One of my favorite things about collecting cards are the long forgotten memories they bring back.
This week I was organizing some cards into one of my PC binders, and I came across a pull page of Scott Erickson cards. I haven’t thought about the former Twins and Orioles pitcher in probably 20 years, but as soon as I saw that 1991 Topps Stadium Club card staring back at me I was immediately taken back to the moment I pulled it out of a pack during the summer of 1991.
Stadium Club cards weren’t easily found in my small town. If we wanted to get our hands on a product like that we had to talk one of our moms into stopping at the card shop in the neighboring city. If we were lucky we got to make that trip once or twice a month.
When my friend told he and his family were going to make that trip one Saturday we were real excited and we pooled our money and I “placed my order” for several packs of Stadium Club. He brought them to church the next day, and after Sunday School it was time to dig in! I don’t remember which pack it was, but I remember sitting in the back of his van, flipping over one of the packs to open it up, and seeing that inset picture of Scott Erickson’s 1990 Topps Traded card.
I was ecstatic.
I honestly don’t remember why I liked him so much. I mean the Twins weren’t any big thing in Central Illinois, and he had no other local connections. We didn’t even get Minnesota games on TV, but for whatever reason he was the pitcher I was after that summer.
I already had copies of the basic Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, and Donruss ones, but none of them matched the “Premium” status of Stadium Club. I mean, they even used Kodak photography and the packaging even had the logo to prove it!
It amazes me how some of these cards from my youth bring back those very detailed memories from 25 or 30 years ago, but other cards in the same binder I don’t even remember having.
Erickson made his big league debut in 1990 where he went 8-4 with the Twins, and he finished with an amazing 5-0 run in September. That finish got the hype train rolling early in 1991, and Scott lived up to that hype going 20-8 during that World Series winning season. He finished 2nd to Roger Clemens in Cy Young voting and was the first player since 1954 to win 20 games in his first full season.
From 1993-1994 he struggled a bit and he ERA jumped to over 5. He only managed to win 8 games in each of those two seasons. In 1995 he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles and started another string of five winning seasons before an injury in the spring of 2000 derailed a promising career.
He played his last game as a member of the Yankees in 2006.
My Erickson collection stopped about 1994 which coincided with the strike. I had actually forgotten he even played for Baltimore since those years were well into my collecting “dead zone”.
A couple months ago I wrote about Jim Abbott, another of my childhood favorites, and it gave me a chance to learn more about his life after baseball. Rediscovering these guys over the last couple years has been a ton of fun. Reliving moments of my youth, and then being prompted to research what ever happened to them has made me appreciate the hobby even more.
Who’s your Jim Abbott or Scott Erickson? Let me know in the comments below!
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Thanks again for reading and until next time, just keep collecting your own WaxPackHeroes!