Bert Campaneris can teach you a thing or two.

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In this hobby, as in life, timing is a key determinant of how you see the world around you.

For instance, Bert Campaneris never existed before 1984.

Or, at least that’s the way it felt to me when I started pulling his purple-tinged 1984 Topps card from packs that spring.

And it was confusing.

How could I, a seasoned veteran of one full, dedicated summer of collecting (1983), plus two years’ backlog of tattered and torn cards before that have never heard of or seen an old guy with enough Major League experience to generate Bible-text-size font on his card back?

The only logical answer was that he had just poofed into existence during the offseason, New York Yankees garb intact.

Or, maybe, that he was a coach that somehow landed in Topps’ 792-card lineup.

But then I found him in my 1984 Fleer cards, too. And it wasn’t too long after that that I stumbled on Campaneris in the cards from my hobby dark ages, 1981-1982, but wearing an Angels uniform.

But you know what I didn’t find anywhere?

A single 1983 Campaneris card.

It was a perplexing mystery — how could a guy play in the big leagues for so long, run up an endless string of baseball cards (apparently), and then take a cardboard break before showing up again after a year away?

But it wasn’t that compelling, not in the heat of a 1984 season filled with Detroit Tigers and Tony Gwynns and Chicago Cubs and Dwight Goodens and Don Mattinglys.

Maybe I noticed there were no 1982 stats on the backs of Campaneris’ 1984 cards, and maybe I didn’t.

I definitely sort of forgot about him, though.

And then one day, years later, I pulled out my 1983 Topps Traded set for some reason … maybe I was just dying to see Chris Codiroli in his A’s uniform.

It was there, thumbing through the stack of white-stocked picture-in-picture beauties, on card #18T, that I stumbled on the missing link:

Find Bert Campaneris cards on eBay (affiliate link)

Find Bert Campaneris cards on Amazon (affiliate link)

There really had been a 1983 Bert Campaneris card, after all, and I’d had it with me exactly as long as I’d had Darryl Strawberry’s XRC.

Either that, or the Campy card poofed into existence, too.

Hobby Wow!

Campaneris was a valued, if unsung, member of those amazing mid-1970s Oakland A’s teams, and this eBay lot lets you recapture some of the feels from that era:

That’s a Campaneris game-used bat from the 1973-75 period.

Check out the full listing on eBay right here (affiliate link).