Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Mailbox Joys: Al Zarilla Continues To Show The Way

It seems appropriate that today marks what would have been Al Zarilla's 100th birthday, since he alone is rekindling my collecting of early 50s cards. I was given a limited code for $5 off of a $10 purchase on eBay and found this beauty lingering in an eBay store for around $12 shipped. It was an easy decision, considering I had just received a 1952 Topps Al Zarilla card in the mail recently. That may have been my very first 1952 Topps card, but this was not my first 1951 Topps card.

About a decade aago, I had won a mixed lot of 1951 Topps cards. I was immediately taken by how small they actually were. I believe there were six in that lot... four red back and two blue back. They were in pretty decent condition, but far from perfect. I sold a few in my long gone eBay store and the others ended up in trades. There were no White Sox cards in that lot, so this is truly the first one that I have in my collection.

This almost makes me want to start an Al Zarilla player collection. Almost. Al was only on the White Sox for parts of two seasons, so White Sox cards of him are pretty limited. Excluding later reprints, there are only nine cards that I immediately see of Zarilla in a White Sox uniform. A few of those will be very difficult to obtain, but not impossible. My biggest concerns will be the Star-Cal cards and the Tip Top bread label. Like I said, very difficult, but not impossible. Considering I recently lost out on two different Royal Dessert cards, for two White Sox players not named Al Zarilla, it's going to be a situation of "right time, right place" to get any non Topps or non Bowman cards at a decent price.

Still, that is the thrill of the hunt. The missed opportunities. The bargain wins. It's all part of the fun. Sometimes things fall in your lap. Other times, you have to really work for it. On rare occasions, it was never meant to be.

Theorizing that one could collect all the White Sox cards within his own lifetime, collector Steve Gierman stepped into the blogoshpere... and vanished. He awoke to find himself spending hours on sites like eBay, Sportlots, UniSquare and COMC, putting together awesome trades, and driven by an unknown force to collect all White Sox cards. His only guide on this journey is Al, a baseball player from the past, who appears as baseball cards that only Steve can see and hear. And so collector Steve Gierman finds himself leaping from trade to trade, sale to sale, striving to collect each card and hoping each time that his next card... will complete his collection.

Or I could just be losing my mind. Time will tell.

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