Once upon a time, two young men dreamed of playing in the major leagues (or, better yet, the NBA!), and those big aspirations led them to each other — when Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis met a the Baldwin Hills Park and Recreation Center in Los Angeles, the wheels of history were set in motion.

It was the mid-1970s, and the two lads were already showing the prowess that would make them diamond legends in the city.

By the time they graduated high school in 1980 — Davis from Fremont, Strawberry from Crenshaw — it was a foregone conclusion that they would make good on their pro hopes.

Indeed, Strawberry went #1 overall to the New York Mets in the June 1980 draft and, while Davis lasted until the eighth round, the dream was still alive.

Strawberry spent the next few year working through the minors, building his legend along the way before exploding into the Majors as the 1983 National League Rookie of the Year.

Davis, meanwhile, played catchup with a Reds franchise that languished at the top level but that was going great guns on the farm, loading up with young prospects that would make Cincy an exciting contender in the mid-1980s.

By 1987, both of those LA boys were strapping young men, both among the greatest players in the game, both leading their teams to new heights … both All-Stars.

Which is where we find them on this 1988 Fleer card titled, “Crunch Time” …

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Were Darryl and Eric card collectors growing up?

That much is not clear.

If they were, then this pasteboard surely represented another tangible hunk of their dream realized: appearing together on a real MLB baseball card!

And even if they weren’t collectors, it must have been a thrill to see this beauty when a fan presented it to one or the other, or both, for an autograph.

And, who knows, maybe Fleer helped rekindle another hunk of that old dream — to not only play in the majors together, but to play on the same team together.

In Los Angeles, no less!

That was another vision the dynamic duo made happen for themselves, when Davis joined Straw with the Dodgers in the early 1990s. The hometown reunion didn’t lead to the glory the men had surely envisioned … but it still happened.

Today, the first Davis-Strawberry cardboard union, that 1988 Fleer goody above, sells for just a few bucks in nice, raw condition, extending up to $40 or so in graded GEM-MT form.

Not a ton, and maybe not as we might have imagined when it debuted as a sort of modern-day version of that old 1962 Topps Managers Dream card featuring Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.

But as a piece of baseball and hobby history, and as a reminder that you really can make your own dreams come true in life? Crunch Time is hard to beat.

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1988 FLEER BASKETBALL PARTIAL SET 80/132 MINT *INV6316

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1988 Fleer Horace Grant #16 BULLS ROOKIE MINT

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1988 Fleer REGGIE MILLER Rookie RC #57 PSA 7

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1987-1988 Fleer Larry Bird #11 of 132

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1988 Fleer Basketball #20 Scottie Pippen RC PSA 8 NM-MT

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