Frank Corridon – Spitball Pitcher and History Teacher
If you were to ask me, I would probably tell you that I'm a vintage card collector. I consider vintage collecting to be much more “cool" than set building. Think about it--anyone can walk into a big-box store, buy a bunch of blaster boxes, and call themselves a set builder (which is what I do). It's not nearly as easy to build a set that's been in circulation for 40 years (if a set is not as old as I am, I don't consider it to be a true “vintage" set, but that's just my mid-life crisis speaking). So collecting vintage cards is something special to me because you really have to put an effort into finding and acquiring the cards as opposed to grabbing a pack as an afterthought as you're waiting in line at the checkout aisle.
A few weeks ago I found an auction online for a 1911 T205 Frank Corridon card. Before I saw that auction listing, I had never heard of Corridon. I didn't know that most baseball historians credit him as being one of the first pitchers to use the spitball. These were all things I learned before I ever even placed a bid. The fact that the card depicts Corridon in his Cardinals uniform made the purchase a no-brainer. The price wasn't outrageous either, so I was able to afford this gem without having to refinance the house. The thing that really makes it special to me though was the history lesson I learned from this card. No, Frank was not a real history teacher, but he did help me learn a thing or two about baseball history. Not only did I learn about Corridon and his short 6 year career in the majors, I also learned some very interesting facts about the history of pitching: in particular, the live-ball/dead-ball eras and the spitball. If you get a chance, you should do a little light reading on Wikipedia about these topics. I was fascinated. Never mind the fact that this T205 card is 100 years old, making it the oldest card in my collection at present.
When I stop and think about it, the thing that really draws me to vintage cards (besides the fact that they're harder to find) is the history that's involved in them. Part of the word “history" is “story," and every card has one. I don't care if it's a card of some obscure player who made it to the majors just long enough for the Topps photographer to show up and snap a picture of him or if it's a card of a legendary Hall of Famer. I love finding old cards and learning about the player, his career, the card set, the company that produced the set, etc. It makes me feel a connection to that card when I'm holding it in my hand. That connection that I feel is what makes me love the hobby of collecting baseball cards.