On a recent trip to the Jersey shore, I returned to the card shop of my youth. Growing up, my family had a beach house in Avalon, NJ. Every weekend my mom would give me $10-20 to head over to Pitchout to pick out whatever I wanted. The shop was only about two blocks away and I spent at least one afternoon a weekend there, looking through cards and talking baseball with the owner. It was my favorite way to kill a few hours in the early afternoon.
The shop is certainly the smallest card store I’ve ever been in, with standing room for about eight people max. However, it will always hold a special place in my heart for being the place I really became a collector. Most importantly for this blog, this shop is most likely the place I purchased my first Pat Burrell card and the place that rekindled my desire to collect last August. Before last summer, I hadn’t been to Avalon since my family sold our house in 2004 and I hadn’t really collected since 2003. Last Friday marked only my second trip to the store since I had stopped collecting. I picked up some great cards, including an oddball Phillies set that I have been looking for FOREVVVVER (Squints-style). More on that set in part two. But first, the best thing I found at the shop is my very first Mark Reynolds autograph:
2007 SP Authentic By the Letter Rookie Signatures #116 06/75
Beginning with my enrollment at UVA last year, I have been half-heartedly collecting both Mark Reynolds and Ryan Zimmerman, two famous recent graduates of the UVA baseball program. Reynolds is having a tremendous year, even if he is on pace to break his own single season strikeout mark of 205, which he set last year. Reynolds is just hitting his power stride, having already connected for 25 home runs this year after only 28 longballs all of last season. Reynolds has even attracted the attention of eminent blogger Mario at Wax Heaven. Reynolds is definitely a player on the rise, and I am proud to call him a fellow Virginia Cavalier, even if it doesn’t appear that he graduated.
Like just about everyone else who has ever commented on the letterman autos, I am not a big fan. The letter doesn’t even fit inside the opening, and it cramps the signature. It took me a minute to realize that the autograph faces the opposite way of the words running down the righthand side. I just don’t really see the point of the letterman if it’s not game used. Nonetheless, I’m very excited to have found a Reynolds autograph for a reasonable price and I hope to continue to add to my Mark Reynolds collection. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this edition of Hobby Shop Adventures.