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Rich’s Ramblings: Beckett Brothers, MLB Network Fail, COMC Dialogue

by Rich Klein

Sometimes life just seems to be in an extended period while other times, many things appear to be occurring in rapid fashion. This, like many weeks, has been one of those times where life and the hobby (or what has been my life in the hobby) have had meetings without intersecting.

The week began with a surprise email at work from Dave Sliepka, whom I had worked with at Beckett for many years. David sent out an email informing us that one of our former colleagues, Mike Hersh, was in town on business for his new position at J.C. Penney. Mike, the son of Etta and Jerry Hersh, was one of the three of us “young guns” who came down to man price guide positions at Beckett in the fall of 1990.

During the dinner conversation with Mike, Dave and former Beckett Hockey Price Guide editor Al Muir I realized we were in many ways similar to many professional sports teams in that our price guide area was truly a “band of brothers”. As we discussed some of the pranks and stunts we all pulled when were at Beckett, I realized again in the words of one of my friends, that we were very fortunate to be working at Beckett right at that time.

It was great to see the guys and since Mike will be coming down to Dallas more often, we’re hopeful of having more and larger groups meeting up with him in future trips as well with a bit more lead time.

Then this weekend, we lost two Baseball Hall of Famers; Earl Weaver and Stan Musial. Both players began their careers in an more innocent time. When Weaver retired after the 1986 season, the idea of the internet was still a far ways in the future and the concept of meeting anyone that way was even more of a dream. There would have been no way a Manti T’eo would have existed that way 25 years ago. In fact the sports world was so innocent when T’eo’s information came out we would have wondered what George Jetson world we wandered into.

In 1987, who would have even thought of this expression “Something ain’t right if you don’t skype” would even had been needed. Well, Earl Weaver and Stan Musial both met ladies who they spent more than 45 years with and I guarantee you they met both their wives in person. On a very side note, I was very disappointed in the MLB Network who continued to run reruns of their programming instead of creating specials and broadcasting games and other things of both Musial and Weaver while ESPN Classic was honoring both men all weekend. Kudos to ESPN Classic and a major thumbs down to the MLB Network, especially for not doing more about Stan Musial.

And as a card collector, one of the great mysteries of all time was what happened to Musial cards between 1953 and 1958. There are no regular Topps cards of Musial for those four years. And you can create any cards you want but there is little doubt that there should have been cards made of Stan the Man one way or another. Whatever it would have cost in those days, to get Musial on a card would have worth it.

If you read the last edition of Ramblings, I had a beef with COMC about their decision to return cards to me.   I did reach out and have had a dialogue with COMC about the cards which were sent back. I have a ton of respect for COMC and appreciate the great job they do although I will state I agree to disagree with some of their policies. I know that I have three 3,200 count boxes at my shipper ready to go to them and I expect more cards to go to them as well. Remember, a disagreement does not mean any disrespect. That was something very valuable we learned at Beckett, which is if you just said “Beckett Sucks”. “Beckett is killing the hobby” or some variety of that without specifics then we did not listen. However, if you had specific issues, we always listened to them. And that is a lesson which could be well be served in Washington by anyone who has input into making decisions.

Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]

About Rich Klein

Rich Klein has spent almost his entire life collecting baseball cards having begun at the tender age of seven. He has spent more than three decades in the organized hobby including editing the first 12 editions of the Beckett Almanac of Baseball Card and Collectibles. He lives in Plano, TX along with his wife Dena and their two dogs. You can reach him at [email protected].

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