Klein’s Korner: The Hobby Keeps On Changing – Recently as I begin to pen this (and yes I do try to plan mentally what I’m going to write about). I attended a wedding for my wife’s cousin. Now, there are good financial reasons for having a wedding on a Thursday afternoon but it sure runs havoc on one’s work week. However, more importantly than this a wedding makes one realize you do not always get to see important people in your life unless there is some defining event such as a wedding or a funeral to bring everyone together. And yes I got to see the five (now six) year old young man who stayed with us for a while last fall and others of the future generations. For us older folks, there was a decent amount of dancing on the floor and taking copious photos with all the smart phones everyone but me carries.
The real beauty of these events are is none of us are guaranteed anything other than today and to celebrate each other is very important. I talk about this because this wedding reminded me of a hobby story from my past. Many years ago on a Beckett show trip for the then J.Paul Robert Morris College show several of us ended up at an Italian Restaurant for dinner including Etta and Jerry Hersh who were the parents of one of my Beckett teammates (Mike) and some other people I had known for a long time even before then going back to seeing them at the old Willow Grove show.
On top of that, that night happened to be their wedding anniversary and the eatery which normally did not serve any sort of dessert came up with a sweet treat so they could celebrate with something special. I don’t remember that place’s name but if I lived in that area I would have noted that so they would get noted for going way above and beyond. I note all this because Jerry Hersh passed on recently and another of my old hobby friends has moved on and won’t be able to tell any more hobby “war” stories. His stories, especially about what occurred to him at the 1991 National, are an important part of our hobby history. And for Etta, who is the chairperson of the National Dealer Board. I’d be very pleased to go back to being her “bodyguard/escort” for the 2019 National and to help her in any way I can. I know the time is very stressful during the National.
We’ll miss Jerry and his passing also brings up the potential passing of another hobby legend: Sports Collectors Digest. Recently F&W Media which owns SCD declared bankruptcy. They had very little cash on hand and enough debts to make your head spin in several directions at the same time. Over the years, I’ve discussed various aspects I believe F&W could have or should have done over the past few years. Some of those issues I used to discuss ad nauseam for Sports Collectors Daily but I think my old friend Frank Barning (Who has also been battling some health issues recently) said it best more than 20 years ago. He told me, Beckett will survive because you guys are much more into technology than Krause is. And yes, he was prescient in that comment and I will also point out, Frank was a columnist for SCD at that very time. So he knew and understood the future.
It’s hard to believe there was a time around 1990-1 when SCD was averaging 400 pages an issue EVERY week and we all waited to see what exciting items old and new would be available. This issue dated 1997 was probably a bit over 100 pages and as you see was still in the large size paper from the glory days. Today the pages are a much smaller size and when I see an issue it is usually around 80 pages or so.
I love print and knowing SCD might not be around by the time I get to Chicago in August is a very sobering thought considering SCD began publishing more than 45 years ago. That’s quite a run for any publication and while their possible demise is sad, let’s also honor their long time contributions to the hobby. I hope F&W can survive or if they don’t then the database they created and the hobby information in their files are not lost but instead end up with someone who would be able to add that to their hobby information.
For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.