Tuesday, September 15, 2020


 The first sports card I ever remember seeing is this 1985 Topps Bob Baumhower single:

It was wedged in the back seat of my parents' station wagon. My dad never mentioned collecting football cards; it might have belonged to my (half) brother. I can't imagine how seeing this helmetless, non-descript headshot of a non-descript player, whose name is listed sideways on a black-bordered card, got me interested in the hobby.

The first hockey card I ever remember seeing is this Ulf Samuelsson single from 1988-89 Topps. It was one of a pack's worth of cards scattered in dad's sock drawer, along with an Old Spice shaving kit, weed rolling papers, and a couple pairs of socks. My dad never mentioned hockey and I never saw any packs of 1988-89 Topps anywhere. Ulfie probably wasn't the first card I saw but it's the one I remember because I recognized the Whalers logo.

I do remember my dad bringing home a pack of 1988-89 Fleer basketball cards one day. I don't think I had any interest in the NBA until the next year, and I didn't recognize any of the names.

One of the cards in that pack was Milwaukee Bucks center Randy Breuer. If I focused really hard I might be able to remember another card or two. (I'm almost certain there was an All-Star subset card in that pack.)

I don't actually remember the first baseball card I ever saw. I do remember that the first packs of baseball cards I came across were also Fleer products. We were in a WaWa and I spied an opened box of 1986 Fleer adjacent to the shelf with Wonder Bread. I picked one off the top and brought it home. Really wish I could remember any specific card I pulled for certain, the logos were more interesting to me than the players. I know I pulled an Expo and a Pirate. I don't think I pulled a Yankee.

I'm about 98% sure Pat Clements was in that pack. 

Do you remember your first sports cards?



  1. My first two cards were a 1990 Starline Darryl Strawberry and a 1987 Ralston Purina. Both were given to me by the older brother of a friend because they were creased.

  2. Some of my first cards were mid to late 1960s baseball cards and some football. I forget exact firsts but the 1965 Ernie Banks and 1968 Willie Mays were among some of my first cards. I recall they were part of a trade with my brother I forget who had which, eventually both got into my collection over the years as my brother quit collecting around his pre-teen years and I never really quit. I don't recall what the firsts of the other sports are except that it was probably 1970 when I was 5. I think Football was 1969 or 70, Basketball 1971 or 72. Ditto with Hockey. My memory of that Banks/Mays trade I think of as being in 1968 or 69 could have been as late as 1970 I guess.

  3. I don't recall specifically each card, but I'm fairly certain my first baseball was a 1981 Topps and hockey was the set with the scratch-off puck on the front (I forget the year).

  4. A ripped up 1986 Topps Dickie Thon on the ground in summer camp in 1986.

  5. Yup, I've written about several on the blog:

    First baseball card: 1974 Topps Tommy John, story has been too repeated to repeat it again here.
    First football card: probably a 1975 Topps Alan Page, saw it while riding in a car with friends
    First hockey card: 1975-76 Topps Gerry Hart. Not sure if it was first, but it was in my first pack.
    First basketball card: Don't remember but it was a 1978-79 Topps card.

    There are so many reasons not to like 1985 Topps football, yet I love it every time I see it. Also, how weird to me that 1986 Fleer were the first baseball cards you saw. That is one of the few sets in the '80s that I never saw sold.

  6. my first packs of sports cards were either 1981 topps or 1981 donruss baseball, but the first packs i ever opened were 1977 topps star wars.

  7. My first cards didn't come until a few years later: 1988 Topps football. I do remember that Baumgartner specifically, however. It was one of the three cards I owned that were older than 1987 for a long time when I was just a kid.

  8. I don't; I was way too young. The first cards I bought seem to have been 1971 Topps baseball; I turned 5 that September.

  9. 1994 Jason Sehorn topps special effects was my first remembrance of a card

  10. The first card I ever paid attention to was 93 UD Then and Now Nolan Ryan.

  11. First pack 1969 ,first card I can rember 69 Boog Powell.

  12. It was a 1972 Topps card don't specifically know which one, I know the one card I did not get was Vic Davillo.