Saturday, May 5, 2012
A trip to the card shop, quarter style
Afternoons don't get much better than the one I experienced yesterday.
My dad and I usually grab lunch on the weekends, but he had a great suggestion for how we could spend the day.
"Why don't we go to the card shop?"
"Sounds great!", I said.
One of the few brick-and-mortar card shops that has survived the nationwide "shop plague" is a place called "Tim's Baseball Card Shop", about a half-hour bus ride from where I live, near the lake. (Lake Michigan, for you non-Chicagoans.)
Last year, his shop was featured on a Super Bowl commercial that promoted the support of small businesses.
It's a relatively small store, as most card shops seem to be nowadays. Most of the "glass case" cards are fairly overpriced, as are the Chicago-related items he has available. (But that's true for any Chicagoland card shop.)
The owner, Tim, has always been nice and accommodating every time my dad and I have gone there, so I try to go there every so often. If there's one business I want to support, it's a local card shop. My dad and I hadn't gone there in over a year before yesterday, so this trip was long overdue.
While the "glass case" cards may be overpriced, the shop has a fantastic selection of quarter boxes. And I can't resist quarter boxes, as many of you know.
Since I hadn't been there in a while, there was a nice chunk of new quarter cards to pick through.
As you'll soon see, the quarter boxes were a definite success.
Perhaps the best quarter card I found yesterday was the above Nolan Ryan card. A fantastic shot of the Astrodome roof hovering above the "Ryan Express".
Upper Deck was undoubtedly a step ahead with their card designs in the early '90s.
I feel like these should belong to an art museum instead of a quarter box.
The first of the many cards I dug through yesterday was a pile of 1993 Flair, a great set that is often overlooked due to the drab state the hobby was in at the time.
Plus, I love any card of Trevor Hoffman as a Marlin.
The shop had some other rarely-seen '90s cards, including these from the 1994 Donruss Elite set.
Jim Abbott is and always will be one of my favorite players. I get a rush every time I manage to nab a new card of his, more so than almost any other guy I can think of.
I was never much of a fan of the "Ring of Honor" inserts Topps issued a few years back, but I'll never be able to turn down new cards of Duke Snider or Lou Piniella.
Not bad for a quarter a piece.
I'm a huge fan of these, on the other hand.
I've always had an affection for any Donruss Champions set, although I'm not altogether sure why. The '05 Champions set is still the only product I've ever bought more than one box of. (I was big into game-used and autos then, and the boxes guaranteed eight per box. How could I resist?)
But Donruss Champions or not, I love any card of Reggie in a "Swingin' A's" uniform.
Nothing says "quality control issues" quite like Topps Chrome.
I found a handful of 2009 Topps Chrome refractors inside the shop's quarter box, all of which had some ink blot-like marks on them. (You can see the marks on the right of the Lincecum, and on either side of the Fielder.)
I'm guessing the owner got a condition-marred box of Topps Chrome and just threw them in the quarter box, hoping for someone to come along and take them.
That's where I come in.
Since I collect both Lincecum and Fielder, I bought them. The blots make them "unique", at least from my standpoint.
I found a big stack of the "This Day in History" inserts from 2010 A&G inside one of the quarter boxes.
A great insert set, in my opinion, since I'm a fan of American history as well. (If you consider "The Heidi Game" a piece of history.)
I feel that I have a pretty good photographic memory, at least when it comes to baseball cards. Freakishly good, if you ask my parents.
It's all the better when it comes to dime and quarter boxes, as I can remember which cards I have and don't have out of thousands upon thousands of cards in my collection. (Although I still come back with a few doubles at every card show.)
For some reason, I had a hard time remembering which ones I had and didn't have out of these inserts. I ended up with seven or eight doubles out of the cards I brought home. (More trade bait, I guess.)
Thankfully, the Braun wasn't one of them.
I've been back in the baseball card hobby for about seven years now, but I still come across cards I've never seen before all the time.
Case in point, the above Todd Hollandsworth card, a surprisingly awesome "New Age" insert from the 1995 Summit set. How have these managed to slip through the cracks?
This was easily one of yesterday's best quarter box finds.
Thanks to his appearances on "Seinfeld", I've been looking to pick up a few more Danny Tartabull cards lately.
I can't imagine he has a greater card than the above "Spirit of the Game" insert. Perhaps even better than the catch itself are Tartabull's multiple shadows on the wall behind him. It almost looks like something out of a horror movie.
Even the back of the card...
...is better than most card fronts I've seen.
A great end to some great quarter boxes.
The owner even threw in a free hobby pack of 2007 Topps with the purchase, from which I pulled...
Gotcha! A Chris Shelton base card.
However, you might remember that I collect Mr. Shelton, and I somehow didn't already own this card. So while the pack consisted of cards of the likes of Randy Johnson, Johan Santana, and Mike Mussina, the Shelton was my favorite from the 10 cards I pulled.
I guess that kind of defines my collection as a whole.
As I mentioned before, the "glass case" cards at the shop are a bit overpriced.
However, the owner has always been great to me and my dad anytime we stop in, which is thankfully different from a lot of the card shop horror stories I've heard over the years.
This is a card shop I want to support.
So I picked out a few of the reasonably overpriced cards (if that makes any sense), anything I could do to help.
The above '59 Topps Nellie Fox was ten bucks. Sure, a bit overpriced.
But truthfully, you probably won't find this card a whole lot cheaper in my area, since it's a Chicago-themed card.
A very welcome addition to my collection.
This is actually the first card I own from the 1970 Kellogg's set.
Perhaps a bit of a pricey buy at six bucks, but it's worth that in awesomeness to me. The Marichal was my favorite pickup of the day.
Anything I can do to help support a great card shop.
But the biggest surprise of the day was that my dad picked up the tab for all of yesterday's finds. He originally said he'd get the Fox and Marichal cards for me, but he ended up paying for all the quarter cards, which I was more than willing to pay for out of my own money. Thanks, Dad!
After all that, we still had a fantastic lunch together.
A cheeseburger, cheese fries, a bag of baseball cards, and some quality time with my dad were all the ingredients I needed for a perfect afternoon.