This past Saturday, like many a time before, I made my way to the local "Sports Cards and More" card show in nearby Orland Park, IL. It's, by far, the closest, regular card show to my current residence and, as such, I have going there semi-regularly for about a year now.
The experience is usually a productive one, affording me the opportunity to pick up a few odds and ends for my various all-time roster collections.
For instance, some discount boxes uncovered a few new Bears cards to add to my Bears All-Time Roster Collection. Here we have a shiny, Chrome Gabe Carimi (doing his best Superman impression), one of my favorite names in Chicago football history in Marc Colombo, my first card of super short-termer Kordell Stewart as a Bear and a retro-inspired Upper Deck single featuring running back Anthony Thomas.
The pickin's for my Blackhawks All-Time Roster Collection weren't so slim either. In fact, these vintage O-Pee-Chee finds didn't cost me a cent, as the vendor was feeling particularly generous that unseasonably warm, weekend afternoon. Sacrebleau!
Reg Kerr might be the only one depicted wearing an indian-head sweater; however, the other three guys did skate with the Chicago hockey franchise, as well, for brief periods of time.
There were even some ten-cent ballers to be found for my Bulls All-Time Roster Collection, the binder of mine which receives the least attention. Demonstrative of that point is the fact that the Derrick Rose seen above is my first "traditional" card of the guy. Also, I was uber-happy to come across my first card of D-Wade in his hometown colors, seeing as I work for the same school he attended.
Of course, the main focus of my collecting habit is my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection and I was able to make a couple of small additions to that tome, as well. I have a weird prejudice against horizontal cards, like Chapman's '16 Update card; so, when I came across this World Series Highlight subset single of the former Cubs closer, I pounced. Also, I have to say, I'm not sorry to see him go back to New York and that has nothing to do with his pitching skills.
Furthermore, I was even able to dig up an entirely new name to add to my CATRC binder, a feat that's getting more and more difficult. This isn't the real deal, it's a latter day, CCC reprint of the original T205 tobacco card featuring Dave Shean, but it definitely gets the job done. Shean was a well-traveled, utility infielder, who spent time with seven clubs during his nine-year career, including a scant 54-game stint with the Cubs in 1911.
These barely-there types from over a century ago are always tough to track down, I was thrilled to cross Shean's name off of my "need" list.
Shean in 1911, with the Boston Doves. Image courtesy of The Library of Congress
So, all in all, a few scattered needs for my various side-projects and a new name for my main collecting focus, all for just a few bucks - that's a pretty standard wrap up for a trip to the Orland Park show, for me. With all that said, this particular day wasn't exactly business as usual. You see, I had some notable company with me that day.
The man, the myth, the legend, Dime Box Nick, made his way down from the North Side to dig through the discount boxes at the very same show. It was honor to rifle through the dime boxes with the master behind one of the first blogs I discovered and to watch him work his magic. He came across several awesome finds that he covered here, last night. Additionally, being the kind, gentleman that he is, Nick also brought along a team-baggy full of Cubs cards, just for me.
This kind offering covered many bases, including a hefty sampling of the very latest baseball product to hit the shelves and last year's version of the next set to hit the market, Topps Heritage. I've got to be close to completing the 2017 Flagship team set by now and any Kris Bryant insert is welcome in my collection. I don't know if you know this, but Cubs stuff is hot right now (especially Sparkles here), especially in Chicago.
Speaking of Heritage, there was also this older incarnation to be found within the bag, featuring injury stop-gap Kenny Lofton, from the 2004 edition. Lofton was acquired at the trade deadline to replace the DL'ed Corey Patterson for the stretch run in 2003 and immediately became one of my favorite players. Thus, any Cubs card of Kenny from his all-to-brief tenure is always a plus.
These two cards have Dime Box Nick written all over them, featuring wonderful, photographic examples of a couple of his ample mini-collections. I must admit, Ismael Valdez (with a Z, not an S) looks fairly comfortable at the plate for a pitcher and he did post a .286 batting average during his brief stint in the Windy City. Meanwhile, the photographer behind the lens of this Stadium Club play at the plate should get an award - perfectly timed and perfectly framed! I wonder if Rick Wilkins was able to hold onto the ball?
From here, the baggy got a little playful, as in, cards that one would typically use to play a game. That mound conference shot hails from the old MLB Showdown game that was put out by Wizards of the Coast during the early aughts and makes for a neat oddity. At the right, we have a card from one of my favorite games of all-time, UNO, featuring Cubs legend Sammy Sosa blowing one of his famous kisses. Much like Sammy's tenure ended poorly, anyone who saw this card had their turn end poorly, in that they would be forced to draw four more cards.
Pretty sweet cards, huh? Well, there was one more that stole the spotlight, in my humble opinion:
This 1964 Topps single of Ron Santo has seen better days - it's creased, folded, rounded, faded, ripped, water-logged and just holding it in your hands, one might expect it to disintegrate just from touching it. Obviously, whoever owned this card, in it's previous life, was none too careful with it. This begs the question, why? Was this vintage HOF'er owned by a kid, who kept it in rubber-banded in his back pocket, flipped it against walls and carried it with him wherever he went? Or, perhaps this kid was a South Sider who didn't care too much for the Cubbies and took his distaste out on poor Ronnie? Or, was it just forgotten and lost to the elements. Inquiring minds wish to know.
If cards could talk, right?
Thank you Nick for kindly gifting me with such a stellar brick of cardboard and for joining me in a collective cardboard quest at the "Sports Cards and More" show; it was a phenomenal experience, all the way around. We must do this again some time!