Many of us were initially introduced to the hobby through someone else, be it a parent, grandparent, another relative or even a friend.
No matter when or how long ago you got your hobby start, we always remember how it all began and love reminiscing about that beginning. As I pointed out in my introductory column, it was thanks to my grandfather in 1979 that I'm in the hobby. I'm also blessed that I've gotten to enjoy the hobby further with my father after that.
Recently on Ep.193 of my podcast “Sports Card Nation,” Wisconsin father and son Zach and Porter Byrne were my guests. Zach's journey started in 1984 when his father introduced him to 1984 Topps and his parents supported his collecting with trips to the LCS and card shows at a bowling alley.
Carlton Fisk was the first player he collected but others soon followed. The list includes the Big Hurt, Eric Davis, Jose Canseco, Barry Sanders and 80s-90s Chicago Bears players. Growing up, he enjoyed learning about the Negro Leagues so Satchell Paige, Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson pickups are fun.
I enjoyed talking to both gentlemen for that episode, but it became very apparent that the young Porter, 9, is an “old soul” wise beyond his years. Unlike most kids his age, he enjoys learning about the greats of the past, including the great announcers of the game, a profession he's considering when he gets older.
Porter loves to collect cards of players who became announcers after their playing careers. We share an idol in Jackie Robinson, but Porter also likes collecting Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Stan Musial and more.
Jim Abbott's story inspired him so he enjoys adding Abbott cards to his collection. He enjoys modern players, too, and some of his favorites include Troy Polamalu, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Tony Gonzalez, Yadi Molina, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Justin Tucker.
Like his Dad, he also enjoys adding Bears and White Sox cards to his collection. Besides cards, Porter enjoys reading, playing sports and golfing/gardening with his grandfather.
The Porters enjoy going to card shows together and their two favorites are Fat Daddy's in Oak Creek, Wisc. and the show in Madison. They've never been to The National but hope to attend their first in Chicago in 2023.
At the shows Porter loves to chat with dealers, talking about cards and the history of the game. If those dealers are anything like me, they enjoy those conversations with a young collector who is so passionate about the hobby.
Being on a budget, they enjoy finding treasures contained within the bargain boxes they enjoy going through. Porter likes to pick up a few packs when he can and most times they get ripped open before Dad even pulls out of the parking lot.
They love collecting on a budget and platforms of choice include eBay, Sportlots and Twitter stack sales, which not only builds their collections but also creates some hobby friendships.
The Porters recently launched a YouTube channel to share their hobby pickups and stories. It's called “Zach and Porter,” so check it out.
— John Newman is a collector, dealer and the host of the Sports Card Nation Podcast. Catch his Hobby Quick Hits on Monday and his guest interviews on Friday on your favorite podcast platform. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ sportscardnati1