Cardboard Gods – The Book That Brings Me Back

Shortly after I had decided to pursue the idea of a game based on trading baseball cards, I was at my local library looking through the books about baseball. I was really after books with great pictures that would stir up more of my childhood memories. I found a few, then my finger slid across the top of a small paperback entitled Cardboard Gods. And boy did I find a gem.

I didn’t immediately decipher what that phrase could mean, but the binding has a small picture of a couple of baseball cards on it. So I pulled out the book and flipped to the first chapter. It is titled “Topps 1975 #533: Rudy Meoli”. The first line reads:

For a long time, I knew how to find happiness. All I needed was a quarter.

I was hooked. I was sucked back into the days of collecting. Coincidentally, the author, Josh Wilker, is only a couple of years older than me, making his recollections really hit home. Wilker is a talented writer, weaving his love of baseball and card collecting together with stories of his upbringing, his summer days, his growing up and his struggles with everyday life. He writes:

I absorbed myself in my cards. I absorbed myself in the sameness of them, even as the sameness began to show signs that it was an illusion.

Finding and reading this book was like fuel for the fire. I had been steadily jotting down notes and trying to envision how I could get that “feel” I was looking for designed into a game. I had made a lot of progress and Cardboard Gods was like icing on the cake. So many memories and feelings have been captured by the author. I recently bought my own copy and it arrived today. (Here’s a link to the official page)

I highly recommend it if you enjoy a talented writer recollecting tales of baseball and growing up collecting cards. I leave you with more prose from the book:

…the select group of cards, my favorites, that I touched more than I touched anything else in my life. My incessant childhood pawings pushed these cards beyond the limits of the language of commerce, dulling and creasing their surfaces, corroding their edges, blunting their corners…These were the cards that I kept going back to.

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