Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Special Card From My Collection

Occasionally on this blog, I'll share some of the cards that are part of my collection. While there are collectors out there that show their pristine, high-end, important and incredibly valuable cards, if you've followed this blog at all, you'll know I don't have any of those cards. Instead, I prefer cards that can tell their own stories.

Cards were meant to bring joy to kids. They've gotten flipped, traded, wrapped up with rubber bands and shoved into back pockets. Then, when baseball season was over they were tossed into a shoebox and set aside. Sometimes Mom cleaned the room and tossed them out, while some survived with all the signs of the abuse their owners lovingly inflicted on them.

On a serious note, here is a card I've always loved:

This is an E90-1 American Caramels card. It was issued during the same 1909-'11 era as the vaunted T206 set. The big difference between the sets was that one was issued inside tobacco products and the others were sold with candy. Though T206 cards are better known and more widely collected, it's believed that most E cards are much scarcer. For more info about the set, my website has a page devoted to the set.

But that's not why I love this card. It's not even the fact that it is now more than 100 years old (even though that certainly adds to its mystique). I love this card because of a very real and constant reminder. The player is Eddie Grant, who was the 3rd baseman for the Phillies here but also played with three other teams before leaving the game and starting a law practice. In 1917, Eddie Grant volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army when the nation entered World War One. He was given a commission as a captain in the Infantry and sent to France. The right is a photo of Capt. Grant in his other uniform:

On October 5, 1918 Capt. Grant was participating in a patrol to help rescue the famed "Lost Battalion" in the Argonne Forest. During that operation, he was killed by shrapnel from German artillery. This made him the first former major league baseball player to be killed in action during wartime. To me, the fact that I have a card from his playing days makes it a special part of my collection.

Today is Memorial Day. It's a day where we should stop for a moment and remember the sacrifices our fellow Americans have given to help us enjoy our Freedoms. Some, like Captain Eddie Grant of Massachusetts, gave their lives for the cause. And they should never be forgotten.

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