It was a rather so-so day with my card adventure today. I did find three cards that would have been on my Top 40 if I still had a ranked list. Why it wound up being a “so-so” day, I’ll explain later in this post.
Let’s get to the finds.
Pictured above are 8 of my favorite finds among about 18 or so cards bought at two Davenport stores.
Here’s a review:
• 1971 Topps Wayne Simpson: He went 14-3 in his rookie year in 1970, including a 13-1 start by July. However, he tore his rotator cuff that year and was never the same pitcher. He’s one of those “what could have beens.”
• 1954 Topps Angel Scull: The 1st Topps card of a player who never played in the major leagues. Scull, from Cuba, signed with the Senators. Around this same time, future Cuban dictator Fidel Castro had his own tryout with the Senators. (A Top 20 Want List find)
• 1957 Topps Don Larsen: It’s early 1957. You’re a Yankees fan. You enjoy baseball cards. Don Larsen did something absolutely unbelievable in the 1956 World Series. How anxious are you to get this card? Do you try to get the 1956 Topps card of him with no mention of the perfect game on it? Or do you shoot for this one? The 1st mention of the World Series perfect game on a baseball card appears here.
• 1951 Topps Red Backs Roy Sievers: My first card from Topps’ inaugural year. I now have Topps cards from every years except for 2022, which I am hoping to get a Mike Foltynewicz or a Jake Junis to keep up to date.
• 1964 Topps Jim Umbricht: Nevermind the scribble on the top of this card (which only cost me a quarter). Umbricht was one of two good players who died before the 1964 season began, the other being the Cubs’ Rookie of the Year Ken Hubbs. While Hubbs has an “In Memorium” card in this set, Umbricht’s death also is mentioned on the back of this card, but just one sentence.
• 1961 Fleer Stan Hack: A Top 10 Want List find. Hack, a Cubs great, once owned a tavern in Grand Detour – not too far from where I live.
• 1955 Bowman Ralph Kiner: My first Kiner, but with the Indians. Also purchased was my first Larry Doby, from 1959 Topps, but it looks utterly ridiculous.
• 1970 Topps Athletics Team Card: A great buy for a quarter despite its condition. Who is that guy on the front row, fourth from left? That’s none other than Joe DiMaggio. Yes, he was an A’s coach at the time. This is the very first instance of DiMaggio on a Topps baseball card while in an official major league capacity (no tribute cards or “flashback” cards). I also picked this one up for a quarter, but the conversation piece makes up for its condition. A Top 40 Want List find.
Unlike some of the recent stops, no other rookie cards of note from this trip except for the Angel Scull. Just a lot of missing blanks to fill in.
As great as it was to find a Top 10, Top 20 and a Top 40 card, I drove back up feeling disappointed and having second thoughts about going on these card finding trips.
I actually wound up overpaying on two vintage cards, which I really try not to do, but really jumped the gun on one of them and just flat out whiffed on another. Overpaid by $6, which is something I haven’t done before in the last couple of years since I restarted collecting. My philosophy is to get them cheap as I can, so this was a bummer.
However, that’s not what I’m most disappointed about.
I drove home feeling like, I must be a pain in the ass to card store owners.
I understand that my list, and my collection mission is as understandable as quantum physics. Why is this person looking for a Vern Stephens, or Roy Sievers or Vic Wertz? It’s because they were good players and I don’t have their cards! Much of my disappointment, however, is because I am a baseball card collector lost in a world of big money flipping and investment. So people just automatically assume that’s what I’m doing, plopping down Franklins for a bunch of Yander Francos and putting them on eBay.
I sometimes get this vibe that my search for non-mainstream vintage players is a waste of their time trying to help. You think I’m doing one thing, but I’m doing another, and it’s a whole different conversation.
As it turns out, though, I think I’m the one that’s being the curmudgeon.
I fail to understand sometimes that my mission is different, and can be a pain in the butt.
I also probably should come to these card shops a little more prepared. Right now, I just walk in, browse, and then figure out what I’m going to do. They’re trying to get that one-on-one service with you right away, thinking that I know exactly what I’m doing. But if I show them the list, they’re going to groan. Much of the singles are in separate boxes or in stacks behind glass, and going through the list will involve a workout routine of reaching and squatting for numerous stacks of cards. They get tired of that after a while.
In addition, I probably shouldn’t call it a “Want List” anymore.
The list probably should be called the “Cards That I’m Interested In But I May Not Want Right Away Because I Need to Know What I Can Afford First In Your Store Before Making a Decision List.”
Or, for short, the CTIIIBIMNWRABINKWICAFIYSBMD List.
The “City-Bimen-Wrab-Ink-Wika-Fi-sib-mid” List.
I think I made the error in thinking that a Want List meant that – if you have the card, you are assuming that I am going to buy it. Not the case. I only come in with $50 tops, in cash. (And as you read the word “cash” you’re probably rolling your eyes right now). So my goal for each visit is to get as many cards as I can at these locations for $50 or less (with tax). Yes, that will mean digging through countless stacks of cards behind glass, and minutes of pondering my purchasing decisions based on the $50 that I have. Yes, that will also mean that I am going to put several cards back in those stacks (numerical order or not). After about four stacks, if I see any rolling of the eyes, I just want to quit and not deal with drama.
I get the vibe of them thinking that since they’re on the list then obviously I’m going to buy them, hurry up, wrap it up and give me money.
Collecting on a budget is difficult. I want to build a collection but not spend a whole lot of money on it. So I am very particular about what I am spending to attain the cards I want, and how often I spend it. This is the reason why I DO NOT do online purchases. I’m not paying for all of the bells and whistles of postage, shipping, handling and insurance. If that were the case, I would be spending more than twice the amount of actual card values. I’m not in a hurry to attain my collection.
I am also very weary about sending my list to places to dig through cards for me. My issue with that is that are many cards that are less than $1, and I don’t know what they’re going to charge me for a stack they put together. If dime cards are in quarter boxes, that tells me that they’re going to find a way to squeeze more money out of me. But I get it: I would be paying for the convenience of them finding the cards. However, if I have a chance of digging through boxes myself to find similar cards, then I’ve already saved money.
I don’t know. Maybe I’ve gone in over my head on this. This post probably has upset way too many people. I apologize if it does. I just felt really down when I came back home.
I’ve learned that I’m probably better off going to card shows rather than card shops. I’ve had wonderful experiences dealing with folks there, and they’re more upbeat while they’re there. Probably because they aren’t doing anything else while they’re there.
I’ll go take my chill pill now and try to be more patient when finding these cards.