Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No. 604 – Dedicated to the One I Love

Performer: The Mamas and the Papas
Songwriters: Lowman Pauling, Ralph Bass
Original Release: The Mamas and the Papas Deliver
Year: 1967
Definitive Version: None

After Dave and I became friends and discovered our mutual love of baseball cards, we soon found that the Detroit area (at the time) provided a wealth of opportunities to tap into that love. There was a card show every weekend—sometimes multiple shows. And they all seemed to have different dealers who had different stuff at different prices, so obviously we couldn’t miss a single one.

This is no exaggeration: Dave and I might have gone to a card show nearly every weekend for six months straight from Fall 1990 to Spring 1991. A couple of random memories of our jaunts:

* We went to one show at an armory building near Dearborn. On that day, I landed both a 1969 Mickey Mantle and 1969 Reggie Jackson for less than $100 combined, which made that set attainable. But also that day, Hal Morris, first baseman for the newly crowned world champeen Cincinnati Reds, was signing autographs.

Back then, neither Dave nor I paid for autographs (a shortsighted policy on my behalf as I later learned), so we didn’t get an autograph. But I had on a commemorative T-shirt that had a print of The Cincinnati Enquirer from the day after the Reds won it all. I walked past Morris and opened my jacket and asked, “Hey, Hal, how do you like my shirt?” “I like it.”

* We went to a Detroit show, I can’t remember where exactly, although I’m sure it was in the northwest suburbs, Thanksgiving weekend. Because of work and both of our lack of accrued vacation time, neither of us went anywhere that weekend. I had Thanksgiving with Dave and his wife, Julie, and then we went to a show that Sunday, as usual.

On this day, as we drove home, we passed an endless string of cars heading south on U.S. 23 that had deer strapped to the top of the hood. Thanksgiving weekend marked the beginning of deer-hunting season in Michigan back then. I remembered that from the year before, but Dave was unaware of this, and he had never seen the like. Before long, the deer funeral procession got to be too much. “Oh man. Look at this! What’s wrong with these people?!” His harangue lasted from Brighton, mile marker 60, to Grand Blanc, mile marker 90.

Regardless of the weekend, after we were home, we typically followed a regular routine of loot examination and checklist work at Dave’s place. If we had any trades to make, we’d make them then. One memorable one was a 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie for a 1983 Donruss Ryne Sandberg rookie—both to complete sets. We’d order Chinese or pizza and do our thing as Julie sat in her rocking chair with her needlepoint, looking on and usually shaking her head at our inanity.

And the TV was always tuned to Fox. Fox in 1990 developed a solid lineup that could have been a powerhouse if it didn’t move The Simpsons to Thursday to go head-to-head with The Cosby Show.

The first show in the lineup by the time we’d start to watch was a new one called Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. I took to it immediately due to its resemblance to the surreality of the movie Better Off Dead. One episode involved the show heroes resurrecting a long-boarded-up radio station at their high school and featured snippets of several old songs, including this one.

A perfect song to denote a budding bromance, no?

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