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Card No. 329

It all started with card no. 329.

On a typical summer day in Southeast Minnesota, a young mom brought her oldest boy, an impressionable blue-eyed nine-year-old, to the local grocery store. We only made stops at that particular location if we needed one or two items. Typically, our family would do our weekly grocery shopping at the larger grocer a few towns over. For those shopping trips, the entire family would tag along. This time, it was just a young mom and her oldest boy.
Image courtesy of 1986 Topps Kirby Puckett Card no. 329
It was 1986 and, I, the nine-year-old boy, didn’t know much about his home team Minnesota Twins. I was vaguely aware of the neighboring rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, but had not formed any particular allegiance to them. I did love the game of baseball; I had been playing the sport since I was old enough for tee ball.

On that summer day, I must have been particularly well-behaved. I was rewarded with something I had never even heard of before. My mom gave me my first pack of baseball cards. I was so excited about my gift that I was already cracking that freshly sealed wax pack as we slowly rolled up our driveway.

Out of that beautiful blue wax pack of 1986 Topps baseball cards came the very first card I had ever owned. Card no. 329.

It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my young life. Not having followed the Twins to that point, I had no idea who Kirby Puckett was. I was all too eager to flip that card over and learn.

Kirby had made his debut just two years prior and had already made an impact. The back of his card also revealed to me that he spent three years marching his way through the Twins’ minor league system, moving up on the ladder as each season progressed.

Although this was not his coveted rookie card, it was my very first baseball card. That made this card all the more valuable to me. Kirby Puckett being the first baseball card I ever pulled helped to shape me both as a card collector and as a Twins fan. Had my first card have been Robin Yount‘s, perhaps I would be devoted to the neighboring team which has yet to win a World Series.

My excitement over card no. 329 forged a loyalty to the Twins that lasts to this day. My connection to the team has become so much more personal over the years due to collecting Twins baseball cards. I can flip through binders and relive World Championship seasons and playoff heartbreaks. I can display cards that were personally autographed for me by greats like Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Thome, and Joe Mauer; and I can tell a story for each.

This story, however, is the one with the most significance. Had I not been so well-behaved that summer day, there’s a chance I would have never become interested in the Twins and baseball cards. If my mom had instead chosen to reward me with a candy bar, I might have never fallen in love with that gorgeous 1986 Topps eyesore. While my opinions on Kirby Puckett may have changed over the years, his card came to me at the right place at the right time. The rest is cardboard history.

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13 Comments

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IndianaTwin
Feb 03 2019 11:13 AM
Nice. I’m guessing a lot of remember our first “significant” card. It was a 1974 Rod Carew for me.

Funny. I just remember getting what seemed like a dozen Jerry Lumpe and Diego Segui cards before I finally got a Harmon Killebrew!

    • IndianaTwin likes this
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Tom Froemming
Feb 04 2019 09:34 AM

Having a brother who is 4 1/2 years older than me, I got introduced to card collecting at an early age. I don't remember any of my very first cards, though I'm sure they were just his castaways, which I was very happy to have.

 

But in 1991, when I would have been six, I can remember getting a Donruss The Rookies set as a gift. Chuck Knoblauch, my favorite player at the time, was in that set as well as Ivan Rodriguez, who would become my favorite player a couple years later. I'm sure at the time I was also excited to have sure-fire Hall of Famer Todd Van Poppel in that set. Good times.

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Don Walcott
Feb 05 2019 09:39 AM

My brother is 3 years older than I am, so I also started collecting way too young to remember my first card. My favorite thing was to collect a card of the same player for every year. I think I have about 12 years of Rod Carew. I also have a few of the Kirby rookie cards.

 

I think my favorites are the 1975 cards (1974 season stats on the back). They had some mini cards that year as well, and I have a Nolan Ryan mini. I thought of him as some mythical figure when I was 6.

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IndianaTwin
Feb 05 2019 09:48 AM

 

My brother is 3 years older than I am, so I also started collecting way too young to remember my first card. My favorite thing was to collect a card of the same player for every year. I think I have about 12 years of Rod Carew. I also have a few of the Kirby rookie cards.

 

I think my favorites are the 1975 cards (1974 season stats on the back). They had some mini cards that year as well, and I have a Nolan Ryan mini. I thought of him as some mythical figure when I was 6.

 

Yes -- I managed to start collecting in earnest with the 1975 cards, so those two-color frame outlines were a favorite of mine as well. I also liked the 1976 set with the little figure for each position down in the lower left.

 

 

 

    • Don Walcott likes this

My brother is 3 years older than I am, so I also started collecting way too young to remember my first card.

Our family had a running joke about Hal Reniff. Because, my brother and I seemed to always get his card one year, and we palmed them off on our little sister, probably age 5, who was happy to add to her collection. My brother gave her a framed Hal Reniff for her 40th birthday or thereabout.

 

Elston Howard probably was about the first major card I remember getting. The back of a cereal box. Golden age.

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diehardtwinsfan
Feb 05 2019 12:18 PM

 

Having a brother who is 4 1/2 years older than me, I got introduced to card collecting at an early age. I don't remember any of my very first cards, though I'm sure they were just his castaways, which I was very happy to have.

 

But in 1991, when I would have been six, I can remember getting a Donruss The Rookies set as a gift. Chuck Knoblauch, my favorite player at the time, was in that set as well as Ivan Rodriguez, who would become my favorite player a couple years later. I'm sure at the time I was also excited to have sure-fire Hall of Famer Todd Van Poppel in that set. Good times.

 

I was collecting card long before 1991, but I still have a pretty impressive card collection shrine for Knoblauch... pretty much all of his rookie cards, some minors cards, and his #1 pick cards.

    • IndianaTwin and Tom Froemming like this
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RatherBeGolfing
Feb 06 2019 02:33 PM

 

I was collecting card long before 1991, but I still have a pretty impressive card collection shrine for Knoblauch... pretty much all of his rookie cards, some minors cards, and his #1 pick cards.

 

Any of him throwing to first base?

    • Sconnie and Nine of twelve like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Feb 06 2019 03:24 PM

 

Any of him throwing to first base?

He went to the Yankees when I was in college, so I was pretty much done collecting at that point... so nothing from the Blass disease era...

 

and I'm not sure I'd have ever added a Yankee's Knoblauch card to my shrine. Just.Couldn't.Do.It.

In 1975 I think I got ten freakin Vic Albury cards.Grrrr!

    • Nine of twelve likes this

First base!Jim!Holt!

My brother and I used to get a kick out of the way Casey announced him.

 

I had a bunch of him in that '74 set

 

 

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Nine of twelve
Feb 07 2019 09:02 PM

I've never really been much of a collector of any collectible items, but one of the things that really got me interested in following baseball was cutting out and saving the cards that were on the back of Post cereal boxes in the early '60's. 

    • ashbury likes this

I've never really been much of a collector of any collectible items, but one of the things that really got me interested in following baseball was cutting out and saving the cards that were on the back of Post cereal boxes in the early '60's. 

The marketing guy who decided to do this is no doubt long-dead. But he sits now at the Right Hand of God. :)

    • Nine of twelve likes this

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