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Rich’s Ramblings: Stuff I Miss

The hobby is always changing and even if your memories don’t go back a few decades like mine, your mind sometimes wanders back to elements of the hobby that have faded away for one reason or another.

Rich Ramblings 2014I miss seeing cards at yes at small convenience stores, grocery stores and other places where you might be out running errands. Yes it would be nice to see cards in places other than Walmart, Target, etc.  It was always a pick me up to stop and grab a couple of packs when you stop for gas and coffee—usually for less than $2.

I miss trading.  You can still do it via online forums and such now, but in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, there was more of it being done by mail.  Post a want list in a hobby publication, list what you have for trade and the letters would start rolling in.  Trust was a big factor but most deals happened without a hitch.  Many sets were filled in this fashion and while it took a couple of weeks to complete larger trades, there was nothing quite like the feeling of seeing what the mailman brought you and crossing those numbers off the list.

IBaseball Hobby News 1986 issues miss many of those old hobby print ventures. Many of you are happy to read about the old reviews of hobby publications and I'm happy to say there will be at least one more article as when cleaning out my storage unit I found a mid-1980's Baseball Hobby News "preview" issue and a bunch of the 1970's Sports Collectors News which were edited by Mike Bondarenko.  We’ll look back at them in an upcoming column.

It was fun to see those old publications in your mailbox back before the internet because they were often huge, full of things you didn’t know, taught you a lot about the hobby, served as a major marketplace and had great columns by hobby writers.

I miss the birthday group which had been part of originally the Beckett Message Boards and later migrated to the Freedom Card Board.  You’d sign up and agree to send a package out for someone’s birthday, knowing the favor would be reciprocated when your day came.  You never knew what packages would be received and it was always fun to write about the interesting material received.

A few years ago, the people who were getting me gifts combined for a 1982 Donruss box and we pulled five Cal Ripken Jr. rookie cards. Not rare of course, but so much fun. At least I expect there will be holiday gift exchanges again this year.

Craig Ranch ShowI miss setting up more shows in the Dallas area. They were always a good way to meet local collectors. I also miss the revenue generated when I set up a table.  It’s one reason why I decided to become a promoter myself for our fundraising show that debuted several months ago.  We’re hoping to give collectors another good show on August 31 in Plano. Right now, we have 19 tables already reserved. And I have not really started to promote and won't until about the July 4 holiday.  Of course, I should mention we are always looking for more dealers, more door prizes/silent auction items and collectors to attend.

I also miss a lot of the people I met years ago who are no longer with us. As time goes on, a few more pass on each year.  Many of them had terrific stories about the hobby from years ago and while we can’t bring them back, we’ll try to keep their memories and their personalities alive in these columns.

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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