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 SCHEDULES

Covenant Women Win 67-61 Over Brevard

Mother Of Pat Summitt, Hazel Albright Head, Dies At 93


PREP BASKETBALL MONDAY, JANUARY 21 Sale Creek at Marion Co. TUESDAY, JANUARY 22 Baylor at MBA Walker Valley at Ooltewah Soddy Daisy at Cleveland Rhea Co. at Sale Creek ... (click for more)

The Covenant women’s basketball team used a strong fourth quarter to earn a 67-61 victory over Brevard on Wednesday in USA South action inside Barnes PE Center. Kaley Hallmark and Bekah ... (click for more)

Hazel (Albright) Head, mother of the late iconic University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Head Summitt and a resident of Henrietta, Tn., passed away Wednesday. She was 93. Mrs. ... (click for more)


Sports

PREP SCHEDULES

PREP BASKETBALL MONDAY, JANUARY 21 Sale Creek at Marion Co. TUESDAY, JANUARY 22 Baylor at MBA Walker Valley at Ooltewah Soddy Daisy at Cleveland Rhea Co. at Sale Creek Tyner at Red Bank South Pittsburg at Lookout Valley McCallie at Ensworth Hixson at Central East Ridge at Sequatchie Co. East Hamilton at Bradley Notre Dame at CSAS Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Covenant Women Win 67-61 Over Brevard

The Covenant women’s basketball team used a strong fourth quarter to earn a 67-61 victory over Brevard on Wednesday in USA South action inside Barnes PE Center. Kaley Hallmark and Bekah Walter led the way for Covenant (6-13, 4-7 USA South) with 14 points each. Hallmark and Walter, also came up big defensively with six steals and four steals, respectively. Joanna Smith contributed ... (click for more)

Breaking News

DA's Office Will Not Prosecute Charges Against Man Who Was Beaten By City Officer

The District Attorney's Office said it will not prosecute charges against a man who was beaten by a city police officer after a traffic stop. The DA is dismissing charges against 37-year-old Fredrico Wolfe. Wolfe was charged in an incident last March 10 with DUI, violating the implied consent law, tampering with evidence, speeding, drug possession and resisting arrest. ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools To Close Thursday Due To Expected Ice On Roads

Hamilton County Schools will be closed Thursday due to forecast rain to last through the evening and freezing conditions to follow after 2 a.m. in the higher elevations in the county. Freezing conditions are expected to last until the afternoon in the higher elevations impacting travel in the area. Athletic events will be rescheduled and practices canceled Thursday evening. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Fake News Strikes Again And Again - Response

Two major stories exploded across the headlines this past week which confirm my opinion that the mainstream media (MSM) is biased, incompetent, and can seldom be trusted to impart the news fairly and accurately. The first instance was the BuzzFeed story regarding Michael Cohen and how he allegedly lied on President Trump's behalf to Congress. Virtually all of the big media outlets ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Has Publix Dried Up?

The legendary Baron of Baseball in Chattanooga was Joe Engel. He was a promoter of such renown his portrait was painted on the toilet in the ball park’s press box “in honor of my friends in the press.” I remember, quite vividly, when Mr. Engel traded a left-handed pitcher for a live turkey. Yes, a real bird in a crate! The best promoter in the majors was Bill Veeck who, quite famously, ... (click for more)