Hobby Outposts from the North: A trove of Canadian tales – Reading Rich Klein’s article about preserving hobby history got me thinking about some of the encounters I’ve had in my 20-plus years working in and around collectibles.
After writing for the short-lived Fatstacks.com hobby blog site in 1999 (yep, blogs have been around that long), I built a career in this industry that has seen many peaks and valleys. In one way or another, I’ve touched virtually every spot in the hobby and along the way picked up several stories that now, perhaps more than ever, seem important to share.
Rather than display my personal portfolio, however, or retell some of the education that I’ve had over the years, I’d like to instead talk about some of the marvelous Canadian hobby storytellers, who have had lengthy careers in cards and collectibles. This isn’t, by any means, a definitive who’s who, but rather a snapshot of some of the Canadian personalities who, if you don’t know yet, should try to connect with on social media.
Baron Bedesky – Baron held a couple different positions in the hobby, including being the editor of Canadian Sports Collector and one of the public faces of In The Game Inc. Baron’s personality and wit lend well to some fun stories, but to meet the now PHPA employee is to hear about the first baseball card he ever owned – a Montreal Expos card from the late 1960s. I visited him at ITG once and there it was – his most prized possession, framed and mounted above his desk.
Jeff Morris – Speaking of personality, there is no one, and I mean NO ONE who has as many stories as Jeff Morris. Sit with the man for a half hour – whether there are drinks present or not – and you will have a treasure trove of gold coming home with you. From the time he woke up in a hospital bed, swearing that he was Julius Erving, to finding out that his onetime employer, Pinnacle Brands, had unexpectedly gone out of business, the stories are seemingly unbelievable, yet startlingly true.
Stephen Laroche – My co-writer on Got’em, Got’em Need’em has had his share of stories from his media and manufacturing days (he’s also an alumn of In The Game). Ask him about “Mario Jr.” or WWE Hall of Famer Chyna and he’ll regale you with tales; but there are some stories that will amaze you. I’ll throw one out – discovering a game-used, autographed goalie stick at a flea market in Winnipeg, then figuring out how the heck to get it back to Ontario.
Hersh Borenstein – The owner of Frozen Pond and a super agent, Hersh probably has more stories than he can remember. Hersh has made so many allies in hockey and entertainment that LinkedIn is jealous of his network. Hersh is also one of the most naturally funny guys I have ever met and his perspective on the memorabilia sphere is second to none.
The Del Rio Boys – Fabio and Paolo both took their passion for the hobby and turned it into careers. Both took a turn at Canadian Sports Collector and were involved with the founding of CSE Games Inc. Fab still works there while Paolo has taken his career in various directions. Though Paolo will likely disagree with me, the Expo night where we made the stupid decision to have full steak dinners at 10:30pm following a long day at the show is now a time that we can actually laugh at.
Hobby Outposts from the North: Ode to Canadian Hobby Storytellers
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