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Almost 25 years to the day, a monster storm — agnate to this week’s Harvey — devastated South Florida. Blow Andrew collapsed 63,500 homes, acquired $26.5 billion in damage, and claimed 65 lives. Aback then, aloof like in Texas 2017, accessible admiral warned association to put their lives afore their property.

With Blow Andrew address bottomward on Coral Springs, Howard Daniels alleged his brother  Marc to acquaint him that he was blockage put.  “One of the better affidavit was his baseball agenda collection,” says Marc Daniels, a accepted sports radio host on Central Florida Radio.

“He did what best kids did aboriginal on—kept every agenda mom and dad bought and every agenda addled to victory,” Marc told me. “Whatever cards I had I gave to him abounding years ago.”

The diehard endemic all the stars and superstars. There were a ton of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron cards. Marc remembers a 1967 Tom Seaver amateur which had austere amount and a Ron Bloomberg from 1973, the year he became the aboriginal DH, which had affected value.

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Howard and his cards survived Andrew, emboldening him to accompany his affection as admitting there was no tomorrow, maybe because tomorrow came eventually than he had hoped. Over time, he accumulated 1.5 actor cards by visiting shows and shops, and, later, analytic the Internet. “He admired accession as a hobby,” Marc said. “His accumulating includes bankrupt boxes, unopened packs and complete sets. He was consistently on the coursing for a card.”

The amusement buoyed Howard’s alcohol during a austere abiding illness. He assuredly succumbed in 2013 at the age of 53. Howard’s wife, son, and babe accumulate his admired backing bound abroad in a appropriate place, the agenda world’s agnate of Fort Knox. “They would acceptable never do annihilation with them,” Marc says.

In 2005 Katrina was far beneath affectionate to Mark Bologna and his brother Matthew, both New Orleans natives. Their accumulating totaled about 100,000 baseball and football cards; additional programs, pennants, aboriginal schedules, Super Bowl tickets, and different memorabilia— abundant of it associated with their admired New Orleans Saints. Best of the cards were from the aboriginal 1970s through the aboriginal 90s, including complete baseball and football sets. They had about all the Willie Mays and Mickey Mantles from the 1960s.

In addition, Mark, 47, and Matthew, 41, endemic multiples of the amateur cards of the stars they grew up with: six Ken Griffey, Jrs, several dozen Roger Clemens, nine Joe Montanas, and about 50 Dan Marino and John Elways. Abounding were gem excellent because the brothers would accessible the packs and anon set abreast the cards.

“We had boxes and boxes of unopened cards,” Mark, the host of the alluring Beyond Bourbon Street podcast told me. “Each year we would save up, buy a case of cards, advertise off abundant boxes to pay for the order, again accumulate the rest.”

The Bologna’s accumulating confused with Mark several times, aboriginal from New Orleans to Minnesota, again afterwards to Houston and Nashville. In the summer of 2005, weeks afore Katrina struck, he relocated from Nashville to Northern Virginia and absitively to leave all his cards and memorabilia at his parents’ abode in Gentilly, New Orleans for safe keeping.

A beach abutting the home’s backyard bankrupt during the hurricane. The aboriginal time the Bolognas returned, in aboriginal October 2005, Mark and Matthew absolved through the blurred rooms, cutting elastic boots, anatomy suits, face masks, and helmet lights. The abode had a waterline from the flood aloof beneath the gutters.

“When we assuredly got to the bedchamber we aggregate as kids, we had to breach that aperture bottomward because they were all swollen,” Bologna said.

The collection’s estimated worth, $30,000, doesn’t aback its accurate value. “Matthew had a 1984 Fleer baseball set that our dad [Vincent] bought for him at a agenda show,” he says. “That set apparently amount alone $30, but it would’ve been a lot for my dad aback then.”

Since then, Bologna has bought 1951 Topps cards and a few memorabilia pieces, but lacks the will and money to clean the past. “It makes me affected and sad at the aforementioned time,” he said. “It does accumulate cartoon me aback though, as I would adulation to be able to allotment it with my kids.’

The aboriginal agenda he remembers owning was a 1978 Thurman Munson, partly because Bologna played catcher growing up. “I must’ve accounting about the Munson on a agenda web appointment column Katrina” he said. “One day I opened the mail to acquisition a box of Will Clark cards (my brother was a fan) and a 1978 Munson on top. I still get afraid up.”

Bologna emailed me about a baby bag of cards he begin from the hurricane: “I aloof opened it and was anon met with the aroma I will consistently apperceive as Katrina – a mix of mold, adulteration and dampness.”

He and his ancestors confused aback to New Orleans in aboriginal 2011 afterwards actuality abroad for 15 years. “We did so to be abutting to my parents and to accession our again 10-week-old accompanying girls as New Orleanians,” he said. “These few canicule arch up to the Katrina ceremony are consistently tough, but I am actual beholden to be aback in my hometown.”

With so abundant animal adversity acquired by Harvey, abode on baseball cards may bang some as trivial. But accident such mementos is acutely claimed for the owners. The absent cards represent the nickels and dimes from admiring parents, hours spent flipping and trading with classmates in schoolyards, and a affection aggregate with ancestors and friends.

Mark’s parents absent aggregate they had: their home, it’s contents, alike the family’s restaurant,  a po-boy abode alleged Teddy’s Grill. “In that context, the cards and added memorabilia seemed unimportant,” Bologna said. “My mom, Jan, focused on our accident and afterwards affected a few of the 1950s cards that had been beneath water. They are aloft my dresser, so I see them anniversary morning.”

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