Volume 1, Issue 6, December 1998

OBC Holiday Card Exchange

By Terry Woods

It's tough being over 50. You forget so much and unfortunately I've forgotten many things about the Holiday Card Exchange. In the fall of 1992 we had just moved to AOL from a brief stay on Genie (does anybody remember that fiasco of a service?) after getting our start on Prodigy.

The group was about 25 guys or so. Some new guy named Montgomery was sending these absolutely fabulous packages with "JAMO" labels. Another with the screen name STAN HACK was sending cards anonymously on what he apparently deemed to be special occasions. Rick Ellison coined the term OBC. The Guru was giving investment advice on cards and should have probably been arrested. And Josh was answering every baseball trivia question known to mankind while finishing his degree (and we thought he was studying).

I was checking my e-mail one night and it hit me. Why not draw names and exchange baseball cards with each other? A note went out and 13 guys joined in. The next year it grew to 28. Then it was 35 the next year, 52 the next, 68 in 1996 and last year 82 guys joined in.

One of the real joys is signing on late on Christmas Day and beginning to read the notes of what everyone received. I wish I could remember all of the stories, but I'll tell you one sent and one received from me plus the two most memorable in my opinion.

I always have a story with what I send. That first year I sent one of the guys from my collection of players who only had one card. A '51 Bowman of Marv Rottblatt. In late November I tracked down Marv and talked to him for almost an hour. He told me a couple of great stories. So with the card I sent a letter with the stories he told. Damn, I hate it went I can't remember who I sent that to.

Four years ago Robbie Moore could not remember his number. When I sent out the note the next year I gave Robbie his number in the note for everyone to see. EVERY paragraph reminded Robbie he was 7897.

Well he sent a note to all but me and trades his name to get mine. What do I get? A WHOLE BUNCH of Joe Morgan stuff.. If you don't know how much I love Joe Morgan, just ask Trip. (P.S. he also sent a stack of '56s.)

I do have to mention last year's gift from Brett Domue. Often I have said you can't send me a card bad enough. Brett sends me the best collection of the worst cards you will ever see. I mean some real dogs. But it's my duty to love such cards. Oh one of them was a '35 Goudey cut into four individual cards. I love those things, but this one was ... The Ruth!!!!

But now for the two most memorable gifts I can remember. The first year someone, can't believe I can't remember who, sent a 1959 Marcelino Solis. Nothing special? Hardly!!! It was the first baseball card the sender could remember owning.

And then there was last year. Jim Montgomery the sendee and Peter Iversen the receiver. If you haven't been reading Peter's story on the Gold Borders you are really missing something (e-mail him for a copy). Jim had all the chapters Peter had written to that time published. The style was like that in old books. Special stock and several other features to give it a special feel. Peter's note describing that gift ... well my humble words could never portray adequately what Peter said that night.

It was a special gift from one special person to another equally special person. It epitomizes what the group had become. A very special group of friends. Willing to do anything they could for the other guy. Not caring what might be returned.

Some of you might be amazed by this. Heh, this is about card collecting. Well, yes and no. Yes, we all love these little pieces of cardboard, but what we really have become is an ever growing group of friends. In today's world, that's amazing.

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