When Mike O’Connor was growing up on Chicago’s Northwest Side, near Harlem and Foster avenues, he collected baseball cards. He’d track their value in Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, which in its heyday, had 1 million subscribers.
Every so often, he’d part with an especially precious one.
“I used to write to the players and ask for their autograph,” said O’Connor, who lives in Glenview now. “You’d put the card with a letter and mail it away, and hopefully you’d get the card back.”
In 1989, a good year for the Cubs, the team still had Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams — he’d be traded to the Phillies in 1991 — and O’Connor had his card.
“That was a big deal, to have him...