Keith freakin’ Comstock.
This dude, a former pitcher for a variety of teams in the 1980’s, was the bane of my existence as a kid collecting baseball cards in 1988 and 1989. For a guy who appeared in 33 career games for the San Diego Padres from 1987 to 1988, the baseball card companies seemed to have produced millions of his cards. And, as an 8 and 9-year-old collector – I seemed to have gotten every one of those damn things.
I forgot about my irrational hatred for that guy until last night, when I decided to break open some of the 12,000 or so sports cards I had collected in the late '80s and early '90s. My wife and I had decided to do some "fall cleaning" and I had decided that it was perhaps time to rid myself of these, most of which were commons.
Then, I cracked open a few of the boxes and flipped through them. And wouldn’t you know it, there was Comstock in that crappy Padres jersey and '80s mustache looking back at me.
Actually, there were so many mustaches. So many. Fred Manrique’s is still a favorite.
Anyway, I sorted through some of them looking for particular teams to pick out and give to some people as gags, and memories came flooding back.
It was riding my bike to the drug store on 76th Avenue in Tinley Park, Ill. with 50 cents in my pocket for a pack of Topps or Donruss and tearing it open in the hopes of finding a Cup card or a Diamond Kings or Rated Rookie. I loved all cards back then (except for Comstock) and couldn’t get enough of them.
It was a fun thing to do with friends, and my dad got in on the act, too, buying me various team sets and taking me to card shows.
A few other memories:
- Breaking the 1989 Upper Deck New York Mets team set to trade the Gregg Jeffries rookie to a kid for an autographed Cal Ripken, Jr. 1987 Topps card. Felt it was worth it even as a 9-year-old. Obviously, I was amazingly smart, even back then.
- My dad taking me to these local card shows in Tinley and Orland Park, and meeting some spindly new White Sox player named Sammy Sosa. I’ll never forget this. He wore sunglasses, a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and sandals and never once looked up as he signed my 1989 Score card and a baseball. The signature was beautiful. I loved it. My dad forever hated him because Sosa’s handler said "Don’t talk to him." The old man uttered "I always knew he was an (expletive)" more than a few times when it all blew up on Sosa in the late 90’s and early 2000's.
- My little league baseball coach breaking open a brand new box and handing each of us a pack after a good game.
I smiled a lot, cursed Keith Comstock a few times as well, before I closed them up and put them back in the closet.
I’m not quite ready for them to go just yet.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jim Owczarski
Published Dec. 6, 2013
Professional sports have been, and will always be, a young person's game. No one beats Father Time one-on-one, not even the all-time greats. But Nick Vorberg, who will turn 39 in February, is at least playing him to a draw in goal for the Milwaukee Wave.
Published Dec. 5, 2013
Despite the fact that the quarter pole is approaching in the 2013-14 NBA season, it's impossible to make any judgments on this Milwaukee Bucks team.There have been too many injuries and lineup changes to do so, but that also means that, as the offense struggles, the margin for winning is very slim.
Published Dec. 4, 2013
Brandon Jennings returned to Milwaukee for the first time since being traded to the Detroit Pistons. It was an anticlimactic experience for all involved.
Published Dec. 4, 2013
Following an eight-win season last year, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers have started the 2013-14 season 7-2 thanks to a group of new players who have quickly found chemistry with existing starters.
Published Dec. 3, 2013
By the end of the 2013 season, Jim Henderson was closing games for the Milwaukee Brewers. It was an unexpected turn of events for the hard-throwing right-hander, but he is preparing for bigger things in 2014.
Published Dec. 2, 2013
For all of his flaws, Junior Cadougan was one thing for sure for Marquette University head coach Buzz Williams: a leader. Derrick Wilson, a junior, is now stepping into that role.
Published Nov. 29, 2013
The Detroit Lions took command of the NFC North with a convincing 40-10 win over the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day, who, unfortunately, solidified what kind of team they are without Aaron Rodgers.
Published Nov. 28, 2013
Food and football go together like hand and glove on Thanksgiving Day, and while the game doesn't really conjure up any visceral feelings like homemade food does, there are few moments in regular life that a sport feel so much a part of.
Published Nov. 27, 2013
Marquette University freshman JaJuan Johnson's confidence has grown because of the trust shown in him by his teammates and coaches.
Published Nov. 26, 2013
Jean Segura ended his first full major league season with a .294 batting average, 173 hits and a National League All-Star berth. In his eyes, it's not good enough.