Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Base(ball) Oddity #25: Convenience Stores

"I tell you, Rat, the business is sh*tty. I mean, the kids today, they're not even listenin to Aerosmith."~ Mike Damone, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

But, unlike today, the kids back then still collected cards~ The ChopKeeper

In my previous Base(ball) Oddity post, I lamented the loss of 7-11 convenience stores in our area. Well, the same company that bought out the local 7-11 franchisees also bought out the local Circle Ks. But back in 1985, there were plenty of each in our area. And Aerosmith was back in the saddle again.

1985 Circle K #11 Eddie Mathews

I was out of card collecting by the time this set was released. The years between 1982 and 1985 were a period of great change in my life. As a thirteen year old in 1982, I was still actively collecting cards; as a sixteen year-old in '85, I related more to the youth in Cameron Crowe's 1982 classic film, and my love of Aerosmith rivaled my love of baseball. Had I known that their 1985 'comeback album', Done with Mirrors, would be (IMO) their last great one, I would have bemoaned with Damone about the downfall of such a great band.

Convenience Truth

If you have seen Fast Times (and really, who hasn't!!) then you know the role that convenience stores play in movie: Damone, the sleaze ball scalper, is left holding many Blue Oyster Cult tickets, which, he says, brought him this close to having to get a job at 7-11; Brad Hamilton, a single and successful guy, gets fired from his dream job at All-American Burger, then quits another rather than making a delivery while wearing a pirate costume. He then gets a job at a convenience store (Mi-T Mart), where he thwarts a robbery attempt and becomes store manager; in the movie's close, it's revealed that Damone gets busted scalping Ozzy Osborne tickets and ends up working at 7-11.

Convenience stores also played an important role in my childhood. I lived about 1/4 mile from a 
Circle K and it's where I bought a majority of the cards during my childhood. I remember buying packs of '80-81 Topps NBA and pulling the Bird/Magic Rookie Card; packs of '81 Topps football and pulling the Joe Montana RC; there was also that 1982 Orioles Future Stars card with Bob Bonner on it. And, had I still been collecting, it would have been the perfect place to pick up this great 33-card set. The set recognized the top home run hitters of all-time in order by their career totals (for some reason, DiMaggio is not included). And while I didn't pick up a set back then, they're easily enough found today.

Righteous Bucks

I paid a buck for this card, which seems about the normal price on eBay. Check Out My Cards have quite a few for half that. There's a nice boxed set currently available on the 'bay for six bucks, delivered.

You Worked In Oakland

So, what was Eddie Mathews doing in 1985?  I didn't know, so I decided to look into it and after spending too much time on it, I still don't know. He did work in the Oakland organization as a minor league hitting instructor between the years of 1981 & 1983. At one point in 1982, a spot was detected on his lung in and, after the A's doctors examined him, was found to have Tuberculosis. Mathews also worked in the Brewers and Rangers organizations as a coach and scout- none lasting very long, admittedly due to his hard drinking ways.

Oddly Enough
The quote at the beginning of this post was from a scene that did not make the theatrical release of Fast Times, but was used in the edited television version. I like to think of these type of gems as the equivalent of the oddball set

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