Monday, May 16, 2016

An Impromptu Card Show

This weekend is a very important one for me - it's Pole Day for the 100th Indianapolis 500, an event that I've been attending for more than a decade now. The Indy 500 is my second favorite sporting spectacle (first is Cubs baseball, duh) and the 100th running of the event is sure to be special.

Unfortunately, that same Sunday is also my monthly local card show, a card show that I've been unable to attend since 2015 came to a close.  This weekend it's the Indy 500 stuff; but, all year the show has fallen on a day in which I have already made other commitments, be it work, family or personal.

When I realized put all of this together Saturday, as I was reviewing my upcoming schedule, I got a little bit frustrated - after all, this is 5 months in a row where I've been denied.  Rather than take that denial lying down, on a whim, I decided to check and see if there were any other local shows that I could actually make it to.

Lucky me - not only was there one in nearby Highland, IN, it was on that very day.  Well, actually it was a community wide garage sale; however, I've been there before and there was plenty of sports memorabilia to be had.  Frustration = gone.

So, into my car I hopped and half an hour later, I was roaming the isles of a garage sale/flea market/card show.  Certainly this is the best way to spend a rainy, cold Saturday.

The very first vendor I came across with cards to peddle had a deal that caught my attention - $1 IP autographs, or five for six.  I flipped through this box and found a healthy stack of Cubs from the recent-ish past.  I was hesitant since there was no certification on them; but, after seeing the scrubby subjects to chose from and the taking the price point into consideration, I decided to bite anyway.

Spoiler alert - I walked away with six:

Carmen was a local LOOGY (say that five times fast) who hails from New Lennox, IL.  "Pig" got a couple of cups of coffee, after 7 years of toiling in the minors, during the 2007-08 back-to-back Central Division Championship seasons, but never saw any meaningful action.

Buck Coats, besides having a name that seems more appropriate for the Deadball Era than today, is another guy who took a while to reach the Bigs - 6 years.  Buck came up the year before Carmen, but was traded to Cincy after only 18 games.  After a couple of more trials with the Reds and the Blue Jays, he was done in the MLB by 2009, with a career .193 batting average.

While the first two I grabbed were never really prospect material - these two guys were supposed to be jewels of a deep farm system.  Well, that Cubs farm system of the 2000's proved not to be so deep after all.

I was really high on Jason Dubois and predicted he was ascend to throne vacated by Sammy Sosa in the Cubs outfield.  After all, he did flash 30+ home run power in the minors.  Meanwhile, Ronny Cedeno was supposed to be an offensive and defensive star up the middle for many years to come.

In the end, both were traded for Jody Gerut and Cesar Izturis, respectively,  So, you can see how that panned out.

Meanwhile, Ryan O'Malley was never even supposed to see the Bigs - he was strictly seen as minor league depth... that is, until the 2006 Cubs ended up playing an 18 inning marathon against the Astros and had to burn their scheduled starter for the next day (Rich Hill). 

With the lifelong Cubs fan O'Malley scheduled to pitch for Iowa that next day, he instead found himself whisked away to Minute Maid Park, where he twirled 8 scoreless innings, sealing a series sweep.  Not a bad Major League cameo, huh?

As for Jerome Williams, he was acquired in a dump of the much-maligned LaTroy Hawkins in 2005.  Hawkins was blowing saves left and right and the Cubs acted quickly to rid themselves of him that May.  The two pieces acquired, Williams and David Aardsma, surprisingly proved themselves to be quite useful... for other clubs, down the line.

There was plenty of other Cubs to be had in that box, but I limited myself to the above 6 because:

  1. the risk associated with uncertified autos
  2. it was the first table I visited at the show - gotta pace myself, after all.
After flipping through the resident vintage dealer's selection of 1967 Topps a few tables over, in search of a Doug Clemens card (#489) and striking out, I was lucky enough to stumble onto a dime box full of recent football releases nearby.  Seeing as my Bears All-Time Roster Collection is lacking when it comes to the recent roster turnover, I wasn't surprised to find a few needs hiding within:

My first card of last year's first round draft selection, who has yet to actually see the field.  Here's hoping that he's healthy come fall - it'll be like the Bears had two first-rounders this year!  

Christian Jones is an inside linebacker - that's pretty much all I know about the guy.  It appears as though the undrafted free agent had a heckuva game against the Lions last season, recording 5 tackles and a sack.  So, there's that.

As far as parallels go, orange is to the Bears as blue is to the Cubs.  By that, I mean that they look pretty darn spiffy.  As an added bonus, getting a serial numbered parallel out of a dime box is never a bad thing either.  

Fun fact, last year's second round draft pick was a college teammate of Christian Jones... it's a small world after all!

Alright - a Bears card that actually shows the player in a Bears uniform!  

Senorise is a special teams player who was hurt for almost the entirety of last season.  As a natural running back, maybe he'll get a chance on the offensive side, now that Matt Forte has departed for New York.

Also - shiny!

While that was all I could find for my collections in that particular box, that was definitely not the end of my dime box digging at this show.  Just across the aisle-way was another of the coveted discount boxes and this one was an oddball du jour:

I made sure to pounce on these two quickly - I mean, there are ONLY 80,000 of these bad boys floating around out there!

I recently decided to set aside Bulls cards in the event that I jump into a full-fledged Bulls roster collection, in the same mold as my Cubs, Bears & Blackhawks accumulations.  So, I figured why not grab this Toni Kukoc oddball?  Also, is it just me, or does his jersey look an awful lot like a bottle of Heinz mustard?

Furthermore, Brooks Kieschnick in a collegiate uni will fit in perfectly with my "Baby Bears" binder.

There was a good handful of these magazine cutouts to be found within the oddball dime box; however, I limited myself to just these two, seeing as they weren't really needs.  Still, I couldn't leave behind such lovely oddities at a dime a pop.

Speaking of oddballs which I didn't have before, there was also a nice stash of these minis:

What you see here is a 1971 Dell Stamp of Jim Colborn, steady rotation presence throughout the 70's for the Cubs and Braves.

For those who might not know, these paper-thin, stamp-like creations were intended to be pasted into collector's albums, much like the Panini sticker albums of today.  As far as 70's oddballs go, these are amongst the most notable.

Again, I didn't have any of these in my collection, so I felt like I should add at least one to my hoard.

And now we move from the diamond to the ice, with this awesome Topps Archives reprint of Ken Hodge.  Seeing as vintage hockey is fairly rare around these parts and the Blackhawks are a hot commodity, reprints are going to be the most affordable route to completing my Blackhawks All-Time Roster Collection.

Hodge might be best remembered for his time in Boston, but he originally came into the NHL with the Hawks in 1964-65 before being included in the infamous Phil Esposito deal.

This card, however, is not a reprint - in case you couldn't tell - no, no, this is authentic, thoroughly-loved, scotch-taped, crinkled vintage.

Forbes Kennedy spent some time in Chicago and, again, like with the Hodge above, since vintage hockey is fairly tough to locate, I'll accept this weathered gem into my collection as Kennedy's representation.  I mean, it was only a dime, after all.

I'm curious as to the story behind this card - ah, if cardboard could talk...

This vintage goody didn't come from the dime boxes - but it hardly busted the bank at 75 cents.  Chuck Klein is much more identified with the Phillies and he's not exactly a primo Hall of Famer either.  Therefore, you don't see too many cards of him at all, let alone that show him with Chicago.  With that in mind, I couldn't turn this 1961 Fleer single down.

Into the CATRC it goes, replacing a modern reprint of his 1933 Goudey card.  Vintage almost always beats out modern in my binder.

It was at this point that I had seen pretty much everything that the show had to offer and I still had a few bucks burning a hole in my pocket.  I remembered a seller who had a bunch of old Exhibits and post cards on display, kiddy corner from the dime box table, and decided to pay him another visit.  There had been something that caught my eye on my initial pass:

This team postcard of the winning-est team in MLB history (tied with the 2001 Mariners).  The 1906 Cubs won an eye-popping 116 games, but still lost the World Series to the "Hitless Wonders" White Sox in the only crosstown, Chicago World Series.

That said, I didn't notice the "facsimile" notation on the bottom when I pulled the trigger, as it had been obstructed by a label which ran the length of the card on the top-loader which contained it.  Printed on thin, semi-glossy paper, this is not nearly as desirable to me as a real postcard.

So it goes, sometimes - it was hardly a high-roller purchase to begin with.  Still, I can't help but feel a tad bit duped.

That wasn't the highest note to go out on with my surprise card show; nevertheless, I think I can safely label the experience an overall success:  6 autographs, 4 new Bears, 2 new Blackhawks, plus some assorted oddballs to boot.  Not too bad considering I didn't expect to be at a card show at all when I woke up that morning!

Have you ever had the surprise card show experience?  Tell me about it in the comments section below.  In the meantime, I've got a trip to Indianapolis to start preparing for - I don't want that to sneak up and "surprise" me.  

ba dum tis


  1. Haha the old school numbering of the early 90s. 1 of 80,000! So great.

    I still have some 1997/98 Donruss cards #d to 10,000 which I thought were super rare and valuable at the time.

    1. I couldn't help but grin when I saw Power Pick cards. I'm sure I thought those were really rare back in the day.

  2. Looks like you did very well, especially for a day where you woke up not even planning to hit a show!

  3. I remember back in November we hit different card shows on the same day...and now you and I did it again. I attended a card show here in Rosemont this past Saturday. Looks like we both found some great deals (posts to come on my blog sometime in the future)!

    The only surprise card show experience I can remember happened last year. I'd been planning on hitting a local show I'd never attended before for a while, only to find out the night before that a second card show was taking place about five minutes down the road from that first one. Two shows in one day definitely made for a memorable afternoon, as you might guess.