The date was March 13th, and the media was inundated with Covid-19 talk. The first cases were popping up in the United States, and the epicenter of it was basically right where I grew up, in the New York City suburbs. I was working for an events company where I currently reside in South Florida, and the phone calls were ringing in all week, canceling weddings, corporate events, and Bar Mitzvah’s one-by-one. The world was changing overnight, and we still hadn’t grasped the full scope of it. I went home from work that day, not knowing when I would be going back.
I spent the next two weeks bored out of my mind, sitting at home alone. Because of my love of sports, I knew of an artist named Tyson Beck that I had found years earlier on Instagram. Tyson does some of the sickest edits of athletes you’ll ever see.
During the quarantine, Topps launched their Project 2020 series in which some of the world’s top sports artists redesign iconic vintage Topps baseball cards. One of the first cards that they introduced just happened to be the marriage of my favorite artist and my all-time favorite baseball player, Dwight Gooden.
I grew up in Northern New Jersey in the 1980s as a die-hard New York Mets fan. When I was seven years old, I was in attendance at the 1986 World Series with my grandfather. Back then, my brother and I collected two things: Baseball cards and comic books. The Dwight Gooden 1984 Topps Traded and the 1985 Topps rookie card were the “Holy Grails” of our collection. It was the Mets, it was Dr. K, and they were worth more than a month’s worth of my allowance. For my 7-year-old self, it felt like owning bars of gold.
When I saw that Tyson would be redesigning the 1985 Topps Dwight Gooden card, nostalgia set in, and I had to have it. I always loved the sports card hobby, but I hadn’t bought anything in years. I wasn’t working, with no end to the pandemic in sight, so money was extremely tight. But I figured, “what the hell. It’s $20, and it’s something I’ll keep for the rest of my life”.