Baseball Cards

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Greetings from The Booth!

Well, were just about into the dog days of August, which mean county fairs (please keep me away from the fried Oreos!) and NFL training camps. For me, those two things go hand-in-hand. In my line of work, I often had to broadcast at our local county fairs on Friday nights, the rush home in time to see the Burgundy and Gold play a preseason game. Of course, the games mean nothing in the standings, but it’s always great to see your favorite team actually playing football. It’s an appetizer until they start playing for real in September.

I’m also reminded of a funny training camp story from back in the day when the (then) Washington Redskins used to train in Carlisle, Pa. I worked at a station that carried the ‘Skins games, and as a promotion, we would take some listeners up to Carlisle for a day during training camp. One year, my friend Mike Burton went along for the ride. Back then, Mike was the spitting image of Skins’ great Russ Grimm. I can’t tell you how many kids and adults wanted Mike’s autograph that day, mistaking him for the famed “Hog.”  Good times, good times.

Changing gears, this week a mint condition 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card went up for auction online, and it could break the baseball card auction record. It’s estimated the final cost of the Mantle card could top $10 million. when the Heritage Auction sale ends August 27th. The current record is $6.6 million for a 1909 Honus Wagner card.

If you are like me, your mom threw away your baseball cards (along with the Lionel .027 gauge train, classic comic books, and full-size G.I. Joes) a long time ago. I never got anything close to a Mickey Mantle card. I always seemed to get the Zolio Versailles or Eddie Brinkman cards. In fact, every pack I opened seemed to contain those cards, which ended up in the spokes of my orange Schwinn Stingray bike.

The baseball card industry has come a long way, with multiple companies selling cards, not only for baseball, but action heroes, Pokemon, etc. Back in the day, there was Topps, and that was it. In 1969, for about 10 cents, you got a pack of 10 cards, along with a stick of gum. The gum was usually as brittle as a piece of glass and hard as a rock, but it made the pack of cards smell really good. The gum has gone the way of the dodo bird, but it might have been my favorite part.

Here’s to my Hawk Harrelson and Paul Casanova cards…wherever they may be.

Until next visit from The Booth…stay cool and enjoy the dog days!