In the summer of 1988, a corporate transfer landed my husband Marty and me in Atlanta. A diehard baseball fan (and all-star shortstop as a youth), Marty was thrilled to finally live in a city with a Major League Baseball team—we were at a Braves game before the moving truck had even arrived with our belongings. He quickly made inquiries about season tickets for the 1989 season and found four to-die-for seats between home plate and the dugout on the first-base side.
If you know your baseball history, you know how awful the Braves were in the late 1980s and the Cinderella story of their “worst to first” season in 1991. We were there, through the painful string of losses to the playoffs and the World Series! And we continued to enjoy our amazing seats through the next several powerhouse seasons (while all the fair-weather fans scrambled for a ticket). My daughter learned the tomahawk chop about the same time she learned to walk, and my son honed his reading and math skills by studying the Braves box scores. Skip Caray, the venerable voice of the Braves, was literally the background soundtrack of those years of our lives.
So, when Robert Kempe of Seven Footer Press told me about their newest title, Cardboard Gods, I knew I had found the perfect book for Marty. This unique memoir tells the 1970s coming-of-age story of author Josh Wilker, “played out” through his baseball card collection. Each short chapter begins with a full-color image of one of his baseball cards, and as the narrative of his life unfolds, it twists and turns and ultimately relates to the pictured card and featured player.
Even though I was only a baseball fan for those six “Braves” years, I was still drawn into Cardboard Gods. Intrigued, I studied the card at the beginning of each chapter, wondering how it would relate to the author’s continued story. It’s clever and fun, even when your heart aches for young Wilker as he makes his way from boyhood to adolescence and beyond. If you know a lover of baseball (or not!), surprise them with a copy of this book.