The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 11, 1991, Page 8, Image 8

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    Popular past hobby
now sees dollar signs
By Dionne Searcey
Staff Reporter
Collecting baseball cards is still
a popular hobby,butpeoplearen't
in it for fun anymore — tney do it
for money, local merchants said.
R.J. Harris, owner of Bases
Loaded Sportscard, 2061 S. 16th
St., said people of all ages collect
the cards for financial gain.
"They may start out doing it for
fun, but most people do it for
money," he said.
Merle Schlotfeld, owner of
Merle's Baseball Card Shop, 3939
N. 48th St., agreed.
* The hobby could start when a 7
|year-old buys a lot of baseball cards
r— just to chew the tasty gum in
side, Schlotfeld said.
"You used to get a big chunk of
gum. The gum was as big as the
card." he said. But now the "nickel
a-pack" cards cost between 50 cents
and $1 — and the piece of gum is
smaller, too.
But, Schlotfeld said, collecting
cards pays off.
"There's money in baseball
cards," he said.
Well, not literally.
A pack today comes with about
10 cards, he said, in addition to the
Harris said a 50-cent pack might
contain "rookie" cards worth $5
— "if it's a rookie that a lot is
expected from, like Frank Thomas
or a card that's likely to be some
what valuable."
New cards are printed every
year during baseball season, he
"But there's nothing today that
will be truly rare."
The cards that really pay off are
the ones that date back years ago,
he said. Old cards are worth any
where from "a nickel to hundreds
of thousands of dollars."
A Mickey Mantle card recently
sold for $49,000 and a 1968 Nolan
Ryan card sold for $1,200.
And "tobacco cards" from the
late 1800s are the most scarce,
Harris said.
Collectors travel to collector's
conventions across the country to
find special cards, he said.
But, Schlotfeld said, the love of
baseball doesn't drive people to
invest in the cards. Most people
are not true "collectors," he said,
but "collector/investors."
The 1968 Cincinnati Reds rookie card of Johnny Bench and Ron Tompkins sells for $500 at Casey's
Sports Cards & Collectibles, 233 N. 48th St
Opening Day celebrated at local sports oars
By Erik Unger
Staff Reporter
Opening Day is more than just
the start of baseball season.
It is a tradition that stirs memo
ries in any baseball fan's mind.
Whether they remember huddling
around a radio straining to hear
every word of Red Barber's play
by-play, or sitting in a big league
park watching their favorite team
m action — fans remember.
But baseball tradition transcends
the ballpark. It is also a big draw
for bars across the country. Lin
coln is no exception.
Both the SportsPagc and Bleach
ers reaped the benefits of being
sports bars on Monday's Opening
The SportsPagc Lounge, 13631
Energy Way, had 35-40 people
watcmng baseball on its five tele
visions Monday afternoon, up from
the usual afternoon crowd of one
or two, according to manager Roger
Bleachers, 5601 S. 56th St., had
15-20 fans taking advantage of 12
television screens showing base
ball as well as a World Football
League game and the Stanley Cup
Yet despite the variety, the fans
were there especially for Opening
"It's a good excuse, Opening
Day, to go to a bar and watch
baseball. Brad Berka, an assis
tant tennis coach at Northeast High
School, said. "We are here tonight
to watch Nolan Ryan pitch," tie
Bleachers owner Gary Weiss, a
diehard Milwaukee Brewers fan,
said baseball is good for his bar.
This will be the first full season his
bar will be open.
"It's a good beer-drinking
sport," he said. "You don't have
to pay attention to every play of
the game. It's a lot of fun, Weiss
However, beer isn't the only
lure to Opening Day.
"For people who have experi
enced Opening Day at a major
league park, growing up with base
half, Opening Day is an event," he
SportsPage owner Bobbie Dom
said Opening Day symbolizes the
coming of spring and is one of the
bar's big attractions.
Dom, an avid Boston Red Sox
fan, shows loyalty to his team by
decorating his bar with a symbol
of the Red Sox. A patron can't
reach the restrooms in the Sport
sPage without passing throdgh a
wall designed as a replica of Fen
way's Green Monster.
The wall is covered with other
sports and baseball paraphernalia
including photos of Ted Williams,
World Series team photos of the
1961 New York Yankees and 1986
New York Mets, a Japanese base
ball uniform and a picture of old
Ebbs Stadium, home of the
Brooklyn Dodgers.
Dom said it helps to add at
mosphere and uphold the sense of
tradition the game holds.
"Wrigley Field and Fenway are
tradition and that is how it is," he
But not all the fans watching
baseball Monday are interested in
the tradition.
"I'm a baseball fan now for self
defense/' Dianna Ratzlow of Lin
coln said.
She was watching the Rangers
Brewcrs game at Bleachers with
her husband Russ. He said he had
been a fan all his life, since he
listened to games on the radio.
Now that they both have an
interest, the couple will take a
baseball vacation this summer,
taking in games in Kansas City,
Chicago, and Milwaukee.
She said the best part of the
game for her is seeing the rookies
come up and following their prog
At The SportsPage, in which
baseball clientele makes up 90
percent of its afternoon business,
drink and food specials are of
fered during the Chicago Cubs
televised games, Draper said.
"Baseball is one or the leading
forms of entertainment," Weiss
said. 'There is something special
about baseball."
\ Celebrate Our lYear Anniversary
j This Friday April, 12
25C Draws from 2:00-12:00
Drawings for Prizes from Fanatics from 3-5
The Pub in the Reunion [