Ramblings: The Readers Respond

Over the past few weeks, we have received several interesting emails from our readers.

Rich Ramblings 2014Matt Carroll shares some of his memories of growing up with TBS “The Superstation” in the background:

Seeing the 1986 Donruss McGriff rookie this morning brought back a flood of memories for me. This is the card that brought me into the collecting fold. I remember when “The Crime Dog” was traded and the fire in Fulton County Stadium. The Braves went from being something that was on TBS as background noise in my house to can’t miss television. 

I had casually bought packs before, but finding his rookie card a few days later at our local store was like uncovering a long lost treasure. The $20 price tag might as well have read $1 million. Slowly but surely I saved, hoping that it wouldn’t sell in the meantime. I would feverishly check Beckett to see if the price had dropped for three months. I remember the day I actually purchased the card. It is still one of the fondest memories from my childhood. I still have the card too! 

Thank you for your articles and for spotlighting my favorite player. He seems to play second fiddle to Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, and Chipper from those seasons but was a key addition who had a very long, very meaningful career. It’s good to see him get some due with relics and autographs in some of the newer products. Judging by some of the selling prices, he still has quite a following.

Matt Carroll

Matt, anytime we can help people relive their best childhood memories, we are always very pleased. I remember one of my teammates at Beckett, Cathy Hutzler who is a terrific designer, grew up watching the Braves and became a fan for life by watching them on TBS when she was young. In addition, during the baseball strike back in 1981, I remember my dear college friend Christina McConway, telling me about watching the Richmond Braves on TBS and said to pay attention to their star player Brett Butler. But more importantly, they and countless other fans grew up with TBS, WGN, WOR and WPIX and became fans of those teams for a whole new generation.

Tim Campbell, a big Penn State fan, sent us a historical correction regarding my recollection of the great Ernie Davis:

I guess you covered yourself by saying “helping to integrate”, but the story of Penn State’s Wally Triplett (also featured on 48 Topps Magic and 50 Bowman) is an interesting story for college football historians.  The teams he played on did integrate the Cotton Bowl, choosing to stay on an army base instead of having segregated quarters.   

I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago.  Thanks for your contributions.   

Tim Campbell

Tim, we never like to be factually incorrect so thank you very much for your contributions. And yes, Wally certainly should be more valuable as a card then he is today even if those cards are not actively sought after. And he may be one of these players who truly fall under the radar. An eBay search of the name Wally Triplett shows very few items available.

Greg Barlow from Guthrie, Oklahoma sent us this in response to my column about group set breaks.

I actually like the idea of set breaking. It would have about the same odds as a case break if done right. I also agree that all the slots should be randomized you know to even it out for everyone. 

My question is what about the “commons” that book very little. What if someone took the “star” and RC cards out to be the main attraction of the lot. Like say you will get 25 – 50 random cards from the set + 1 star or RC card. I guess it could be done any which way you wanted to.

You are right, but just like a case break where there may not be a “big hit” from a specific team, that is the luck of the draw. That is why a set break needs to be similar to a case break where the proceedings are ready on video. I think the idea could work for most sets but frankly, a set such as 1988 Topps probably is not going to be doable but 1993 SP with a Derek Jeter rookie is certainly an easy choice. And yes, you would not win in most sets or breaks but if you do in a set break such as 1955, you win big.

One of my favorite people from the hobby sent us his recollection about Super Joe Charboneau. Bobby Plapinger, a major sports book dealer, used to let me buy books from him at shows, give him other books I bought as well and then ship them all to me back in Dallas. My back always appreciated his kindness.

I enjoyed your little reminiscence about Joe Charboneau today. 

Joe was always a good customer for his book “Super Joe”.  I’d always try to accumulate a small group of copies to send to my colleague/show doer Mark Schraf, when he was doing a show in the Cleveland/Pittsburgh area where Charboneau would be signing.  (And in those days, if there was a show within 100 miles of Cleveland, there was a good chance SJ would be there). 

Inevitably, he’d pick up whatever I’d sent – 3,4, once, I think, maybe 5 copies at a time.  Books weren’t worth very much, but he was glad to have them.  He’d sign them & raffle them off for charity or give them to family members/friends etc. 

These days of course he probably sits in his living room in his underwear & orders all the copies he wants for .99 each from Amazon, just like everyone else. 

If you run into anyone who remembers me, tell ’em I’ll still alive !!

Bobby is still alive and kicking and if you want some really cool readings, sign up for his electronic mailing list via [email protected].  And in spite of that joke, he’s also got a big list of books available on Amazon.

A collector named Wally asked about a 20-year-old mystery issue we’re hoping you can help with:

I enjoy reading your column and your recent one on variations reminded me of some cards I have in my collection. I have 22 1994 Finest Baseball cards where the fronts are the same as the released cards but the backs all have black and white backs and text referring to the peel-off film used on the front. I have been looking for years for any information on these and have yet to find any. 

I have been collecting promos for years but these are the only ones of this type that I have come across. Any info you may have would be much appreciated. I have attached a scan of what the back of the cards look like.

Can anyone help Wally?  Here is what these cards look like.

1994 Topps Finest Promo

We appreciate all these emails and please keep them coming.