The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing and all I hear about from my sister and girlfriend is pumpkin spice this and that... yup, fall is in the air and it ain't goin' anywhere anytime soon.
Now, I've always been a summer guy and I work outside, so nature's reminder that a brutal Chicago winter isn't too far away is not a particularly desirable season for me. Although, I do love to put on a goofy costume and free candy - but, that's only one day of the season.
That said, if it being fall means that I can have days like Saturday, I'm all sorts of in favor of that.
You see, in Coal City they have an annual Octoberfest. It's a street fair with a bunch of vendors, some performances by local musicians and dance troupes and it's all capped off with a fairly large parade. All together, it makes for a pretty good time.
Now, I love all of the above described things and I was looking forward to going to the event; but, I didn't expect it to be quite as fulfilling as it was.
I fully expected most of the vendors to be people peddling homemade crafts and/or overpriced "antiques." There was definitely plenty of that and I think there should be a constitutional amendment declaring that anything from the 80's isn't old enough to be an antique yet, just sayin'. But, on top of that, there were not one, but two sports memorabilia dealers! With cards! And semi-reasonable prices! I wish I snapped a picture of these two temporary establishments - c'est la vie.
The first booth was actually pretty useless to my collection, but still amusing to look through. Nestled amongst the needlessly framed 1991 Donruss cards of Ryne Sandberg and the like were some cool NASCAR singles. Plus, he had an impressive stock of of 1:24 scale die-cast cars too - it's clear what this guy's bread and butter is. However, I didn't feel like spending any money on that collection at the time and so I moved on, fully expecting not to add anything and content with getting to look around a little bit.
This relic was almost cool enough to make me open my wallet; but, as you
can see by the COMC watermark, I opted to save my cash for baseball stuff.
Then, I found the second vendor.
He had three 3,200 count boxes filled to the brim with singles from all sorts of product, vintage and new, oddball and mainstream. Most of it featured legendary names like Bench, Berra and Gibson, so they weren't particularly helpful to my roster jenga collecting habits.
But, stacked to the side since they couldn't fit in the boxes, I found a nice stack of these:
I've honest never seen any of these Sportscaster cards in person before and I don't think I realized how big they are. Or how thin they are, for that matter. As for the origin of the set, according to the Sportscaster Cards Database:
These cards were available from 1977-79 by mail-order subscription only. Every few weeks the subscriber would receive a collection of 24 cards in the mail and have the option to continue to receive more decks by remitting payment. No complete sets were ever offered and... they were sadly discontinued in 1979, due to lack of subscribership.
So that's where the came from, eh? Much less earth-shattering than when I learned where babies come from...
Obviously, I already have Mr. Cub covered in my CATRC; however, a Canadian oddball of the greatest Cub of all-time certainly piqued my curiosity and will always fit in my collection. Especially at the price of just $1. Sold!
A vintage, oddball card of a first rate Hall of Famer for the price of a bottle of Coke? I'll take that any day of the week.
With much more added space due to it's size, we get quite the detailed bio on the back:
I think we can all agree that Ernie Banks was one of baseball's nicest people, by far.
At this point, I would have been perfectly content to call it a day. After all, I was full of cotton candy, rib sandwich, had a bag of parade candy missed by the kids and had spent the whole day yucking it up with family. Even so, I wasn't done finding deals yet.
That same vendor also had a box full of $5-10 cards, which I decided to flip through while killing time. Thankfully, the vendor had a nice comic book set up too, which kept the others in my party occupied. Tucked within that box, I saw this staring back at me:
No, despite what it looks like, that is not a plain, newish back issue of Beckett. It is in fact a baseball card version of Beckett featuring Kris Bryant!
For the National, Beckett released a full checklist of these, featuring covers from throughout the publication's history, as a special promotion for the show only. There were 15 cards in the full set and Mr. Bryant here was featured on 5 of them... yea, I think his stock is pretty hot right now.
Now, like the Sportscaster card, this was the first time I had seen one of these in person. Just a few days ago, P-Town Tom was lucky enough to find one of these in a generous trade package from Brad of Brad's Blog fame and I was uber jealous. Now, I no longer have to pine in vain.
Each card is serial numbered; but, in a 90's sports card serial-numbered way:
Yea, 1,000 is a really low print run, but, I'll forever treasure #682.
The backs of these cards feature different brick and mortar card shops; I imagine this has something to do with how these were distributed at the National. Unfortunately, I don't have an iPhone to scan the little barcode thingy, otherwise that might clear that up. Funny enough though, the Baseball Card King was my LCS when I lived in the Joliet area.
I was honestly surprised to see this priced at five bucks. Kris' stock couldn't possibly be higher right now (unless, y'know, he knocks a game-winning homer in the WC game tomorrow) and his regular base cards, not even the short-prints or photo variations, were priced at $10 or more at this same booth. Not to mention, a quick search of Ebay shows that these Beckett cards regularly go for more..
As you can see, my copy is a little off-center, which would hurt it's grading, if I were into such things. I'm guessing that's why it was priced into my cheap-ass range.
Even better, this is actually my very first licensed card of Kris Bryant.
Previously, this logo-less Rize Draft card of Bryant had been representing the Cubs savior in my CATRC. I bought it right when the set originally came out in 2013, shortly after he was drafted and before the market on his cards began an endless climb. He was soon priced well out of my range.
But, that slight has now been rectified.
I definitely didn't expect to be adding baseball cards to my collection at the Octoberfest street fair; it made an already great day to become a pretty much perfect day. Maybe I can get used to this whole fall thing after-all.
That is, until I walk back outside after lunch.