A few random notes while we are in the process of being “iced in” in Plano, TX. I swear if the weather we got late last week had happened while I was living in Northern New Jersey, we would have said, ‘well leave a few extra minutes to go to work and drive carefully’. Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (as discussed in my column on the weather beaten Awesome Card show last month), even the threat of bad weather shuts down the area. And as if to torment me even more, just as I finished typing these words, the Internet radio station I’m listening to (Rewoundradio.com) is playing that 1974 Classic: Beach Baby by 1st Class.
I posted on Facebook the other day something to the effect of: “Good day today, sorted a bunch of baseball cards, priced a bunch of baseball cards and wrote a couple of articles about baseball cards. Now if there were only some local shows to do in the DFW area.” This drew some nice responses and one of them came from Gary Sipos who has been running the Garfield, New Jersey show for more than two decades. He mentioned with pride that he had sold out 18 of his 25 shows this year and said he thought the hobby was getting back towards the old days. I told him that someday I might ship stuff to my good friend Ted Straka, get a frequent flier flight round trip, find a random relative to crash with, and just set up for fun at his show. You know that sounds like a fun weekend. I haven’t done a show in North Jersey in 20 years, why not go back?
I also recently wrote a review of the 2014 Topps Olympic and Paralympic hobby box. The hobby boxes contain 24 packs and have one autograph and two relic or commemorative relic cards. I saw there are blasters of these which contain seven packs with a guaranteed autograph, relic or commemorative relic card. Those boxes have seven packs and are usually sold at the $19.99 mark at Walmart or Target. I wonder if Topps realizes just how difficult something like that is for a card shop to compete with. I know as a consumer if I were to see a box like that at my LCS priced at $74 and then the blaster box at $20, it is a lot easier to justify the $20 expenditure. I’ve had that discussion with hobby store retailers for years and I’m sure they would love product at the $20 level to sell.
I saw a post from Marty Appel, the former PR maven for both Topps and the National Convention and just wanted to relate this story. Marty wrote a classic work on 19th century baseball legend King Kelly (Slide, Kelly, Slide: The Wild Life and Times of Mike King Kelly, Baseball’s First Superstar) and one day we were discussing that book as it related to the great Ken Burns’ baseball series.
In the early days of the Internet, one of the great threads on the SABR newsgroups involved finding all the “errors” in Burns’ work. Well, one of the non-noted errors involved ole King. Marty told me he had a pretty good idea of just about any King Kelly photo in existence and when he saw the 19th century episode he saw a photo of drunken men at a bar and the voice seemed to imply one of them was good old King Kelly. Well, you see, King was a bit of a drunk and was dead long before he turned 40. So Marty called the offices and was basically told: “Oh no, that was just a random photo of 19th century drunks at a bar”. From that point in, I tended to side with Keith Olbermann side who found more than 150 errors in the series.
I actually was able to join three secret Santa groups this year and all my packages have gone out. I believe the Secret Santa exchange on the Collectors Universe message board is the best as some amazing gifts have already traded hands. A few years ago, my gift giver on the CU board was from the NY Metropolitan area and he sent some nice cards and included, just for fun, all sorts of I Love New York memorabilia. My comment was something to the effect, well I love the cards but being from the New York area, that other stuff means far more to me than the cards. And he had no idea I was a transplanted NY area guy.
May you all get something in your gifts this year you truly do not expect.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]