I've had a few topics I've wanted to write about on this blog but haven't had the time due to work stress, life stress, and spending too much time on COMC challenges. I just got home from celebrating my wife's birthday (which is tomorrow) and my mother in law's birthday (which is today) and so this post is a lot later than I wanted it to be.
My father in law passed away earlier this year. He was 70. I wrote about it on my other blog, so I wont repeat myself here. But he was a Vietnam war veteran - and a modest one at that. He never thought his two years of service as a plane mechanic with the Air Force was anything to brag about. One of his sons bought him a Vietnam Veteran's hat as a gift one year, and he wore it every day until it had to be replaced, but he never would have bought himself anything like that. He never took advantage of any medical benefits that were given to vets, and the only 'perk' I remember him taking advantage of was a free meal at a local steakhouse.
Pop was a Detroit Tigers fan, and followed the team on the radio through their championship season in 1968. My wife met Denny McLain at a card show about ten years ago and got his autograph for her dad. She said he was in Vietnam the year they won, and when she thanked him for the autograph he thanked Pop for his service.
Since this is a sports card blog, I should mention that his 1968 Topps team set is currently ranked #19 on PSA. I haven't asked for it, but my wife has said more than once that she expects her mother to give it to me one day. I told her that if she did, I would never sell them - or the 2011 Topps Diamond Dig cards we collected together. He must have bought 400 codes through eBay that year, and ended up with 5 or 6 special edition factory sets, about 30 Diamond Die-Cut cards (including some black parallels #d/60) and the 1984 Topps Tigers team set. He also won an unopened pack of 1977 Topps - which he opened (the best card he got was Ken Griffey, Sr.)
As a birthday gift one year, I bought him a set of 2007 Topps Distinguished Service cards:
I do wish I had those in hand, just so I could scan them up and discuss them today.
Pop was also a big New Jersey Devils fan, having turned in his Rangers fandom in 1982 when the Colorado Rockies moved here. He didn't have too many Devils cards - my wife and brother in law were the hockey card collectors - but he loved going to the games. He bought two tickets to a late-season game against the Bruins for Di's birthday way back in 1992. Just so happened that a kid named Martin Brodeur made his NHL debut that day. He saved the ticket and asked me to send it to PSA for grading. It came back an EX 5.
One year we attended a Devils draft party, where he won an autographed stick signed by every Devils player including Brodeur. My mother in law has a picture of Stan Fischler presenting him the stick. (Another thing I wish I could scan and show off here.)
However, I do have something Devils-related in hand. Fuji sent out a Santa-sized stack of mailers recently, and I was on his 'nice' list. I got some great Scotts and a pair of autos from the Devils' decade of dominance.
Thanks very much Fuji! The Stadium Club Chrome Gomez is really cool (I never knew he wore #54) even with the corner ding. My wife met Carpenter at a Dinner with the Devils event for season ticket holders. He asked her who her favorite player is and she said... Trevor Linden. "Linden?" he replied, expecting her to name a Devil. "Why?"
Di explained "He's the iron man." Then, as she tells it in a whimpering voice, Carpenter replied "I was the iron man."
I've acquired so many cards over the past six months that I would have loved to share with my father in law - such as my 2017 Topps Heritage set build, the hundred-plus 1956 Topps cards I've bought (both of those lists have been updated, btw) and this card just added to my COMC order thru ePack:
Pop never got to see the Devils draft Nico Hischier (the last time we spoke he said "what's going on in hockey?" and if someone hadn't interrupted I know he would have asked me if the Devs were going to draft Nico or Nolan Patrick.) This card depicts the exact moment that Hischier's NHL career began - and even though I dislike the idea of "instant" cards, I had to fork over $3.99 for this card - plus $0.99 for the obligatory "with purchase" purchase, plus $0.25 to COMC for shipping.
Speaking of COMC, Jon of the excellent blog A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts is running a Black Friday contest in which the winner will receive $15 in credit to spend on COMC. The contest is open until Wednesday November 15th, so if you haven't entered yet, hurry over to his blog and add your name to the list. Good luck to all who enter, and thanks for the contest Jon!
I hope you're all having a great weekend - and if you know a veteran, or even if you see one in passing, be sure to thank them for their service.