A Tribute to Mom

Mom turns 93 today.

There are many nice things I could write about my mother but the biggest tribute is saluting her wisdom and vision for saving my baseball card collection after I left home for college.

Author Gaylon White with his mother, Joyce White.
Author Gaylon White with his mother, Joyce White.

This may seem trivial to some but there are legions of boys who lost their treasured cards when an overzealous mom tossed them in the trash.  A few years ago I happened to mention my good fortune to someone not so fortunate. He broke into tears as he told the sad tale of the Mickey Mantle cards his mother treated like Mickey Mouse’s droppings.

Mom didn’t follow baseball but, like Mickey, she was from Oklahoma, and knew the thousands of cards I accumulated in the 1950s were special. So she preserved them until I was out of college and living in an apartment where I had enough storage space to take them back.


Mom and Dad hauled the cards in the trunk of their car from Los Angeles to Kansas City, Missouri. They were neatly organized in a large cardboard box, exactly how I left them a decade earlier.

Willie Mays_1956Ernie Banks was still smiling on his 1954 Topps rookie card. The 1956 Topps card of Willie Mays was good as new and my two 1956 Topps cards of Mantle were in mint condition.

As time passed I’ve kept my mother current on the market value of the cards I purchased in a five-card pack (with bubble gum) for a nickel. The asking price on eBay for the Banks card in near-mint condition is $4,000. The Mays card is selling for nearly $800 and Mantle for $2,169.

Mickey Mantle_1956Hearing what the cards are worth today makes Mom smile. She may not know much about baseball, but she knows a good investment when she sees one.





The Bilko Athletic Club is a book about the 1956 Los Angeles Angels, a team of castoffs and kids built around a bulky, beer-loving basher of home runs named Steve Bilko. The 320-page hardcover book,  published by  Rowman & Littlefield, features a foreword by John Schulian, former sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and Philadelphia Daily News and longtime contributor to Sports Illustrated and GQ.

The book can now be ordered by clicking on any of the website links below:

For Baseball Fans Down Under: 

For Fans in the UK:

For Fans in Taiwan: