Rich Klein’s Ramblings: Remembering Hobby Friends and Past Mysteries

A few more random odds and ends which have bubbled up in my memory in recent days:

The note about the recent passing of Mike Gallela reminded me to check on my old friend Dr. Horace (Ace) Marchant. For about 20 years, seeing Ace at a show was a sign that there would always be some really cool baseball related items related, well presented and not card related. Anyone who saw Ace’s material knew it was him plus he was quite the presence.  We had known for a while that Ace was not well, and I had never checked before but we also lost Ace late in 2012.

Richs Ramblings I bring up Ace because one year he decided to run for the National “Board of Directors” and did a bit of campaigning and gave his little speech. He broke up the crowd in the house with his final line: “I’d also like to thank Mike Gallela, my campaign manager.”  Ace is now gone and famous Cubs fan Steve Goodman is joined by another Cubs fan.  If you have never heard Steve’s Goodman version of A Dying Cubs Fan Last Request,  please do so as a baseball fan. I guarantee you will be rolling in laughter.

Speaking of people running for the National board…the best speech I ever heard was from Phil Spector circa 1987. Phil became famous in the hobby as Scoreboard’s representative at many hobby shows in the late 1988-1996 time frame.  Phil is back working for Kenny  Goldin as part of Goldin Auctions.  One year, during the long meeting and then the long process of candidates appealing to the voters said something to this effect: “After listening to you all speak for the last hour, I must be crazy for wanting to be a part of this. Thus I am withdrawing my candidacy.” Would you believe Phil almost won a spot after the speech and I know I voted for him for his honesty.

For some reason this morning I started thinking about Fenway Sportscards which I used to occasionally visit in the 1980’s. I believe the owner’s name was Walt Kelly (I honestly do not remember) but what I loved about that store was he had a room where you could take cards to sort through and purchase and in that room were radios and televisions which went back to the 1940’s. What a cool room that was and what an enjoyable place to sort through old Bowman cards. I wish I still have the Bowman’s he let me purchase at a quarter each.  I think that memory was triggered when I got my latest purchases from  Sterling Sports Auctions.

I have posted about my position switch and am still in a type of training. Today, while working with one of my colleagues at his desk, the phone started ringing and none of the calls were for either of us. Having to redirect all those phone calls reminded me of a day at Beckett circa 1992 when one of our receptionists made a small mistake. The main switchboard number ended in 9148 while mine ended in 9149. On that day, and we had two receptionists at that time, one of the receptionists missed by a number and all incoming calls to Beckett was going to my extension. Until that was fixed about an hour later, I got to repeat ‘Thank you for calling Beckett, how may I direct your phone call?”  Fortunately, that only occurred once but the whole experience made me thankful for that thankless job they provided.

And some of you may have seen on this site the story about the two different versions of the 1990 Topps George H.W. Bush card. I do remember in 1990 receiving letters at Beckett about collectors getting the Bush card out of packs as well as the NNOF (No Name on Front) Frank Thomas card.  Similar to Pro Set, no matter how much we thought we knew in those days, there are always new discoveries being made. In fact a collector just posted some information on 1972 Topps baseball “color” variations, some of which I was not aware of and I always loved errors and variations.  When we discover something new, I think that is just as much of a youth kick as remembering my friends of the past who may or may not still be here.

We honor those dealers and collectors who are no longer with us and respect those who are still here and cherish their memories as well.  While the passing of my old hobby friends is sad, I hope these columns help keep their memories alive

Thank you for reading and all your comments and we look forward to hearing from you.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]