Archive for ESPN

Thrift Treasures 60: Holy Cow! Harry Caray signed book found … Returned to owner

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on August 10, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

ThriftTreasuresLogoI’m going to admit this up front, I’ve had this Harry Caray autograph for about three months. But for some reason, I never got around to actually writing about it here. Now I know why.

I found this signed Harry Caray “Holy Cow” book while doing routine checks of Bay Area thrift stores. When I found it, I saw that it was inscribed to someone, but Caray’s handwriting was so bad, I could not really make it out. And honestly, I didn’t care. All I cared was that Caray’s signature was on one of the pages and this was the latest addition to my collection.

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Rewind about two weeks before that.

While checking that same thrift store, I located an old Jackie Robinson book, the kind of hardback book that some of you older readers might remember checking out in your elementary school libraries. Inside the front page, there was the checkout card and envelope. I like finding these and looking at the names of the people who had checked out the book. I always imagined I’d one day find one of these school books that had my own name on it. No such luck.

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But on the checkout card in this Jackie Robinson book was one name that stood out – Roxy Bernstein.

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Now, unless you watch a lot of ESPN or live in the Bay Area and listen to sports talk radio (95.7 The Game), you may not be familiar with the name. Nonetheless, the name is not a typical one and I was only aware of one person who had that name. So I pulled out my phone while I was in the store, did a quick internet search, and sure enough, Mr. Bernstein, grew up in the Bay Area and there was a possibility that the book I was about to purchase was checked out of the school library on Dec. 5, 1984 by the same Roxy Bernstein.

I bought it, thinking that I’d contact Bernstein later and see if he wanted it back. I’m weird like that. Like I said earlier, if someone found a book that had my name on the checkout card I want it back. It’s a conversation starter.

Later that day I sent a public tweet to Bernstein and sure enough he responded and said it was his. At the time, I asked him if he wanted it back but he never responded. No big deal.

Now flash forward to the last week of July 2013.

I’m cleaning up my collectibles and going through some of the neat signed books I’ve found and lo and behold there is Mr. Caray’s smiling face looking at me.

I opened the book and stared at the Caray signature, thinking that it was one of the coolest items I had found recently. Caray is an iconic baseball figure who passed away 15 years before I found this book. His autographs routinely fetch upward of $100, and I managed to acquire one for just a few dollars.

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But as I stared at the inked page, I looked at the inscription again … it started “Hi Dear R … O …”

Oh, “Hi Dear ROXY …”

It was clear as day, now. And given that the book was found in the same store where I found the aforementioned Jackie Robinson book, I figured that “Roxy” in Caray’s book was Bernstein.

So I tweeted at Bernstein and he responded … it was his book, but he wanted to know how I got it.

My initial thought was that Bernstein must think I broke into his house or something. So I let him know that I found it at a thrift store. Then he deduced that his parents must have donated some of his items unbeknownst to him.

Essentially, it was every collector’s worst nightmare.

Now, let me set things straight. When I find things at a thrift store and pay money for said items, those items now belong to me. I’m not actively looking to buy things to return to people. But in this case, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Via Twitter, Bernstein advised that he was a big Caray fan and got the signature while covering a Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants game when Bernstein was still in college. I then offered to send him the Caray book, and he thought it was a nice gesture and sent me his address.

So a few days later I packaged the Caray book along with the Jackie Robinson book and sent them his way. They arrived earlier this week to Bernstein’s delight.

When I bought the Caray book, it brought me great joy. I tweeted pictures of it and received a nice response from the collecting community. But for some reason, I never sat down and wrote about it, which is something I typically do with my sports-related thrift store/flea market finds.

Given what’s transpired over the last two weeks, I now know why I never wrote about it. The story wasn’t complete. Now it is.

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

I’ve turned into one of “those” guys

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , on July 15, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

For as long as I can remember, I always found it ridiculous that a grown man didn’t know about the current happenings in sports. That’s probably because I was jaded in my teen years by watching endless loops of SportsCenter instead of doing what other normal teens do. But here I am at age 30 finding myself to be the type of person I didn’t understand.

Last week while digging through vintage bargain bins at my local card shop, I heard them discuss doubling — yes, DOUBLE — the price of a box of Upper Deck basketball cards because it offered a chance at a Kevin Durant rookie card. When I heard this, I chuckled because I had no clue that Durant had turned into such a big ticket. Granted the boxes were on close out for $45 — now $90 — but I’ve almost never heard of a box price doubling so many years after release. So it came as a surprise to me that I was totally oblivious to the fact that Durant was a huge hobby star last year. I suppose this is also akin to someone not knowing who Stephen Strasburg was. OK, maybe not THAT big, but close enough.

I collect baseball almost exclusively, and now with the advent of the MLB Network, I — thankfully — am no longer a slave to ESPN. I don’t have to sit through crappy semi-comedic routines and dumb catch phrases to get my baseball news. Now I can skip all the stuff I do not care about and get to the point: What happened in baseball.

Of course this has its draw backs as I am almost unaware of the happenings in the rest of sports, which could lead to me moving a card — or missing out on one — that had increased over the years. So it came as a pleasant surprise Wednesday when I uncovered the above pictured 2008 UD Goudey Kevin Durant “Sports Royalty” short print. It may not command anywhere near the demand that  Durant rookie might have, but I might be able to move this card more easily now for something I want or need for my collection.

Rocky V wasn’t bad … just out of place

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

For much of the last week, I’ve been on a Rocky kick. And trust me, soon enough I’ll put the stuff out of mind and return to the wonderful world of card blogging. But for the time being, I’ve got some stuff I’ve got to get off my chest as it pertains to one Rocky Balboa and his series of movies.

Many told me to stay away from Rocky V, and of course Bill Simmons at ESPN has already stated that he tried to forget the fifth installment. If I remember correctly, he wrote somewhere that it didn’t even happen. (Hat Tip to Mr. Simmons, by the way, I’m reading your book “Now I can Die in Peace.” Funny stuff.) Well, I decided to watch the movie last night and I’m glad I did.

Was it a good flick? No. Was it as bad as everyone made it seem? No. Was it unwatchable? Almost … but not because of the story line, but partly because of the poor dialogue and execution, and the cliche early 90s Hip-Hop influence.

I had the fortune of watching this series of movies — note, I’ve yet to see the latest, so plan on reading at least one more Rocky installment — in a post-hype time. I didn’t have to fight people at the box office to find a good seat to watch it on the big screen. Instead I sat in the comfort of my own home and watched the flicks over a five-day period, mainly while waiting for my 5-month-old daughter to wake up so I can feed her before MY bedtime.

When I finished Rocky IV, I was satisfied. But I knew Rocky V was sitting there on On Demand, and even though others had warned me not to watch it, I decided to because I had to know what the big deal was about the film.

In a nut shell, the movie seemed out of place and almost comedic. It took place in 1990 (14 years after the original installment), so there seemed to be a lot of typical early pop-influenced hip-hop music (which sucked in this film), poor fashion (I just wanted to rip that earring out of Rocky’s son’s ear) and of course a cameo by boxer Tommy Morrison, whose presence actually made this film seem like a joke. And don’t get me started on George Washington Duke, the wannabe Don King. All of these factors, combined with gut-wrenching dialogue (this was the first in the series that actually had swear words), made the film seem like a circus.

The ending was simply atrocious. What the hell was that street fight? The best part was Rocky telling Tommy Gunn (Morrison) that “I aint heard no bell” and challenging him to a final round. Of course Rocky comes from no where and uses some freakin’ drop toe hold on Morrison — a move I know he didn’t learn from Thunderlips — and then proceeds to pummel Gunn, and then flatten Duke with a single body blow!?!

I think the story line Stallone tried to give us kind of made some sense — Boxer contracts brain damage, can’t fight/ father and son waring over quality time, so young boy falls in with bad crowd / student versus mentor —  although I felt the execution was horrendous. It was supposed to be dramatic, but it ended up feeling like some Lifetime movie starring Nancy McKeon or Danica McKeller.

The film was unncesary. In journalism school, a professor once told me “you don’t need to put a bow at the end of every story.” The saying applies here as well. We were perfectly fine with Rocky taking down Ivan Drago in his native Russia. Rocky was still an American hero, a boxer who’d already retired as champion. ‘Nuff said.

A friend of mine said Rocky IV was the best, but I am wondering if his thoughts were influenced by the time in which he watched the film. We’re both in our late 20s (one of us turns 30 this year) which means that he likely watched Rocky IV when it came out, or soon thereafter. If that is the case, then he’s automatically prone to call that his favorite — we tend to think everything we watched as kids was awesome. Having watched all of these movies in recent days for the first time, I’m of the belief that Rocky IV was almost a joke as well. The one-liners in that installment are great, and the angle of Creed’s death is intriguing, but just another hurdle that Rocky must overcome somewhere in the middle of the movie in order to give himself  motivation to step into the ring and take down his rival.

For pure entertainment, Rocky III is my favorite. The soundtrack and introduction of Clubber Lang, coupled with Rocky losing a fight, (two if you count the thrashing that Thunderlips handed him in the boxer v. wrestler exhibition) made it a good watch. Rocky II was also great because we got to learn more about Creed, which ultimately made Rocky’s character stronger when he beat him in the end.

In all honesty, the series probably should have ended after No. III. By that point Rocky’s character was already starting to take a hit. He no longer was the poor and hungry fighter for whom we were cheering, rather some showboat, fan favorite whose appearance in the ring almost seemed forced. Instead what we ended up could be best summed up by the appearance of this song/video at the end of V.

As it pertains to Rocky’s enemies, I still think Apollo Creed was the best, probably because his character was easily identifiable. The role of a defeated champion who wants a return to glory is also cliche, but one that many people have experienced in their personal walks of life. Plus the dude looked like a boxer, thereby making the fight between Rocky and Apollo feel realistic.

Ivan Drago was great to watch because he was a destroyer; Clubber Lang was fun to listen to because of his mouth; and Tommy Gunn … no comment. But Creed was solid all the way through.

Dear MLB Network, Part I

Posted in Dear MLB Network, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

johnmilescardThe last few days I’ve had the great pleasure of watching the MLB Network while watching over my newborn daughter during the day time and in the early morning hours. And one thing has become increasingly more apparent: There is no new content on this channel during the weekend.

For the love of God, can someone in New York mix in something new? I don’t care if I end up watching the Yankees pummel the Red Sox for an entire day. Anything but another re-run of the 1986 season. Continue reading

Card of the Day: 1999 Metal Universe Roger Clemens MLPD

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

Who the hell writes the back of these cards? Read this thing. It looks like Stuart Scott of ESPN wrote this. All that is missing are the words “kid” or “playa” at the end of each sentence. Continue reading