Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kicking the Buckett

For Christmas in 1987, my mother got me a subscription to Beckett Magazine.  I was more than thrilled.  I imagine this came about because I had nearly destroyed a Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide I had bought one summer visit with my Grandma in 1987.  Having found the book at a local book shop in a small Indiana town, I felt I now possessed the Holy Grail.

No longer were my cards pictures and stats of my baseball heroes, they were now priced.  They had “value.”  To an 11 year old, whose allowance was raiding the change from my Dad's key bowl, finding out some cards were worth over a dollar, and at worst were worth 5 cents, was like stumbling upon an open armored car.  In essence, the money was mine for the taking.

Trading among friends lost the notion of obtaining your favorite players or teams, it now became the stock market.  I vividly remember us pulling out our price guides to make sure no one was pulling a fast one.  I even remember a kid standing at the only exit to our school, holding up a 100 card stack of 86 Topps.  He’d bark “$2 for 100 cards!,” and inevitably, every day some younger kid would buy them.  That kid must have made a killing, selling 500 cards a week for $10.  I later found out the 100 cards were starless, and that he kept the good ones, sold the “bad” ones and used the money to buy more cards.  Ingenious, if not deceitful, yet truly sad in retrospect.

The innocence of collecting cards was gone.  No one saw Jose’s smirking mug, they saw a big fat $ sign.

I could rail on again about my disdain for what Beckett and Mr. Mint did to the hobby, but I’ve done it before, even if in a hack literary effort.  No, this time, I’m going spelling-Nazi.

Leafing through my last Price Guide from 2002 (which was the only price guide I had since my 1987 version – and the monthly subscription ran out back in 1993), I noticed several annoying UERs, to use their lingo.

Exhibit 1:

Not one, but two within a mere inch of each other.

Exhibit 2:

Japenese – UER.  Way to denigrate an entire nation.

Judging by the number of people who are acknowledged for working on this guide, one would think that spelling would be easy to notice.  It goes to show that if attention to these details can’t be followed, then I’d think the “prices” are wrong, too.

Yeah, I know I'm being picky.

Doc T

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