Monday, April 3, 2017

When Life Gives You Baseball Cards

Could it be??

After a few months of wondering,
followed by a few weeks of waiting, 
only to be followed by a
 few more months of forgetting...

Could it be that our mailbox was 
holding a wish come true...??

Turns out...
 the answer was YES!

When you are a newly minted 11 year-old,
there are pretty many amazing, real-world issues 
to keep you occupied like:

Discovering WWE, is it real or fake??
Choosing the 'just-right' Halloween costume, 
...Learning to fish,
... Playing video games...
and we can't forget about
the daily grind of being a 
hard-working fifth grader.
There's much to be done.

Being an active kid
 can also help to take your mind off 
all the wondering and waiting 
surrounding a certain special delivery...

A special delivery that truthfully, may 
or may not ever come to be.

 a boy can hope.

Just like a boy can dream
 about one day 
hitting the baseball over the fence
hope to play in the 
big leagues ...

This story all began when we
 found a small collection of 
baseball cards at our
 local thrift store.

Our son Will is a baseball fan.  
Full stop. Period. End of story.

He has loved baseball for 
almost all of his eleven years...

He loves watching it.

He loves playing it.

He loves the stats and the strategy....

He just loves baseball.

During the summer months,
when we are not at the baseball field,
we become treasure hunters.

 Will has a select few items
he likes to look for on our
 summertime trips to the
second-hand stores...
Will's short list includes: old coins, 
baseball cards, geodes or
other fun rocks and minerals.

I bring the kids along 
on trips to the local thrift shops
for something fun to do.
Thrift shop hunting 
comes in handy
especially on rainy days 
in June and July
when the pool is closed 
and we are running out of 
exciting things to keep us entertained...
The thrift shop never disappoints.

We find vintage records with great artwork
old-fashioned metal lunch boxes,
 crazy board games,
1970's fashions... there is always something 
to put a smile on our faces.

This past summer,
 Will found a collection
 of older baseball cards.

Some of the cards were keepers, a few notable players,
including a few Nolan Ryan cards.

Once Will discovered the
 Nolan Ryan cards and 
began researching his career
 and baseball stats,
he was thoroughly excited.

Will decided he wanted 
to write Nolan Ryan a letter...
At this age, 
Will is all about signed baseball cards.

Will asked, 
"Do you think if I write to him, he'll write back??"

"Ummm..." (long pause from me)

As a mama, who didn't want to 
dash her boy's high hopes,
 I tried to be optimistic... 
as I said: 

"We could try, but we don't really
 know where to send the letter..."

Will went on...
His enthusiasm was bursting
from his bright eyes and big smile...

"I could send him these cards and...
he could send them back...SIGNED!!"

"Wow... "
I said "That is a pretty big request buddy."

I had to let him know, while this was a
fun idea, but it might not work out.

"We can try it buddy, 
but there's always a chance the
 cards might never come back..."

He sat quietly...thinking over the
risk versus the reward...

He thought and thought...

When I heard his feet
 quickly thumping up the stairs 
to get paper, 
I knew instantly what he had decided.

Will wrote his letter...
Starting with a solid first-draft like any good
soon-to-be fifth grader would write.
He next wrote his final draft that 
included his very
own Knothole baseball card, 
signed: Will Perry in his best handwriting.

I encouraged Will to include a 
self-addressed stamped envelope...
just in case... you never know.

(I didn't want to rain on any parade...
We had to be prepared to make this happen.)

I explained to Will,
"If this letter makes it to Mr. Nolan Ryan,
we need to make sure it's easy for him
to return it to you... and that's a BIG "if"...
It's the polite thing to do when
you are making a request of someone..."

Next, came my role in 
this big idea...
The Mom Detective Agency
had to open for business.
I had to find 
where to send this 
magical, hope-filled letter...

No pressure...none at all.

I wanted to give his letter the best possible
chance of getting where it needed to go...

After a full evening of what I can only
describe as FBI-style tracking...
and good old-fashioned mom detective work,
I came up with an address that would
have to do... 

Will addressed his letter
 and off we went to the 
post office.

 As Will slid his envelope full 
 thrift store baseball cards into the box,
 I said a quick little prayer...

'Please let this turn out happy
for him.'

After mailing the letter,

We talked 

and talked,

 and talked some more, 

and wondered...

Will asked
all about the journey 
this letter might take and
 how long it would take to get to Texas...

Would the letter fly in a plane...?
or go on a truck...?
What kind of mailbox did I think
Nolan Ryan might have?

(I had no idea how much thought 
he was putting into this venture)

I tried to temper his eagerness with
gentle reminders about 
how busy Nolan Ryan must be...
and also... sneaking in the possibility that the
letter might not come back to us, not ever.

Then, more questions came...

"When... ??

"When do you think the letter will come??"

We had a few weeks of 
vigilant mailbox watching.

At first,
Will hustled out to the mailbox 
every. single. day.
 He'd come running back to me 
holding a handful of mail, 
minus the anticipated
 letter from Texas.
Will would cheerfully say:

"Not today mom, 
but probably tomorrow..."

Those summer days turned into weeks,
and Will slowly stopped asking 
about when I thought the letter
might return to us.

Will's days soon became filled with
 back to school supplies,
and his own fall-ball baseball games...
Before we knew it, 
it was time to carve pumpkins
 and go sledding.

The letter...full of hope and beloved 
baseball cards
 had faded into the background.

Then, it happened...

 one cold January appeared,

a letter...

THE envelope.

It was there!! the mailbox,
in our mailbox!!

 A long awaited letter for 
for a baseball lovin' boy.

Was this truly from a
real baseball hero...?

It seemed to be...
The envelope was folded and creased, 
written in pencil,
the work of a young south paw.
 Sitting  atop a stack of  boring everyday mail,
 was a genuine Texas post-marked,
self-addressed stamped envelope for Will.

From one baseball enthusiast to another...
From a young little league pitcher, full of baseball dreams
to a baseball legend...

The letter really came back.

And inside...

Three signed Nolan Ryan 
baseball cards.

It was a baseball wish granted for Will...
his big idea had really worked.

It was a happy ending...
or maybe it's more of a happy beginning...
either is certainly happy.

As  'Opening Day' arrives and 
a brand new baseball season 
is upon us,
let's all remember to dream BIG...
swing for the fences, 
and never shy away from
brushes with greatness...

You just never know when your
 dreams might come true!

Play Ball!!


To Nolan Ryan,

A heartfelt thank you.
Your kindness in returning the autographed
 baseball cards, was such a gift.

Our son will always remember
how you took the time to
answer his letter.
It means the world to him
that you replied.

Your example,
 both on and off the baseball field is
what makes you a baseball legend.

As a mother to a boy with big 
baseball dreams, I thank you.


 Mom to Will, 
your most recent #1 fan

Some of the photos from this post were from a baseball birthday party.
If you need any fun baseball themed party ideas...
there is no shortage of super-fun ideas here.
I have some to share:
Baseball Birthday Party


  1. That's amazing! Your son will remember that kindness forever.

    1. Oh, Rebecca... I agree... I was not sure we had sent it to the right address, so to get a reply... It was simply amazing!!