Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Show and tell

Between schoolwork and other things, I am practically devoid of any energy right now.

It's funny, though. I still want to blog tonight.

I learned a while ago that "forcing" a post probably isn't a good idea. My best writing doesn't usually come out in those types of situations.

Tonight isn't one of those times.

I don't know about the rest of the bloggers out there, but there are certain moments where I just feel like I need to write something, even if I barely have the energy to do anything else.

I guess blogging can be like a "getaway", in so many words.

What you're going to be getting from me tonight is one of the easiest types of posts I know how to write.

The "show and tell" post.

I show you some stuff, I tell you about it, and that's that. Perhaps you'll even "ooh" or "aah" over it. (In a way, I guess that's what all bloggers try to accomplish.)

No flashbacks to "simpler times". No deep analysis of anything.

While I love writing the "deeper" types of posts as well, these are always a treat for me every once in a while.

Tonight, you'll be looking at one of the best purchases I've ever made. (And I'm not just talking in the realm of baseball cards.)

But first, the backstory.

During one of the many Sunday afternoons I spent at the flea market last year, I noticed that one of the vendors had a brand new item for sale one particular week.

A small binder, packed to the absolute brim with old-time reprints. (I've already described how much I enjoy those.)

The sign on the front of it said that the cards were ten cents a piece. A dime binder, if you will.

Even though I would've loved picking through that gem-filled binder, I couldn't help but wonder how cool it would be to simply take the whole thing home with me.

Instead of picking and choosing individual cards and dispersing them amongst my own binders, I figured this collection of reprints could be a whole other "piece" to my collection in itself.

I asked the vendor (one of the regular ones who I buy from very often) how much he wanted for the entire thing. He shot me a twenty-dollar offer.

Since I didn't have that much on me, I countered at ten bucks.

"Sold!", he said.

To my surprise, one of my few attempts at haggling had actually worked.

I couldn't have been happier.

To be exact, I received a binder with 36 nine-pocket pages, almost all of which were completely filled with fantastic reproductions.

All for ten bucks. I still rate it as one of my better steals.

So let's take a look at just what was to be found inside this awesome binder, shall we?

The first few pages were made up of reprints from the General Baking Company. The originals date back to the early 1910s.

Just in this page alone, we have names like "Home Run" Baker, Fred Merkle, "Chief" Bender, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Eddie Collins.

The Hal Chase issue (right-hand side of the middle row) has a large back mark across the bottom of it. I can't be sure, but I'd guess that was because he was one of the players who "jumped" to the rival Federal League around that time.

But wait, there's more...

These were certainly new to me.

Apparently, they're amongst the many different tobacco issues of the early days of cards, as they all read "Plow Boy Tobacco" on the back.

These comprise about four pages within the binder. All of these particular reprints feature either a Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox player.

I especially enjoy this page because it features a member of the "Black Sox". First baseman and ringleader Chick Gandil is the player featured in the upper-right hand corner.

Too cool.

The majority of the binder was filled with these old Play Ball reprints.

Little did I know at the time that I'd soon own one of the above cards.

I nabbed a beat-up copy of the actual Jim Tabor (bottom-right) for three bucks a few months ago, as I recounted on this blog. Bargain bin vintage doesn't get much better than that.

What makes this specific page a favorite of mine is the inclusion of Moe Berg in the top-right corner.

Also known as "the guy who was a spy in World War II".

Twenty-three of the pages consist of these black-and-white beauties. Names like "Daffy" Dean, "Bucky" Walters, and "Line Drive" Nelson are all represented.

They sure don't make nicknames like they used to.

Don't believe me?

Then I'd like you to meet "Indian Bob" Johnson and Harry "Gunboat" Gumbert.

The final section of this spectacular piece of baseball history consists of beautifully colorized versions of those same Play Ball reprints.

I'm a big fan of a lot of black-and-white stuff out there (The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers...Clerks), but I have to admit that everything looks better in color.

I don't know that ten bucks could've been spent any better. With everything I've shown in this post, wouldn't you agree?

I'll never break up this set. Although many of them would go into my "regular" binders, it's just too great a piece to dismantle. 

It really is like a trip through early baseball history, one unlike any other I've seen in my collecting life.

Well, I hoped you enjoyed my first blatant attempt at show-and-tell since I was in the third grade.

I guess I'll go back to my seat now.


Dhoff said...

Great purchase, man. I think I would have picked and chose and pecked away at that dime binder, so good thing you got it. It deserves to be preserved.

P-town Tom said...

That was a steal!

Fred Merkle? The same Fred Merkle from Merkle's Boner? That's a pretty cool reprint.