Monday, May 9, 2011


I've probably mentioned before that when I compose posts late at night, I am usually listening to Pandora Radio, one of the best inventions of modern times.

I have been a music fan since I could walk. My parents tell me that when I was a tyke, I would dance and bob around the room to whatever was on the radio or the turntable. I carried that affinity for music with me throughout my life, building first an extensive collection of 45s and LPs, and then boxes of cassette tapes, and then shelves of CDs, and now much more manageable digital files on the computer and ipod.

Since I have been following music for 30-plus years now, my interests are extensive. There isn't a lot I don't like, although I do have my limits. I have a number of stations saved on Pandora and they run the spectrum from current popular music, to late '60s/early '70s rock, to '80s alternative, to '90s country/rock, and lots of other stuff in between. I am not a heavy metal hater. I am not a disco hater. I am not a '50s crooner hater. I sample everything.

One of my favorite things to do is build a station from a specific time period. It's a little difficult to do because Pandora will sneak in bands you've never heard of before, which is cool if you're listening to a certain genre, but not cool when you only want to hear stuff from 1983-85.

So, earlier, I was listening to music from 1979. Yes, 1979. Don't judge. I was 13. It was a big year in my life. I think I know every single song that came out in 1979. It is very cool when a song pops on that you haven't heard in 32 years.

Tonight, I heard "Hold On" by Ian Gomm. Ever heard of it? I didn't think so. It's a pleasant British pop song that hit No. 18 on the Billboard charts (does anyone pay attention to the Billboard charts anymore?) in October of 1979.

The first few notes of the song took me immediately to freshman year in high school, all the weird goings-on of that time, and all the other songs of that period (remember "Pop Muzik" by M?).

But it also took me back to this:

It's the first modern-era baseball card price guide, issued in 1979 by James Beckett and Dennis Eckes. I ordered this price guide in '79 and it immediately became my most prized possession, other than my cards, of course.

I have already featured the guide before, back in the blog's early days.

The best part of this guide now is looking through it and seeing how cheap cards were then. Here is one example:

A mere $18 for a mint 1954 Jackie Robinson? Gah! Why wasn't I WORKING in 1979? Too bad I couldn't figure how to get ahold of a card like that back then.

The prices are fascinating. In fact, the whole price guide is kind of fascinating.

And that made me think:

Would you be interested if I showed this price guide page-by-page, either on this blog or on another one started by me?

I know, I know, I don't have time for another blog. But it'd probably be one of those tumblr-style things, where I could show one page, write a sentence and be done with it.

If you'd look at something like that, let me know and I'll think about it. If you wouldn't look at something like that, and consider it the dullest idea ever, let me know that, too. I don't want to waste my time. I own the book already, I can look at it anytime I want, so this would be a public service -- what kind of service that would be I don't know.

There's also the matter of the book being 32 years old. It's seen better days and the pages are coming apart. Scanning page after page likely would cause more damage. This book apparently is the "rare" white-cover version of the price guide, but it's not like I'd get much for it considering how beat up it is.

Still, it's the only price guide I have left from a period when I was buying price guides as fast as Beckett would update them (I quit doing that long ago). So it has value to me, like just about anything does from 1979.

Yes, the Dodgers sucked that year, and the Bee Gees were still going strong. But everything else was eye-opening fantastic. The year was my realization of everything that was great about music (and everything that was great about girls). What better way to commemorate all of that than by finding out what you could get for your crummy pieces of cardboard that year?

(P.S. I've made some headway on the all-decade nickname teams, just to let you know I actually DO make good on my projects).


  1. This comment won't really help, but yes, I'd be interested in seeing the other prices, and no, I don't want you to tear it up scanning it. See, I told you that wouldn't help. Oh yea, sign me up for one of those mint sets for $240while you're at it.

  2. I'm going to have to vote no. Scanning every page of a book like that would likely destroy it.

  3. I would have to say no. It would be an awesome trip down memory lane to see what the prices were back then, but the risk of damage to the book is not worth it IMO.

  4. I'd read it IF you added one of those music widgets on the side so I could listen to 1979 music while I read....

  5. I'd definitely read it ... especially at first. But I'd hate to have you tear up the book for it. A regular feature on your main blog from time to time would work for me as well.

  6. I'd love at least some selected highlights across a few posts in this blog, but I doubt that there is enough interest to sustain a separate blog.

  7. I'm on the no side, too. It would be interesting at first, but probably would wear quickly, at least for me.

    I'll leave you with this advice:
    All around the world
    wherever you are
    dance in the street anything you like
    do it in your car in the middle of the night
    La la la la la...

  8. I would love to see it, but I wouldn't want you to tear it up.

    But how about this for a compromise...pick a card or two of note from each year and post the prices of those cards. For example, 1963 Pete Rose, 1968 Johnny Bench, 1975 George Brett...

    Maybe compare the book price to a recently complete eBay sale for a point of reference. Or just post the 1979 price and let us look up the eBay price if we care enough.