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Feeling like a kid at Baseball Card King

Feeling like a kid at Baseball Card King 5.00/5 (100.00%) 9 votes

Feeling like a kid at Baseball Card King

By RAY HANANIA

Southwest News-Herald/Des Plaines Valley News newspapers, Thursday, May 29, 2014

Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle - Autograph by T...

When I was a kid, the closest I got to professional baseball was buying a pack of baseball cards.

The pack of five cards and bubble gum only cost 5 cents, although 5 cents in 1966 is the equivalent of 50 cents today, if we compare costs properly. (A Burger King Whopper back then cost 35 cents. Today, it costs about $3.50.)

The big catch cards were Ernie Banks on first base, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, plus a few other big names, too. I never imagined being able to get one of them to autograph the cards, or even get an autographed baseball. I went to only a few games with my dad back then, once at Wrigley Field and once at Sox Park.

Today, collecting baseball and sports memorabilia is a trillion dollar industry. Just having a card is no longer of much value without getting the card, or a baseball, autographed.

Every time I take my son to a Cubs or Sox game, while watching the game is the draw, the priority is to have some baseballs, pens and patience 45 minutes after the game ends to wait for the players to leave to hawk autographs.

Even if you are lucky not to get chased out of the closing park by the “Andy Frain” ushers, not all of the players will give you autographs. Not even for the little kids. (I still call the ushers Andy Frain, but I know they went out of business in the 1990s. Now many of the ushers include a lot of seniors hired to help at the park.)

DanielWebb1Well, what’s a father to do with a son who knows more about Mickey Mantle today than I did when he was playing at the top of his game in the 1960s? You take him to one of the Baseball Card King’s five memorabilia stores where the players circulate through to provide autographs.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Daniel Webb, the rookie White Sox reliever, was signing autographs at the Baseball Card King in Oak Lawn on 95th Street.

It’s a simple process, but it’s a lot of fun, especially for my son. I don’t recall whether they held autograph sessions at stores when I was a kid, but I really doubt my dad could afford to lay out $4 (or $40 today) to get three autographs.

But meeting Webb was a real pleasure. What a nice guy. He was so courteous posing with each person who stood in line to get him to autograph a photo, a baseball, a rare rookie card, or a bat.

They have more in the autograph lineup. My son loves it.

DanielWebb2On May 31, White Sox outfielder Alejandro de Aza will be at the Oak Lawn store.

On June 11, Dan Rohn,

Dan Rohn who played on the Cubs 1984 Eastern Division Champs team, will be at the Plainfield store.

On June 14, Sox reliever Scott Carroll will be at the Oak Lawn store.

On June 15, Sox reliever Jake Petricka will be at the Downers Grove store.

At the Oak Lawn store on June 16, Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez will be there, and on June 18, Sox first base coach Daryl Boston wil be at the Oak Lawn store.

On June 21, former Cub Bob Dernier will be at the Wrigley Field store.

On June 28, former Cub pitcher Randy Martz will be at the Plainfield store.

Go online to check times at www.TheBaseballCardKing.com. My son sync’d my online calendar using his iPad.

I’ll be standing in line, learning more about the Sox than I ever knew as a kid. Thanks to my son, and the Baseball Card King.

Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. He is the managing editor of the Illinois News Online www.IllinoisNewsNetwork.com. Reach him at www.TheMediaOasis.com.

[CORRECTION: An earlier version was edited and mistakenly identified Dan Rohn as being with WGN TV, not the former Cubs player. It is corrected in this version.]

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