My cousin had a house fire when he was a youngster. The house was destroyed along with all of his youthful possessions. Among those possessions was his baseball card collection. He lost a nice vintage Harmon Killebrew in that fire. Though not the most important issue he had at the time, I’ve always wondered what I’d do if I lost my cards to a fire or flood or some other act of God. I have a ton of years in this hobby and I have a ton of cards that are worth next to nothing on the open market but are invaluable to me. There’s no way I can protect all of my cards but I do try and look after some of them.
I have a small fireproof box where I keep my favorite cards. My hope is that the box would survive a tornado or fire and I’d have my cards. Kinda sad when I put it in those terms. They aren’t even my most expensive cards as much as they’re just special. I have baseball, basketball, football and two autographed baseballs in this magical case. I also have my newly purchased Cuyler Smith cards in there. The selection may change from time to time but about 80% of the cards in there will always be in there. These cards are the PC items that I’d never let go of and hopefully my daughter feels the same about them because they’ll be hers one day. All of these cards have some sort of story; either the card itself or the player featured. Let’s take a gander at a few.2012/13 Exquisite Endorsements Michael Jordan/Larry Bird Dual Autograph #d 14/15 – This is one of my prize pieces, top 5 no doubt. As a child of the 80’s and a teen of the 90’s, it didn’t get better than Bird and Jordan, unless you threw Magic in there too. I don’t care what today’s fans say about LeBron, he’s not Jordan. He’s unbelievably talented but there will never be another Jordan. And Bird was one of the best sharpshooters in basketball history. Plus, he played defense, rebounded, dove for loose balls and fought for teammates. Jordan and Bird are the reasons I played basketball in high school. I wanted to be these guys, just like every other 13 year old that played basketball. Two legends, on the same card, autographed. This one stays in the fireproof until I’m dead and gone!2015 Leaf Buyback Bo Jackson Auto #12/40 – Another 80’s legend! I’m a southern boy and a UGA fan. But, I can appreciate otherworldly talent when I see it, even if it comes from Auburn. We did have Herschel though! But Bo was a beast in baseball and football. There are so many cool stories I’ve heard about Bo when he was at Auburn. Bo was so easy to pull for. He was a terrific athlete and had a great charisma in front of the camera. Not only did I love Bo Jackson, I also loved 1990 Leaf so when I saw this card, I had to have it. It’s the only Bo auto I have and it’s another that will never see the outside of the fireproof unless I’m holding it.Panini HOF 75th Anniversary Satchel Paige Emerald #6/10 – I looked at these boxes for months on www.dacardworld.com before I finally pulled the trigger. I pulled a few nice autos in the box but my favorite card was this Satchel Paige with the Emerald. I don’t own any Satchel Paige original cards so this is the best I can do. Paige is in 3 separate Hall of Fames and is remembered by some as possibly the best pitcher ever. Being numbered to 10 and having a gem in the card makes it a very nice keepsake for me!1989 Upper Deck TTM Nolan Ryan Auto – This is a recent addition to the fireproof. I sent this off to the Nolan Ryan Foundation back in November and got it back in early February. The ’89 Upper Deck was my favorite Nolan (that I wanted to mail) but I was a little concerned at how dark the photo was when I mailed it. I was pleasantly surprised when it came back and he used a nice blue ink for the auto. It came out great and is the only Ryan auto I have. There isn’t much I can say about Nolan Ryan that you don’t already know. You don’t read my blog for me to tell you that Ryan was a good pitcher. But he was a man’s man and personified the force on the mound that you wanted to be as a pitcher. I remember during 8th grade, I spent the summer reading his book and following his arm workouts in hopes of picking up some velocity on my fastball. It definitely helped but I wasn’t really throwing that much harder. It was cool doing it though. And who can forget what he did to poor Robin Ventura when he charged the mound that fateful night? A Ryan Express auto was a huge get for me!!1992 Donruss Elite Ken Griffey Jr PSA 8 – I didn’t buy this card because of the grade. I bought it to own it, plain and simple. When Donruss Elite hit the scene, I can remember me and my friends losing our minds trying to pull one of those. Twenty-five years later and I still have never pulled one. I did pull a Robin Yount Legend Series card a couple years ago that was very similar to the Elite but no such luck with the original chase card. I remember one of my best friends pulling an André Dawson. I’m not being dramatic when I say that it was the equivalent of pulling a Mike Trout auto today for us. We went nuts! And then, the jealousy set in. I wanted one!! So, when I grew up and started earning an income, I bought one. It’s not the same as pulling one but I have a Ken Griffey Jr Elite Series and that’s all that matters to me!Nick Chubb Leaf Army AA Patch Auto#20/25 – This one is going to be a bit regional for some but trust me, you’ll be seeing Nick Chubb on Sunday’s very soon. Nick Chubb is the kind of kid that every fan appreciates and pulls for. This is a kid who dominates on the field and is a rock star on campus but skips spring break to work out at his old high school. Instead of partying on the beach, he’s running sprints in Athens alone. He is humble, speaks highly of his teammates and never blames anyone for a loss. Plus he’s an absolute stud with a football in his hands. He’s #2 on the all time rushing list at UGA and isn’t mathematically eliminated from passing the greatest ever, Herschel Walker. You may not like UGA, but it’s hard not to like Nick Chubb! We love him and he’s a Damn Good Dawg (DGD).2015 Panini Contenders Todd Gurley Auto – Speaking of DGD’s, there’s Herschel Walker and then there’s Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb. Chubb passed Gurley on the rushing list this past year but Gurley missed quite a bit of collegiate time with a couple of knee injuries. He could rush for 100, catch 5 for 100 and return a kickoff 100 in the same game. He was as smooth a runner as I’ve ever seen in person. Chubb and Herschel run you over, just ask Bill Bates. But Gurley can run you over or run around you and take it to the house. But more than that, Gurley made a great impression on me and my family when we met him before the draft in 2015. We went to a meet and greet where we were able to take pictures with him and then we got in line for autographs. The downfall of getting the picture and auto ticket was that we had to go to the back of the line after the picture as the auto line was filling at the same time. The auto line took hours. We even had a chance to grab a bite to eat at the Dave and Busters while we waited. Even after that loooong wait, when we got up to Gurley for the auto, he remembered my 9 year old daughters name! He posed for another picture, even though he wasn’t supposed to. One of the most soft spoken and humble superstars I’ve ever met. I love Herschel! I love Nick Chubb! And I love Todd Gurley! Please don’t ever ask me to rank them in order because I don’t know if I can.So there are the first 7 items from the fireproof. There are more where those came from. I’ll come back for a part 2 when the time is right and I’ll pick 6-7 more to share. Thanks to @camp2x for the inspiration on this one. Do you have items locked away that you’ll never consider getting rid of? I’m sure we all have players and cards that are near and dear to us. These are mine and I’m doing the best I can to keep them safe!