Though I am an accumulator of all sorts of things, there's not much in the way of sports memorabilia in our house. There are two shoe boxes of baseball cards on a shelf in the attic collected in my 3rd and 8th grade years (1977 and 1982), some ticket stubs from Yankee and Red Sox games, but not much else. It's not like I have mustard packets from Ebbets Field, like one of my father's friends, or something signed by Ty Cobb like what Dad got from an Old Timer's game at Cooperstown.
These are largely mementos of my formative baseball years, though there is a book of Red Sox matches dated 1965, back when box seats cost $3 and the phone number at Fenway was COpley 7-2525. The inside contains a complete list of that year's home schedule. There were a lot of day games and double headers and even something called a Twi-night double header. The Sox finished the season dismally in ninth position that year, though Yaz hit .312.
There is also an All-Star Ballot from 1980, the only piece of paper I had available during BP when Yankee Jim Spencer was signing autographs. This is all pre-digital: they used punch cards back then. You could have voted for Bill Buckner at 1st base that year in confidence that Steve Garvey or Pete Rose would be on the bag come game time (it was Garvey). This was back when the National League owned the All-Star game, something they have not done for nearly a generation now. In 1980 Fred Lynn, Jim Rice and Pudge Fisk were chosen by the fans, but so was Bucky Dent. I was rooting for the Yankees that year, as I have previously confessed, and it was the last year our family saw a game at Yankee Stadium.
These talismans live in a box of treasures at the bottom of an old green army trunk in my closet. There are many layers of my childhood and young adulthood here, from my kindergarten letter to Richard Nixon to the name tag I wore at the Bicentennial of the US Constitution as a descendant of its youngest Signer. These few bits of baseball ephemera, however, are of particular value to me as touchstones to my youth, and the thrill I always get walking up the ramp and seeing that great expanse of emerald grass dazzling beneath the stadium lights.