The National: Day one.

In the run up to The National we had to update all of our checklists, and the blog feels a little rejected. Sorry blog, but we’re back and in full swing! Speaking of The National…

If you’ve never been you’ve gotta at least check out one show. It’s everything a local show could be with hundreds more card, memorabilia, and oddball vendors – more than you could want. Next year’s show is in Cleveland, followed by Atlantic City. While these cities are great hosts, there’s nothing like a Chicago show. GoGTS shared that they heard this year’s show was the most attended since 1991! With the crowds as they were, we were kind of suspecting a huge show as early as the first day.

After landing in Chicago, we took a shuttle to our hotel to check in early. As we were checking in with the attendant we bumped into our local show promoter Rich Klein. He’s a long time hobby member and we shared stories on the way to the show floor to get our passes. We had early access passes and there’s something unique about being on the show floor before they open the gates to everyone. Tables aren’t setup yet, there’s a hustle and bustle in the aisles, and busy employees shuffling around. After a quick look around, we decided to grab lunch and wait for general admission to open up.

A few hours later, and the show is in full swing. The first thing we hit was the Topps Party where several athletes were signing free autographs and there was food provided for all. Inside we bumped into Sooz and gave away our first trade package of the show. Anyway I can get rid of Derek Jeter and Yankees cards, I will. Angela checked us into the Topps Q&A set for that Friday’s show. We then decided to hit the show floor and meet up with a few friends.

After signing at the Topps event, Jose Canseco had a free autograph session on the show floor. It was here we bumped into Rich and Mel who had a package for us. Namely off-centered and miscut cards. While the Johnny Briggs is a buyback, it’s even off-centered being tilted left a few degrees.

Our friend Ben asked us to have him sign something unique. It didn’t matter to him what, just something different. Ask and you’ll receive:

There were several vendors at the show with .10 cent bins, and this is where we picked up this shiny Jose Canseco. The same vendor had a few cards for other people…

1975 Topps MVP subset, and 1975 Topps Bill ‘spaceman’ Lee buyback for NightOwl, Ron Gant for Dub, and Jason Heyward for CardJunk. I think I spent 10$ on dime box cards. Harmless. Wandering around the show floor I then saw what I would’ve bought if we were rolling in dough. A dual signed Goose Goslin, Walter Johnson baseball. Gorgeous. From the bottom left go right one, up one and try not to be sticker shocked.

As for actual pickups on the first day the best may have been a dupe for the Ryan Eades collection. A Bowman Sterling base auto for I believe 2$. Yes please.

While walking back to the hotels with Rich and Mel, we decided to grab a meal at their hotel’s restaurant. Between swapping stories, and enjoying the excellent meal we had the best waitress we’ve had in awhile so if you go to the Hyatt Regency across from the Robert E. Stephens convention center, Rosanna was top notch. After dinner, we retired to our hotel and we’d soon crash in bed dreaming of Thursday’s happenings. :).

#ben, #bill-lee, #david-ortiz, #jason-heyward, #jose-canseco, #mel, #rich, #ron-gant, #sooz, #the-national, #topps

The 1970 Twins and APBA lead to a discovery…

While searching for a way to find out if the APBA team sets I picked up the other day were complete, I made a minor discovery. One that at the least amused myself.

I found a source for checklists after a lot of Google searches – APBA’s website! The “Lineups” correspond to sets they’ve issued and for most re-issued. Think of APBA as Dungeons and Dragons lite – your dice rolls(2 die, one for the first digit, one for the second) determine how the batter does based on their stats on card in given situations(empty bases no outs for example) to play out the season’s games. Each year they would release updated cards with game affecting stats based on the previous season – since 1951!

A sample card.

So when long-time hobby editor/writer/DFW show promoter Rich said he had a few early 1970s sets he had picked up my interest was piqued. I believe I have a full/partial set now for the 1967, 1970, 1971, and 1972 Twins, as well as a 1970 Vikings set – the latter of which someone had “traded” O.J. Simpson and Fran Tarkenton(during his Giants hiatus) to the Vikings. Imagine that stacked team!

What could have been…

So with the teams that I did find, naturally I compared them to the checklists from APBAs website, and while creating a spreadsheet to keep track of which I find(….) I ran across a Twins player I had never heard of – a rarity. They were given an APBA card in essentially the “APBA Traded/Updates” set – XCs(Extra Cards). Allow me to introduce Christobal “Minnie” Mendoza. Now he’s not much of a major league hitter – in 16 plate appearances, Minnie had two runs, hits, two RBI, and a strikeout with his .188/.188/.188 slash line – however Minnie was a long time minor league and Mexican leaguer. In 19 seasons with the Cincinnati and Washington/Minnesota franchises, Minnie produced 1155 runs, 2389 hits, 350 doubles, 59 triples, 66 home runs, 817 RBI, 166 stolen bases, and averaged .290(no composite OBP/SLG) as an infielder mostly at third base. Quoting the blog post here, Mendoza is one of the oldest players to make their MLB debut:

The Twins said he was 36 (using the birth date that’s still believed to be correct), but Mendoza insisted he was 34. His promotion to the big leagues wasn’t exactly a gift; the previous season he had led the Class AAA American Association with 194 hits and batted .333. “Sometimes I feel like quitting, but I don’t,” he said in the spring of 1970. “I love baseball. I love to travel, too.”

After his playing career ended in 1972, Minnie managed the Ciudad Juarez Indios of the Mexican leagues in 1974(60-78) and again in 1975(58-80). His second stint as a manager went as well as his first – finishing his managerial career in his lone season with the Miami Orioles of the Florida State League in 1981(44-92).

Seen here on a 1981 TCMA set.

The aforementioned Miami team would swap allegiances the next season instead paring with the Athletics and becoming the Miami Marlins a team briefly graced with a 17 year old Jose Canseco. A few years later in 1989, the team would again change names becoming the Miami Miracle – and as fate would have it the team would move to the original home of the franchise Fort Myers in 1992 to become the Miracle. A Class A minor league team that’s served the Twins well over the years. :).

#apba, #fort-myers-miracle, #jose-canseco, #minnie-mendoza