Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding the 'Holy Grail' at the Urbandale Card Show

Sunday was the monthly card show at the Urbandale American Legion Hall. Naturally, I was stoked, since I wasn't able to attend the show last month, nor will I be able to attend next month due to National Guard drill weekend. I also figured it'd help kick start my blog once again after a rather chaotic month.

So after church and a quick lunch. it was off to Urbandale.

I have to admit I was a wee bit disappointed when I first arrived. There were only five or six dealers present, instead of the usual 10 or so.

I've gotten to know most of the dealers, especially since I always wear my "lucky green" Padres hat I picked up a few years ago at the Iowa Cubs shop at the stadium. I figure it never hurts to let people know who you're rooting for when it comes to card shops or card shows. Or anyone else, for that matter.

While thumbing through a few boxes of nickel cards, I struck up a conversation with another collector about the Padres. Myron, one of the vendors, came over and asked if I was interested in a Tony Gwyn jersey card. I told him, "Sure," as I'm always looking to add to my Gwynn collection.

He couldn't find the Gwynn jersey card and the Gwynn cards he did find, I already had. He then said he'd go through some of his other boxes and see what he had for Padres. I told him I'd stop by after I was done.

Boy, am I ever glad he went looking. When I finally completed my nickel box dig, I walked over to his table, where he had six of the 1974 San Diego Padres/Washington, Nat'l League cards. He said he'd gotten them in a box at an estate sale and was willing to let me have them for $1 each.

In 1973, it appeared that Joseph Danzansky was going to buy the San Diego Padres from C. Arnholt Smith. In fact, a May 1973 story in the Washington Post reported “Baseball’s Back! San Diego Padres Play Here in ’74.” Fortunately, Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, then stepped in an bought the club, keeping the team in San Diego.

In it's 1974 baseball card release, Topps included 15 cards with players with the yellow San Diego padres uniforms and caps, but with "Washington," in the top left corner and "Nat'l Lea." in the bottom right. The cards included Padres players Johnny Grubb (32B), Fred Kendall (53B), Rich Troedson (77B), Bill Greif (102B), Nate Colbert (125B), Dave Hilton (148B), Randy Jones (173B), Vicente Romo (197B), a team card (226B), Glenn Beckert (241B), Willie McCovey (250B), Dave Roberts (309B), Cito Gaston (364B), Rich Morales (387B), and a 1974 Rookie Pitchers card with Greg Shanahan (599C).

I've always felt those 1974 cards are more or less the "Holy Grail" of San Diego Padres card collecting. I  check for them every so often on E-Bay, but they seemed rather expensive (if you can find them at all). I know of other collector's who've had success in putting together the entire Padres set, but I've just never had any luck in getting them.

Now, I can say I have a very good start on completing this set.
Myron also found these Padres cards to add my collection for about a buck each - A 2011 Topps Heritage Minors Clubhouse Collection Relics Rymer Liriano, a 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League Edition Blue Tint Reymond Fuentes, and a 1998 SP Top Prospects Auto Gary Matthews, Jr. 
Myron told me that any time he comes across any Padres cards now, he's going to put them aside for me. All I have to do is look him up at the next card show, and he'll have them set aside for me.
Of course, I found plenty of other cards to temporarily sate my never-ending Padres addiction, but I'll save those for another day.