I have been since the mid-1950s.
Even now, more than half a century later, I remain afflicted.
One of the way my mania is manifested is that I sometimes dream about baseball cards.
One such recent dream was the impetus for my latest custom card, a fantasy based on 1956 Topps.
In my dream I encountered a 1956 Topps card that had advertising on the back at bottom for a hamburger chain using a pair of square-topped red arches for a logo. The front of the card was just like any regular 1956 Topps card.
Other images that I recalled from the dream were a polar bear and igloo and the name "Donovan."
The image of that ad-backed card stuck with me for weeks, until, while working on the 1956 Bill Mazeroski card that I debuted yesterday, the pieces all fell into place.
I decided that based on my dream card, Maz would get a second '56 Topps-style card, but one that conformed to my dream.
I started googling fast-food restaurants that used a red arch logo. While I discovered that Burger Chef used such a logo in its early days when it was giving McDonalds a run for its money as the nation's dominant fast food burger chain, I found nothing about a "Donovan's" restaurant.
So I decided to improvise based on my dream.
As I envision it, my fantasy Maz card is part of a West Coast promotion created by Topps for distribution by Donovan's Drive-In restaurant . . . perhaps as a free card with every kid's meal purchase.
Instead of merely reusing the Topps major league player cards, I fantasized that Donovan's cards used players from the Pacific Coast League. Thus my card has Bill Mazeroski as a player with the Hollywood Stars.
I had to do a bit of modification of the original Topps back design to allow the logo and advertising message to be big enough to make sense. Basically, I had to squeeze some of the stat boxes to give me room at the left end to place the logo, while eliminating the "Life" line. I don't think it's too glaring of a departure from the basic 1956 Topps format.
For the front of my card I combined the background of an original Topps #46, Pirates' third baseman Gene Freese, with a mid-1950s Hollywood photograph of Mazeroski I found on the internet and colorized.
With all of the stars who played in the Coast League in 1955-56, including some of my personal favorite players from that era, many of whom didn't have "regular" 1956 Topps cards, this fantasy Donovan's Mazeroski may only be the first in a series of my creations.