Klein’s Korner: August – Passing the Hobby Torch

Klein's Korner: August - Passing the Hobby Torch
Ryan & Rob Veres from Burbank Sportscards

Klein’s Korner: August – Passing the Hobby Torch – For most of us who attended the recent National Sports Card Convention in Cleveland, we’re still basking in the glow of what a successful show that was for all concerned. Since I spent a good deal less money this year than last year, I can consider my goal accomplished. But in reflection, another goal which I never realized I had is probably ready to be attained. This goal may not occur overnight and this goal is not tangible, but I’m convinced this will occur sooner than we realize.

The goal is, to assist in turning over the keys to the hobby to the next generation. When I first came to Beckett in 1990, the company

slogan was “The Future Looks Bright“. And in 1990. the publication’s future sure did look bright as our biggest distribution would be several years in the future and yes, by the middle of 1993 we were shipping over one million Beckett Baseball Card Monthlies each month and probably close to two million total magazines each month. Yes, that’s a lot of magazines. And many of use have who were there have fanned out and helped the hobby in many ways.

However, this year when I was chatting with Ryan Veres, who will take Burbank Sportscards to levels his father only dreamed of, we realized within a few years his generation will be ready to steer the hobby and frankly be more malleable to change than our generation was. Heck, I’m just learning how to use hashtags on twitter #collect #thehobby and still need to figure out Facebook Live and don’t even ask me about Periscope, Twitch, Reddit or whatever new systems are in use. Here’s Ryan posing with his dad, who as I’ve noted is the Larry Fritsch of his generation. Rob took selling cards on-line to whole new levels and Ryan is both continuing the tradition and going back to retail roots to better serve local customers.

Klein's Korner: August - Passing the Hobby Torch
Brandon LeCompte from COMC

Another really good person for the future is Brandon LeCompte, one of my COMC ID teammates. At the National, one of customers had some cards which can be tricky to identify and when presented with the question he had the perfect answer. It went something to the effect of: “Of course I’d look for embossing because I’d wonder why anyone is sending in a base Pacific Paramount card.” Knowledge of that answer and saying it without having to think means that as long as he enjoys doing card ID work at COMC, then our future is in good hands.

I have not even mentioned young men such as Justin and Rhett who along with their fathers set up at many of my shows. Both of them are well mannered, doing good in school and are better suited for going out in the world then when I was their age. Both of them attended the NSCC with their fathers as noted and both enjoyed the experience. I know Justin has been to a few Nationals and that was the first one I saw Rhett at but it’s great to see such active teenagers involved.

And then there are collectors such as my good compadres Stephen and Angela Loeffler. A young couple who both really enjoy the hobby and have built his Minnesota Twins collection on a reasonably limited budget. They also know how to use all the modern forms of social media. and do a great job spreading the word through their efforts on-line.

These are just a few examples of the next generation getting ready to take over the hobby and all I can say is: DO IT. I enjoy being a “Hobby Elder Statesman” and adviser. The future of the hobby again looks bright and I’m sure there are tons of other fine young people ready to help move us to the next level.

P.S. A reminder for all concerned, our next Adat Chaverim charity show will be Sunday, September 2nd from 10A-4P and Monday September 3rd from 11A-3P of Labor Day weekend. In the words of Dr. James Beckett: “I think Plano has the most collector-friendly show in the history of the hobby. If you go…to Rich Klein’s Adat Synagogue show, I promise you you’ll walk out with more than you came in with. For a dollar, you’re going to have to back up your truck. I guess I can say that’s the other show I go to besides the National.”  Adat is located at 6300 Independence Parkway (In the shopping center at the northeast corner of Spring Creek and Independence) Plano, TX 75023.

Rich Klein