I think I will take a day off from the 2002 Piece of History set and write about the card that I got at the Redford, MI card show Sunday. I have been looking for this card off and on for several years because for me it represents collecting baseball cards during my childhood. I would guess that most of us have particular baseball cards that are more meaningful and that bring back strong memories of our childhood.
Like many of us, I am in my second round of baseball card collecting. My first collecting period began about 1955 and lasted until about 1963. If I had known back then what I know now, I certainly would have kept all those Mickey Mantle cards in mint condition. I remember having multiple copies of the 1957 and 1958 Mickey Mantle cards. I gave all of my baseball cards away when I was no longer interested in collecting.
But when I think back to my childhood baseball card collecting days, there is one card that brings back strong memories. Memories for me are of buying packs of cards at Ollie Limp’s Hilltop Grocery in Delphi, Indiana and sitting on the porch at David Issac’s house trading cards and playing Ed-U-Card baseball games.
The card that brings back these memories is a 1955 Topps card - #57 – Billy O’Dell. I am not sure why this card is so meaningful. Billy O’Dell was not a major star. The 1955 card is actually his rookie card. The Baltimore Orioles were not my favorite team. In those days I liked the Chicago White Sox. He was not even from my home state of Indiana. O’Dell lived in Newberry, SC. I clearly remember having this card and liking it even back in the 1950’s.
Billy O’Dell was the Orioles first “Bonus Baby” signing for a huge sum of $12,500 in 1954. O’Dell never played in the minor leagues. After playing in 7 games in 1954, O’Dell spent most of 1955 and 1956 in the military. After returning from the military in late 1956, O’Dell was a solid pitcher for the Orioles, Giants, Braves and Pirates in a career that lasted until 1967. He won 105 games while losing 100 during his career.
Now that I have this card, I think I will frame it and hang it on the wall of my baseball room.