Lame parade aside, the NHL playoffs were awesome. I enjoyed every minute of it. News outlets reported that 2 million Blackhawks fans swarmed Downtown for the festivities. It was pretty cool being in that throng of fans. Though I was a little melancholy all day knowing that this was my last day in Downtown Chicago after being there every day for the past 11 years. Pictured below are Blackhawks fans at LaSalle and Washington. There is also a picture of the Chicago River that I snapped walking across the Randolph Street bridge for the last time on my way to Union Station after my last day of work.
My wife grew up in the area and I have been regularly going back for visits over the past 20 years. We did our usuals -- saw family, the wife's childhood home, visited her favorite restaurant called Friendly's, and spent a day at the alpine slide located at a resort atop one of the nearby mountains. After begging the wife for years, we finally got to visit the Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield, Mass. The HOF is cool! Unlike the Baseball HOF, the Basketball HOF features players and coaches from high school and college along with some women athletes and coaches. I enjoyed reading the info on each member and looking at all the memorabilia. My kids liked the interactive exhibits. My son and I shot some baskets at the end. It was a cool day. A couple of other cool things to mention about the trip was the Fourth of July parade in Pittsfield, Mass, and the Pittsfield Suns baseball game later that night in Waukonah Park, a baseball park built in 1892. Below are photos from the trip.
So after my first week at the new job, I just happened to schedule two card shows -- Orland on Saturday July 13, and Gonzaga on Sunday, July 14. Orland was a little slow, though quite a few guys enjoyed my newly reloaded 1957, 1958 and 1959 Topps baseball binders. I also picked up a large grouping of 1972 Topps football and some hockey cards from the 1970s. Gonzaga was nice and busy with former Packer great Bob Long signing autographs. The WSCA is doing a terrific job obtaining autograph guests. What I liked about the Bob Long signing was that he sat down on the stage and took questions from the crowd before he starting signing. I loved hearing the stories about Vince Lombardi. Also, unique to this signing was that Bob sat next to the stage all afternoon and signed autographs. Usually, the guests are seated in a back room. I was able to purchase a photo for $3, got an autograph for $5, and chatted briefly with Mr. Long. What a nice guy!
I had a terrific day selling cards at this Gonzaga show. I was busy all day. I also made a nice purchase of a near set of 1952 Berk Ross (Thank Tom!). The Berk Ross cards were issued in 1951 and 1952. I have had quite a few of the 1951 issue over the years but never had any of the 1952s until the Gonzaga show. My grouping of 1952s has some neat cards including a Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella. The Berra and Campanella are already on eBay with bids. I plan on breaking some more out at the National. Pictured below is Bob Long at the Gonzaga show.
Next week, I'm taking the weekend off from shows and will be feverishly pricing cards for the National which is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31, through Sunday, August 4, 2013. I will be in booths 305 and 307 with my buddies Dave McDonald, Tony Schaefer, and Scott and Jim Ziegert. We will have some absolutely awesome cards. Dave will have his usual array of high grade vintage cards. Tony Schaefer (the other Tony) will have an amazing selection of graded and raw post- and pre-War cards. Scott and Jim will have a terrific selection of cards featuring Milwaukee teams along with a vintage discount box and a few modern cards thrown in. I plan on filling more baseball binders from the 1960s and football binders from the 1950s. I'm also going to priceout a bunch of pre-War cards for my display case. Our booth at the National should be rocking! I hope to see everyone at the National. If anyone is up for dinner after the Thursday, Friday or Saturday shows let me know. I used to live near the Stephens Center and am looking forward to visiting some of my old haunts. See you at the National!!!!