Nick interviews Brad Balukjian, author of “The Wax Pack”
The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife
Brad Balukjian wrote a fascinating book about baseball cards called “The Wax Pack” and Nick chatted with Brad about his journey to track down the players from the 1986 Topps pack that he opened.
During the interview, Brad talked about his love for baseball, saying, “The charm of baseball goes way beyond the guys who played the game.” He adds, “What makes baseball special is its ability to bring people together and to give people the time and space to build relationships.”
Nick and Brad chat about their shared love of the sport and everything that surrounds it, including their mutual admiration of lesser known players like Don Carman and Marty Barrett, as well as the transition from childhood to adulthood. During the course of the conversation, and throughout the book, the focus shifts to how much we actually have in common with these guys. Yes, they are and were incredible athletes. As Brad writes in the book, nobody whoever made it to the Major Leagues wasn’t a great baseball player. But their struggles are also our struggles. Dependencies on drugs and alcohol, dealing with divorce and family issues, relationships with their fathers and their mothers.
Throughout it all, Brad is incredibly candid about how he has dealt with OCD and anxiety in his own life. Ostensibly, “The Wax Pack” is about baseball cards and baseball, but it’s really about so much more: travel, relationships, the human condition, struggles with depression and anxiety and what becomes of professional athletes after they leave the game.
Learn more about the book, and how you can get a copy for yourself, on its Twitter account:
For the holidays, I am offering personalized, signed copies of The Wax Pack with an unopened pack of '86 Topps (and gum!) for $45 including shipping. Email me at email@example.com if you're interested. Great gift!— The Wax Pack (@waxpackbook) November 19, 2020
And you can follow the author, Brad, on his account too:
Bob Costas just sent me this review of The Wax Pack: "The Wax Pack is one of the most interesting and pleasing baseball-themed books I have read in quite some time. An original idea, brought to fruition with graceful prose, a sense of humor, empathy and insight.”— Brad Balukjian (@BradBalukjian) July 30, 2020
To get a truly random sample of players, Balukjian took a single pack of baseball cards from 1986, opened it, chewed the nearly thirty-year-old gum inside, and then embarked on a quest to find all the players in the pack.
You can also learn more about Brad and his writings on his website, bradbalukjian.com.
“I’ve been wanting to chat with Brad since April so I’m really glad we were finally able to make this happen! Hope you enjoy our conversation.” – Nick
Baseball fans, check out this book by @BradBalukjian:— Nick McIlwain (@NickMcIlwain1) April 9, 2020
The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball's Afterlife
Brad took a pack of baseball cards from 1986, opened it & started a quest to find all the players in the pack!@waxpackbook#DonCarman ⚾️https://t.co/B029EXfT7C