EDITOR’S NOTE Baseball card collector Michael Osacky recently traveled from his home, based in Chicago, to Liberty to purchase some very valuable cards from a man who requested anonymity. He writes about his pursuit of these cards.
Babe Ruth had a home in Liberty
Story by Michael Osacky
LIBERTY January 14, 2014 New York is the home of many great sports’ franchises both past and present. Whether you are eating a sandwich at the Carnegie Deli or watching a play on Broadway, the person next to you is always willing to talk about the hometown team. Many great Hall of Famer’s called New York their hometown.
The small town of Liberty is roughly located two hours northwest of Yankee Stadium. As I drove into town, signs of summer had passed. The street signs rattled and the garbage cans rolled in between moving cars. As the drizzle turned to a downpour, I entered into a residence full of antiques. Lights flicked from the porcelain Coca Cola signs, locomotives hummed across the dining room floor, and the vintage toys were still in the original boxes. However, I came for something special. I wanted to see the vintage New York Yankee baseball card collection.
As a child, the owner of this collection would take the subway to and from Yankee Stadium with his friends. Every week, the gang would buy a nickel pack of baseball cards from the five and dime store. The trading of baseball cards would typically happen over the weekends and more children from the neighborhood were also invited. The majority of this childhood collection was thrown away by his mother.
However, he did have a few special 1933 Goudey baseball cards that he traded for in the 1960s. These cards remained tucked away in a special place that his mother could not find. The 1933 Goudey set consists of 234 cards and is flanked by numerous Hall of Fame players’. These cards were inserted into packs of Goudey bubblegum. Babe Ruth has the honor of having four cards in the set. This gentleman had all four cards. (one red, one yellow, and two green). After negotiating for what seemed like an eternity, I was the new owner of four Babe Ruth Goudey Gum Cards.[The writer later admitted he spent in the $10,000 range for the four cards.]
It is my responsibility as the new curator of the card collection to make sure the stories live on. It is my job to rescue these cards before they are thrown away. Children no longer care about baseball cards and collectibles. They are happier playing games on the ipad or cell phone. The demand for these collectibles is dying as fast as the owners’ are.
As I packed up my belongings and headed outside to my car, I took a peek outside to see if I needed my umbrella. The sun was shining from above and a rainbow lit up the sky. Yes, it was a good day indeed.
Michael Osacky started collecting vintage sports cards when his grandfather bought him a shoebox full of cards for his birthday more than 15 years ago! Since then, he has been on the hunt to find undiscovered cards and sports memorabilia collections hiding in dusty attics, garages, and barns. He can be reached at 312-379-9090 or www.baseballintheattic.com.