Monday, February 27, 2017

Highlights of the Nashville Card Show

Before Saturday, I had never traveled out of the state in which I live to go to a baseball card show. I had heard rumors, though, that the show at Lighthouse Christian School in Antioch, Tennessee, is a very good show, so around the first of the year, I made my mind up to go to it sometime soon. I scouted it out and found out that there are two types of shows there: the "usual" shows and the "big" shows.

I waited for a big show, of course. If I am going to invest around 8 hours of driving in one day to go to a show, I'd sure like it to be bigger than my local show here in Atlanta. Now, I didn't go for the special guests at this show -- which included Beckett Grading Services and James Spence Authentication along with former Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain and pro football Hall of Famer Raymond Berry. I went that weekend because it would feature about 100 tables of card dealers.

Picture a gymnasium with five rows of tables lengthwise on the basketball court and with tables along the ends. That's what we had. Or, just look at the photo above.

I was surprised at how early everything set up. I woke up at about 4 AM Eastern time, showered, made coffee, and hopped in my car. I brought along three empty card boxes, my messenger bag briefcase, my phone, and two fully charged battery boosts for the phone. I was on the road by about 4:45 AM Eastern, and hit the ATM to load up there too. I got breakfast and stretched my legs in Kimball, Tennessee -- a major stop on the interstate because right after it you hit the mountain inclines on Interstate 24 leading up to Sewanee.

The time switched over to Central time around there. Once you get back down the mountain on the other side of Sewanee, the trip to Nashville goes pretty quickly. I got to the show at about 7:15 AM local time. Despite the fact that the show didn't start until 8 AM, I took a chance and walked in. It was going great guns already.

The dealers at the show that I spoke with thought it was a great show. They did well, it seems. In fact, one guy said he got to the show at 5:45 AM, and there were people there buying and selling already. Crazy stuff.

But, this post needs music -- especially since I went to Music City. I spent four great years in that city -- well, surrounded by the city without really venturing too heavily into it, seeing as I was ensconced in the enclave known as Vanderbilt University. I did get a little appreciation for the music of the state. I've already played Arrested Development's "Tennessee" here, so let's go to some other Tennessee songs.

Ronnie Milsap's "Smoky Mountain Rain" is one of those poppy country songs that hit big on both charts -- country and pop -- in 1980. I still remember a lot of the words, though I really haven't listened to the song much since 1981.

But, it's a good way to kick things off.

These three came from the same guy. I had a tough time getting his attention to get him to give me a price on them at first. He was talking to another guy who was sitting in a chair next to me as I stood. At one point, the guy in the chair was popping the chair up and down. He set the chair down (while still sitting in it) on a kid's foot. The kid just stood there going "ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow" over and over without trying to get his foot out or anything. It was strange. 

Anyway, the Hart was $1. The Braun -- serial numbered 25 of 25 -- and the Molitor were both $3. I will take that. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly with Nashville being the capital of country music, it seems that there are a ton of songs that mention Tennessee from that genre. The band Alabama released this song, "Dixieland Delight," in 1983. I'm still trying to figure out if "Turtle Dovin'" is really just a euphemism for sex in Alabama, or if the band just made that up.

I still wonder what a chubby old bullfrog has to do with any of this, but I guess it rhymed.

Scan dump #1 (of several). We've got a couple of "Fractal Matrix" parallels in there, a Donruss Silver Press Proof from 1998, some Leaf parallels, and some Studio parallels. All of these came from this massive trove of 1990s inserts and parallels that this guy from Chicago had. They were all $1 each -- more than I might like to pay for cards of this vintage -- but man, when do I ever see 1990s inserts at a show? Almost never. I paid my money and thanked the man. 

The cool thing to me was that this Chicago guy actually is a dealer at the show I used to attend 35 years ago at Gonzaga Hall in Milwaukee. It's apparently still going strong and still has the same stupid auction thing going on near the door of the hall. I never did understand that auction thing. Never took part in it either.

I'm not a huge Grateful Dead fan. In fact, I pretty much haven't listened to much of their music at all. This song is pretty low key -- bluesy and cool and laid back. But did they have a fan blowing on Jerry Garcia to get his hair to keep flying out like that?

Okay, time for a 1990s Molly dump:

It was a rich vein of Molitor parallels and inserts from the 1990s, as you can see. Again, all of these were $1. 

The 1990s in cards make the Grateful Dead make sense. Seriously. People commented on the YouTube video saying, "Dude, I was high on shrooms watching this song and I thought Jerry Garcia's hair was a bird trying to escape his head."

I think that guy who commented like that was a card designer for Donruss and/or Pacific. Lots of weird die-cuts, strange background effects, odd windows with photos inside, and explosions going on. I'm really glad I wasn't collecting then -- I probably would have never come back.

When Justin Timberlake was a boy-band guy, I dismissed him mentally as a lightweight. He broke out on his own in dance music, and it was easy to dismiss that too. After all, anyone with an autotune and a beat box can make a dance track. It may not be interesting, but anyone can do that. 

To his credit, though, Justin Timberlake has some chops. In this song "Tennessee Whiskey," from the 2015 Country Music Awards, the Memphis native really nails the song and, more importantly, the feel of the song. Mea culpa, Justin. 

And if Justin Timberlake actually reads this blog, well, I may just retire from blogging now.

Next up: a dump of scans of guys nowhere near retirement:

I have a pretty good start on a Gilbert Lara rainbow of autos there. A lot of the vendors had Bowman Draft available. That's a good thing because the case break for that product that I was in got me plenty of cards, but only one autograph (a Corey Ray refractor). I took the opportunity to stock up, even grabbing a Brett Phillips yellow paper parallel serial numbered out of 50. I probably spent more on these cards than about anything else. 

I'm starting to get the urge to want to get a new player collection going. I'm thinking it might be Josh Hader, or maybe Brett Phillips. I'd like them to play in the major leagues first, though. 

I'm silly like that.

Johnny Cash would have turned 85 years old yesterday. I can't talk about Tennessee music without getting a Johnny Cash song in here. Some of Cash's best work came late in his life on the Rick Rubin-produced American Recordings -- or at least some of what sounded like his most heartfelt and authentic. Just him and a guitar.

It wouldn't be a card show without some Milwaukee Braves. The Diamond King Mathews and the Upper Deck Aaron were each 50 cents, and the rest of these cards were all $1 apiece (they were 25 for 20 bucks, but I got nowhere near that number). I tried to find more Braves from this same guy, but his prices were all over the place and seemed almost random -- like he was trying to grade the cards himself or something. It was strange. I stuck to dumpster diving.

I also noticed that there was a Milwaukee Brave on that Series 2 checklist. A little sleuthing around (read as: going to Google, then going to Net54, then finding that someone had linked to the fantastic "Number 5 Type Collection" blog) provided the information that we have Joe Adcock standing next to Ernie Banks and Don Zimmer during the July 24, 1960 game between the Braves and the Cubs. So, into the Adcock collection it goes.

Tennessee's contribution to the Dirrrrty South sound is Three 6 Mafia. They've made songs with Lil Jon, and this song says that rapper Lord Infamous is "from the part of Tennessee called SPV, Spray Pesty Varments" (hey, that's the way they spell it). By that, they mean Memphis, of course. Memphis has mosquitos like birds there. 

This song is hardcore, and it's a great way to finish off this post. Well, after you see these:

That's what's left. Both the Lopez and the Burnitz cards have some pretty sweet patches -- especially the Burnitz, for it being just a run-of-the-mill swatch insert card. 

To be fair, this is only about a third of the cards I got. I also dropped $20 on a box of those sheets that fit tobacco cards in them 15 to a sheet because I'm tired of those floating around inside my binders.

All told, it was a great day at the show. I even left a little early. I mean, come on, I was worn out. I got home at 6 PM Eastern time and hit Twitter for a while -- and even that took more energy and attention than I was willing to give!

At any rate, thanks for checking this stuff out, and definitely hit the show in Nashville if you have the chance to get to the big one. It's worth the trip.

My next big show, though, may be in North Carolina. Just saying.