Thursday, May 25, 2023

It finally happened!

 It's official. I'm finally a TCDB trader! Not only did I make my first TCDB trade, I made my second and third trades all in the same week. 

Trade number one was an even thirteen for thirteen card swap for 1981 and 1992 Topps cards needed for my sets. 


 

The trade went off without a hitch. My trading partner was kind enough to be patient with me and walk me through the process on the website. 

Trade number two was a six cards for five cards trade that brought me cards needed for my 1985 Topps set.



There was a little miscommunication on my part, but it was all worked out before cards were sent. Once again, I'm two for two with great trade partners. 

Trade number three is not quite complete. I received four 1984 Topps and fourteen 1985 Topps for four of my extra 1984 Topps cards. 



The cards I sent, as of this post, still haven't arrived at my trade partner's home. I have been in contact with him and he doesn't seemed too worried about it. I'm not comfortable with the fact he hasn't received the cards yet. There's not much I can do about it, until I know something. 

All three trades were started by my trade partners. I'm still trying to figure out how I go about starting a trade with someone else, but so far, it hasn't worked out. I think it will be a lot easier once I get more cards listed in the database. 

Peace, 

Michael
Isaiah 40:31






Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Close Encounters

There have been moments in my life where I almost got to meet some great ballplayers. 

When I was in high school, my mom had to go to St. Louis, Missouri for work and she took me with her. While my mom was working, I hung out with a family friend who lived in the area. My friend worked as a tennis pro at a club there and someone had given him tickets to Opening Day. He couldn't go, so he gave them to me. It was 1980 and the Cardinals were opening the season against the 1979 World Series Champions Pittsburgh Pirates. I had never been to Busch Stadium before, so I had no idea where my seats were. When I finally found the seats, I couldn't believe it. Six rows back, right behind the Cardinals dugout! 

Before the game started, the co-MVPs Keith Hernandez of the Cardinals and Willie Stargell of the Pirates were given their awards right in front of the Cardinal dugout. As they are giving the guys their awards the announcer introduces two Cardinals legends...Stan Musial and Lou Brock. They are sitting together one row ahead of me and about four seats down. I was awestruck. I wanted to go meet them, but I was a shy teenager and not very self-confident, so I had to work up my courage to do it. As the second inning was coming to close, I had convinced myself to go talk to them. As I stood up to make my way down the row of seats, they both stood and walked up the aisle. They didn't come back. I missed the chance to talk to Hall of Fame legends. Ever since then, both of those guys have had a special place in my love for baseball. I have a few of their cards and have my eye out for a few more.      

        

Nolan Ryan is one of my heroes. I've never met him, but I came really close one time. My brother-in-law used to work for the FAA and every time the Rangers had a fly over, someone had to be on the ground at the site for communication if there was an issue. Well, that meant he got tickets for the game. It was Opening Day at the Ballpark in Arlington and somehow we both ended up on the field right in front of the Rangers dugout. People were milling around on the field as the stands were filling up. I glanced down the tunnel and saw Nolan Ryan heading my way. I started edging closer to the dugout and as he is coming up the steps to the field, I step in his direction and...someone called his name and he turned and went back down in the dugout. Before he made is way back to the field, we were gone. So close. Being in Texas my whole life, I can say that I'm tempted to drive down to Alvin and see if I can run into him. Who knows? Two of the Nolan Ryan cards that I don't have, but one day hope to own are his rookie card and his 1969 Topps card.        

    

 I have had the opportunity to meet a few MLB players. When I was in high school(a long time ago), I worked at a card shop that once a year put on a card show in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Most of the time I covered the table selling card supplies, wax packs, plastic sheets. etc... Other times, I got to hang out with the players who were there to sign autographs. 

One of the first players that I met was Brooks Robinson. There were several adults around him and me, just being a teenager, I was kind of shuffled off to the side. I did get to talk to him and shake his hand which I thought was pretty cool. I don't remember anything about the really brief conversation we had, but I do remember him being a friendly guy. He signed a picture for me.

I have a few of his cards from the '70s, but there are couple of his vintage cards that I'd like to own one day.

  

I was also blessed to meet and spent a short time with Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins at a different show. Those guys were great. Telling stories about their time playing, laughing, joking. The funny thing is, I don't remember anything about that conversation either. I wished I could have stayed and just listened to them talk. I know that when I walked away I thought they were really cool guys who enjoyed talking baseball. I did get a couple of autographed balls. 


Both Jenkins and Perry pitched for my Rangers, so I think the cards I want, but still don't have, will be with them both in Ranger uniforms because, that's how I'll always remember them.

    

I think my all-time favorite Major Leaguer that I had the privilege to meet has to be Enos Slaughter. This goes back to the days of working the card shows and watching the sales table. 

Our table sat near the entrance of the show. It was late in the day and the crowd had thinned out. The next thing I know, up walks Enos Slaughter. To be honest, I wouldn't have known it was him if I hadn't seen him earlier in the day signing autographs. He asked if it was alright to to pull up a chair and sit while he waited for his ride. He began asking me questions about myself and we talked for a few minutes. The talk quickly turned to baseball and he began to tell stories of his playing days. Before you knew it a small crowd had formed around him. He was talking to all of the little kids that had sat on the floor around him. Every now and then a dad of one of the kids would ask a question and he'd laugh and start on some tale to answer the question. He was like everyone's granddad. I really wished I knew more about the era that he played in so I could have asked some questions. 

He told one story that stuck with me that to this day I can picture him doing it. Here's the story. 

It was a hot summer's day and things weren't going well. Enos was playing in the outfield and the manager had just called time and was heading to mound. Slaughter said that he looked down and noticed what looked like a trap door in the outfield. He opened up and saw that it was where the water valve was for the field. He said that's a pretty big box down there and he thought he could fit in it. So he climbed down in the box and lowered the lid. Just as he lifted the trap door just enough to see out, and to his surprise, he saw the pitcher throw a pitch to the batter. The batter swung and lifted a high fly ball in his direction. He popped out of the box, made the catch for the third out and jogged off the field. He laughed a big laugh and said he always wondered what was going through that pitcher's mind when that ball was hit to the outfield and there wasn't anyone there.



 I don't own an Enos Slaughter baseball card, but that signed picture is mine that I got at the last card show I went to. I'm looking for the right card of Slaughter and I'm leaning towards the '53.


I know why I love baseball. It's not just the skills of the players being able to hit a round ball with a round bat, thrown so fast and with movement that defies logic. It's not just the amazing plays in the field or throws from the outfield to home plate to get the runner. All great reasons to love the game, but there's more. It's the stories. My stories from my childhood playing ball. My stories from my days coaching my boys and now coaching high school. My stories from the games that I was able to attend. The stories of the those who played the game at the highest level. Stories of Satchel Paige, Willie Mays and Enos Slaughter to name a very small few. The stories that are to come.

Peace, 

Michael
Isaiah 40:31 



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