Induction and Cards – The Reese’s Cup of Baseball

It’s taken four days to unwind from Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. While being an ex-Mayor made this past weekend a different, less immersive experience (I don’t get invited anywhere anymore), much of the four days were the same – non-stop eating and drinking, a house full of guests, a seemingly continuous party from Friday through Monday and, of course, baseball cards.

Though most locals don’t love it, Cooperstown has a high percentage of baseball stores, many of those card shops. They’re all different in their stock. Some are classic local card shops, with old and new cards, pricey and cheap cards, everything you’d expect from a full service dealer. Others are more specialized. They either don’t focus on cards or have their own niche.

I know I’ve written about Baseball Nostalgia before. For over four decades the shop has been in Cooperstown, in one form or another. It’s amazing and a key part of what we do on Induction weekend. My pal Jimmy explained it best. Baseball Nostalgia is the kind of store you can go into and say, “I’m looking for something in an Elroy Face” and, within 20 seconds, you’re holding an awesome (and authentic) signed picture.

Face

I had a few successes, adding two more 1972 Fleer Famous Feats, whittling my want list down to seven cards. Jimmy went to town, scouring rack after rack, diving into the quarter bin. When we got back to my house to look at his haul, I saw a 1994 Fleer Frank Thomas. I always liked the look of those (though somehow I don’t have the set).

“Wait a minute,” Jimmy said, went out to his car and handed me a complete 1994 Fleer Sunoco set, 25 super nice cards. He happened to have bought two. I’m telling you, cards surround us on Induction weekend.

10199-444263RepFr

We didn’t break out a box of unopened packs this year. Last year we had 1992 Upper Deck. I had a box of 1991 Topps ready to go, but totally forgot to bring it down. That set has a Chipper Jones rookie card which, though not incredibly valuable, was apropos for Laaaaarrrrry’s special weekend.

chipper-jones-rookie-card

The inextricable connection between the game, its history and baseball cards is never more clear to me than on Induction weekend. I couldn’t imagine the two being separated. The weekend wouldn’t be as much fun without the cards.

As Jimmy said after another round of card shopping, “I can’t believe it. Where else can I go where I give a guy some money and he gives me a pile of baseball cards that I need?” There’s nothing better than Cooperstown and cards, together.

Author: Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

3 thoughts on “Induction and Cards – The Reese’s Cup of Baseball”

  1. Hey Jeff, great column! I just returned recently from Cooperstown myself. It was incredible! I too bought some cards. I shopped for cards mainly at Yastrzemski’s. I bought about 20 cards for $1 each. I couldn’t believe the deals. I mainly bought my favorites: Mantle, Chipper, Big Frank Thomas, Luis Aparicio, and Bryce Harper. The Hall was way way better than I remember from over 30 years ago. This was only my second visit. I can’t wait to go back. One thing I didn’t really love were all the Little Leaguers. When I was there in the mid-80s, I feel like it was a sleepy town yet this time it seemed way more crowded. We were there on July 18-20. I think next visit will be an Autumn trip. The Otesaga was amazing but we only ate there. We couldn’t afford the room. Thanks for your help, and for reading.

    Reid

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We loved it for sure! I bought so much gear from the Hall of Fame gift shop. We ate at the Doubleday Cafe. We shopped up and down Main Street. Just a fantastic trip and a beautiful setting. Thanks for your comments and advice.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s