Friday, March 14, 2014

From the magical man from happy land who lives in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane

As you know, I live in a city that is considered by many of its inhabitants as an outpost bereft of the diversions that many city dwellers take for granted.

It's kind of ironic because the county in which I live is the fastest growing county in the state and has been for several years. While every other county in New York state is dying, mine just keeps on expanding. Yet, everyone complains that you can't find anything here.

Although I'm quite satisfied with where I live, I do agree with my neighbors in one area and that is when it comes to buying cards. I've said it over and over, but there is no acceptable card shop, new product is often delayed at least a week in comparison to other areas, and card shows require clearing of the calendar and a full tank of gas.

I definitely do not live in a mystical magical card land.

But from my point of view, mystical magical card lands DO exist.

I can pinpoint four areas in particular:

1. The Southeast, North Carolina and Georgia specifically. These areas seem to find new cards before everyone. There also seems to be card shops and card shows on every block and every week.

2. Texas. Again, new card product before everyone. To wit. Also every rack pack seems to have a hit down there.

3. California. Flea markets and card shops just teeming with any kind of card you could possibly want. If I wanted, say, a 1973 Willie Horton from my card shop, I'm quite sure I'd be told to get the hell out of the store. From what I hear about California, you could walk out your home today, get to the shop, and Mr. Horton would be waiting for you at the card shop drive-thru window.

4. The greater Chicago area. The apparent birthplace of the dime box. And the penny box. And other boxes that accept microscopic currency. The card shows there always have 1975 minis, too. Always. Guaranteed. Meanwhile, my card show dealers have '75 minis, but they don't bring them to the show because ... because ... well, I don't know why, I just looked at the guy in a stupor when he told me that.

Fortunately -- and I've mentioned this a few times, too -- this is why I have a blog. GET A BLOG, PEOPLE. WRITE ON IT. A LOT. YOU GET CARDS.

Blogs connect you to these mystical magical card lands even when you live in a barren outpost where you still can't see around the snowbanks every time you back out of the driveway yes this is March 14th.

One of those connections paid off recently.

I was lamenting my worst card show blunder. I had passed up one of the most beautiful-looking cards of all-time. And I was wishing I could go back in time to change my response. The card was a 1954 Bowman Billy Loes.

After I wrote that post, I received a few different offers for a '54 Loes. But the one that came my way was from one of those mystical land card shows in the Midwest. I'm also quite sure the sender lives in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane because we all know those kind of Chicago-area card shows are not to believed.

Get a load of what arrived from Jeff:

My gosh, I love that card.

The only thing that could make it better is maybe if the ball was glowing a little bit, with rays emanating from it. And if it spoke. Just to me. It would say something like, "I am the most beautiful card in the world and you own it."

I'm sorry Mr. Loes has to reside in such a cold, foreboding, expensive-card world, but I promise to take perfect care of him.

Jeff also found some other goodies after venturing out of his gumdrop house.

This is my newest Ron Cey card. Sure, it's one of those sooooo '90s gold-stamped parallels, but I accept it because it's The Penguin and Hometown Heroes is Panini at its best ... or shall I say, most competent.

1981 Fleer just gives and gives. I might have to put up a want list for the Star Stickers set.

This is Bobby Morgan from the 1979 TCMA set. I thought this was a dupe for a little while. But it's not.

This is why I thought it was though:

All those early 1950s Brooklyn infielders look the same (P.S.: that's Billy Cox).

Jeff also found another '54 Bowman. After an apparent inner battle, he decided to send it to me. That's a good magical man.

Ol' Carl was folded a few times and stuffed in a back pocket. We're a lot more careful with our cards these days. But I'll be holding on to this one for quite awhile I have a feeling.

It's not often that you get a card from someone who lives on Lollipop Lane.


  1. The TCMA sets very underrated. Love the 54 Bowmans. Beautiful set.

  2. I can tell you I don't live on Lollipop Lane, but from the age of one through the end of high school, I did grow up on Howdy Lane.,-87.733618,3a,90y,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sTcE7t6pXWQmJ95aIKoRrGg!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x880e3b0b31286259:0xae9ee5707606b23c

    No lie.

  3. Agree with you about the amount of card shops. I live an hour east of Chicago and there is 6-7 shops in between us.

  4. You have to be more specific. I live in Eastern North Carolina. There is one card shop within 300 miles of here (fortunately, it IS right around the corner, but he doesn't always stock all the Baseball products because this state is wild for Football, Basketball & Nascar), we routinely get our cards--retail and hobby--weeks after release and weeks after everybody else (and hits are a rarity to the point you wonder if they really do exist) and there has never been a card show in this half of the state for as long as I've lived here. Now maybe Raleigh or Charlotte have oodles of cards and card shops and card shows, but they ain't around here.

  5. Up her up here in the northeast. I've found not many card shops. Plenty of shows .at least one a month sometimes two