Tuesday, August 11, 2009

1989 Upper Deck #246 Von Hayes

This is the true story of the first time I ever saw an Upper Deck baseball card.

Picture it . . . Route 9 in South Jersey somewhere between Strathmere and Ocean City, Summer of 1989. It's hot. Driving with my Dad, we spot a sign in front of a rancher simply stating, "Baseball Cards." We decide to stop. We may have been collecting the '73s at the time, and we were two years into our quest for '56s.

We pull into the rancher's driveway and there are no indications as to where to find these "Baseball Cards." We decide to walk around to the back yard, at which point two very large black dogs begin their pursuit of the unwanted trespassers. Our walk becomes a run. Dogs barking and closing in, I spy an open garage door and I duck inside. My Dad also spots the same garage door, but he does not duck. The sound of his head cracking against the bottom of the not-fully-open garage door must have shocked the dogs because they both slowly retreat. My Dad, seeing stars, exclaims, "Ratzafratza nogood sonovammrrrrr."

Inside the garage now, the owner of the modest display of baseball cards apologizes for the behavior of Zeus and Apollo and he explains his garage door doesn't go all the way up. He invites us to check out his wares, and we're immediately not impressed. Nothing exciting here, just a few binders of late '80s Topps, Fleer and Donruss cards.

Sensing we're about to depart, the shopkeeper invites us to check out the new-fangled "Upper Deck" cards, just released. My first impression is that they're too thin and my second impression is that the foil wrapper makes them smell weird. The hologram on the back is cool, but there's no way I'm paying $3 for a pack of baseball cards. I'm still getting used to having Score around, and now I'm going to have to collect a fifth set? No thank you, I'll pass. We thank the man for his time, and we walk back out front to our car, dejected.

We never went back, but for years we'd pass through that stretch of Route 9 and one of us would always say, "Remember that time we stopped at that guy's house and those dogs chased us . . . "


night owl said...

Cool story. I also was not impressed when I saw 1989 Upper Deck for the first time.

It's been credited with revolutionizing the way cards look, and it has, but I've never loved '89 UD.

Pop-Pop said...

Dirty Ratz a Fraz...I remember it well