Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Brink of Extinction

Card shows are slowly disappearing in my area... and to make matters worse, the quality and quantity of the ones that actually transpire aren't what they used to be.  I'm not even talking about the plethora of card shows in the 90's.  I'm comparing them to ones that have taken place in the past five years.

The number of mall shows and larger, convention shows have literally been cut in half in the Bay Area.  But that's only part of the issue.  The number of card vendors is dwindling too.

This past weekend I went to the Serramonte Mall Sports Cards, Toys, and Collectibles Show and was shocked at the number of vendors set up.  This show is usually packed with tons of cool items and even when I don't intend on purchasing stuff, it's fun just to walk around and see unique, out of the ordinary collectibles.  If I were to guess, I'd say that there were 10 to 20% less vendors set up than back in January.

My buddy thinks it has to do with the construction going on.  Hopefully he's right, because if this pattern continues then I'm not sure if it's worth me making the hour drive each way. 

Okay... enough of me being a Negative Nancy.  Let's talk about cards and collectibles.  My buddy gave me half of his table space, so I set up at my very first card show.

It was like killing two birds with one stone.  I was able to clean out my garage of stuff I have accumulated over the years at the flea market, while putting a few dollars in my pocket.  At the end of the day, I made just enough money to pay for my food and cover the cost of my show purchases.  Oh... and my leftovers?  I traded it.

Since I had no intentions of coming back on Sunday, my buddy traded me a signed Tom Glavine baseball and an Anderson Silva signed glove for all of my remaining inventory.

He definitely got the better end of the deal in terms of value, but that's okay.  He needed to restock his inventory and the bottom line is I didn't have to pack up my items and store them in my garage.

As for my purchases, I didn't find a lot of stuff to buy.  I was hoping to pick up a few cheap 80's oddball boxes, maybe some discounted sets from the 80's and 90's, and possibly dig through a few dime boxes.

Unfortunately I didn't find any of those items, but I managed to find some quarter bins that were loaded with 90's inserts and parallels.

Purchase #1:  Ninety-Two Sports Cards $23

Here's a closer look at some of my favorites...

Tony Gwynn Inserts and Parallels

Greg Maddux Inserts and Parallels

Frank Thomas Inserts and Parallels

Baseball Inserts and Parallels

Football Inserts and Parallels

There were a bunch of hidden gems in the stack, including a few that sell in the twenty dollar range on eBay.  I'll probably just hold onto them though... since life is way too busy to list things right now.

My only other purchase came from another buddy who set up at the show...

Purchase #2:  Handful of Autographs $25

Ron Ferdinand Signed Sketch

I didn't really intend on spending anymore money, but I noticed this cool Dennis the Menace sketch sitting on my friend's table.  It's drawn on one of those first day of issue caches.  Ferdinand was one of the two guys who took over the comic strip in the mid 90's when the creator, Hank Ketcham retired.

My friend also had this sketch sitting in a frame...

I was definitely interested in both, so I told him to set them aside.  He proceeded to show me a bunch of TTM's that he has received over the past few months.  Most of them were TV stars I hadn't heard of, but I was intrigued by this...

Jeb Bush Signed Cache

It's another one of those first day covers signed by Barbara's son.  The problem with TTM's is that you never know who really signed it.  However he offered to throw it in if I picked up the two Ferdinands, so I took him up on the deal.

We settled on $25, which I considered to be fair since I'm taking a chance on the Bush.  Next year, I'll take it and have PSA take a look at it.  Hopefully it will pass.

Being a dealer at a show kinda sucks if you're by yourself, because you don't want to leave your stuff unattended while buying food or using the restroom.  In this case, my buddy was craving Starbucks.  He offered to buy, if I went and picked them up.  When I got back, he threw in this cool figure signed by David Foox.

Who's David Foox?  I hadn't heard of the guy, but thanks to the internet I discovered that he's an artist and film producer.  This figure was part of a toy line called Organ Donors he created a few years ago.

At the end of the day, I walked away feeling pretty good.  The dwindling number of dealers and card shows as a whole kind of bummed me out, but the fact that I was able to dump all of the stuff I brought definitely made up for it.  

And as soon as my buddy delivers my ball and glove... I'll be even happier.

What about you guys?  Compared to a few years ago...

Are the number of card shows in your are on the rise, decline, or have they stayed the same over the past few years?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Three is the Magic Number

Whoever came up with the phrase, "third wheel"... never met The Big Three:  Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, and Mark Mulder.

Five seasons.  Two hundred thirty-four wins.  Six all-star game appearances.  One Cy Young Award.  And exactly zero trips to the World Series as a trio.

Oh well... They'll forever be appreciated by the Oakland Athletics and their fans for their contributions to the team from 2000 to 2004.

It was cool to hear that the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants worked together to let the three throw out the first ceremonial pitches before the rubber match in The Bay Bridge Series.  As an Athletics fan, there hasn't been a lot of things worth celebrating this season... so this definitely hit the spot.

Today, I figured I'd honor these guys with a few of my favorite trios in sports and pop culture.

#1:  The Beastie Boys 

Easily the most entertaining trio for me over the last twenty-something years.  There isn't a week that goes by where I don't listen to these guys.  Miss ya MCA!

#2:  Han, Luke, and Leia

Okay.  I'm sure Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO are not amused with this selection, since the six pretty much hung out together for most of the trilogy.  But neither of these droids or the wookie were a part of the bizarre love triangle, so they can't complain too much.

#3:  The Other Big Three

Thank goodness for Turner Broadcasting System and their coverage of Atlanta Braves games during the 90's.  I've never considered myself a Braves fan... but I truly feel blessed that I was fortunate enough to watch Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and of course Greg Maddux during that part of my life.

#4:  Three's Company

There are a bunch of television shows from my childhood that I miss.  However... few made me laugh as much as Three's Company.

#5:  Showtime Lakers 

I don't follow or watch basketball anymore, but during the 80's, 90's, and most of the 2000's... I was a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan.  The catalyst?  Magic, Kareem, and Worthy.  Actually my favorite player was Byron Scott... but I'm not sure if he's worthy of bumping Worthy from this list.

Okay fellow hobby enthusiasts...

What are some of your favorite trios in sports or pop culture?

Oh... just thought of one more favorite trio...

One of my favorite things about going to Hawaii is getting the opportunity to eat Portuguese sausage, eggs, and rice every morning.  If you've never tried it... I highly recommend it.

Hope y'all are enjoying your weekend.  Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Baseball Digest Inspired PC

Sixty years ago on September 25th, 1955... Al Kaline became the youngest player in MLB history to win a batting title.  Up until a few years ago, I knew very little about Mr. Tiger and his accomplishments.  Then in 2013, I read a great article in Baseball Digest about his career and was instantly inspired to pick up an autograph for my collection.  I ended up with thirteen.

On the anniversary of his special day, I figured I'd show them off and share some facts I learned from that article.

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #AK

#1:  Kaline made his MLB debut at the age of eighteen just a few days after graduating from high school.

2009 Sweet Spot Signatures Classic #AK

#2:  He spent his entire twenty-two season career with the Detroit Tigers.

2003 Diamond Kings Recollection Autographs #40

#3:  Bob Feller, Mel Ott, and Jim Hunter are the only other players in MLB history to be enshrined in Cooperstown without spending a day in the minor leagues.

2009 UD Goudey Sport Royalty Autographs #AK

#4:  Due to his height, his father who was a horse racing enthusiast considered having Kaline become a jockey.

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #AK

#5:  Charlie Gehringer once coached Kaline when he was a kid and recommended him to the Tigers before becoming their general manager the following year.

2007 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #AK

#6:  In 1951 he attended his first MLB game with his all-star team and was given the opportunity to walk through the New York Yankees locker room.  The highlight?  Seeing Joe DiMaggio.

2002 Topps Team Legends Autographs #AK

#7:  The day after he graduated high school, he passed up fourteen other big league clubs and signed with the Detroit Tigers.  He received a $15,000 bonus and $6,000/year for the next two years.

1998 Donruss Significant Signatures #ALKA

#8:  On September 16th, 1953... Kaline made his first MLB start against the Boston Red Sox.  Before the game, Detroit's manager Fred Hutchinson took him into the Red Sox dugout to meet Ted Williams.  The Splendid Splinter hung out and gave him a bunch of advice.  It paid off.  That day... he went out there and hit three singles, scored a run, and drove in another run.

2002 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #AK

#9:  On July 7th, 1954... the Detroit Tigers hosted the Chicago White Sox.  That day Kaline threw out Fred Marsh at home plate from right field.  The next inning, he threw out Jim Rivera at third base.  And the inning after that he did it again.  This time Minnie Minosa was the victim.

2012 Topps Five Star Retired Autographs #AK

#10:  In 1955... Kaline started his batting title campaign with a fourteen game hitting streak.  In the home opener, he hit two triples.  A few days later he hit three home runs... two of which came in one inning.

2014 Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AKL

#11:  He never won another batting title, but later in his career he helped the Tigers win a World Series title in 1968.

2014 Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AKA

#12:  Kaline retired after the 1974 season and became a first ballot hall of famer in 1980.

2004 Donruss Leather and Lumber Cuts #LC2

#13:  He's still the Detroit Tigers' all-time leader in games played, base on balls, and home runs.  And if it weren't for some guy named Tyrus Raymond Cobb, Mr. Tiger would hold just about every important hitting record in franchise history.

Thank you Baseball Digest.  This wasn't the first time you guys inspired me to purchase a player's autograph.  And it definitely won't be the last.

Happy Friday and sayonara!