To Dream the Difficult-But-Not-Completely-Implausible Dream…

I love people who go on insane quests. I’m not talking quite at the Don Quixote level. More like completely pointless obsessions whose realization won’t accomplish anything for the dreamer. They just wanna see if they can do it. After a while, they don’t really know why they’re doing it anymore. But to stop doing it would mean that all that work they’ve done already would be totally wasted.

Want an example? How about a man whose goal is to acquire an autographed version of every single 1983 Fleer baseball card? Omar the Scrivener’s twittering alerted me to the presence of this monomaniacal blog, which I find completely fascinating.

For those who never collected baseball cards, Fleer was the line that ran a distant third in popularity behind Topps and Donruss. And as a cursory view of this site will indicate, their 1983 set was designed with an aggressive lack of imagination, even by the standards of the day. (Compare Topps’ snazzier look from the same year.)

On top of all of this, the pictures on the cards don’t exactly give Ansel Adams a run for his money. Like this card, where Reds pitcher Eddie Milner is caught mid-grimace. Or this one, where the Astros’ Harry Spillman looks kinda President George H.W. Bush. Or this one, where Seattle’s Bryan Clark flashes a nice smile but forgot to push his cap down on his head. Or this one, where Yankee John Mayberry looks like he just awoke from a pleasant nap.

So why has this man settled on Fleer 1983, of all brands/years?

Growing up, I collected baseball cards. For whatever reason, I ended up with many 1983 Fleer cards. Now I’m writing to players asking to autograph their card.

That’s it. Then again, do you need any more reason than this? I think not.

As of this writing, he’s gotten 458 signed cards out of a total of 674., just a little over 2/3 of the way home. Godspeed, good sir. May your quest conclude happily.

Understand: I am not mocking this man in any way. I completely understand where he’s coming from, because I have done things just as complicated and pointless in my life. And am probably doing some now. And will undoubtedly continue to do them in the future.

Like when I was a kid, I wanted to get a complete set of Topps baseball cards from the year I was born. But since I didn’t have enough dough to buy the set outright, I would by them individually. Or in those terrible sets that guys at card shows put together that are completely full of garbage, hoping that gullible idiots like 10-year-old-me will blow 5-10 bucks on. Which we always do, of course, because we are morons.

This is how now I have a baseball card album with 17 Oscar Gambles, 23 Kent Tukulves, and too many Jose Cardenals to count.