I got back into this thing by a twist of fate. Oh, I had picked up an occasional pack here or there in the early 00s – a 2001 Heritage pack here, a 2002 Donruss pack there, but just for my own amusement, really. What hooked me back in was picking up a repack box at a K-Mart on a whim in the winter of 2003/2004 (I believe it was early December). My then-wife had had surgery and was convalescing at home, unable to really go out or do much of anything, so I was doing all the shopping. It was a rough period. I think I went to K-Mart for some socks, and found myself eyeing their copious baseball card offerings.
I didn’t want to spend too much, but I was interested in getting bang for the buck. I took the box out to the car and tore into right there, not even willing to wait for the trip home. And on the…I think third pack that I opened, I pulled an Ivan Rodriguez game-used card. I was instantly hooked. I had no idea this kind of thing was even out there. Many, many boxes would follow before I stopped in 2005 (an event that will also be covered).
The connection to this card is that that box had a pack of 2003 Donruss, and so 2003 Donruss represents that era for me…it was a time when I was only half-awake emotionally and mentally, but felt a stirring of something that meant a lot to me.