When I go to a card show, since I go to so few, I like to take my time.
By taking my time, I don't mean staying there for five hours. I don't have the patience for that, and I'm not much of a gabber, so there's no chance I'll get in a 30-minute discussion about the '74 Topps "Washington N.L." variations.
But I do like to scope the room, which is very large, and at least scan every table. I scout out dollar boxes and expand my horizons by visiting mojo tables. Generally, I like to fill my senses with each show.
But not this time.
This time I was with my 13-year-old daughter. She doesn't care about sports in the least. And you know 13-year-olds. If they're forced to do what they don't want to do, it's as if they're in solitary confinement. They won't try to find something interesting, they won't try to help out, they'll just plug in their ipod and turn on the vacant stare.
Normally, this wouldn't rush me, but I felt like I owed her something. She was with me only through a build-up of coincidental events. You know those days when it seems like everything in the universe is converging on you on one specific day? That was card show day. I was half surprised that we didn't have to fight off the bubonic plague on our way to the show. It was about the only thing that was missing.
So, I got in and out of the show in an hour. That's about half the time that I usually spend there.
It didn't prevent me from getting anything I wanted. And now that I have my handy want lists on my phone, I didn't accidentally pick up anything I don't need.
But it did play havoc with the budget. I kept losing track of how much money I had remaining. I actually left the show with money left over (that SHOULDN'T happen). And I missed a number of tables I meant to visit.
But I did pretty well, mostly because two tables have just about everything I need.
Here is the top 10 of what I got. In reverse order, as always:
10. James Loney, 2011 Heritage, green border parallel
A guy had various stacks of parallels from various current sets. This was the only green border parallel Dodger left. I almost feel guilty picking up James Loney cards, like someone is standing over my shoulder saying his WAR isn't what it should be. But love every Dodger I must.
9. Kristi Yamaguchi, 2011 Allen & Ginter
Close to the end of the show, in a frantic haze, I suddenly found myself staring at a binder of this year's A&G and thought "crap, I'm collecting this set. I was supposed to get a bunch of these cards!" But by then, I was just about out of money (actually I wasn't) and grabbed only a few cards that I knew I needed.
I tried to get 13-year-old back in the game by showing her this card. What I got back was: blank face, shrug and mouthed, sarcastic "wow."
8. Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, 2011 Topps Update All-Stars
Two more for the half-hearted player collections. Not the greatest photo of either of them, although the Kemp card is unusual enough to make me happy.
7. Jerry Sands and Dee Gordon, 2011 Topps Update
These two card were priced a little too high because they were "rookies." But I bought them with a bunch of other current set needs and the guy marked them down as if they were lowly commons. I don't know where Sands is looking, but that Gordon card is fantastic.
6. Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw, 2011 Allen & Ginter
I can tell that there are fewer people trying to complete A&G this year based on how slowly I am completing the set. The fact that I still need base Dodgers from the set is telling. (I still need the Ethier card -- there must have been an Ethier fan in the building as I couldn't find any in all the key places where you might find an Ethier card).
5. Joe Pignatano, 1958 Topps; Russ Meyer, 1955 Bowman
One dealer featured a glorious "3 cards for $7" binder filled with nicely conditioned '50s and early '60s vintage. And when I got my three cards, he knocked another buck off it. I know I'm showing only two cards here. The other one is going to someone else.
4. 1959 Topps Steve Bilko, 1960 Topps Walt Alston, 1960 Topps Wally Moon
Still at the same dealer's table. He also had a dollar-each binder filled with the same '50s and '60s vintage. The Bilko I had in buy-back form already, but since Topps has to slap a stupid stamp on it, I grabbed another one. The Alston I have two other versions of already but both are practically on death's door. This one is a little more lively. Finally, the Moon fills another gap. With some players I am especially aware when I need a card of theirs. Wally Moon is one of those players.
3. 1962 Topps Ron Perranoski, 1960 Topps Danny McDevitt, 1960 Topps Larry Sherry, 1960 Topps Jim Gilliam, 1959 Topps John Roseboro, 1963 Topps Stan Williams
Note to self: Go through dollar bins FIRST, not last.
By the time I got to this dollar bin, my daughter's face had transformed into the "C-MON!" look. Dollar bins are not something you can look through when you're in a rush. But look I did. What great stuff. This is the first thing I'm aiming for next time.
The '60 Topps was in such terrific shape that I grabbed the Gilliam card even though I already have one. The Perranoski card looks like he has a black eye. I didn't notice that when I picked out the card. The lighting wasn't great at that dealer's table. The Williams card -- in which he's listed as a Yankee but pictured as a Dodger -- is one of those cards I never would have known about if I didn't read blogs.
2. Don Bessent and Jim Gilliam, 1956 Topps
With these two cards, I now have all of the reasonably priced '56 Topps Dodgers, except maybe Walter Alston. From here on out it's: Campanella, Koufax, Hodges, Reese, Snider, Robinson. Hoo-boy.
1. Gerry Janeski, Leo Durocher, Mike Hedlund, Tony Perez, Tommie Aaron, Horace Clarke, Jack DiLauro, Bill Burbach, 1971 Topps
Glorious, glorious '71 Topps. These eight cards mean I'm down to needing 10 cards to finish off the set. Roberto still remains, as do the Matlack and Don Baylor rookies -- which are doubly GAH! because each of those rookie cards contain Dodgers and I will need two EACH of those cards. But I can see the end now!
Getting the Perez card is key because his price was really bothering me and I found one for cheap. The bottom four cards contain some ultra high numbers. Obtaining them always makes me happy.
I nabbed a few other cards that you may or may not see here. Then I asked my daughter if she was really sure that she wanted to leave. Because they hadn't stamped our hands and there was NO GOING BACK.
I got a look and off to the car we went.
Then we drove to the mall just so she could make me suffer as much as I made her suffer. Only the memory of my very recent card purchases got me through some of those stores.
Later, when I knew my daughter was in a better mood because the whole card experience was over, I asked her about the Yamaguchi Allen & Ginter card again.
"I like the chair," she said.