The next day we went up to Jupiter, Florida, and took in a Cardinals-Mets spring training game. Johan Santana pitched for the Mets. It was also cool seeing Todd Helton and David Wright. Sitting behind me were a pair of New Yorkers who happened to be Cardinals fans. Apparently these people moved down from New York to Jupiter some time ago and lost their allegiance to the New York teams. Though they still swooned over the '69 Mets but after a few beers could only name just a few guys on the team. It was a beautiful day. Santana was wild in the first and the Cardinals took an early lead. The Mets slowly chipped away and took the lead for good in the 6th. I had a good time. I love spring training. I've been going to spring training games ever since I was a tot. Spring training ball parks are a little bigger these days and not as fan-friendly as they used to be. I remember around 1970, my family was at a Baltimore Orioles spring training game in Florida where a half-dozen Oriole players parked themselves along the third base line and you could walk up to them and take photos. We got a photo of my brother, sister and me with Dave McNally. When we returned home, my dad brought the film to the old Shutan Camera Co. in Downtown Chicago where they made a dozen or so blow-up prints. Dad had them framed and the photos were soon hung up in our home along with the homes of various relatives. A few years ago, a co-worker brought to work her husband's White Sox spring training photos from the mid-1960s. There was a real cool photo of the guy with Tommy John circa 1965. As much as I enjoyed that Cards-Mets game, I'd like to see the players mingle with the fans like they did in the old days.
We spent the rest of our trip hanging out at the beach and the pool. We had some great food at a tavern called Dave's in Lake Worth. The main drag in Lake Worth is a little bizarre. On the western edge, it is like you are in Havana, Cuba. Then it turns into beach wear stores, antique shops, theaters, bars and restaurants. We spent a day in Fort Lauderdale. The beach was jammed packed. Fort Lauderdale is also a much bigger city than I remember it. I need to go back there and explore a little more.
The drive home was really long and exhausting. We got stuck in a severe traffic jam in Atlanta around 7 p.m., then it started to rain and we decided to call it a night. We had to go to three different hotels before we found one with a room available. The next day we got stuck in road construction in southern Illinois. We ended up getting off I57 in Mount Vernon. I didn't realize Mount Vernon was so run down.
So I missed two weekends of shows, which is a rarity for me. I like to be at a card show every weekend. There was a show in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the week before I arrived and the week after I left. I also couldn't convince my wife to stop off at a show in Kentucky. As a result, I was pumped up to be at Fred Copp's new venue, the Hyatt Place in Hoffman Estates on this past Saturday (April 7, 2012). This Hyatt is really nice and was jam packed when I got there around 8:15 a.m. I had an audience while I loaded in. I also got a good look at the breakfast buffet. The room where we had the show was really nice. There are a couple of big screen TVs in there. We need to figure out how to get ESPN on those puppies for the next show.
We had a nice group of dealers which was a little surprising considering it was the day before Easter. I thought there might be just a few of us but we had eight guys. The usual suspects Fred, Willie and Ted were there along with Corky, Brian and his wife, and two dealers with some nice vintage and both named Tom. Brian was telling me that he recently bought the remaining inventory of John Touschen, a former card shop owner who died much too young about seven or eight years ago. I bought a bunch of cards from John's widow shortly after he died. Brian has been setting up at shows lately, selling the cards in quarter boxes. Willie had a new binder of autographs priced to sell. If anybody is looking for autographed 8 X 10s, see Willie now! He is an autograph expert and all his autos are guaranteed legit. He's selling many for as low as $8. Fred had his usual array of wax, vintage and supplies. Corky had a nice display of vintage and modern cards in his display cases along with some quarter boxes. Ted has several tables of modern cards and a smattering of vintage. No Woj or Beanie on this day. Though I did notice a Beanie or two on Ted's table.
After set-up, I earnestly partook in the Hyatt breakfast buffet. The buffet cost just five bucks, unlike the Radisson in Schaumburg which is 12 bucks or so. They had cereal, oat meal, toast, egg mcmuffins, french toast, fruit, cottage cheese, doughnuts, muffins, juice, milk and coffee. A couple of months ago, before I knew I was diabetic, I would have taken a plate full of doughnuts. Now I can only drool at doughnuts, muffins, toast... anything good. I went with a couple of egg mcmuffins and ate the insides 'cause I can't eat muffins. Anything with flour is off limits because our bodies turn flour into sugar as we digest the food. Diabetics can't process sugar and turn it into energy like normal folks. The sugar sits in a diabetic's blood and organs and can cause our organs to shut down and can even lead to death. So I have to avoid all sugar and flour. I ate some cottage cheese and a banana. I recently lost 30 or 40 pounds and I'll never gain it back at this rate. I miss being a fat guy. Damn diabetes!
Anyway, we had a nice turn-out at the show. I wasn't sure anybody would show up because we were in a new venue and it was the day before Easter. I was pleasantly surprised. A regular picked up some mid-'60s baseball commons. My guy who likes my bin of quarter packs picked up a few. A new guy, who I think I've seen before, purchased a nice pile of 1970 baseball commons. I don't know what it is but I've been selling a ton of '70 baseball lately. I recently updated my 1970 binder with a near set and now it is practically bare. I don't know when I'll get a chance to reload it because I have OCD and have to reload the binders in order. I'm currently working on 1977. Willie picked up a bunch of early 1950s baseball to send out for autos. On the buying front, I picked up a nice grouping of 1976 baseball.
Overall, a real pleasant day. Next week is a double bill with Orland on Saturday and Gonzaga on Sunday. I should have those '77s done and then may work on some '79-80 Topps hockey. I'll also have a nice new pile of stars for my display cases. I'm looking forward to next week! If anybody needs anything in particular, send me a want list. I've been picking up tons of commons and have a large inventory right now. See you this weekend!! Below are some photos I shot at the Cards-Mets spring training game.