After my score with the autographed baseballs a couple weekends ago, I thought last weekend would only bring more rare treasures. Well, I was wrong. A man brought in a plastic toolbox filled with beat up early 90s Pro Set football commons which oddly enough contained a stack of 2003 Topps Pristine baseball cards........
I never really associated those two products until now. The stash contained several star base: Pujols, Jeter, Ichiro, Mattingly, Willie Mays, and a couple Ryan Howard RCs, a Hanley Ramirez RC, and 3 Robinson Cano RCs. I was excited to get these because I knew I could sell them right away. For the record, I only bought the stack of Pristine. I passed on the Pro Set.
Last weekend wouldn't have been complete without some interesting questions from customers though. You see, over the past couple of years in this ongoing thread we have learned a lot about some of the most important questions in our hobby. Things like, "Do I buy cards or do I only sell them?", "Are my autographs real?", "Am I open every weekend or does my entire shop fold up into a briefcase for easy carrying and storage?", "Do I know how much a 24 carat gold Dale Earnhardt Home Shopping Club special is worth?", and of course, "Do I sell cell phone covers, video games, or pork rinds?", and most importantly, "Do I know where the bathroom is?" These burning questions have all been asked time and time again..........and answered time and time again.
Another popular question has been asked of me many times over the years, although the players in question have changed with the season. People have a really hard time understanding the concept that college athletes do not have any licensed cards produced until they leave school to turn pro or they graduate. In essence when their collegiate eligibility has ended then the major card companies start to produce their cards. Of course some college stars have had a few team issued cards or cards in magazines like SI for Kids but that is just too exhausting to explain so I generally just go with the response that they must first declare their intentions to leave school early for the pros or graduate before they have any cards made. I have had to give this response literally hundreds of times over the years. Many times I have had to give the same response to the SAME PERSON regarding different college athletes within a span of 30 seconds! I have had this question a lot over the last couple years concerning: Tim Tebow, Eric Berry, John Wall, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Mark Ingram, Tim Tebow, Jimmer Fredette, Tim Tebow.......you get the idea. I had not been asked about one guy though.......until now.
A guy came in with his grandson. The kid was probably around 10 or so. He looked around and whispered to grandpa who then apparently translated those thoughts into English and verbalized them to me.......which at times required a bit of translation on my part as well. "My grandboy loves these cards" the man began. "He knows everthang about 'em." "He can tell you anythang you need to know about these players. He has a whole cabinet at home full of cards. He is a big Vols fan. He is Tennessee crazy" the man just continued to wow me with facts about his "grandboy". The kid continued to look around and whisper to his grandpa. He then located the monster box of former UT Vols players that I keep on my showcase which contains the autographs and GU of former UT Vols players (I know.....it is the last place I would look also) and he began to dig through the box. I then knew, it was on! Of course it was off very quickly when the man began to relay questions from the "grandboy" who five minutes earlier was the world's foremost authority on everything sports. "Does Tee Martin still play ball?" the man asked. I had to then explain that Tee spent a couple years in the NFL as a backup/practice squad player then went into broadcasting and now coaching. "Eric Berry still plays, don't he?" the man again asked on behalf of the kid. I then explained that Eric Berry did in fact "still play" and had just completed a fairly successful rookie season in the NFL. After more looking through the box, the moment I had waited for arrived. The "grandboy" spoke !!! He actually spoke to me directly! Oh happy day! "Do you have any cards of Tom Bray?" the boy asked. "Tom Brady?" I asked for clarification. "No, the Vols quarterback, Tom Bray" the boy confirmed. Yes that's right, the wonderkid who is "Tennessee crazy" didn't even know the name of the team's QB. "Oh, you mean Tyler Bray" I finally understood. I then had to explain again about college players and when they have cards produced and yada yada yada. The kid then moved on to my $5 GU box and began conferring with his grandpa again. I heard lots of whispers and talk of, "Well, if you want it then get it" and such. Then the man asked me yet another doozy on behalf of the kid, "Does Warren Moon still play?"
I then had to explain that the 54 year old Moon no longer played in the NFL and had been retired for 11 years and was now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yep these folks are really up on their sports knowledge. The man then rattled off what might very well go down as the understatement of the century, "I don't know nothing about ball but my grandboy is crazy about it."
I didn't even have a response. I just let that statement speak for itself. What happened next though had me afraid the go home later that day. You see after they made their purchase of a couple $5 GU cards, the man handed the boy the car keys and said, "I'll let you take her home, but we have to go the backroads." Look both ways my friends, he is out there somewhere.