Randy Smith: My Baseball Card Collection

Friday, April 20, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Around this time of year, I always find myself missing my baseball card collection. I didn't lose mine like so many other people did-you know, like when you go away to college and your mom throws away those useless cards as she's cleaning out your closet. No my loss was nothing like that. I lost mine in a house fire on April 25th of 1978. Forty years ago next week, my wife Shelia and I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to find our house engulfed in flames. As we were running out the door, Shelia grabbed our bible, and a quilt that my grandmother had given us as a wedding gift.
She also managed to grab our wedding pictures as she made her quick exit. I was lucky enough to get my pants on before the house began to cave in from the intense fire and heat. If only I had thought to look under my bed and get the large box that my baseball card collection was in.

I had several cards that at the time were worth $250-$500 each. I had every Mickey Mantle card that was produced from the late 1950's until his career ended in 1968. I had figured that my collection was worth at least $10,000. I was so proud of my card collection. I had them well organized and divided into teams so that it would be easy to find any card I was looking for. In a matter of minutes my wonderful baseball card collection was gone.

After the event was over and the rubble had cooled off enough to go through it, we managed to find one of Shelia's rings, my charred car keys, a few old coins that had been in a jar under the sink, and one single baseball card managed to survive. It was a Topps 1962 Hank Aaron card. It was burned just around the bottom edges and it is in a protective card frame in a cabinet in my home now. 

We also found our marriage certificate, completely intact, with just a few charred places around the edges. It is in a frame now on my bedroom dresser and when I look back on our lives together, that wedding certificate represents the tough times that we've had in our soon to be forty-five years together. Our life together has been charred around the edges so to speak, but like that certificate it's still intact. That small piece of paper has been an inspiration to me for many, many years. 

There were a few other things I wished I could have saved from that awful fire, including an old German shotgun that my great-uncle had brought back from World War I. But for the most part, it was all just stuff.

I recently went through some things that belonged to my children as I was cleaning out my basement and found some of my son's baseball card collection. I came upon a Derek Jeter rookie card that is currently selling for $700 on e-bay. That is the crown jewel of his collection, much like the Mickey Mantle cards were in mine. I certainly hope he is able to keep his collection safe. In life you never think something like the tragedy of a fire affecting you like our fire did. Losing that baseball card collection was tough. It hurt, but I wouldn't trade anything about my life that's happened since then. After all, it's just stuff. 

-----

Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


PREP TOURNAMENT SCHEDULES

PREP TOURNAMENT RESULTS

Cleveland State Lady Cougars Win In OT At Southwest Tennessee


PREP BASKETBALL All game times are 7:00 p.m.local, except where noted DII-A State Tournament Boys Saturday, February 23 CCS at Webb School DII-AA State Tournament ... (click for more)

Basketball Results Satur day, February 23 Division II-A Boys Webb School 74, CCS 67 (Please send tournament results to Dennis Norwood at sportsshooter614@gmail.com) ... (click for more)

The Cleveland State Lady Cougars closed out their regular season on a high note with a win in their road contest at Southwest Tennessee, 95-91 in overtime, on Saturday. Michaela Bennefield ... (click for more)


Sports

PREP TOURNAMENT SCHEDULES

PREP BASKETBALL All game times are 7:00 p.m.local, except where noted DII-A State Tournament Boys Saturday, February 23 CCS at Webb School DII-AA State Tournament Boys Saturday, February 23 Baylor at Christian Brothers Ensworth at McCallie Region 3-3A Girls Monday, February 25 at Bradley Central Cookeville vs. Bradley Central ... (click for more)

PREP TOURNAMENT RESULTS

Basketball Results Satur day, February 23 Division II-A Boys Webb School 74, CCS 67 (Please send tournament results to Dennis Norwood at sportsshooter614@gmail.com) (click for more)

Breaking News

Cash Canyon Road Closed As Section Of Remote, Narrow Road Washes Away

A section of the remote Cash Canyon Road that goes from Lookout Valley along the Tennessee River toward the Tennessee River Gorge washed out during Saturday's downpours. County Commissioner David Sharpe said County Public Works has a large excavator rented for Monday. He said, "They stated the time to repair would depend on if more damage is done tonight. If damage stays the ... (click for more)

Mudslide Washes Away Subway Restaurant At Foot Of Signal Mountain; Nearby Employee Says: "It's Gone"; Flooding Closes Numerous Roads

A mudslide on Saturday morning washed away the Subway restaurant at the foot of Signal Mountain. "The Subway is gone," an employee of the nearby Shuford's Barbeque, said. She said a large amount of mud and debris washed down from the steep hillside behind the buildings. No one was inside the Subway. It had closed on Friday after a tree fell on it. The location is ... (click for more)

Opinion

Robo Phone Calls Have Reached Epidemic Levels

Research tells us that scam telephone calls increased from 3.7 percent of total calls in 2017 to 29 percent in 2018. It is forecast that the number will strike 50 percent by the end of 2019. We were spammed with over 30 billion robo calls in 2017 costing the consumer roughly $350 million. Moreover, statics indicate in 2017 alone the FTC received approximately 375,000 complaints. ... (click for more)

Rep. Ron Travis: Weekly Wrap

House Republicans Unveil The CARE Plan Groundbreaking legislation to increase access, improve rural health and empower patients This week in Nashville, House Republican leaders unveiled a patient-centered, free market approach to transform healthcare in Tennessee by unveiling the CARE plan. This legislative package includes 11 different initiatives that will all reshape ... (click for more)