Site: Westchester County Center; White Plains, NY.
White Plains and Philly/Reading are the kind of card shows you save your money, tap-out your credit cards, sell one of your kidneys, and take out a second mortgage for. There's stuff you'll find at White Plains and Reading that you just won't find at the local weekend mall show -- or for that matter eBay. Those of us in the Norteast don't need no stinkin' National or Sportsfest! Unfortunately, a 2001 Donruss Albert Pujols rookie card was not among of them.
One of the coolest things about the White Plains show, is the drive there. The Bronx River Parkway is a neat little road to drive on. You really got to love driving a highway with sharp curves, non-existent shoulders, tight lanes, and a 40 MPH speed limit. It must be really fun commuting on it every morning. The only thing that sucks about the Bronx River is that you have to take the bland and decrepit Cross-Bronx Expressway to get there. "You know without the shadow of a doubt that you are in Hell, then you must be on the Cross-Bronx Expressway!"
Now, onto the show and my quest for the elusive Donruss Albert Pujols RC. I talked to one dealer who had a dozen different Albert Pujols RCs in his display case -- including an '01 Bowman Chrome AU RC. (Just like the Donruss, the BowChro is numbered to 500, and was inserted into packs as a redemption.) He said he's sold just about every Pujols rookie card imaginable, from the most common to the most obscure. So when I asked him if he had the '01 Donruss (and not the Baseball's Best he had on display), or where I could get one, he said something unexpected. He had never even seen a copy of this card, much less sold one! Wow. For a collector trying to complete a master set of the Worst Card Set in the World, that's pretty depressing. I guess I shouldn't ask about the Ben Sheets.
Speaking of the Worst Card Set in the World, I overheard one collector saying that the infamous, deplorable, Keith Olbermann made an appearance earlier that day. (The subway does run from Manhattan to White Plains.) I can neither confirm, nor deny Olby's appearance, as I arrived in White Plains late in the afternoon. As much of a douchebag he is on TV, I have to give the man his collecting props. Olby is the only real out-of-the-closet "celebrity collector," which isn't exactly saying much about The Hobby -- although it would be kind of funny if Bill O'Reilly was a closet collector. Like I said before, and I'll say again, if I were in charge of a trading card company, the first person I would hire to run it would be Keith Olbermann.
One big ol' stack of late-90s and early-00s era inserts and short-prints (Paid $95)
I don't know about you, but I love raiding discount boxes. I think I spent an-hour-and-a-half going through two this particular dealer's 80%-off closeout boxes -- and he had another two I couldn't get to. When all was said and done, I came away with about $500 worth of cards, and paid less than a C-Note for them.
Individually, the cards I bought are way too many to list. Let's just say, that when I got home, I took out a ruler and measured this stack of top-loaders at just short of ten inches. I did come away with a Vladimir Guerrero Fan Club SP, which means I'm now one card closer to completing my aforementioned '01 Donruss master set.
A second box of 2006 Upper Deck Update ($40)
Yes, I know. I'm severly back-logged on the box breaks. I have four I'm working on (including one of UD Update) and I'm still slugging them all out. Patience my friends, patience. I don't want to spoil anything, but this particular box of Update was much better (collation wise) than the box I bought last week and will be reviewing soon.
All in all, I came to White Plains with a wallet full of twenties, looking for my elusive Albert Pujols RC. I came away empty handed, again. On the other hand, based on my observations, we can now crown Ryan Howard as "The Man" in The Hobby. Howard RCs were everywhere, and a great amount of greenbacks were changing hands over anything with his face on it. Even in New York, Howard cards were outselling David Wright, Jeter, AND Pujols.
To give you an example: Back at the last White Plains show I attended in May, I purchased an '03 Elite Extra Edition Howard for $20. Eight months and 58 homers later, the same dealer who sold me my E3 had another in her display case for $100. All hail the new King of The Hobby!
Total spent on cards: $135
Admission and Parking: $11
Grand Total: $163.20