A Response to “A Sheltered Life”

Last year, during one of those times where I could find a moment to read other people’s blogs, I found myself reading Night Owl (as we all do, I’m sure).  He had an Anthony Rizzo relic pulled from a blaster and was gracious enough to trade it to me.

Back in September of last year, he wrote up his side of the transaction, which you can find here, and now finally it’s my turn (stupid work with its mind-numbing hours).

In that article, Greg talked about how he’s in a card desert while I live in the card oasis that is Chicago.  I’m sure some see Chicago as a cardboard haven, but that’s not my personal experience.

Sure, a lot of that is probably self imposed.  We have several card shops, but none that are that close to me.  I’m also not a fan of going into card shops most of the time, because it’s such an awkward environment.  I get anxiety having someone watch my every move because I’m the only person in there, asking me questions, when I just want to dig through cheapo boxes for however long it takes me without anyone’s help, thank you!

Card shows also exist around here, but again they are not close. I think all of them are in the suburbs or surrounding areas, meaning 30 minutes to an hour+.  I know that’s still better than most people have it, but  I’ve tried to go to a couple here and there and most are very small and didn’t feel worth the drive.  I think the east coast metro people have better options and more frequent ones across state lines with so many cities bunched up over there.

Doesn’t say if he eats Wheaties or not

Greg can talk about lack of card knowledge if he wants, but I’ll throw it right back at him with these Wheaties box cut outs he sent.  Being a fan of oddballs, it’s so interesting to come across stuff like this and get to learn about these sets.  I found out that other cereals also had cards on the back of boxes and was able to add the ones I don’t have to my want lists!

Wheaties also had Upper Deck boxes this year

By the way, in a weird coincidence, my parents found and gifted to me some complete empty Wheaties boxes with some of these cards afterwards.  They don’t live in Chicago, but antique malls can be fruitful sometimes.

Watch that finger!

Now, I’m not trying to out-modest anyone, and I’m certainly not trying to complain about where I live, because it’s pretty great (aside from the fluctuating weather).  I mean, we have two baseball teams (even though I’ve never been down to see the White Sox play).

The mud year of Gypsy Queen

There’s plenty to do all around, and tons of great food options, although I’m still jealous of that Sonic he mentioned.

Testosterone supplements give you goosebumps

But probably the worst thing, card wise, about Chicago is that even if it is the place where all the cards reside, it’s also a place with a whole lot of competition for those cards.  We have a lot of Frank Thomas collectors in this city, and so something as simple as this mini would be “over valued” by shop owners and card show sellers.


I know!  I’m mad about it, too!  How’s a guy supposed to collect when people try to charge $1 for a Jon Lester Stadium Club base card (presumably)?  $3 minimum for any Kris Bryant.  Sure they have 20 copies of that 2017 Bowman card, but….MVP….so $3.


It’s that kind of limited experience, plus the anxiety I mentioned that has me stay in and buy cards online mostly.  It makes me wonder how many treasures are hiding in Chicago behind an extravagant pay wall and stubbornness.

The centerpiece of the trade

So, even though it’s certainly not obvious, the point of my tangential story is that no matter where you live trading is very important and much needed.  I love that collectors across the country (and sometimes in other countries) can connect and teach other things, share experiences and baseball cards with one another, and argue about which side has the greener grass.

Thanks, as always, Greg for the great trade and the great read!

3 comments to A Response to “A Sheltered Life”

  • All I know is there are 3 bloggers I can think of off the top of my head who live in the general Chicago area who post nonstop about card shows and flea markets and meeting each other at card shows and flea markets. Sounds like a card oasis to me. Maybe you need to find those guys.

    One day I’ll replenish my Thomas-Maddux-Cubs cards. They go fast.

  • Here in the Hudson Valley of NY we have not had a card show since 2004 or so. I miss them greatly, as they used to be practically weekly. The last one I went to was in 2005 and I had to drive 4 hours one way to Massachusetts to get to it, only to not have a single card for me to buy in the show.

    • Jon

      @nightowl – I probably do need to find those guys, but I’m super anti-social and awkward. The general Chicago area is a very wide area depending on how you want to define it. Some of that stuff is 1.5 hours away while still being “in the area.” I’m personally in the city and the only shows and flea markets I’m aware of are out in the extended burbs or farther, which is a bit too far of a drive for this lazy SOB but might be pretty close to them. Also, no worries about replenishing. Right now I’m more concerned about trying to get organized so I can go through people’s want lists and send out care packages and purge rather than get new stuff in. Still, very thankful for the trade and I think I have more from you that I have yet to post — so behind….

      @Billy – Sort of to piggyback on above, in my hometown of Rockford, I remember there were card shows every week or two weeks. I think they still have at least one a month out there. What you explained is my big fear of driving out to the suburbs for these shows. My collecting focus is kind of narrow compared to someone like Nick of dimebox fame, so I’d probably come up empty like you did. I’m sorry that happened back then to you – that would be deflating. By the way, I have a pile of basketball cards started for you, but still need to go through the 95-96 years. So, one day this summer I’ll reach out to knock down your lists a bit.

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