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An overwhelming act of kindness

Collector donates card collection to 9-year-old girl who lost her cards in the Creek Fire in California

In this turbulent year of the virus and natural disasters, how refreshing to find a story from the hobby that touches the heart and leaves you feeling good about the world in which we live.

It’s a story about tragedy and heartbreak, and an overwhelming act of kindness.

The Creek Fire in California destroyed the Fresno home of Reese Osterberg, a 9-year-old baseball fan who had been collecting baseball cards for two years. That collection was lost to the fire.

Kevin Ashford of San Jose saw Reese’s story and decided to donate his own baseball card collection of 25,000 cards to her and her friends, who also lost cards in the fire.

“I had initially planned on selling my cards on eBay,” Ashford told CNN. “But when I thought about the smile I could put on that little girl's face, it was an easy decision. I felt compelled to donate the cards to her.”

Ashford told CNN his collection, dating to the 1960s, was probably worth $35,000 to $50,000.

Photo: San Jose Fire Department

Photo: San Jose Fire Department

He contacted CAL FIRE officials, who had started a Step Up to the Plate donation campaign to help replace kids’ baseball cards, and the San Jose Fire Department also assisted by picking up his boxes of cards and delivering them to Reese and her friends.

Reese, being a fan of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, went through the cards to find Posey’s. As if that wasn’t enough, Reese received a few other surprises. One was a Zoom call from Posey, which left her speechless. Another was a package from her favorite team (the Giants) that had a signed baseball and new gear. She also received items from sports memorabilia shops, including a signed Pee Wee Reese card and a signed Trevor Hoffman ball.

“It’s the best day I’ve ever had,” she told ABC News Fresno. “It’s more than awesome, probably.”