30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

A Little Ray of Sunshine

This week wraps up my 23rd year in the classroom and I have a lot of mixed emotions.  A large part of me is breathing a huge sigh of relief.  The past sixteen months have been pretty stressful for many of us.  There were moments when I questioned whether or not I still enjoyed my profession.  Then in April... I returned to my classroom and things instantly turned around.  It's not back to normal... but it's nice being able to converse with my students in person... even if only three show up on a regular basis.

That's why I'm kind of bummed the school year is over.  It's hard to believe I just type out that statement, since usually I'm celebrating the arrival of summer break.  But I'm just caught my second wind and feel like I can keep teaching another few months.

Oh well... I'm sure by next week I'll deeply appreciate the rest and relaxation.

Plus... I know my students need time to recharge their batteries.  Some of them have really struggled over since the lockdown.  That's why I was very honored to receive this award recently:

It's nice to receive praise from colleagues, administration, and parents... but it's even more special when it comes from the student body.

There have been many occasions where I sat behind the computer screen and wondered if I was reaching any of them.  When I tell a joke or sing a song to my students, I usually get chuckles and immediate feedback from the classroom.

However on Zoom... they're muted and the screens are so tiny it's hard to tell if they're smiling or not.  I realize that this award doesn't represent the entire student population.  Based on the number of teachers at my school and the number of students I actually had this past year, I might have only won this award with 5% of the votes.

Regardless... it shows that I brought a little ray of sunshine to some of my students and that brings a lot of joy to my heart.

Okay... enough rambling about work.  That's not what this blog is about.  Let's move on to trading cards.  

Today I figured I'd show off a few cards that brightened my day a while back:

1968 Topps #2

Right about the time I was getting ready to return to the classroom, I received a care package from Reader James who wanted to thank me for entertaining him with my blog.

Well James... thank you for this care package which definitely hit several of my PC's.  First off is this 1968 Topps AL Batting Leaders card that features three first ballot hall of famers.  I'm in the process of tracking down every Topps League Leaders card that exclusively headlines hall of famers.

1951 Bowman #8

My interest in early 50's Bowman is fairly new.  If I were to guess... I'd say it was probably inspired by this flea market find back in 2014.  Since then I've really fallen for these gorgeous pieces of cardboard... especially the 1951's.

Up until receiving this card, I wasn't familiar with Mr. Lehner.  But if you were a kid back in 1951 and you pulled this card from a pack, you probably wouldn't have been too disappointed.  Lehner was coming off of the best season of his career.

Sadly he passed away at only 47 years of age in 1967.  Thankfully the Society for Baseball Research has taken the time to document his career on their website if you're interested in reading more about him.

1974 Topps #280

Kudos to James if he hand picked this card for me, because it features a shot of the Oakland Coliseum in the background.  I'm terrible with stadium recognition... but there are a handful I can recognize easily and this is one of them.

I will always cherish the trips to the Coliseum and Candlestick Park in my youth.  And for years, I've debated on starting a binder or Frankenset with cards featuring these two ballparks.  I'm not quite ready to commit to this project, but if I do... this Yaz will be a part of it.

1981 Kellogg's #11

Anyone who knows me as a collector... understands why this card brightens my dayDoesn't lenticular Kellogg's cards from the 70's and 80's brighten everybody's day?  Even if it doesn't... this card is the epitome of a little ray of sunshine.

1981 Topps Coke New York Mets Pack

The last thing I want to share from the care package is a forty year old unopened pack.  I started collecting baseball cards back in 1981, but never had access to these Coca-Cola team cards that I'm assuming were distributed with 12 packs of Coke.

I'm also assuming these were regional issues since they were only eleven MLB teams chosen to be a part of this promotion... and none of them were located on the west coast of the United States.

1981 Topps Coke New York Mets #3

If you're wondering if I've ripped open this pack, I haven't.  As much as I enjoy collecting regional food issues, I figured this collectible would be a better fit for my unopened pack collection.

Kong doesn't seem amused with my decision to keep him locked up, but it's easier to find a single copy of this card than it is to replace this pack.

By the way... a quick look on COMC revealed that Kingman was part of the Chicago Cubs team set in the regular 1981 Topps release.  However Topps added him to their 1981 Topps Traded set as a New York Met (different photograph though).

So there you have it.  Some baseball cards that provided a little ray of sunshine to my collection.  Ironically... none of these guys are smiling... so I took the time to scan one more card James sent my way that sort of features a smile:

1981 Fleer Here's Bo! #48

I've always been more into brunettes... but I've gotta admit Bo Derek looks good on this card.  Hopefully this card and this post brightens your day a little.  If not...

What kind of things help brighten up your day?

Thanks James for the generous care package.  I hope you decide to eventually publish those posts you've written.  The blogosphere can always use another card blog to follow.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Wow, that's definitely an award I'd love to get from students if I was a teacher, nice!

    Also, hel-LO, Bo!

  2. At the moment, a good long nap would brighten my day, but I don't have time for that just yet. :-D I sometimes get a big smile from hearing the right song.

    As for the Coca-Cola Mets, I wrote about the set 3 years ago if you want to get an idea of what might be in your pack (and I wouldn't open it either):

    I've also got a bunch of cards from the other Coke sets waiting for me to request shipping by COMC... so you'll read about those in the Fall, most likely. :-|

  3. It makes me happy to see you blogging again.

  4. Congrats on the award! As much as I enjoy watching my boys baseball games, I also enjoy watching their practices as well. It’s nice to get outside and see them working hard and having fun. I get to take my mind off other things. We’ll see how I feel about that next week though when it’s supposed to be 117 degrees here.

  5. Sleeping in helps brighten my day...I am NOT a morning person. And congrats on the award! I can't even begin to imagine what teachers have gone through over the past-year plus - you and all the other educators out there have my immense appreciation.

  6. Good work, Mr. Fuji. Now go recharge those batteries.

  7. Pretty girls :). On a more serious note, A smile, RAOK are good too.

  8. Well, your blog posts never disappoint when it comes to brightening days! Congrats!

  9. Glad to see a new post, your blog brightens me up

  10. Congrats on the award. My wife is a teacher and and I know how much recognition from students brighten her day.

    I'm not doing a Candlestick frankenset but I am attempting to get a page's-worth of Candlestick photos from each set. I've a bunch tied up at COMC but once I request/receive that order I'll have to do a Candlestick through the years post.

  11. Congrats on the student achievement!

  12. Great cards, as usual, Fuji. Glad to see the award. This has indeed been a strange school year. I'm really looking forward to next year as well, as I've switched from Special Ed Associate to Playground Supervisor and really love it. Hang in there, man, you ARE making a difference in these kiddos' hearts and minds.

  13. Hey. Are you still taking people's damaged cards?

  14. Congrats on the nice award, and very fitting! Hopefully next year is fully back to normal for you.

  15. That's a lovely award - and I think you should get "Blogger most likely to brighten someone's day" as well.

  16. dennis - this is one of those teacher moments that i'll treasure as long as my memory will allow it. as for bo... this was the first time i looked at a photo of hers and was like... hmmm... not bad.

    shlabotnik report - today is the last day of school, so when i get home a good long nap is on the agenda. thanks for leaving the link. out of all of the players, kong would be the one i'd want to pull. love the flynn photograph though. and who wouldn't want to pull a staub (especially with a coliseum cameo). hope you get the opportunity to take that long nap!

    john sharp - thanks john. i'm hoping to start averaging two posts a week over the summer.

    daniel wilson - thanks daniel. i don't regret not having children, but that doesn't mean i don't miss things that parents get to experience. going to games and practices are one of them. although... i can't imagine hanging out with them in 117 degree weather. hope you guys are able to stay hydrated and safe

    nick - enjoy your sleep nick. i used to love sleeping too. these days i'm lucky if i sleep 8 hours a night once every other month. as for education... it was rough on all of us (students, parents, admin, and teachers). hopefully things return to normal (or at least close to normal) in august.

    elliptical man - thank you! as for damaged cards... i don't actively seek them out, but i definitely accept them. i have a binder dedicated to my damaged card pc, but these days only a handful make the cut. the rest are put in a box and will get taken to my classroom where i'll use them for projects.

    trevor p - thanks trevor! today is the last day of school and i already have a nap scheduled this afternoon.

    johnnys trading spot - pretty girls, smiles, and raoks are all awesome and much appreciated

    sumomenkoman - thanks buddy. grabbing some del taco and talking cards with you would brighten my day.

    matt - thanks matt! your cards over coffee posts always brighten my mornings

    nick vossbrink - yeah... recognition from students is one of the greatest gifts a teacher can receive. it's right up there with a simple "thank you". i'm stoked to see which cards make your candlestick page.

    matt - thank you matt!

    comatoad - i've got a lot of respect for the teachers and teacher's aides that work with our wonderful special ed students. i was able to connect with only a handful of my students over zoom and two of the ones that stand out in my mind were in SDC. gonna miss their positivity. i hope you enjoy your new role at your school. have a great summer!

    the lost collector - thanks aj. i hope so too. not sure some of us (parents, students, and teachers) could handle another year of zoom instruction.

    jongudmund - thanks! that's mighty kind of you.

  17. Gorgeous women of course, dogs (esp. pitbulls), and old cars. And it goes without saying - getting cards in the mail.

    If you'd like more from that Kelloggs set, I can get tons.

  18. Congrats on the award and making it successfully to the end of the school year. It certainly was a different one. I understand completely what you mean about getting your second wind. I'm already looking forward to going back, which is usually something that doesn't come over me until late July. The prospect of a "more normal" school year has me excited.

  19. gca - can't send you any gorgeous women, dogs, or old cars... but you have some cards headed your way.

    p-town tom - enjoy your summer... and let's cross our fingers and hope for a more normal 2021-22 school year.