George Owen's flirtation with big-league baseball was a distant memory of a youth well lived on the diamond doing what ballplayers do as a hitter, fielder and, from time to time, a maker of mischief.That is until the discovery of the rarest of finds: a baseball card -- one of maybe a handful still existing -- of a young Owen posing in his left-handed batting stance as a member of the Ventura (Calif.) Braves in 1952."I think I had age working against me," said Owen, an 86-year-old Massachusetts native and Fort Worth resident, of his decision to abort his baseball career after four seasons in 1953. "I started out when I was 23 and these guys [who made it] were starting out at 18, and if you don't get there fast they kind of forget about you. And that's fine. I enjoyed it."It was a fun time in life."The card produced by Globe Printing Cards is one of the few records of Owen's career as a 6-foot-1, 205-pound right fielder in the Boston-Milwaukee Braves organization.Bill Harp, a close family friend, set about looking for the card as a birthday gift.The search was predictably exhausting, though thanks to the tools of modern-day communication, took only two weeks to track down. Mark Bowers, a private collector in California, had the card."Finding a card like this is like winning the lottery twice," said Harp, an Austin resident who grew up in Arlington, where his parents still reside. "After about 200 emails and about 30 phone calls, I finally had it."The cards were used by the team and players as promotional material. Typically, players were given a set of the team and anywhere between 10 and 50 of their own cards to pass out among the masses as they went about their daily living, Harp said.Harp said he was told that a flood of the Globe's San Jose, Calif., warehouse in the 1950s would have destroyed any leftover stock.The rigors of time took care of all the rest."I think we are only about five or 10 people in the U.S. with one of them," Harp said.The value to the Harp family is in the story it tells about a portion of the life of their close friend, the son of a Harvard Ivy League multi-sports legend who was a U.S. hockey Olympian and Stanley Cup champion. George Owen II was a defensemen on the Boston Bruins' 1929 championship team.Owen II is a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.He could also play some baseball. In 1923 at Harvard, Owen II hit more home runs than Lou Gehrig of Yale."I probably wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps [as a professional athlete] because he was a world-class athlete," said Owen, who was a classmate of Robert Kennedy at Milton Academy, class of 1944. "It was like being the son of Ted Williams."Despite his joking assertion that the highlight of his career was tossing beer cans out of the window as he and teammates passed manager Xavier Rescigno's car while traveling between cities, Owen had a decent professional career.Owen was a career .276 hitter with 422 hits, including 111 doubles and 50 home runs with seven teams.His best season was in 1951, where with Bluefield (W.Va.) of the Appalachian League he hit 16 home runs with 41 doubles and 95 RBIs in a little more than 100 games.His productivity, Owen joked, was probably the result "of lousy pitching, would be my guess."He was introduced to Texas when he was transferred to the Braves' Wichita Falls minor league team. In time, a trade sent him to Paris in northeast Texas, Laredo and Brownsville.Owen, a Marine at the end of World War II, recalls well the decision to call it quits. When it was time to move on, he did so and with no regrets.He sought a pay raise, but instead of more money baseball executives handed him his release. An inquiry to a semi-pro team in the Houston area went unanswered.The loneliness of solitude as an outfielder was becoming tiresome anyway, he said."The thought occurred to me way, way back that the climax of your life should not be when you are 26 years old," said Owen, a retired CPA who also played in Quebec. "Your climactic moments should come later on. So I got out of baseball."Poet A.E. Housman in To an Athlete Dying Young instructs that athletic glory is fleeting. It became a guide to living for the humble Owen:Smart lad, to slip betimes awayFrom fields where glory does not stayAnd early though the laurel growsIt withers quicker than the rose.Owen remembers as a youngster sitting with his father, then a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, at a Pawtucket baseball game among all the other scouts, who were all talking about the glory days."It impressed on me that they were all living in the past instead of the present," Owen said. "I didn't want to do that."Like all ballplayers, I was just happy to be paid to play."