cards went into the pile for California.

-I had just yesterday opened the first pack of cards from my second purchase of ’80s junk wax, mentioned in passing here the other day. The contents of that pack went in as well.

-I felt the desire to throw in some cards I’d actually collected in my youth, not just things that had come into the house recently. It seemed like good mojo. So I opened one of my binders of kid-cards and threw in some of those as well. (The Kent Tekulve shown below is among them.)

As of a couple minutes ago, this short stack of 100 cards or so is winging its way to Shaver Creek, California, and hopefully eventually into the hands of some kids who might enjoy it. It should arrive Wednesday.


Since the past is another country, it’s possible that these cards will mean nothing to the young kids. This is the main reason I didn’t send more — if these don’t hold the kids’ interest, the last thing anybody needs is twice as many of them.

The cards are not shiny; they are not chromed; there are few, if any, Diamondbacks and Rays among them; they show uniforms and stadia that are long gone. (I made sure to include a couple of Montreal Expos, just to school the youngsters right.)

But, you never know. Maybe the novelty will appeal. Maybe the kids like baseball history and will enjoy seeing some. And anyway, if the cards end up getting used as bookmarks, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either.

OK, off to the day’s chores.

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