The "Antique Mall" is really just a big, indoor flea market with everything from tools, to clothing, to antiques and collectibles. Lots of junk, but there is plenty of good stuff to be found, if you take your time to search its maze. And the way it's set up, with the different vendors set up, it is like a maze.
As we rolled in to Newport, we decided to stop by the Antique Mall before continuing north to Lincoln City. It was just as I had remembered it from the last time we were there, which had been four years ago. Immediately upon entering the store, I saw the first sportscard vendor's set and perused the display case and shelf for a while, before moving on through the rest of the store. As we were towards the back of the store, my eyes caught something: baseball gloves. I picked up the first one and noticed it was a Ron Cey model. The asking price was way too high ($15) for as poor of shape it was in; the back of the mitt was peeling reallying bad and wasn't worth but maybe $5. The other glove was in much better shape and as I turned it over I saw a name on it that I certainly didn't expect to see. Mark "The Bird" Fidrych. The asking price on it was much more reasonable ($10), but I decided to hold off from buying it. I did, however, take photos of each to tag a couple of individuals on Twitter, both of whom I knew would be interested in the finds.
I tagged Night Owl on it later and he replied it was a 'keeper'. Too bad the glove looked like mice had attacked it; had the Cey model been in better shape, I would have bought it for Greg. The other individual tagged was journalist and author Dan Epstein, known for his books Big Hair and Plastic Grass:A Funky Ride through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s and Stars and Strips: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of '76. Many of you are probably aware of Dan's writings and have perhaps seen him on any number of baseball documentaries (Doc Ellis: No No; Lenny Randle: The Most Interesting Man in Baseball; Mark Fidrych: The Bird). I was well aware of his love for Fidrych, and when he responded; "I'd pay $10 for that glove", I decided to offer it as a gift to him. I asked him to DM me his address and I'd send it his way. He obliged and was very grateful, thanking me again for my kind and generous act. I told him to prove it wasn't altogether altruistic (I kidded- I really had no ulterior motives), would he be willing to sign my copy of Stars and Stikes for me, if I were to include a pre-paid envelope. Dan was more than happy and asked if there was any player or team from the era that I'd want him to reference in the signature. Since the Mariners didn't start their maiden voyage until '77, I suggested The Bird. I mean, how can I not have Dan Epstein reference the Tiger phenom in a book about the 1976 season?!!
A couple of weeks later, the envelope arrived in my mailbox and sure enough, Dan was kind enough to sign the book and include another interesting piece.
The piece that showed up that I wasn't expecting was this very cool HOF postcard of none other than Bill Veeck.
The cards Dan referred to were a couple of customs I did on the Topps website. I was in the process of creating a 'Guitar Greats' set of my favorite axe slingers before Topps caught on and would no longer produce them for me. The two that I did create were Vivian Campbell and John Sykes, both of whom played for Thin Lizzy at various points. Sykes actually played with the band while Phil Lynott was still alive; Campbell, in the reincarnated TL from 2010-2011. I knew that Dan is a huge fan of the band and thought he might appreciate the cards.
Anyway, we're now forty-one years removed from that bicentennial year, but I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy 4th of July!