Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 Card-vent Calendar: December 24

December 24, 2008:
1975 O-Pee-Chee #457 Mario Mendoza AUTO

At long last, we've made to the the final day of the 2008 Card-vent Calendar. There have been the good cards and the bad, the funny and the rare, but nothing quite so satisfying as the Christmas Eve entry. The card above was actually one of my favorite pickups of 2008.

At some point during the summer, I attended the most regularly-scheduled card show in Milwaukee, the Gonzaga Hall show. Admission is a dollar, the same dealers are there time after time, and I'm always on the lookout for something unique. Always stationed at the second table from the door is a guy selling Brewers stuff almost exclusively. It's this guy from whom I've picked up a few rare regional-only Yount cards for my collection. He's really got it all, from old pocket schedules to signed photos to stuff only he's the only guy selling because of his trade as a printer. For some reason, I decided to page through one of his binders and I came to a section of pages that wasn't just Brewers or Milwaukee Braves.

This card of Mendoza, notorious for his extremely low batting average, and at the same time tenacious for clinging to big league status, caught my eye immediately. I believe I paid $2 for it. If you look closely, you'll notice that the blue ink signature fails to match the black facsimile signature on just about every level. This was apparent to me well before plunking down my Jefferson, but the pathway of logic my brain constructed made the purchase an inevitability. Over and over I kept coming back to The Big Lebowski: "Like Lenin said, look for the person who would benefit." For the life of me, I just couldn't find one. Who in their right mind would fake a Mario Mendoza signature? And then sell it to a guy for two dollars? Or sell it to a dealer at a price that would earn him a small profit when he sells it for two dollars?

In my mind, it's real, and it's spectacular.

I'd like to take time today to thank everyone for following along with the Card-vent Calendar this year. If everything is going according to plan, right now I am somewhere in the middle of the pirate-free Caribbean Sea aboard the Norwegian Spirit. Sure, it's no Cote d'Ivoire, and Baumer isn't dictating letters in the next cabin, but it'll do for the honeymoon. The last week or so of the Calendar was written ahead of time and post-dated. I hope everyone appreciates the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this year's edition. If I find any packs of cards in Belize or Guatemala, I'll be sure to snag a few and bust them here when I come back.
Merry Christmas, and tomorrow...a savior.


sluggerdeuce said...

I've been to Belize (also on my honeymoon) ain't finding any cards there...congrats on the nuptials from a fellow Milwaukeean. (you have no idea how good the timing of your trip is, weather-wise.

dayf said...

WooHoo! Mendoza!

Enjoy the trip, with luck you'll have some anachronisms waiting for you when you get home.