Thrift Treasures Part V: Now You’re Playing With Power

109_1318Tuesday marked my four week anniversary since my last purchase of a baseball card pack or box. It’s a small victory in my journey to cut spending on crappy wax that never seems to satisfy my hunger for cards.

So what did I do? I went shopping … at thrift stores. Below you’ll find some awesome deals, and not always of the baseball card variety.

We’ll start with the baseball cards, because to be honest, these were probably the least exciting of the group.

For $1.99 I snagged a little baggie that contained about 100 cards, the majority of which appeared to be 1989 Fleer commons (Brady Anderson was showing on the back, woo hoo). But in addition to those nearly worthless items was a small stack of 1988 Donruss All-Star Pop-up cards. I loved these cards when I started collecting and actually owned only one of them until yesterday. As it turned out, this baggie contained 15 of them, including one that always managed to evade me — Mark McGwire, one of the players that I and other youths coveted in 1988. And as my luck would have it, there were TWO McGwire’s in my lot. Awesome.


There are a few dupes of the Donruss Pop-Ups, ones of McGwire, Sandberg and Twins manager Tom Kelley. The cards aren’t worth much, but I still like my purchase.

The 1989 Fleer cards really were a mess. I pulled two Red Sox (Marty Barrett and Bruce Hurst) and a bunch of Dodgers; all commons as expected. I know where the Dodger cards will be going in a few weeks … I’m looking at you, Night Owl.

At the same store, I also found a baggie containing a stack of comic cards that intrigued me, most notably because the copyright date is 1987. As noted in earlier posts, I do not collect non-sport-items, but for $1.99 I figured I might find something amusing enough in the stack to post here. And at the very least I could throw the lot on eBay and get my money back, hopefully. Well, as it turned out there is one VERY intriguing card in the stack. Can you spot it in this scan?


If you just responded with a, “What the F#@*!,” then you too were reacting to the Adolf Hitler card. I never knew Hitler has a baseball card. Disturbing, yet intriguing.


The stack of 80 cards consists of singles from the base Marvel series 1 and the Colossal Conflicts series 2 sets, both of which were released in 1987. A quick search shows that there is not a ton of monetary interest in the cards, but probably enough to make my money back. I may just list them individually and see what comes of it. Not sure what to make of the Adolf Hitler card. I may just keep that one and add it to my deck of Iraq’s Most Wanted playing cards. Weird, I know. But in 2003 those Iraqi decks of cards were everywhere, you know I’m not the only one who bought them.

Let’s move from cards, to a steal in my mind; a hardback  copy of Jane Leavy’s biography of Sandy Koufax for a mere $2.25.


I almost bought the paperback version the other night at Border’s, but instead opted for the 2009 Baseball Forecaster. I find Koufax an intriguing subject and I’ll have to read this at some point, but not until I finish “The Card: Collector’s Con Men and the True Story of History’s Most Desired Baseball Card,” Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero,” and “Cobb: A Biography.” Looks like I better get moving.

My second to last purchase is a Nintendo game I’ve never seen before. This one called “Legends of the Diamond,” a cartridge produced in 1991.


I was in such awe when I found this I immediately would have paid the bounty: $4.99. To my luck, the games were on sale, 50 percent off, so I got this for $2.49. The label shows fictional players dressed in older baseball garb, but the game itself actually houses more than two-dozen real legends: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb and more. There are a few out-of-place ones like Bobby Richardson, Billy Herman and Bill Freehan, who were good players in their own right, but don’t seem to fit with the group listed above.

The gameplay is VERY much like Baseball Stars, which was an awesome game in and of itself. This Legends game though does feature something very interesting, vignettes of the players, as well as a comment from them regarding their status for the day. Check them out. Apparently Hank Aaron didn’t want to play for my squad last night:




It also should be noted that the game features trash talking. At certain points during the game, a comment box appears before a pitch. In my game, Hank Aaron was talking junk to the computer’s fictional pitcher, saying something to the affect of “How slow are you pitching today?” Awesome.

And finally, perhaps the biggest find of the day, an ORIGINAL Nintendo TOP LOADER system, a super rare find for a bargain hound like myself.


These systems can be had on eBay for about $100, but I found this one for a mere $25. I know what you’re thinking, “It’s a Nintendo, that crap isn’t worth $25.” And normally, I’d agree with that statement. But this is a Top Loader design, a rarity and highly collectible among video game enthusiasts. The big deal with these Top Loader Nintendos is its increased functionality. Remember blowing into your games before playing Nintendo? No more. Not with the Top Loading system, which was released in 1993, right as Nintendo was making the switch to Super Nintendo. If you find one anywhere for under $50, it’s worth buying and reselling … as long as it works. This one works fine. Nothing like putting the NES cartridge into the system and it playing immediately. Love it.

9 Responses to “Thrift Treasures Part V: Now You’re Playing With Power”

  1. I have all the ’89 Fleer Dodgers, except for the ones in the update set. But I like doubles.

    The Koufax book is very good. Jane Leavy does a great job, as I mentioned on my blog awhile back, especially considering Koufax wouldn’t let her interview him. (I don’t know if I’d do an autobiography on someone if I couldn’t talk to the subject, but more power to her).

    The Legends of the Diamond game looks cool. I love old-school games. But Aaron talking trash? I think that’s called “artistic license.”

  2. I’ve got one of those top loader NES systems. Bought it new several years after the SNES came out for something like $65. Back in college I bought two of the old school square controllers on ebay for about $10 each.

    My best video game thrift store find was a complete copy of Mario 2, new in box, still shrink wrapped for $2.

  3. Know what’s funny about the Koufax book, I remembered seeing on your blog, which was part of the reason I wanted to read it. And writing a biography about a guy who does not want one can be interesting, albeit different.

    As far as the 89 fleer Dodgers, I’ve got a few others things headed that way, so I’ll just toss -em in.

    And the game:I forgot to mention that one of the other players “told” the pitcher that he was going to hit a home run off him. He proceeded to ground out. I consider that talking trash.

  4. Ben, that’s a cool find on the SMB2. Sealed NES games can go for good money. Did you flip it?

    As far as video games, I’ve had some cool finds: a collection of Turbo GRFX RPG games for $40; a brand new NES in box; brand new Atari Jaguar; a copy of Halloween (extremely rare) for Atari 2600 just to name a few.

  5. The Wii makes the top loader almost obsolete … with the exception of not having Baseball Stars … the best baseball game of all time. And a game The Jon still has in The Jon’s possession even though The Jon can’t play it.

    So you had all these guys on that baseball game and you didn’t play Ty Cobb or even put a picture of him?

    Was it because the profile said:

    Cobb is arguably pound for pound the most complete baseball player ever to play the game … but he was an @$$.

    And then his comment said: “I only like white people.”

  6. Yes, the Wii insome ways makes the Top Loader obsolete, but you still have to pay for each game you download from the Wii Internet service. If you’ve already got the actual NES games, then this Top Loader is awesome.

    As for Cobb … I used him and took a picture of his bio but didn’t include it here because I was in a hurry. The batting stances also losely mimick the real deal. Of course we are talking about NES, so it’s not that real.

  7. Nope, I opened it up and played it =D.

    I like the Virtual Console games on the Wii, or I like the idea. I’ve yet to download any of them though. For how little it costs, I think it’s the way to go. At least with the games downloaded on the Wii you don’t have to have 48 systems plugged up at the same time.

  8. Damn, Ben, if you were looking for a copy of SMB2, I coulda hooked you up. I’ve owned about a dozen copies. 🙂

  9. That game was terrible. The only good thing about it was playing as Toad and The Jon used to make up some song that had to be sung to that level where you had to use the Princess.

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