I was up at 5 a.m. on September 19, 2015, to make sure I made it to the Clarion by 7 a.m. I brought out a TON of stuff and filled six tables. For me, the best part of running my own show is that I get so many tables. It sure is fun putting all that stuff out there and seeing items sell off each table. New for this show was my newly reloaded 1967 Topps baseball binder along with some 1961 Fleer Football. I also priced a bunch more publications and sprinkled in some oddball stuff. I had a pretty cool display.
We had an excellent group of dealers including Gary from Rockford, Illinois, Mike Johnson, Bill Nest, Scott & Jim Ziegert and PJ. Everybody had excellent displays and we had some awesome stuff in that room. I think the customers were pleased.
It was nice to see my old customer Jerome, who has been absent for a while. He said he has been busy refinishing some furniture. Jerome picked up a huge pile of cards from the mid-1960's. Thanks Jerome. My pal Jim made it out. Jim is working on the 1956 Topps baseball set -- which is a big step for him because for years he limited himself to Bowmans and Topps from 1952 to 1955. He has annihilated by 1956 binder. Thanks Jim!
Jason made it out to the show and picked up a bunch of 1967s. Thanks Jason! I had steady sales all day. There were a bunch of new customers along with some older ones mixed in. I did not take any notes and forget the other items I sold. Though I do remember that my best customer of the day was the one and only Gizmo. Thanks Rick!! This show ended up in one of my top five of the year, thanks to Gizmo.
I ended up giving Rick a bunch of his money back when he gave me a nice price on about 400 cards from 1952 to 1970. There were a couple of Mantles in there, quite a few Aarons and some Mays cards along with quite a few commons. Some of the cards are going up on eBay but the bulk will be priced and displayed at a future card show.
It was nice to see all of the dealers stick around until the end of the show. When the show is slow, some dealers like to take off. I can't blame them but it is always a better experience for all when all the dealers stay until the end of the show. Overall, we had a real good time. I learned to never discuss politics with Gizmo who has a hopped up passion for that stuff. Hopefully, I did not frighten him away.
It took forever to load out of the room because I brought in so much stuff. I think I was on the road home just after 3 p.m. I was in a hurry to get home for my 30-year high school reunion. My plan was to inhale some food and get a nap in. I ate a couple of burgers at Mickey D's, no Nite Owl! I was able to sleep for about an hour but I was still pretty tired when I left for my old buddy Tom's apartment around 7:15 p.m. Our other buddy Karl met us there around 7:40 p.m. Karl has been late for the past 34 years that I have known him. I met these guys back in 1981 during the first few weeks of my freshman year of high school. We have been close friends ever since.
It was a short drive from Tom's apartment in Deerfield, Illinois, to the Alley in Highwood, Illinois, the site of our reunion. I think there were close to 800 people in my graduating class. Most of them did not attend the reunion but enough did that the Alley was absolutely packed. I walked in and was stuck by the front door for the next several hours chatting it up with all the guys from my old neighborhood. At one point, we realized that our first little league team -- Glenbrook Insurance from 1977 -- was standing all together. I'm kicking myself for not getting a photo.
Slowly, I made it through the room and saw old friends from both junior high and high school. It was tremendous fun. Before I knew it, the clock read 2 a.m. I had almost been awake for 24 hours and was really, really tired. I made it home around 2:40 a.m. but could not fall asleep. I think I slept an hour or two before I had to wake up for the Schaumburg, Illinois, card show.
That may have been the hardest morning I ever had getting ready for a card show. I'm not quite sure how I made it to the Wyndham Garden hotel on Sunday, September 20, 2015, but I was there just before the show opened at 9 a.m. I set up my stuff in a haze. I chugged some coffee and grabbed some grub from the buffet.
I sold some 1959 Topps baseball to a new customer. I then sold a bunch of 1965 Topps baseball to a regular customer who just started working on the set. Another regular picked up some 1953 Topps baseball out of my display case. I may have sold some other stuff but frankly, I can't remember. I do remember struggling to stay awake. I started to pack up early because I needed a pillow badly. When I got home, I slept for several hours then went out to dinner for my wife's birthday.
As a result of that weekend, I have been lethargic all week long. I've had to work early in the morning most days and just have not had time to catch up on my sleep. Like they say, there is no rest for the weary.
I have been having a nice week of sales on eBay. I posted a 1970 Topps football complete set that I am selling for a consignor. See it HERE. I also noticed that my Yogi Berra cards are getting more action than usual. I know that he was 90 years old, but I am saddened by his death. What an amazing character he was. I wrote to him when I was a kid around 1979 and sent him a Hall of Fame postcard. He signed the card, pictured below, and sent me a 5 X 7 autographed photo. In 1982, my family trucked out from the Chicago area to Cleveland to attend the MLB All-Star game. We arrived a few days before the game and went to the hotel where all the players were staying. We spent the day before the game chasing autographs. I remember going up and down the elevators trying to find players. At one point, I found myself in an elevator with Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn, Ozzie Smith and Terry Kennedy. I had each of them sign an All-Star Game brochure. They could not have been nicer.
1. Babe Ruth
-- No question that he was both the greatest Yankee and the greatest player of all-time.
2. Lou Gehrig
-- When I was researching player statistics to formulate this list, I was amazed that some sports writers had picked Gehrig as the third greatest Yankee, placing Mantle at number 2. While, I agree that Mantle was one of the greatest to have ever played, Gehrig was still on another level. Gehrig batted over .350 six times! He hit over .370 three times! His batting statistics are absolutely remarkable. He hit a tremendous amount of homers and extra base hits and drove in a huge number of runs. Frankly, an argument can be made that Gehrig was the second greatest player of all time, not just Yankee.
3. Joe DiMaggio
-- DiMaggio had a few Gehrig-like years, especially 1939 when he hit .381 and hit 30 homers and drove in 126. I think there would be a much stronger discussion that DiMaggio's was the second greatest Yankee, ahead of Gehrig, had World War II not come along sparking DiMaggio to serve his country for three years instead of playing baseball. I also think DiMaggio retired too early. I think he still had some strong years left in him. Some say, he did not want to play with Mantle.
4. Mickey Mantle
-- What a terror! A switch hitter who hit towering home runs. Mantle hit more home runs than Gehrig and DiMaggio but he did not drive in nearly as many runs and his batting average was not quite as high. Though, to his credit, he walked much more than those guys. In 1956 and 1957, there was no better player in baseball when Mantle hit .353 and .365 respectively. It is well documented that Mantle liked to drink. I think if he stayed sober, he would have eclipsed DiMaggio has my number three.
5. Yogi Berra
-- I think Bill Dickey was a better hitter but Yogi was solid. He gets the number five spot over Dickey for playing in 14 World Series -- remarkable! In total, Yogi played in 75 World Series games. He had 259 World Series at bats and posted a respectable .274 average. He was the catcher for the lone World Series no hitter in 1956. His defensive skills were legendary. My favorite Yogi quote: "If you see a fork in the road, take it."
6. Bill Dickey
-- I reviewed other online lists of all-time greatest Yankees and found Dickey left out of the top ten on most of them. The other guys are just plain wrong. Dickey batted over .300 11 times. His .362 average in 1936 was unheard of for a catcher until the steroid era of the 1990s. Dickey also played in eight World Series for the Yankees and caught some of the all-time legends like Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing and Waite Hoyt.
7. Earle Combs
-- Overlooked solid hitter from the Ruth-Gehrig era. This man has a life-time .325 average and hit above .340 four times. The stats that stands out for me are the three seasons with 30-plus doubles and 20 or more triples. I'd take this guy any day over all the modern Yankees like Jeter, Mattingly, Winfield, Posada, Bernie Williams and the others -- none of them hit like Earle Combs.
8. Jack Chesbro
-- The Yankees have had many great pitchers and many are enshrined in the Hall of Fame but Jack Chesbro was heads above the rest. The man pitched 48 complete games in 1904 and won 41 of them! 'Nuff said.
9. Whitey Ford
-- The Yankees had many big boppers in the 1950s and 1960s but much of their success should be credited to Whitey Ford. He won 236 games during his 16-year career as a Yankee and only lost 106. He pitched in 11 different World Series! He helped the Yankees take the crown six times.
10. Lefty Gomez
-- Lefty was the Whitey Ford of the Gehrig-DiMaggio eras. Lefty pitched in five different World Series and was a perfect 6-0.
I know the biggest gripe with my list is that I left out all the modern players. While I have great respect for the likes of Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, I feel these players played in a water-down era where there were too many teams, too many players. In my opinion, since 1975, the league has never had anywhere near the same talent it had prior. Could a Mariano Rivera shut down a Ty Cobb, a Jimmie Foxx, or a Ted Williams? I'm not so confident he could. Could a Reggie Jackson get a hit off a Grover Alexander, a Lefty Grove, or a Dizzy Dean? I think they would strike him out every time. This is just my opinion. I would like to know yours. Put your all-time top 10 Yankees in the comment section.
We can also discuss Yogi and the Yankees on Saturday when I set up at St. Matthias Church in Crown Point, Indiana. I'm working on reloading 1962 Topps football for this show. Hope to see you there. I can't thank enough all the folks that came out to my show at the Clarion. I really appreciate you guys! Hope you can make it to my next Clarion show on October 25th. Please note that the October show is on a Sunday. Take care!