Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Flea market deja vu, Pt. 2: Can't stand losing you

Flea markets can be a fickle thing.

As anyone with past experience will tell you, there's a possibility of finding almost anything you can imagine at a flea market. That's part of their intrigue, after all.

I'd love to see a Storage Wars-esque TV show about people who scavenge through flea markets. Frankly, I'm surprised no one's done anything like that yet.

Still, no matter what, the baseball cards are what keep me coming back to my local flea market on a regular basis. Try as I might, I can't get myself interested in spare tools, old board games, or anything else the flea market has to offer.

When it gets down to it, baseball cards are my one and only hobby.

For that reason, you can imagine my excitement when a card table popped up in the very first aisle of my local flea market last weekend.

A table which, I may add, included a glorious dime box.

On their own, the cards were listed at a quarter a piece.

However, this particular vendor offered up a sweet 10/$1 deal for any cards within the box. So, in essence, this was a dime box. Just not an altogether straightforward one.

As one of the more star-studded dime bins I've dug through, it allowed me to add the neat barehand fielding shot of "The Big Unit" to my binders, as well as the two mini-collection hits you see above.

Perhaps the only thing better than a throwback jersey is a Negro League throwback jersey.

As a nod to the old Kansas City Monarchs franchise, that's exactly what we have with the Beltran.

While it pains me to say it, I welcomed these two cards into my collection with open arms.

As it happens, Clemens and Bonds are probably my two least favorite players in the history of baseball. However, as far as I'm concerned, great photography trumps hatred when it comes to cardboard.

The Clemens is a treasured add to my "interview" collection. In keeping with the prevalent technology these days, most of my newer cards of the sort feature those recent headset mics.

While I haven't officially declared an "at the wall" mini-collection just yet, I'm currently teetering on the brink of doing so.

Shots like those even manage to make cards of Barry Bonds cool.

Which is saying something.

Below his dime boxes, this vendor also had a fifty-cent bin on display.

However, in keeping up with the bargain-themed nature of the flea market, he offered them up at 4/$1.

While I didn't come away with too much from (essentially) his quarter bins, these two were a couple of my better finds of the day. It's been a while since I've found new cards of both Rube Waddell and "Ducky" Medwick.

Much less out of the same box.

And then there's this one.

Eagle-eyed readers may recognize this canine-themed card as a former "Dime Box Dozen" need of mine. The pride I received out of adding this piece to my collection has been a long time coming.

While not a regular, I'd recognized this vendor from the couple times he set up at the flea market last year. He had these same 10/$1 and 4/$1 bins on display then, too.

And I distinctly remember seeing this Giambi during my dig through his cardboard last year. But, for whatever reason, I put it back. I'm still not exactly sure why.

Then, as I was getting ready to pay for my finds that afternoon, I decided that I wanted the Giambi after all. Problem was, I couldn't find it again amongst all those other rows of cardboard.

So I left without it. For the last six months or so, I couldn't stand the fact that I'd basically lost the chance to add this masterpiece to my binders. (Hence, the post title.)

Ever since then, I'd badly wanted that vendor to set up shop at the flea market again. Lo and behold, I got my wish last weekend. And, after a couple minutes of digging, I found Mr. Giambi, rectifying that huge mistake I'd made last year.

It was finally mine!

All in all, I plucked 20 dime cards and eight quarter cards from this vendor's table, for which the vendor only charged me three bucks.

The Giambi was one of my bigger coups of the day.

For now, though, let's go back to the "mega-table" at my local flea market.

As I mentioned in Friday's post, I scored 200 dime cards, around 60 quarter cards, and a few other miscellaneous vintage pieces (coming up in a later post) from my regular card vendor for just twenty bucks.

I guess you could say that all my non-dime finds were free of charge. In a way, then, the remainder of the cards you'll see in this post were on the house.

How awesome is that?

Despite the excitement his dime box brought, rooting around through the quarter boxes did manage to provide quite an array of gems.

Until I researched it a few minutes ago, I had absolutely no idea what exactly this Pete Rose card was. All I knew was that it it was a spectacular add to my "Charlie Hustle" collection.

As it turns out, Leaf's 2012 release wasn't the first all-Pete Rose set in existence. Topps did the very same thing...way back in 1985.

This is a specimen from Topps's 120-card "Charlie Hustle" release.

If the beauty of it is any indication, I'll have to be on the hunt for more of these in the future.

For a quarter, I couldn't turn down either of these.

While I managed to pluck a couple of those Squirt oddballs from this vendor's dime box a week prior, I was more than happy to shell out an extra fifteen cents for the Reggie.

It still proved to be one of the better steals of the day.

Much like the Squirt oddballs, a few of these legendary Sportflics issues had been dime box suspects just a week earlier.

But, again, I don't mind shelling out a few extra cents for names like "Yaz" and "Whitey".

As I keep stressing over and over again, this guy's discount boxes are tough to match.

They literally contain a little bit of everything.

On top of oddballs and 3-D Hall of Famers, this quarter bin managed to satisfy the "latest and greatest" lover in me as well.

One of my short-term goals for the year is to get all the '72 minis I need from Series 1 before Series 2 hits the shelves. However, I'm still a ways away from realizing that at the moment.

Still, this "A-Gon" mini happily brings me one step closer.

At just a quarter each, I couldn't resist the opportunity to land these recent releases.

As I've found, I have an extreme weakness when it comes to Flagship's serial-numbered gold parallels. Especially ones of the quarter variety.

Call me a sucker, but it's true.

I wouldn't consider myself a Giants fan, but I sure do seem to collect quite a few players from the franchise.

Both Cain and Theriot are newer additions to the San Francisco binder.

Mr. Cain basically got in because of his perfect game against the Astros last season, which is chronicled on that "Memorable Moments" Heritage insert. Meanwhile, Theriot has long been a binder mainstay due to his Cubbie days.

The rather obscure Fontenot-Theriot middle infield combo was one of my all-time favorites.

Maybe the "latest and greatest" just isn't your thing.

That's fine. I can't say I blame you.

Maybe your devotions lie with '90s cardboard. If so, this quarter box certainly had its fair share of gems to offer.

Take this nifty minor league issue of young Pedro Martinez. (A card which was recently featured on another blog.)

I very nearly put it back upon first glance, but something about it spoke to me. Plus, I didn't want another Jason Giambi scenario hanging over my head for the next six months.

So I pulled the trigger.

Needless to say, I'm happy I did.

I know, I know.

These "Minted in Cooperstown" parallels from '98 Topps are some of the absolute dumbest variations in the history of cardboard.

Even so, I couldn't resist adding a slightly different version of one of my all-time favorite cards (and my absolute favorite Vlad piece) to my collection.

Maybe I am just a sucker for parallels, plain and simple.

Boy, has the MLB ever created an All-Star jersey that wasn't hideously ugly?

As a terrific addition to my "Award Show" collection, this UD MVP piece pictures "Junior" hoisting his 1998 Home Run Derby trophy, with Coors Field providing a beautiful backdrop in the process.

Despite the unsightly uniform, this proved to be one of my better pickups of the day.

All things considered, I'd have to rank this as last weekend's single-greatest quarter find.

For one thing, it's a rookie card of one of the bigger names in today's game. On top of that, it's a coveted add to my "bat barrel" mini-collection.

But, most of all, Andre Ethier never played a single game for the Oakland A's. They dealt him to the Dodgers for Milton Bradley, of all people.

Which, of course, makes this a treasured new part of my "zero-year" collection.

Before Sunday, I don't think I'd ever seen a card that combined all those elements into one.

It's true.

When I go to flea markets, I completely breeze by everything else. Call it a "one-track mind" if you'd like.

All I care about are the baseball cards.


JediJeff said...

Screw going to Kane County - they never have any decent card vendors there. I heading north.

Spiegel83 said...

Nice looking Pedro minor league card and thanks for the link. That Ethier is pretty sweet as well.

Fuji said...

The Dodgers definitely got the better end of the Ethier deal.

As for flea markets... they're part of my Sunday morning routine. I love coming across all of those people dumping their Junk Wax Era cards... and of course, every now and then you'll find a guy who has some vintage too.

Colbey Hopper said...

Great read. Too bad I can't ever find cards at the flea markets in my area anymore.

Lou Caruana said...

I used to go to the Brookville flea market in Indiana, every week and made some great buys on baseball cards. Come to find out, the vendor had no Idea what he had and knew nothing about the cards so, for the rest of the summer I bought and bought, picking up some great cards.
Needless to say, I was addicted and now have over 100,000 cards and I've started buying again LOL. I may be 70 but I still love the hobby.