Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cheer Up, Emo Kid

This past Sunday morning, after watching the Cubs meekly struggle through a 7-2 loss to the Indians and go down three games to one in the World Series during the previous night, I was not in a particularly good mood.  My big bowl of sugary "Keith Krunch" helped improve my state of mind a little bit as the sun rose that next morning; however, it wasn't quite enough of a kick in the pants to make my frown turn completely upside down.  My inner, mopey emo kid was creeping out.

It was while I was sitting at the breakfast table that I remembered something that did put a little bit of a pep in my step - it's the last Sunday of the month... card show day!

I may have been upset with the Cubs and their incredibly inconsistent postseason offense at the time, but this card-carrying, card-collector was able to put that frustration behind me and embrace the chase!

After all, it's this monthly card show in the neighboring suburb of Orland Park that almost always seems to provide at least one rare, super vintage or off-kilter addition to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection.  For instance, I've added my 1948-49 Leaf Bob McCall, fifty-cent Bobby Howry auto, 1949 Bowman Jess Dobernic and my T-206 Jimmy Slagle, etc. from this monthly show alone.  In short, I never leave this gathering disappointed.

Unfortunately, after scarfing down my breakfast and speeding down to the Civic Center, I was a bit miffed to see that a few of my normal vintage dealers didn't make the trip this go-round - including the discount tobacco card guy.  This didn't help my underlying mood of defeat and disappointment.

There weren't going to be any vintage additions to my collection this time; however, thankfully, the show was not a lost cause for me.  I mean, as a card-collector in the middle of a room full of people selling cards, it's kind of hard to leave completely empty-handed and bummed-out, isn't it?

Amongst the large assortment of inserts, parallels and hits, one table featured a vast amount of singles from the recently released Update set in stacks AND the Cubs hadn't already been picked out of the collation!  There kind of a hot commodity these days.

I was able to land one of the cards I needed from the checklist, the Aroldis Chapman you see above (the other, Trevor Cahill, has been secured in a pending trade).  Little did I know that Chapman would channel his inner Rollie Fingers with an incredible 8-out save that very night*.  Is it because I bought his first non-Topps Now Cubs card that morning?  I mean, you can't prove that it's not...

Anyway, since that was the only Update single I was really after, I felt silly buying that single dime-piece from the vendor, so I scoped out the rest of his loosely-organized table for some other cool cards to flesh out my purchase.

Speaking of heroic World Series performances, the vendor noticed me flipping through stacks of Cubs-themed cards and offered up these primo Kyle Schwarber inserts.  I was skeptical, expecting exorbitant, hometown prices; but, I was surprised to hear the seller offer them at fifty cents a pop.  Ummm, that perked me up really quick!

The '69 Topps Super-mimicking insert to left hails from this year's edition of Archives and is just a beautiful card.  How can you not love that colorful background of blue sky and fresh green grass?  Although, at standard size and with rounded corners, this set almost looks more like Mother's Cookies than Topps Super.  Meanwhile, Kyle is certainly a key piece of the Cubs future successes, as the Bunt insert on the right suggests; but, more importantly, his bat is essential to the immediate future of this World Series run.

Also found on this vendor's hodge-podge table was a stack of 2016 Upper Deck World Cup of Hockey.  So, I flipped through really quick and grabbed both Blackhawks available from the promotional set.

These cards were offered by UD as enticement for shop owners - found in foil packs, they were given to customers who spent a certain amount on product at their LCS.  When this promotion was ongoing, I couldn't find enough stuff I wanted to make that arbitrary quota.  So, it was nice to bypass that hitch.  Although, these cards are printed on cheap, thin stock and are already bowing, but I guess we should expect that from what was essentially a give-away set.

Speaking of give-away sets, another one I missed out on was National Baseball Card Day.  When the holiday made it's grand return late this summer, I was too busy standing up in a wedding to make it to a card shop... darn selfish bride and groom!

It was this Anthony Rizzo card that immediately attracted my attention from this no-strings attached give-away set.  The team color-coordinated nameplate, the follow-through and admiration of what I will assume was a moonshot and the spectacular late-60's road throwback (complete with stirrups!) sported at what will now be known as Guaranteed Rate Field (blech)... what's not to love?  Thus, it was an easy decision to cap off this purchase with my new favorite Rizzo card.

After completing a full circuit of the show floor, I noticed that there really wasn't going to be much else for me that morning, at least not in my price range; at least, as far as baseball (or hockey) goes.  I did come across one more table with a healthy selection of another relatively new release that had caught my eye:

This pair of singles represent my first sampling of NASCAR's return to the trading card market in 2016 Prizm.  My NASCAR collection has been neglected lately and the retail price point on these super shiny selections is just a touch too high for my casual tastes.  The ability to cherry-pick a new card of one of my childhood favorites - Awesome Bill from Dawsonville - and the first Sprint Cup card of Ryan Blaney (progeny of one of my childhood favorites, Dave Blaney) was enough to get me to pull the trigger this time.

I have to say, my favorite aspect of Panini's first foray into the stock car market is the inclusion of the properly stylized car/team number in the upper left corner - it's the small things in life, right?  Though, as nice as these turned out, I sure wouldn't mind if Panini threw out a lower-end set for America's favorite motorsport.

Along with Prizm, this same seller also had a few stray singles from past releases by good, ol' Press Pass (RIP).  There wasn't a whole heckuva lot, but I was able to uncover my first card of NASCAR legend Glenn "Fireball" Roberts in this Hall of Fame insert from a couple years back.  Into my all-time NASCAR collection it goes!

In case you were wondering, Roberts competed in the Grand National (now Sprint Cup) series from 1950-64 and won 33 races along the way, including the '62 Daytona 500.  Tragically, maybe the largest impact he had on the sport was in safety innovation, as his death in a fiery crash lead to an increase in research for fire-retardant uniforms and safer fuel cells.

 "Fireball" and his famous #22 at Daytona

The cruel irony of his nickname is not lost on me. However, Glenn earned that nickname on the diamond and not on the race track; while pitching for the American Legion Zellwood Mudhens, he became known throughout the Florida area for his blazing fastball.  He may very well have had a future in professional baseball had he chose to go that route.

With that find, the well of needed/wanted cards had officially dried up at this month's show.  All told, I didn't walk away with any of my hoped for vintage; that said, I only spent six or seven bucks (including admission) and still ended up with good deals on some nifty cards that fit into my collection.  I was definitely in a much better mood at that point than when I woke up that morning.  My emo side was successfully kept at bay.

To use a fishing analogy, I guess you don't always have to hook a big fish every time you go out on the lake - a bunch of little ones will still feed your need just as well!

Here's hoping that the Cubs take care of business tonight and I don't need a pick-me-up tomorrow morning.   I won't have the opportunity to go to another card show for at least another month!


  1. I'm hoping to make it down to Orland again soon. Those Schwarbers for 50 cents a pop were a steal! Love the throwback uni on Rizzo there as well.

  2. That Rizzo is a thing of beauty.

  3. "...sported at what will now be known as Guaranteed Rate Field"

    We all still call it Comiskey. It was never even US Cellular to me.

    1. In conversation, I still use Comiskey or call it Sox Park - these corporate names feel so hollow.

  4. Great cards all. First "What you talkin' bout Willis" Tower now GRF. OY! Wrigley Field is still Wrigley Field, right?

  5. Great story/card on ol' Fireball.