February was Black History Month, a time to listen to a bunch of my records by Black artists.
March was Women’s History Month, a time to listen a bunch of my records by women artists.
Since then, though, I’ve been seeing someone else.
I have a new diversion as the pandemic drags on. (Get your COVID-19 vaccine shots, please.) I’m back to baseball cards.
Earlier this month, I went to a sports card show. It was pleasant enough, but I think I’ll stick to record shows. Kids rarely go to record shows, so you don’t see dealers condescending to them as they sometimes do at sports card shows. Some record dealers can be hustlers, but not to the degree that sports card dealers can be. Sports cards have become white hot during the pandemic. Some dealers seem like sketchy investment brokers.
My original baseball card collection, gathered from 1968 to the mid-’70s, has thousands of cards in it. All those cards are considered vintage cards these days, just as most of my records are considered vintage records. Some are valuable. They’re not for sale. At least not today.
There are 28 cards in my new collection. I’m not sure there will be a lot more.
Twelve are art cards created by Andrew Woolley, the Michigan artist behind Millburg Trading Cards. It’s fun to have cards that few others have, and good to have cards that support Alzheimer’s and autism awareness.
Ten are what’s known as group cards, with two or more players and headlines that have gone from corny to vintage cool over the decades: “Buc Belters,” “Power Plus,” “Bird Belters,” “Friendly Foes,” “Bird Hill Aces.”
Four feature Dick Allen, one of the all-time baseball badasses and one of my favorite players, including his 1964 rookie card. (Dick Allen belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame, by the way.)
The other two also are all-time baseball badasses, George Scott of the Brewers and Dave Parker of the Pirates. (Dave Parker’s new book, “Cobra,” written with Dave Jordan, is excellent. Parker also belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.)
Late last year, my friend Charlie over at the fine Bloggerhythms blog wrote about Dick Allen’s brief music career. He was the lead singer in Rich Allen and The Ebonistics, a Philadelphia doo-wop group. Here’s their single “Echo’s of November” on Groovey Grooves Records, a Philly label, from 1968.