Monday, February 1, 2016

Martin Luther King Card Show

I am a little bit late in recounting this show, as it happened on Martin Luther King day.  This is the monthly show set up at the Holiday Inn.  This month fatured guests such as Bruins legend Johnny "The Chief" Bucyk,  Heisman trophy winner Charlies White,  former New England Patriot quarterback, Steve Grogan, current (and on injured reserve Patriot running back, Dion Lewis, and WWE Hall of Famer Junior "Rikishi" Fatu. (Not that I would be getting any of their autographs, but still a nice line up for a tiny local show.  
     As I have been doing lately, I have been showing up several hours before the official show opening, due to the fact that my favorite dealer generally gets there sometime after 4 AM.  There is a loyal group of collectors that meet him there and help him cart in his stuff for first crack at what he may have that is new.  On this day, the weather was not too appealing and it was pretty cold and snowy.  I got there around 5:15AM and decided I did not want to be encumbered with a bulky winter jacket so I opted to leave it in the car since I was only several feet from the door.  It is a solid move if you are deep within the show itself, but, when your dealer is set up directly near the entrance door, not the smartest move, especially when all the other dealers started to show up around 7:30-8AM.  That door was perpetually open!!  But enough with the weather and onto my task at hand, and my number 1 and 1A plan was to try to fill in as many of my 1970 and 1975 Topps set needs.  My main dealer has a system, his older vintage stuff is 15% of book when the stock is new to a show.  The following month, those cards drop to 10%.  But since this show was not a traditional month off from the last one, the stock would be 12%.   I dug into the boxes of his older card but only managed to find around a dozen 1975 Topps cards the most notable being a Steve Carlton.  However, I did far better with the 1970s cards as I found 77 more to add to the growing pile that will one day be a set.  I grabbed many commons I was missing, and only a few stars the most notable being Juan Marichal.  I can't complain as my stack is getting close to being to the point where I switch form a list of cards I HAVE to the actual list of the cards I NEED!!  
     He also has a box that is purely "Ask for Price" These are cards that as he puts it are more than $3.  I glanced through out of curiosity when a few cards caught my eye.  I love Hall of Fame players.  I love debating on who is in the Hall and in my opinion does not deserve to be.  I love to debate who is egregiously omitted from the Hall and should be in there.  I even like to debate who may not make the Hall but should not have been booted off the ballot acter their first time due to lack of writer votes.  I love cards that depict the Hall of Famers.  I was not so warm and fuzzy to them when I was younger, but I really dig them now that I am older.  Now a days, it seems producing HOF player cards is a regular thing, but when I saw this 1961 Fleer card, I could not say no.
     I am guessing, unless I find the 1960 Fleer, this might be the oldest Gehrig I will ever have the pleasure of owning.  Overall, I am not sure I like the floating in the field of red card style, but I was ot born for Fleer to ask my feedback on the design of the set.  The rest of the layout of the card is typical Americana with stars, stripes and a pennant.  The condition was great for its age, so I am pretty peased with getting my first 61 Fleer.  ONly time will tell if I run into additional cards from this set that fit the budget and make it worth trying to put the set together, but for now, I am happy with my one off.
     Right after this card was another card set that I have never owned a card from, the 1951 Topps.  I really liked the condition of this little fella, the parts where you broke the card off looked fresh and not worn down, and the color was great. Even better was the price, a mere $4 to bring a Hall of Fame legend, and recently deceased on at that in Monte Irvin.
Irvin was an amazing player.  He played in the Negro Leagues for the Newark Eagles from 1938-1942, then he served in World War II from 43-45 and in 1945 he rejoined the Eagles until 1948.  When he was not winning batting titles with the Negro National League, he was crushing it in the Mexican League.  Really interesting was that Branch Rickey wanted to add Irvin to the Dodgers, but that move was blocked by the Eagles business manager, Mrs Effa Manley as she insisted on compensation for Irvin after Rickey had signed both Jackie Robinson and Don Newcombe and did not pay any compensation for them.  Rickey would not pay, so Irvin did not join the Major Leagues until 1949 when the New York Giants ponied up 5 grand for his rights.He not only starred for the Giants, but was given the task of mentoring Willie Mays when the Giants brought him up in 1951.  Irvin retired in 1957 due to a back injury and would end up becoming the first African American executive in MLB when he was hired by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in 1968 to be a PR specialist for MLB.  He was elected to the Hall in 1973 based on his Negro league career.
     I came up with an idea of showcasing my Fantasy baseball teams by collecting a card from each player that played for my team in a given year.  Francisco Liriano is a guy that long been a frustrating enigma for my team.  I picked him up in 2005 and in 2006 he started off having a great year leading the league in ERA and going to the All Star game and was on a roll until he landed on the disabled list in August.  He end up having Tommy John surgery in the offseason and spent 2007 recovering  when he returned he was erratic and bounced up and down from the majors and minor leagues, though there were times he showed flashes of brilliance.  The Twins eventually became frustrated with him and dished him to the White Sox where he was no better.  However after signing with the Pirates in 2013, he looks to have regained his form.  I snagged this Liriano card to represent his first year on the team.  Not the most dynamic looking card, but the sig looks great.

This next card is an odd buy for me because I no longer collect hockey or any other sport aside from baseball.  When I got back to the hobby, I decided to just stick with baseball.  I only end up with other sports when I buy a collection and it is a mixed lot.  I couldn't tell you who currently are the top 5 hockey players in the NHL.  However, this guy played back in my youth and he was a character.  The funny thing was my friend and I would pronounce names as we would read them, ignorant to the fact there is an ethnic pronunciation of the name.
So to me his name was pronounced "Gil Ees Gil Burt."  However, when I watched games, I heard a different pronunciation which to me sounded like "Jo-Jo Bear."  So did my friend, and we agreed that this must be his nickname; he was Gilles "Jo-Jo Bear" Gilbert.  This guy was very good too, but he was a little left of center.  Find any video of his interviews, he would have his head down, and would whack his pads with his stick while being interviewed.  I added this card for a couple bucks and it was a steal I just wish he signed it "Jo-Jo Bear."
After that, I then worked my way through his multitude of .50 cent, 3/$1.00, .20 cent, .10 cent,  .07 cent, and.05 cent boxes.  There is always lots of great star cards, 90s inserts, and oddball card in there.  Even at the low prices, cards can add up.  Here are some of the highlights.

I was always a Delgado guy, and I find myself picking up his cards with the intent of using him as trade fodder with Blue Jay collectors.  Sometimes the only way to pry a Joe Carter Blue Jay card from a Blue Jay collector is to offer a multitude of other Blue Jay cards that will outweigh having that particular Carter card.  Granted, this card is him as a Marlin, but like I said, I always liked Delgado, and for under a buck, why not.

 This is a card that will not be a part of my "Project Heritage."  I want to stay with just base cards and short prints.  Just to stay with the vintage card style, so no chromes, auto cards, or relic cards.  But I was not going to pass on a pinestripe relic of one of the best shortstops of his era.

 I know Sheffield can be a putz, but he had a great career.  500 home runs is nothing to sneeze about and I thought it would be an automatic entry to the Hall of Fame, but after watching Rafael Palmeiro  not even get the minimum 5% vote to remain on the ballot, I wonder if guys like Sheffield, McGriff, Ortiz, et al will even get in.  Now I was not a Palmeiro guy, he was never a clutch player in my eyes, but he did have over 3000 hits and 500 home runs, but in the eyes of the current egomaniacs in the BBWA that vote, he is a bum.  Knowing how surly Sheff could be in his day, I can see it will be payback time for all the voters when his name comes up. 
 I may not keep the Tulo, but I did snag these cards for "Project Heritage"  I really regret not bothering with the Heritage and Archive cards.  Now I have the task of slowly (and I mean s l o w l y) try to go back and piece together 15 years of sets??  We will see how far along I get, especially with the dreaded short prints and "error" variations.  Any collectors interested in trading, I am always looking to add these cards in hopes of eventually putting the sets together. 
What is a bargain box dig without grabbing some Kellogg's cards.  I had the 80s sets at my mother's house, but I still can't say no to any of these cards.  They are star packed, fun to look at, and they really do not set you back that much.  Condition can be an issue as they are prone to curl, and can crack.  There is also a great many that have surface scratches from kids scratching their nail across the card to hear the noise it makes.  The Dewey is an extra if anyone is interested.
Snagged these guys for a dime each.  Probably not the easiest to come across unless you want the figure as well.  These are in that camp of oddball, hard to find, but no real major value to them type of cards.  All are available if anyone is interested.
This card set I think I paid a buck for it.  I just loved how it is sponsored by "Advil."  It seems appropriate for the "old man" to be backed by this product.  It is a nice little set that showcases Nolan's career and achievements. 
These two were last minute grabs.  I was helping a buddy sort out some 56 Topps cards and saw this Kell card.  FOr $3 for a Hall of Famer, it was a solid grab, and the '66 Perez was a $2.50 grab.  I am not sure about Perez being in the HOF, he always seemed more of a Hall of Very Good type guy.  I think he hung on too long and that dumbed down his numbers, but I have an affinity for any of the guys that played in the 1975 World Series, and as time has gone on, the adversarial Cincinnati Reds players have become favorites if not for just putting on the greatest World Series ever.
        I of course cannot breakdown every bit of cardboard goodness but I will say I ended up pulling around 50 more Chipper Jones cards, another 33 Griffey Jr,  among the plethora of cards I pulled on this day.  I also bought a monster box of assorted star cards that my dealer friend said he was not inclined to put in his boxes, but for a ten spot, it was fun to go through.  There was a lot of the junk wax era stars, but even more modern ones.  Between this box and what I pulled from the other boxes I ended up with nearly 100 assorted Maddux cards, 65 Mattingly, etc, etc.  Most of this is found on my Zistle inventory.  Also a bunch of Allen & Ginter cards many of the short prints.  Some of the "stars" are guys that don't have mass appeal, but more local  such as the Berkmans, Boones, Burnitz, Alfonzos, Bonillas of baseball.  For $10, I had fun sorting through it and it kept me out of trouble.  So that is it. As of this writing, only 2 weeks before the next show.  Thanks for reading.


  1. The Pirates took a pretty big gamble on signing Liriano, but it has paid off 10 fold. He doesn't pitch deep into games, but he is pretty much lights out for 5 or 6 innings. Depending on your scoring structure in fantasy baseball he can be quite a weapon.

    That is a hell of a local show!

    1. The Pirates manage him well. But they tend to do that with a lot of pitchers that have been picked off the scrap heap. I am in AL only, so Liriano is not even a factor for us.

  2. Wow you did really well! I might have to try to make the Mansfield show next time around. I had no idea people showed up that early.

    1. Not many people show up that early, just a few nuts. There are a few tables that have pretty decent quarter and dime boxes. I highly recommend you check out the show. There are a few dealers that you can really stretch out your buying dollars with.

  3. Except for the early morning and no-coat-cold-weather part, that show sounds awesome. Nice Monte Irvin, too. Once of the few sets I completed after returning to the hobby around 2002 was the 51 Red Backs set. It's long gone now, but still one of my favourites.

    1. I will not make the latter mistake again. I will, however, still get up there as early as possible. It is not that big of a deal, as I rarely ever get to sleep in since I have 3 cats that insist on getting their breakfast. I wouldn't mind getting a few more of the 51s of the price is right.