Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bearing Down on Garage Sales

Some people go crazy over Christmas and start immediately shoving it down our throats before Thanksgiving is even upon us.  Some people are bonkers for Halloween and start planning out their costumes while it's still 90+ degrees outside.  Still others obsess over St. Patrick's Day and drink themselves under a rock every weekend...

...wait a minute, that's probably just alcoholism - anyway...

My holiday of choice is none of the above.  In fact, my Christmas is not even a real, nationally recognized day of celebration.  The day I look forward to every year is Garage Sale Day - the day upon which the entire community can set up a yard sale without the normal cost of a permit.

Ever since I was a tiny kid and searching for deals on old Beanie Babies, this has been a day that I've circled on my calendar.  It's an endless sea of opportunity to find wild, obscure and off-beat knick knacks that one can't simply pull off a shelf at Wal-Mart.  Also, there's usually good deals to be had on stuff I collect, i.e. baseball cards.

I think I have a problem though, not only do I eagerly anticipate the arrival of my community's Garage Sale Day; but, I also notate and often attend the surrounding towns' version of this event.  Hi - my name is Tony and I'm addicted to resales and tchotchkes.

At least I'm aware of my conditions?

So, today, in the next town over, I got up nice and early to go on the prowl for Beanie Babies... errr baseball cards.  Unfortunately, although the sales were plentiful, I was not able to dig up a single baseball card... not even the obligatory stack of junk wax.  Sad days.

That said, I didn't walk away empty handed.  While there were no BASEBALL cards, I was able to find a few trading cards to stoke an emerging collection of mine:

Yup... because watching the Cubs over the past few seasons hasn't been torturous enough, I still haven't given up on the Bears either.  Even after the tire-fire that was the Trestman Era.

One of the last stops on my trip scratched my card itch, even if they didn't feature diamond stars.  On their 25 cent table, there was a partial set of this 2007 Upper Deck release, a promotion through Jewel Osco to celebrate the Super Bowl participants.

This team was the most fun I'd ever have had watching football and, even though it was a no contest loss, the Devin Hester return on the opening kickoff was one of my favorite moments in sports history.

So, who was left in the partial set?

Easily the biggest name left over. It's too bad the Bears couldn't get him a Superbowl ring that season; however, I think it's safe to assume that Brian has a ticket to Canton anyway.

"Peanut" had a great career here in Chicago, it's just too bad that he couldn't stay healthy these past two seasons. Then again, I don't think anything could have helped this team in that time. It's going to be weird seeing him in a Panthers uniform.

Tommie Harris was another guy that just couldn't stay healthy. He was such a key component of the defense and his being hurt come the playoffs really didn't help their chances... or their chances in subsequent campaigns.

Vasher also played defense; but I'll always remember him for a special teams play the season before, when he returned a touchdown for 108 yds - an NFL record that would stand alone until Devin Hester, the Windy City Flyer and my favorite player of all-time, emerged and tied it a year later.

Finally, we've got Ricky Manning, Jr., who I completely forgot existed. That's not so much a testament to his abilities on the gridiron as it is my turrble memory. This is a statement that I'm certain that my girlfriend will attest to.

As you can see from the perforation marks on the borders, these cards were distributed and sheets and sold for a buck and some change at local Jewel Osco locations.  I was not collecting football cards at that time and I was only passively collecting baseball cards as college was just around the corner; thus, I do not remember this promotion (there's that memory again!).

These two sheets included one for defense, which is the partial that I grabbed, and one for offense.  Here is how that sheet would have appeared at your local grocer back in 2007:

Image nabbed from Amazon

Looks like I'm missing another possible Hall of Fame in Lance Briggs, a man my teenage lady classmates swooned over in Hunter Hillenmeyer and 2012 Superbowl champ with the Ravens Brendon Ayanbadejo.  I guess I'll have to keep my eyes peeled at future garage sales.

As for the offense sheet, I have no idea who was on that - I cannot find a large enough image on the internet to decipher nor can I find a checklist.  One would figure names like Rex Grossman & Devin Hester are on it and I can make out a kicker on the tiny image I did find; so, Robbie Gould made the cut as well.

These cards will make excellent additions to my burgeoning Bears collection, which, like my CATRC,  is a quest to add one card of everyone who has played for the Monsters of the Midway.  Also like my CATRC, it's a fools errand; every single nameless guard does not have a card and there have been far less football card sets across history produced than baseball.

Nevertheless, one rainy afternoon last October, I decided that my CATRC was getting stale, so why not start one up for my second favorite pro sports franchise?  I guess when this one gets boring, the White Sox better watch out.  A large dimebox at the LCS provided an ample to start to this mission.

Anyway, next time I have nothing to say about baseball, I'll bust open the Bears binder and show off the gestation of that amass of cards.

Lastly, while I was unable to find any baseball cards at the Garage Sale Day, that doesn't mean I wasn't able to find anything baseball related:

A full-size plastic batting helmet for 50 cents?  Why the hell not?  I'm often told I shouldn't be allowed outside without a helmet anyway.

Then again, after yesterday's no-hitter by Cole Hamels illustrated the excruciating dearth of offense this Cubs team has been going through, I don't know that I want to go outside wearing Cubs swag.  I mean, this team is young and still growing and shows plenty of promise, so I'm far from actually upset and I still have high hopes for the long run, but it's still frustrating.

Deep breaths, Tony; you're using run on sentences again.

I can neither confirm nor deny that this frustration has led to two consecutive posts involving football.... yes I can; it does.

Fingers crossed that the Cubs will stop playing down to their opponents and cease being beat up by the likes of the last-place Phillies.

At least I have garage sales to keep me sane, even if my baseball team of choice does not.


  1. Entertaining post and humorous to boot! The batting helmet is truly a nice find. Well done.

    Although I'm bummed the Cubs' 50 year streak of not being no-hit is over, I think I'm still more aggravated with the way the Cubs choked away the lead to the last place Phils on Friday. The bats need to get going and soon!

    1. Oh I sulked about that one too. This whole series has been appalling. Thanks for the kind words though; it picked up my mood!

  2. Helmets under a buck I will snatch up everytime I see them. I might have enough Cardinals ones to start a team soon. At least they aren't all the same.

    I miss having an Osco store nearby, both that were semi-close are now both Big Lots, which I've never seen cards at.

    1. Which is sad because Big Lots has great deals on just about everything and seem to specialize in knick-knacks... baseball cards should be right up their alley!