NEWBURYPORT — Today, 4 1/2-year-old Alex LeBlanc is the owner of what may be the first dated baseball card in history — a rare 1865 mounted photograph of the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club.
And he’ll probably never know the significance of it.
But his father, Jason LeBlanc, who paid $92,000 for the historic card at a Maine auction Wednesday night, is hoping the prized collectible will pay major dividends on his son’s future.
And along the way, it may also serve as an opportunity to create a legacy for his late wife who never had the chance to meet her son.
Sarah LeBlanc died in 2008 while giving birth to Alex, who was born with chromosomal deficiencies resulting in multiple developmental defects. The young couple had been married just three years.
Now, Jason LeBlanc has been left to raise his son with the help of support services and the determination to provide Alex the best life possible.
“Alex is my world,” LeBlanc said. “We have a father-son connection unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. When his mom, my wife, passed away, it was just Alex and I, and he and I kept each other going. We were definitely each other’s life source.”
LeBlanc, a professional trading card investor, started collecting baseball cards as a kid, spending the money he earned on his newspaper route to grow his collection. His family didn’t have a lot of money, he said, and he wasn’t able to go to a lot of baseball games. But he could experience America’s pastime through the packs of cards.
As an adult, he turned his boyhood hobby into an investment business, buying, selling and swapping all kinds of trading cards through an eBay site online. But the Atlantics card is by far the most historic item he’s ever sought to own.