In 1985, I opened my first pack of baseball cards. For the next several years, it would define my childhood. Scraping together loose change to buy as many cards as I could, sorting and pouring over my treasures, trading with my friends and understanding the game a little better. That first pack, with it’s awful gum, it’s terrible wax residue, and the bevy of stars inside opened my eyes to the world of sports.

25 years later, those same players featured on those cards have become the face of shame for the sport, namely Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden. Three stars with coveted rookie cards in the set. At one time, the value of McGwire’s iconic Team U.S.A rookie card was worth more than $200 alone. Now, it languishes for a few bucks on eBay.

In that span, we have all changed. When I look back, I realize the moment I opened that first pack I was filled with youthful innocence. So now, I’m going back, hand collating what was once a coveted set that has become an unfortunate metaphor for the sport. In the process, I hope to reclaim those fond memories and a bit of the innocence of my childhood.

– Adam McCune

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