Cardboard Gods, written by Josh Wilker, is an American tale about the significance of baseball cards among the young and adults. The book was published in 2010 and explained the life of baseball card collectors who religiously follow their hobby and try to collect and preserve the best cards released in the market.
The author narrates his story and how his older brother taught him the value of baseball cards. The author’s mother was a simple woman who wanted a simple life for her family in the rural side. She went on the leave her husband and lived with a free-spirited man in Vermont. The children had a hard time making new friends in Vermont and struggled in doing so. That is when the author finds a new hobby to collect baseball cards that he bought in bubble-gum packs. His older brother was interested in baseball betting but was not involved much in it. He participated in baseball card fantasy events at the time, but it did not become an obsession for him. Soon, Wilker became more interested in card collecting and began to understand how the cards are valued. The start players were not the actual bounty while searching for the cards. The fringe players like David Clyde and Kurt Bevacqua kept switching between major and minor leagues to become locally and nationally popular among the fans.
The book is a retrospective of Josh Wilker on the craze of baseball card collection. It takes a rather sad and bitter take on the hobby of people like himself. Wilker shares some of the unorthodox childhood experiences that may not suit the reading preferences of many readers.
Cardboard Gods is a collection of essays with a new card explained in every essay with a story behind it. The book also mentions Reggie Jackson from 1970, when facial hair became a choice rather than a symbol of rebelliousness. The story behind Rickey Henderson’s rookie card explains why trying hard is unnecessary when what we seek is right around the corner. Similarly, Randy Jones also motivated collectors with a story of not being the best-looking player with the best talent but still become great.
The book has an interesting read to offer for readers who have little knowledge about baseball cards. If the reader does not know anything about baseball card collection, they may find it hard to relate. At the same time, if they know too much about baseball card collection, they may already know most of the events discussed in the book. It makes the book a general database of the events associated with certain baseball cards and the godlike following by the fans. The book is a collection of humor and tough times that the author has seen in his life. Overall, it is a book written by a baseball fan who grew up as a Red Sox fan and saw how the culture of card collection became such an important part of his life. Wilker puts everything in perspective to teach us how cardboard gods or even a small item from our childhood can heal us.