My LCS Experience

I had some free time Thursday afternoon and had the itch to pick up something vintage. Last weekend I had a great conversation with my 88-year-old grandpa about his favorite team - the Cubs - and his memories listening to them in the '40s and watching them in the '50s. I'll blog about that later.

With tales of Ernie Banks and Hank Sauer top of mind, I added Banks to my PC and headed to the nearest Local Card Shop.

I've been there before and have picked up some nice vintage needs. Frankly, I've spent a fair chunk of change there since returning to this hobby in February.

As it turns out, my couple of visits coincided with the owner's rare absence. His second-in-command has proven to be a nice sort - eager to talk cards or baseball, helpful about pulling cards from under the window counter to check prices, willing to work out a small deal on bulk purchases (a handful of cards, in my case).

The owner, however, doesn't share that demeanor. When I walked in, I was greeted with silence as he intently watched the Cubs rain delay on his TV. I had hoped to get some pricing on some '60s-era Ernie Banks and Billy Williams I had seen before - but immediately felt like I was in his way.

Quietly, I asked, "Would you mind telling me the price on a couple of the cards under the counter?" He doesn't make eye contact, casually rises and saunters around the counter. He looks up. "What do you want?"

"Um, well, if you don't mind, I'd like to see the three Ernie Banks' and the three Billy Williams' cards."

He pulls them out and drops them on the counter. Doesn't give me the price on any. I turn them over to see two numbers on each - with a range of $20 to $30 between the two numbers. I generally know - or can guess - what they mean but why should I have to ask? Yet, I do so.

He tells me the high number is the Beckett price and says nothing more.

At this point I should have walked out but I really wanted to buy something and the good feelings from my previous experiences at the shop kept me around a bit longer. Maybe he was just having a bad day.

So, like pulling teeth, I ask about his price. He sighs and finally quotes me a total price on a couple of them and a couple of vintage commons I had selected. I ask - before holding my breath and cringing - if he would come down a couple of dollars.


Not, "I'm really not able to do that, sorry about that" or some such politeness.

I put back a couple of the cards and walk away to look at something else. I remember I also wanted to pick up a storage box so I ask about that. He gets up and grabs the three parts to make such a box and puts them on the counter - then sits back down to watch - and I'm serious - mindless TV announcer banter during a rain delay.

I - perhaps foolishly - went ahead and gave him my business. First, I continued to attempt making polite conversation about whether it takes a rocket scientist to assemble the box - to which he replies, "Not really." Even though he can probably assemble one in 30 seconds, he doesn't so much as offer. I would have said, "That's OK, I can do it" but an offer would have been a nice touch.

In any case, as soon as I left the shop, the surprising experience hit me a little more and I immediately was mad at myself for not scrapping the whole idea and going to Ebay instead - or waiting for the next show or simply traveling a fair distance to another LCS.

I love my purchases, don't get me wrong, and I'll post them in a day or so, but the experience means I won't go back to this shop.

Typically, if I'm treated with such borderline rudeness (and certainly indifference) I'm one to call the offender out with a "Did I say something to offend you?" or "Is this not a good time for you?" but for some reason I held back this time and let it go.

I believe I'm correctly describing the exchanges so I guess my questions to anyone reading this are: Did I overreact? (Clearly not to him - but in my mind.) How would you have handled it? (Both in store and going forward.)

Meanwhile, unrelated to all of this, here's a cool card I pulled last week in a Heritage pack. I never get lucky like this. So close to Ted Williams, yet so far.


Trade Talk: Jeter SP, George and Other Guys

I'm in desperate need of finding some time to blog a bit, but the next few days are action-packed, so it might not happen until after they pass.

Meanwhile, here's some trade bait for you short print Jeter aficionados.

Been taking a keen interest in the Gypsy Queen chatter. I posted a want list, just for the record. Of course, various other wants are there too. And, there are always about a billion cool Reds, Tigers, Cubs variations that I don't know about that I probably want.

Meanwhile, either together with Jeter or separately, this guy can be had as well. You've perhaps heard of him.

And, finally, for some complete randomness to round out this post, two of the following players are among many OPC 2009 cards on the block. Inquire within - if you have a need, I'll see if I have.
Oh, Lee and Zimmerman just went to Things Are Funner Here. If you missed it, scroll down to last Saturday on her excellent blog for a great story about her recent LCS experience. It certainly beat my LCS experience yesterday - of which I'll blog soon.


A Heritage Surprise. No, not Starlin.

In Target last night, picking up things for the girls, and then I paid and headed home. Nah, there's more to the story.

There was one of those three packs (blisters?) of Heritage. I picked it up and could clearly see the card above. I must have it, I thought. Following Castro were:
Fine cards but up for trade for a Red, Tiger or Cub.
And so then I ripped into the packs. (Editor's Note: If you find the time, please take a look at Potch's Heritage Available/Need always updated trade page.)

The first card was:

#298 Jason Kubel. Foiled! A duplicate! That's OK. The good thing is, there were plenty more dupes where that came from. Wait, that's a bad thing.

#93 Nick Swisher
#351 Twin Terrors
#73 Gordon Beckham

#323 Jon Jay

Crikey! Boston great Ted Williams and a blue sharpie on-card sig! Wow, Ted Willi ... what's that? Wait, lemme see that card again.
Whoopsie daisy.

All poor jokes aside, I was thrilled to see this card! Let's find out more about Mr. Wills. Wikipedia says: "On May 8, 1962, the Reds purchased Wills from the Red Sox."

Awesome! Ted was a Red! How did I not know this? What else? Well, it seems Ted didn't play in the majors in '63 or '64 and was dealt to the White Sox before the '65 season.

The southpaw finished his career, which included 3 1/2 years in the Red Sox organization, with an 8-11 record and 5.46 ERA. Not exactly Christy Mathewson here but who cares. I love Ted Wills. Ted is now 77 and lives in Clovis, Calif.

What else does this A+ pack have in store for me?

#126 James Shields
#322 Bruce Bochy
#239 Brandon Beachy
And that completes pack number one. This is easily the best pack I've opened in quite some time.

Pack Two

#325 Alexei Ramirez (I've seen this guy plenty at Comiskey - I mean, U.S. Cellular Field. He looks 7 here.)
 #248 Chris Johnson
#9 Juan Uribe
#237 The Winners Celebrate
#190 Todd Helton
#479 Serial killer Lucas Harrell (SP)
#364 Russell Branyan
#278 Derek Lowe
#54 NL HR Leaders
Checklist 4 of 6

Not a bad pack either. At least I got a creepy-eyed, staring Short Print guy.

Pack Three

#359 Carlos Zambrano
#52 NL Batting Leaders
#47 Kosuke Fukudome
#296 Ian Desmond
NAP-15 Albert Pujols
#106 Yadier Molina
#423 Fear the Beard (SCARY!!!)
#422 Kendry(s) Morales
#22 San Diego Padres

...and so it is done.


D$#& Yankees!

Here in the suburbs of Chicago, a baseball card show is held once every three weeks or so. Since I hopped back into the hobby a few months ago, I've had the chance to stop by a few times.

I picked this up for a fin spot (that means $5 right?).
It's now one of the gems of my collection, despite the fact the Yankees rank first on my list of least favorite sports teams. I'm still stunned that this was $5. It's frankly in decent condition, near as I can tell. And it's 50 years old. And, it's Whitey Ford, for the love of Pete!

Then I found this in another box from a different dealer. I paid a fistful of dollars more for this but didn't much care thanks to the Whitey bargain.
As a kid, I had never heard of these guys - at least not right away. I was busy hatin' Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry and Craig Nettles. Not Chris Chambliss though, who could hate him?

I was a Reds fan from the start but got behind the Dodgers in the late '70s when they had their classic battles with the Yankees.

Still, I've grown up since then - sort of - and Mr. Ford and Mr. Larsen will have a place of honor in my collection.


Trade Loot: Needed Cards From Baseball ... Come To Life

I recently, as I am wont to do, reached out to Bo at Baseball Cards Come To Life, about making a trade. The result? A boatload of fulfillment (something like 75 cards if my memory serves) for my late '78 needs - and some '79s.

I sent Bo a variety of his needs from the '70s, '80s and 2011.

I'll post a couple for visual sake. Most all of the cards were well-centered - I think this was the only way-off card. I'm only choosing to post it here because the crazy costume in some ways made it the best card I received. Hilarious!
This next card is a replacement for one I had that was a mess. George is one of the all-time greats as far as I'm concerned and especially important to me as he managed my two favorite teams. Ran into him leaving Tiger Stadium one night way back when. Well, he waved from his car at least.
And, one more. Mario Soto seemed to always be on the mound when we went to Riverfront in the early '80s. He was so dominant for a few years. He's probably even one of my top 10 favorite Reds. (Hmm, sounds like a future post.)

I remember going to one game where Bruce Berenyi started and was absolutely rocked. I think he made it 2/3 of an inning. Then, enter Mario Soto. He came in and pitched very well, to my recollection, and many SP innings too. I should go track down the box score to jog my memory.

I do remember working with a Reds fan years later and figuring out that both of us - as kids - had attended that game.
Sweet Burns


Heritage Black Parallels (and more Heritage for trade)

You like?

I also now have this version in Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill and Wandy Rodriguez form. 

As it turns out, I'm not particularly fond of any of these guys and would enjoy trading them for certain black (or green or something) parallel Reds or Tigers (or maybe someone who plays for a Chicago team - or possibly any ol' player I like better for you mind readers).

Heritage Availables as of 4.17.11. I'd be happy to trade for parallels or Reds, Tigers and such.

6 - Brian Roberts
7 - Carlos Beltran
28 - Vernon Wells
57 - AL Win Leaders
75 - Chris Tillman
78 - Matt LaPorta
99 - Brandon Snyder
111 - Brad Lidge
118 - Skip Schumaker
122 - Trevor Cahill
123 - Aaron Hill
125 - Vladimir Guerrero
137 - Babe and Mrs. Huggins
138 - The Famous Slugger
144 - The Farewell Speech
149 - Ryan Franklin
156 - Hank Conger
161 - Bobby Jenks
181 - Dillon Gee
189 - Heath Bell
193 - Miguel Tejada
197 - Casey Blake
199 - Aroldis Chapman
205 - Scott Rolen
225 - Adrian Beltre
230 - Francisco Liriano
233 - Cain Dominates
234 - Rangers Retaliate
235 - Bumgarner Baffles Bats
236 - Giants Crush Rangers
236 - Giants Crush Rangers
249 - Vance Worley
250 - Joe Mauer
261 - Reid Brignac
263 - Rangers Danger (Hamilton/Cruz)
264 - Jeff Niemann
265 - Derrek Lee
265 - Derrek Lee
270 - Ronny Cedeno
273 - Chris Perez
295 - Paul Maholm
298 - Jason Kubel
298 - Jason Kubel
327 - Jose Lopez
328 - Raul Ibanez
338 - Brett Gardner
346 - Felix Hernandez
351 - Twin Terrors
352 - Ricky Nolasco
355 - Brian Matusz
356 - Jose Bautista
362 - Greg Halman
372 - Jaime Garcia
376 - Phillip Hughes
378 - Ubaldo Jimenez
383 - Daniel Hudson 
389 - Ryan Doumit
404 - Mark Trumbo
405 - Gio Gonzalez
407 - Wade Davis
409 - Pittsburgh Pirates
409 - Pittsburgh Pirates
410 - Juan Pierre
414 - Jarrod Dyson
422 - Kendry Morales
423 - WS Winners - Wilson/Posey

NAP-9 David Price

REDS, TIGERS, CUBS I OWN - but please confirm. (I'd like all from these teams)
199 - Aroldis Chapman
103 - Brandon Phillips
381 - Orlando Cabrera
331 - Mike Leake
172 - Dusty Baker
80 - Jay Bruce
398 - Sporting News Joey Votto
41- Chris Valaika
302 - Ramon Hernandez
205 - Scott Rolen
2 - Francisco Cordero
309 - Yonder Alonso
BF-9 Frank Robinson
TN-2 F.Robinson/M.Cabrera
120 - Bronson Arroyo
171 - Edinson Volquez

371 - Victor Martinez
493 - Rookie Parade
62 - Brandon Inge
154 - Brennan Boesch
105 - Max Scherzer
349 - Jeremy Bonderman
366 - Rick Porcello
24 - Detroit Tigers
196 - Jose Valverde
416 - Jim Leyland
173 - Jhonny Peralta

228 - Marlon Byrd
485 - Matt Garza
170 - Aramis Ramirez
66 - Geovany Soto
115 - Alfonso Soriano
359 - Carlos Zambrano
406 - Tyler Colvin
276 - Darwin Barney


Trade Loot: Cool Cards From Manupatches...

Received some nice cards in a recent deal with Manupatches & Chrome Scratches. It all started when I inquired about a Paul Konerko bat relic, that he sent along.

Eric included some Reds, Tigers, Cubs (and more) from Topps 206. I had yet to own any cards from 206. Always thrilled to build my team collections.
Really like the Phillips card here. Reds logos prominently displayed and a mythical/mystical background. It's a much nicer looking card than this weirdness:
Brandon Inge is a great guy, I hear told. So I'll forgive this creepfest of a card.
Nice card of Cabrera, I thought. Still love this guy. Hope he keeps his life together.
A Jay Bruce card I don't like. His head seems out of proportion or something and you can see poor cropping was done around it.
A thousands times better. This is a great-looking card. Probably the best of many Eric sent to me.
I kind of like this card too. Or, more likely, it's more the fact that this knocks one card from my Andre Dawson want list. Dawson is one of my all-time favorites and it's nice to pocket one I don't have and haven't seen.
Finally, I received four of these minis. I really dig this one in particular.

Thanks for the trade, Eric.


Trade Loot: Cool Cards From The Quarry

Today I received a trade package from the fine gentleman who runs Cards From The Quarry and, per usual, I felt like a kid opening packs all over again. I dealt away several 2011 Heritage cards and some Rockies he needed for several Heritage cards on my wish list. Mr. Quarry also threw in some cool old stickers sporting my favorite Reds, Tigers and Cubs logo. Nice touch.

Among the 2011 Heritage coming my way: Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, Joe Mauer, Pedro Alvarez, Carlos Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Paul Konerko and more! Read on!

But first, thanks aplenty for the trade CFT Quarry! Good stuff and hope to do it again soon.

OK, here are some more pictures I received of guys I love. (Hmm, maybe I should rephrase that.)

Ryan Braun is one of my very favorite players not playing on one of my favorite teams. He would look great in a Reds or Tigers uniform, am I wrong?

This next young chap has some great hair.

Am what about this young fella? Gritty anger. Love pretty much any card with a clear Detroit "D" displayed.
And, finally, this guy...I just plain like the look of this card. Might be the vivid green grass. This card is calling me out to the ballpark.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't direct my three readers to my Heritage trade list. Offers gratefully encouraged.

But wait, a couple of the many fun Reds, Tigers (Cubs too) stickers my trade friend tossed in. Love 'em.

Trade With Lost Collector / I'm dealing Heritage

I'm behind on my trade posts as I've been sending out several fast and furious - and have been traveling. I recently completed a small deal with AJ at The Lost Collector. I sent him several Yankees - I believe 2011 Heritage Yanks and some 2010 Topps Update Yanks - and he sent me a few specific 2011 Heritage I had asked about - a Red, a Cub and a couple of player faves.

Here's a snapshot of the goods.

Chrome Ramon!

Big fan of Mr. Braun.

I also received Albert Pujols, Tyler Colvin, Domonic Brown and the beloved Aroldis Chapman.

Anyone who is interested in trading for 2011 Heritage, please see my available list a post or two down. I'm trying to pick up all of the Reds, Tigers and Cubs - but if you have other dupes to offer, send me a note. There are a handful of favorite players I'd also like to acquire.

Enjoy the chase.



While digging through cards my mother didn't throw out but were instead found in boxes in her basement, I found dozens and dozens of these stickers from, I believe, '82.

I have a lot of extras - and many beyond the gentlemen pictured here. Is there an interest in the world of baseball card blogging? Do you want me to look through my stickers to see if I have a certain player? Just ask! Perhaps we can work out a larger trade involving cards too. Thanks.


New To Me, O-Pee-Chee

I've been on a bit of a random card-buying bender of late and after reading a post about O-Pee-Chee, Version 2009 last week by .... , I ended up picking up not one but, sigh, two blasters in the past four days (discounted 50% at Wal-Mart).

I'm late to the game here, yes, but I'm smitten all the same. I think there are some great shots here and the set just feels classy and somewhat retro to me.

Here are some more I really love.

And these too!

And for the card-back afficionados (or is it afficianodoes?). I think it's the first one. Let's just stick with "fans" from now on. Apologies if this is a little small to see. I'm trying out some things here.

The below, as well as some of the above, and plenty more not picture are up for trade. I opened plenty of dupes. I didn't receive too many Reds or Tigers (or Cubs) so if you have dupes, shoot me a note. Or, I'm up for trading extras for other cards from my extensive wants.

Some examples of the frills. I have an extra ERA Leaders card and maybe that Moments card - not positive. I haven't sorted everything yet. For now, just send me a note if you have gaps to fill or would like to inquire about specific players. I'll get back to you fast.


'62 Topps Defiled!

So, can anyone tell me (and perhaps I should just go look it up myself) what the deal is with this card that I picked up at the recent card show? And this one (below) too?

The vendor was out to lunch at the time so a helper sold these to me for $1 total. Seeing as how they represent my two favorite teams, I bought. Love Old Stone Face Hutchinson, naturally, and who can resist Chico Fernandez! Well, probably most of you - other than Tiger fans.

On another unrelated note, I've swung a dozen or so trades in the past month but I've proposed them all. Someone, please, send me a trade offer. I'd love it!


Trade With SewingMachineGuy

I've been having great fun swinging trades with other collectors since I popped on here in February. I was remiss in posting details of those deals, mainly because I didn't have the scanner going until a couple of days ago. Now, I'm good to go.

Yesterday, I received my end of a nice trade with SewingMachineGuy. SMG helped me knock off several Tigers from my '79 list but also added several other cool cards and needs.

Here's but a sampling of the goods.

Had not seen this Heritage card yet and absolutely love it. I particularly love the trophy and that Mr. Redleg is front and center.

For some reason, I just think many of the Willie Horton cards I've seen are great images. In some, he seems like a real baaad guy you don't want to mess with. Interestingly, in this one he comes off like a kind neighbor. I own just a few Hortons and, like everything else that SMG sent, I didn't own this one - but I'm thrilled to add it to my collection.

The Great One is just an all-time favorite of mine. My earliest memories of attending games are all about Bench, Morgan, Rose, Sparky, Davey, Tony, Griffey the Original, Geronimo! and the rest of the Machine. While this '81 DonRuss arrived smack dab in the middle of my key collecting years, I was a hardcore Topps kid. I'm building a Bench collection, among other players, and I'm thrilled to add this one.

Which brings me to:

Not sure why but I get a kick out of the older kitschy cards like this - the Kmarts, the random ToysRUs release, Ames, most all of the Post cards. They're extra special when a favorite player is featured. Love it.

I received three Hershiser cards and I like this one the most of those three. Just love how he seems to almost be coming out of the card - and the spot of the baseball. Very good photo in my opinion.

I have him on my player collection list because I always admired his game - and also because I had an opportunity to meet him years ago in the locker room post-game at Jacobs Field. It was during the first Reds-Indians regular season series, 1997. He and Matt Williams were particularly kind.

Thanks again SMG for these cards and more.

Search Me *shrugs*