Archive for Thrift store

Thrift Treasures 111: Best Wishes … who?!

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on February 20, 2017 by Cardboard Icons

As far as thrifting goes, Sunday nights are probably the worst time to head out and look for collectibles. Why? Well, basically most of the good stuff has already been snapped up by the “weekend warriors” who get after it every weekend at the crack of dawn and keep going all weekend.

Nonetheless I decided to make a stop Sunday after work and headed to a thrift store that’s out of the way a bit. It was worth the trip.

Due to the day and time, I figured the best place to start might be the books section as I might luck my way into another book signed by a president.  I checked book after book but found nothing. 

I then headed to the “collectibles” counter and saw a signed baseball sitting in a Ultra Pro ball cube. It read “Best Wishes … Willie Mays.”

Yeah, the Willie Mays.


Now, unless you were an active collector of autographs or have experience viewing Willie Mays’ signature you’d have no idea what name is scribbled on this ball.

Luckily no one who’d laid eyes on the ball was able to make out the Baseball Legends’ autograph.

From a distance I couldn’t immediately tell if it was a pre-printed ball.  When the clerk handed it to me I could see right away that it was indeed some sort of black marker pen on a Wilson Dura-Lon cover “Official League” baseball.

The price tag said $19.99 and the clerk immediately told me that it was not part of the half-off sale. 

Well, that’s good because I suspect someone would’ve taken a chance at $9.99, but would pause at $19.99.

Me? No delay.  I’ll take it.

When I got to the counter to pay the clerk asked if I had any coupons.  As it turned out I had a 30% off coupon for donating a few boxes of base cards. Perfect timing.

And so for $13.99 I walked out the door with a baseball signed by one of the finest players to ever play the game.

Now, this isn’t the ideal signed ball. We’d all agree that we’d like a   non-greeting blue ink signature on the sweet spot of a Rawlings Major League Baseball or Rawlings National League Official Ball. And of course we’d like some sort of certification to ensure authenticity. But c’mon, we’re dealing with a thrift treasure. You take what you find.

So, is it real?  I think so. I’ve seen enough Willie Mays signatures — on balls and flats — from the early to mid 1990s that made me lean toward the affirmative.

And later I did a quick search on eBay for Willie Mays balls signed with “Best Wishes.” Here are two comparisons.

It looks pretty spot-on in my opinion.


Total cost of this Thrift Treasure: $13.99.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here.

Thrift Treasures 59: Game-used bat at flea market; used on two baseball cards?

Posted in Newspaperman, Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on August 8, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

ThriftTreasuresLogoImagine, walking through a flea market held at an abandoned drive-in theater. There are loads of tools to the left, tons of kids clothing to the right. Behind you are some sketchy electronics that likely were stolen from someone’s car. And then, in front of you, beneath the rubble of “junk” is a wooden gem, staring at you.

Any time I see a full-size baseball bat, I stop to see what the deal is. Is it softball bat? A store-sold player issue? Some generic piece of wood fashioned into a baseball bat? Regardless, I stop to look. And 99 percent of the time I keep moving.

But recently, while inspecting a piece of wood buried beneath the junk, I uncovered a game-used bat of Major League veteran (now retired) Mike Aldrete.

Yeah, I know, you’re rolling your eyes. It’s Mike Aldrete. Not exactly someone who you’d expect me to be writing about. But understand that we’re talking about a game-used bat used in a Major League Baseball game. And it cost $5.

The first thing that caught my attention was the bat knob. It has the number “43” and “T153” written in ink, which I assumed was a player number and the model number. Then I saw the handle was taped with batting tape, and lastly I saw the barrel, which had Aldrete’s name and the team he was playing for at the time, the Cleveland Indians.

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A little research shows that Aldrete played for the Indians for one season: 1991.

And here is where things get even cooler.

Do a quick internet search for “Mike Aldrete” and “Indians” and what pops up? Two images: Aldrete’s 1992 Donruss and 1992 Fleer cards. Now look closely.

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Something there look familiar?

While I can’t say for sure that the bat I found at the flea market is the same bat used in the images shown on the cards, let’s consider a few things:

The bat was found in Santa Cruz, California. Aldrete lives in Carmel, California.

The images shown on the 1992 Donruss and 1992 Fleer card were either shot by the same photographer or by two photographers in the same photographer well, while covering an OAKLAND ATHLETICS, which is like 60 miles north of Santa Cruz, Calif.

The numbers written on the bat knob look almost identical to that of the one used by Aldrete on the cards.

The tape job on my bat look almost identical to the one used by Aldrete on the cards.

That’s the extent of the evidence I have to this point. We can’t see the barrel of Aldrete’s bat to see if there are any other distinguishing characteristics. And best I checked on AP Photos and Getty Images, there are no other images of Aldrete at the A’s game shown on the cards.

While the actual link between the bat and the two cards is merely speculative and circumstantial at this point, it’s still a neat story and a possibility.

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Thrift Treasures Part I: Two bucks, 40 cards

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on November 12, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

tt7Every once in a while I pop into thrift stores and run across sports cards. On Tuesday during my lunch break, I ran into a huge box of cards, which the store was selling 20 for $1. The box looked like it had been gone through at least once, but I decided to plow through it anyway. Here are the 40 cards I purchased. Continue reading