It’s time to once again open the cyber mailbag for this edition of Rich’s Ramblings.
Some reaction to my post about Busted Prospects (and there will be another one soon).
While these guys were not busts by a long shot, neither did they make the Hall of Fame. I bought tons of Juan Gonzalez and Will Clark rookie cards and carefully put them in scewdowns for future sale. While they had fine careers, Gonzalez with some probable help from PED, but not HOF quality. My screwdowns are worth more than the cards.
-John Venzke, Houston
John, it’s hard to call those players busted prospects as they each had nice careers as you mentioned. I think they fall more into the Hall of the Very Good which is a different 1980’s-90’s topic by itself and worth discussing in a future column.
Jeff, a collector from Toronto makes this comment about my post on grab bags and games that used to be so prevalent at card shows:
I just read your article about grab bags. As a collector, I like the idea of them as it’s very much like opening a pack of cards with chance of finding something great. Especially since vintage packs are rare. As a dealer, it’s a great way to turnover and move cards that might otherwise stay under the glass display case and never see the light of day.
It would be great if you could add a comments section below the articles, even a moderated one, so that readers could see other people’s opinions about your stories. There’s ‘nowhere to carry on the conversation’ when you talk about a topic that gets me thinking. Anyway, great site and column.
If you’re on Facebook, Jeff, you can react to stories and interact with thousands of other collectors on the Sports Collectors Daily page. Each story is posted there by our editor and other fun things as well and you’re free to comment. It’s a lot of fun.
Frequent contributor Scott Lewandoske adds this about trading:
I forget what year it was, but Rob Deer was hitting home runs for the Brewers (It may have been right after the famous Easter Sunday game in 1987) and I wanted a Mothers Cookies card of Rob Deer (created when he was with the Giants in the mid-1980s). (I traded) a card that became very popular, a 1985 Topps Mark McGwire. A few years later, I realized I got burned bad. But, now those two cards are probably about equal in value. Well, in a way it’s good we can now laugh about trades such as this.
And Michael Groves ads his comments about what our hobby lives would be without the internet:
Without the Internet, I believe there would fewer people in the hobby continuing their collections, especially favorite players. I have an extensive Nolan Ryan collection. I also live in Canada and access to baseball cards is limited. At the two shows per year in Toronto, I usually cannot find a single card or item to add to my collection. Now if I collected Wayne Gretzky, it would be a different story.
Before the Internet, I used to send out want lists to dealers and fellow Ryan collectors in the attempt to find items I needed. I also had a dealer from London, Ontario who used to travel to some Michigan shows and find cards for me. But I usually ended up over paying because I was so happy to be striking a card off my want list.
With the huge proliferation of cards per player, I’m sure I would have given up the addiction, without access to the Internet. Now through eBay and COMC, I am able to pick-up 98% of the cards I need to continue my collection. It’s also costing me $5,000-10,000 per year to continue to collect Nolan Ryan, but at least I am able to find the product. I also know that I am paying fair market value because I can see what the cards are selling for on eBay or COMC and try to find the right time to pay the lowest price. The Internet also allows me to find much rarer Ryan items that I would never have found by sending out letters to dealers and collectors.
I very much enjoy your articles. Keep up the good work. My Nolan Ryan collection now entails over 7,000 different pieces, including 3 game used jerseys, 3 game used caps and a game used bat. I have met fellow Nolan Ryan collectors from all over North America and am proud to be friends with many of them.
Thank you, Michael. That is one impressive Ryan collection. Safe to say, he’s still one of the most actively collected players in the hobby and many items that used to be hard to get aren’t so much anymore thanks to their availability online.
Reader Dr. Don Millett enjoyed our Q&A with a long-time Pennsylvania shop owner:
I’m a huge vintage collector/dealer down here in Houston. I just read your article with Warren Wolk. He’s right on target, vintage is, and always will be, the diamond of the hobby.
Keep up the good work friend. Manufacturers today need to help keep these “old-time shops” open. They are the fraternal lifeblood of the hobby. My best to Warren, sounds like my kind of guy!
-Don .J. Millett, M.D., Houston, TX
Keep those notes coming folks. I can be reached via the email address below.