For generations, fathers have shared their love of baseball with their kids. In my house, it’s the same…but with a twist.
You see, every other year, The National Sports Collectors Convention hits Rosemont, IL, and, again, my 13-year-old son (who is NOT a sports fan) will be in tow.
“It’s like Comic-Con for sports nerds,” I tell him every year, “but this year…Jose Canseco will be making an appearance.”
He’s been suckered into that erroneous Comic-Con comparison before (three times now, if we’re counting), but, still…he opts to come with and, invariably, gets bored and needs something to occupy his time so I can do my thing.
So, much like two years ago, I gave him a chore.
Find me the strangest items for sale at this, The 38th National Sports Collectors Convention. Naturally, he didn’t disappoint.
Cal Ripken with Breakfast Food
I’m not sure what they’re trying to sell here, but if you’ve got a picture of baseball’s then-eventual “Iron Man” and bacon, not only do you have Ron Swanson’s new favorite poster…you’ve also got an all-around winner.
Jim Palmer and Pete Rose Patches
In 1979, Penn Emblem Patches produced a 100-player set of player patches. Included in the set (outside of Jim Palmer and Pete Rose), everyone from Rod Carew to Biff Pocoroba. Why Biff Pocoroba? Why not?!?
The summer of 1969 brought the world three things of global importance…man walking on the moon, Woodstock and, you guessed it, the Seattle Pilots. Before they pulled up stakes and went to Milwaukee, the Pilots played one season of professional baseball… and left us this golden relic to remember them by.
Surprisingly, you can find Joe DiMaggio stuff all over the place at The National. Included, this autographed plate that features what I can only assume is Jerry Lewis as Joltin’ Joe.
After his playing days (but before his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1946), former Chicago Cubs shortstop had his own brand of cigars. Take THAT Johnny Evers and Frank Chance.
Old Timey Ashtrays
As fun as that Seattle Pilots ashtray is, it’s totally worth spending the extra money to purchase the set of four. Seriously, imagine how good your spare change and keys would look in that Milwaukee Braves ashtray. Wow.
Let’s pretend someone bet you $10,000 that you couldn’t name what team Tom Nieto played for in 1987. You’d answer the Minnesota Twins and, subsequently, would be able to afford to buy his World Series ring from that same season. And if you’re wondering how/why Nieto would give up such a prized possession…dude didn’t play an inning in the 1987 postseason.
Ted Turner Autograph
I’m not sure if Ted Turner was a businessman who yachted in his spare time or a yachter who owned the Atlanta Braves as a hobby. Either way, an autographed yachting card signed by the former Mr. Ted Turner himself? Sign me up!
While Ted Turner was not included in the batch of owners, GMs and “mangers” (I looked), I found this lot to be pretty interesting. Sidenote…is it worth $30 for you to get the personal cell number and email of your favorite (or least favorite) exec? If so, you’re probably also a stalker.
Milwaukee Brewers Trading Car
Baseball. Trading. Cars. Get it? You see, it’s a play on…oh, nevermind. Full disclosure…I almost bought this car.
Game used? We don’t know! Who’s gear? No idea! Still, hands down, one of the more unique items for sale.
Take it from Mickey Mantle, this “transistorized” 2-station intercom (endorsed by the Yankees great himself) was, hands down, our favorite baseball item at The National. Would anyone ever think to get Mike Trout to endorse walkie-talkies? Absolutely not. That didn’t keep Mantle from cashing those fat Fedtro checks back in 1966.
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