26 September 2010

How far down the rabbit hole for a player collector?

       When building a collection based around players with relatively few actual cards, one quickly nears the point of completion, leaving only the very obscure and rare items unobtained.  Then the eye begins to wander to other bits and bobs floating around radiating the names of those cardboard heroes.  The results are mixed, sometimes delving (both accidentally and not) into custom creations, promotional materials and anything else that hints at being interesting.  I've reached that point with my collections of Dave Henderson, Hensley Meulens and Bernardo Brito.  The only remaining cards to collect are those that never see the light of day, so my attention has turned more to photos (team and individual), postcards, magazines, ticket stubs and anything else that might include pictures of these guys.  I don't think I'll go as far as collecting items that simply mention them, though (checkists, other card backs, etc.)

       This past week's bounty included this postcard of Hendu:

       On eBay, it was tough to determine if this was part of a legitimate team issued card or just a photo.  The same seller had several similar cards of other Red Sox players, but the players spanned three decades.  I asked the seller if this was an actual post card or just a blank-backed 4"x6", and he said it was an actual postcard, with place for stamp, address and message.  Well, when it arrived, the grainy quality of the photo, and the inkjet quality of the postcard markings on the back revealed it to be a postcard, just one that was obviously homemade:

       However, it was a photo I'd not seen before (probably scanned from a Red Sox game program given the low quality) and it was autographed by the man himself, so all in all, not too bad a fate for my $3.94.

       On the more positive side, I did manage to snag this beauty from Team Photo Day at the Kingdome in 1982:

       I also picked up the 1981 team photo, thinking Dave was also in the shot, but it turned out to be "COACH: Tommy Davis".  Can't win 'em all.

       On the Hensley Meulens front, I recently picked up this crystal clear publicity photo, produced by "R&R Sports Group" of Staten Island, NY:

       On the topic of photos, especially 8x10's, is there some master catalog or clearing house that still has stocks of old 8x10's of players from the 1980s & 1990s?  I see photos of Brito and Meulens and Hendu turn up from time to time, but, aside from collections like the TV Sports Mailbag or those issued in 1990-91 by T&M Sports, where do these photos come from, and where did they go?  I know right now Photo File is the primary licensed producer of MLB photographs, but what about all those that came before?

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