Ramblings: The Loss of an Old Friend

by Rich Klein

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the nice dinner four of us from Beckett past and present had to celebrate the old times, as well as the new times with Mike Hersh, son of long-time hobby dealers Jerry and Etta Hersh and the first Hockey Price Guide Editor at Beckett. About one week ago now, I received a call from Dave Sliepka while on my way to work and Dave was truly distraught. My first thought was something had occurred to his beloved wife but instead came the shocking news that Mike Hersh had passed away in his early 40’s from then unknown causes.

Richs Ramblings Now I had written about us being a band of brothers and while the best stories are better left unpublished even 20 years later, we all realized how much we had changed in many ways. Mike had grown from being the wild child at Beckett to a devoted father and highly regarded in his field which is how he landed a nice position at J.C. Penney.  The best sign of Mike’s maturity came when he told the story of how at his previous employer there were major layoffs and one of his far younger comrades came to him and said he would go out in a blaze of glory.

Mike, who when he left Beckett, did leave in a bit of a blaze of glory himself, counseled the young man to instead smile, say the right things, shake hands and leave on a good note. The other three of us at the table in unison looked at Mike and said “Wow, Mike Hersh, the paragon of maturity”.

Then as we finished dinner, I did need to use the men’s room.  In the old days everyone else would have left, but this night everyone waited outside for me to return and then we chatted a bit longer and were soon on our way. I’m so glad that my final memories of Mike will be of that night and while we not extremely close, his passing hit all of us hard at Beckett as he was truly one of us. I will miss seeing him at the Chicago National.

Jerry Hersh, a talented artist himself, always used to say, just like any proud papa, that his son had tons more artistic abilities then he did. In this case, Jerry was correct.  Mike was just incredibly talented. Etta and Jerry, while I look forward to seeing you in Chicago, let me assure you that not being able to see Mike this year will be difficult.

On a happier note, almost a year ago now I wrote about my incredibly talented chiropractor Trace Alexander and his charming and beautiful little daughters, one of whom asked him ‘how much money did daddy make today?’  I actually ran into Trace while taking a walk at the local mall and he was in the midst of getting a suit fitted for a daddy/daughter dance. I guess he made enough that day to buy some nice threads!

Finally… I have three 3,200 ct boxes on the way to COMC.com to add to my inventory. Granted I don’t have a lot of expensive cards but I’m always amazed at the high percentage of cards I wind up selling there. In the nearly three years since I first shipped cards to COMC, I have sold nearly 40 percent of my inventory. In the card business, if I could sell 13 percent of my inventory each year — which is one percent per show, I’d be extremely satisfied each and every show I did. So we’ll be watching in the next few months to see if I can keep it up.  It’s always fun to see sales happening on almost a daily basis year round.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]