I bought several more than what’s pictured above. Up close pictures available HERE.
After more than a year, I made it back out to the Illinois Valley show at the Peru Mall (in Peru). Yes, the mall is still around. It’s kind of like the one in my hometown of Sterling, plenty of empty space. However, the show, highlighted by special autograph signer Ron Kittle, attracted cars to the end of the parking area.
This show is put on by RidgeCards, and they host several shows in the Illinois Valley. Check them out at ridgecards.com. The show is a mix of cards, memorabilia and comic books.
I went last year not really knowing what to look for, but after recent show visits, the Want List got more narrowed down. I didn’t come away with a whole lot of cards, but many of them were “list busters.” Also, at this stage in my collecting journey, I have pretty much have all of my 1971-and-later that I currently desire except for a few select cards.
One table stop had several individual cards, with a small stack of low-star vintage – He had a lot more a year ago, so I assume much of it went to another home. There was a box of $0.50 cards that I wanted to peer into, but my back was acting up. I’ve found out in recent shows that I can’t stand up at tables like I used to. It may be the car ride. I kindly asked him for a chair to sit at, and he brought one over. (So I definitely wanted to buy something from him.) Not a whole lot was on my Want List, but I plucked out enough cards with the old “90% rule” from my childhood: In this case, cards I know worth $5 or more were going to be plucked from the $0.50 box.
Two more recent cards bought from that box were an Adrian Gonzalez Red Sox card and a Bartolo Colon Athletics card. They were my first cards of those players on those teams. Another find that I wasn’t looking for, but got it anyway, was a 1993 Leaf All-Stars insert card of Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux – a neat “transition” card with two of the best pitchers in baseball history.
Another table I stopped at was one assisted by a diehard Cardinals fan. While the table had a lot of the newer cards, we got to talking about vintage Cardinals cards as far back as the 19th century. Being this was in Peru, I had to ask him if he knew about HOF’er Jim Bottomley being from nearby Oglesby. He knew. (Bottomley was born in Oglesby, but was raised in downstate Nokomis.) I also told him about MY local Cardinals connection from the past: “Who was the guy who pinch-ran for Stan Musial in his final at-bat?” That would be 1958 Rock Falls High School graduate Gary Kolb – a name I’ve mentioned several times in my writings. I have three Kolb rookies from 1964 and recently completed his Topps career arc from 1964-65, 1968-69). I told him about my “White Whale,” the 1964 Topps from Venezuela. The search continues.
I wound up not stopping at a whole lot of tables, because I spent most of my money at my last one. The penultimate table was a vintage-new mix, and I came away with three cards of note:
• 2007 Topps Joe Maddon: I know, the newer stuff has popped up a little too much, but I realized that I didn’t have a single Joe Maddon in my collection. BTW: Maddon’s best minor league card, the 1977 TCMA, is from his days playing for the Quad City Angels.
• 1969 Topps Zolio Versalles: A Top 50 find that I originally had to pass over some months back in Orland Park because of money constraints. Versalles is a Twins legend, and this is one of those 1969 cards with mismatched jerseys and team names. Officially, it is a Padres card, from its first year. The 1969 Topps set is abysmal for many reasons: bad airbrushing, error cards, photography controversy (another post for another time), and uniform colors that don’t match the team name – which actually is because of the four new expansion teams. Another interesting 1969 card will be mentioned later in this post.
• 1961 Topps Ted Kluzsewski: My first Kluzsewski, and a good one to have since he’s wearing a White Sox hat and listed as a “Los Angeles” Angel. The Angels were new then, and they were first known as the “Los Angeles Angels” before reverting to the California name for many years.
• 1970 Topps Dick Allen: One of the strangest examples of photo reuses of a player is Dick Allen from 1970 to 1972 (take a good hard look at the Allen card at the top of this post). This card also is a Top 50 find. Allen is pictured in Phillies attire and listed as a St. Louis Cardinal. Okay, this works well with the red and white uniform. Allen is then sent to the Dodgers for the 1970 season, and is pictured on his (rare high series) 1971 Topps card in a Dodger uniform and with much more hair. Then, he is sent to the White Sox in time for the 1972 set to come out. Since the South Siders were wearing red and white then, Topps elects to reuse the Allen image from the 1970 card – clean-shaven – for the 1972 set. It wasn’t until the 1973 set that Topps got a recent Allen picture, and in enough time to save the White Sox from going to St. Petersburg!
One vintage collector had a center table with several tables of vintage cards. There went my money, but I came away with a lot of good ones.
Here we go, here’s a summary of most of them:
• 1952 Topps Del Crandall: This is my very first 1952 card from the legendary set, and also my first card of a Boston Brave. I had never touched a 1952 before, and as weird as it sounds, I was surprised at how sturdy these cards are.
• 1955 Topps Camilo Pascual: This is my first 1955 Topps card, and it was a good steal at $2 for its condition. This is Pascual’s rookie card, and he went on to become a multi-time all-star with a awesome curveball. I also have Pascual’s final original card from 1970. Pascual is in the Cuban, Caribbean and Latino baseball halls of fame. — On a side note: In 1994, Topps produced a 50th Anniversary set of the 1954 cards. That reprint set included several rookies if they had appeared on a 1954 card, Pascual included, along with Harmon Killebrew and Don Zimmer. The “54 reprint” set is the subject of a funny childhood hobby story of mine (another post for another time).
• 1972 Topps Denny McLain: He was never the same after the amazing 1968 season. Arm trouble. Emotional trouble. Wound up playing in Washington for Ted Williams. The Senators became the Rangers the next year. I think all of the Rangers players’ 1972 cards had the same pose: looking up into the inside of the ball cap. I have rookie cards of Toby Harrah and Jeff Burroughs with similar poses.
• 1973 Topps Jack McKeon: This is McKeon’s manager “rookie card.” I completely forgot about this one before I saw it. McKeon’s MLB career is an interesting one: He managed in 5 different decades, was the GM for the Padres’ run in 1984, and came out of retirement in 2003 to lead the Marlins to a World Series title while in his 70s – Not even Connie Mack could do that!
• 1975 Topps Frank Robinson: Robinson’s last original Topps card from his playing days, and before he became the first Black manager of a team.
• 1960 Topps White Sox team card & 1976 Topps Royals team card: In both instances, I’m trying to find out if certain players are on the fronts of these cards. Turns out, after buying the Royals card, that Harmon Killebrew is NOT in this picture (not many remember that Killebrew retired as a Royal). The White Sox team may have been the same group of guys that won the AL pennant in 1959.
• 1955 Bowman Joe Adcock: When you think of the Milwaukee Braves and home runs, you think of Hank Aaron (755) and Eddie Mathews (512). Adcock hit a lot of dingers, too, in his career (336), and most of them came in a Braves uniform.
• First cards in my collection of: Whitey Ford (1966 Topps), Richie Ashburn (1963 Topps), George Kell (1958 Topps) and Ted Williams (1971 Topps, as a manager).
• 1969 Topps “Aurelio Rodriguez”: This is the infamous “bat boy” card. Legend has it that the Topps photographer got the wrong person shot. The error wasn’t discovered for another 4 years. I first learned about this card from reading the Beckett monthly price guide as a kid, and wondered that this “bat boy” thing was about.
With most of the above, the conditions of the cards are not all that great. I don’t mind that, however. With that being said, though, I’m approaching the stage in my hobby fun that I’m desiring more cards of more expensive players, and sometimes a poor condition card will be worth it to me.
Again, not a lot for me coming away from this show, but there’s more to come: I plan to be back in Orland Park on Dec. 26, and then off to Madison, Wisconsin in late January.
I also want to give a shout out to my friend, Cordell, who runs Most Valuable Breaks Sports Cards and Memorabilia with a couple of partners. He was at this show as well (and in Rockford the week before). MVB is a very active group that deals with lots of the current market. Find them on Facebook at “MVB” for all up-to-date things around the current sports scenes.