Author Archives: Shawn V

1987 New York Mets

How I Traded Matchbox Cars for a Keith Hernandez Game Used Bat

Have you ever noticed that, every now and then, the breaks fall your way? It may not occur often but when it does, all seems right with the world. One of my favorite ball players was Keith Hernandez. He was a talented ball player who contributed more than just clutch hits and a mesmerizing glove. He was a vocal leader who led by example.

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Game used

“I’m Keith Hernandez”

Hernandez was a ballplayer who left everything on the field. He was not quite the hitter that George Brett was but they were cut from the same cloth. They were both gamers and had a fighter’s heart. I recently acquired a game used Keith Hernandez bat from an online auction house. Here is how it happened.

1960’s Matchbox Car Collection

Since my early teens, a small collection of Matchbox cars from the 1960’s has been within my circle of possessions. I never had an interest in them, let alone an urge to add to the collection. My best guess is the cars belonged to a relative and upon their passing, my father picked the cars up for me.

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These Matchbox Cars from the 1960’s languished in my basement for decades.
They are cool but not as cool as a Game Used Keith Hernandez Bat.

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Carrying Case—1960’s

Every few years, I might glance at them to gauge whether my feelings toward them changed. Never did. During a recent basement purge, I came across the cars and had an epiphany. I Googled the Matchbox cars and hatched a course of action. In early March, I packed up the Matchbox cars and headed to the Philadelphia SportsCard and Memorabilia Show.

An Auction and a Man Meet

There are many auction houses to consider for consignment of your cherished or uncherished collectibles. Many are represented at the Philadelphia show. I had, earlier, submitted photographs of the Matchbox cars to different auction houses to see if my thoughts were on point and to see if there would be interest. The auction house I chose for consignment of the Matchbox cars was Huggins and Scott Auctions. Simply a preference as I am familiar with them and have always felt confident participating in their auctions. I left my cars in their capable hands.

Fast forward to late April. The auction catalog arrived in the mail. As I was perusing the articles up for auction, I came across lot 584. An unauthenticated game used Keith Hernandez bat. I tried to put it out of my mind but could not.

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Keith Hernandez taped bat handle

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Keith Hernandez Louisville Slugger-S216

On the closing day of the auction, I began bidding on the bat with one eye on my Matchbox cars cloaked as lot 1955. It was then I realized, I may be able to swap one for the other. My cars had already received a bid in late April so I knew they were going to be sold and anything on top of that was icing.

Keith Hernandez Game Used Bat

As the auction was winding down, the cars were going at a slightly higher price than the bat. This was a great scenario that I did not foresee. Mrs. V was pleasantly surprised at the price my cars realized at the final hammer. She was NOT pleasantly surprised to learn that I used the profits to bid on and WIN the Keith Hernandez bat. Considering the buyer’s premium and the consignment premium, as well as shipping cost, I was thrilled with the final tally. Close to a straight up trade!

The day after the bat arrived, I sent it directly to Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) & PSA/DNA . A leading authenticator of sports collectibles. Their expertise lies in studying the nuances and characteristics of the bat and player. They also search records from the bat manufacturers and such to determine if an article is authentic.

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PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity. (Back)

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PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity. (Front)

(On a side note, I sent the bat on a Wednesday, and received it back the following Monday. Extremely fast service.) It came back authenticated as a Keith Hernandez game used bat. Strangely, in my travels, I now find myself looking for Matchbox cars as well as sports memorabilia. I doubt Mrs. V is proud of this development.

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Ballpark renovations taking place for “MLB Little League Classic”—Gallery

Playing Surface being brought up to Big League specs

The “MLB Little League Classic” will be taking place in Williamsport, PA on August 20, 2017. The game will be played at  BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, the home of the Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters of the NY-Penn League. Built in 1926, the field has long been a jewel of Minor League Baseball. The game will feature the Pittsburgh Pirates vs the St. Louis Cardinals. The playing surface (as well as the stadium in general) is undergoing a major renovation for the upcoming season and the “MLB Little League Classic“. Below are a few photographs of the field as renovation begins.

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I had the misfortune of bringing a bit of mud into the house after my visit to the ballpark. I tracked some mud onto a throw rug. Mrs. V asked me to shake the rug. I told her that was Major League Baseball mud (sort of). She did not waiver.

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Opening Day…It’s Almost Here.

Collective Anticipation

This past Sunday at church, a dear friend excitedly shook my hand and simply said…”It’s almost here”. That was all that needed to be said. Opening Day is almost here. He happens to be a jubilant Cubs fan (He has carry over joy) and has waited patiently for the new campaign to begin. We all have the teams we live and die with, but as we approach baseball season, all that matters is that we are BASEBALL fans. We are all connected by the exuberance of Opening Day. As the season quickly fades into the first week, our focus will realign with our allegiance and our team fandom will matter again. But, right now, we head toward our special day as a baseball starved horde that needs the game to return.

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Nothing Else Matters…Just Opening Day

  • Stress on the job…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • School got you down…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Car has the shakes…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Nor’easter Stella…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Significant other doesn’t quite get it…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Money woes…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Democrat…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Republican…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Other…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Email hacked…Opening Day…it’s almost here.
  • Cracked phone screen…Opening Day…It’s almost here.
  • No phone screen…Opening Day…It’s almost here.
  • No Phone…Opening Day…It’s almost here.

    Opening Day

    My first Opening Day at Shea. It happened to be Tom Glavine’s first game as a Met. It went horribly wrong.

I always seem to come across the following excerpt of literary genius at the end of the baseball season when the chill rains come and we face the fall alone. Not this year. As baseball season approaches let us enjoy the part of the writing that references spring and summer because if we were to take a snapshot right now…that is where we are.

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”  (A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti)

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