by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
I realize that this article is part of a bowling website, but in the summer months I sometimes have to fill a page with other interests. I could exalt the Reno exploits of Matt McNeil and the Linds Lakers, but the articles that appear in other sections of this site cover it adequately and all I can add is an astounded congratulations!
In 1975, three young men, Lee Temanson, Bud Tompkins, and Larry Loeschen got together at one of their homes to talk about each individual’s vast collections of sports cards and memorabilia. That meeting was recognized as the founding of the Twin Cities Sports Collectors’ Club. My personal exposure to the club began in 1978, so although I am not a charter member, I have enjoyed many years and gained many friendships with fellow collectors and hobbyists.
One of the individuals I got to know is a name which many of you may recognize, Clyde Doepner. (Pronounced Dep-ner). Clyde has retired from his day job, and is now curator for the Minnesota Twins. He has been involved in setting up some of the displays at Target Field, and also planning some future ones. Clyde is to Twins memorabilia as Doug Shellum is to bowling. I have a Twins jacket worn by Rick Sofield in the 70s. Clyde has a similar jacket worn by Harmon Killebrew. I have the Red Wing Pottery ashtray issued to commemorate the 1965 World Series. Clyde has that, as well as the Red Wing home plate on which the 1965 All Star game meal was served at Met Stadium. Clyde has every program, yearbook, fan appreciation day souvenir, bobblehead, and some one of a kind items involving Twins baseball. I spoke with Clyde a week ago, and he told me the story of young A.J. from Iowa who caught the first regular season home run at Target Field, the ball hit by Jason Kubel. Clyde is the guy who goes out in the outfield stands, finds the fan with the ball, escorts him and his family into the clubhouse, and trades an autographed Joe Mauer jersey from August 2009 for the ball. Don’t expect that if you catch a home run ball next week, but he did tell me that Jim Thome is hoping to retrieve home run balls as he approaches Harmon Killebrew’s mark of 573, and hopefully the 600 HR milestone. Mr. Thome is willing to trade a bat for any of his home run balls, so if you happen to be in the right field stands, (or maybe left), and are lucky enough to make the catch, my advice is to wait for Clyde to find you and make the trade.
The Sports Collectors’ Club is alive and well. Years ago we used to meet on the first Saturday of each month in a basement room at Apache. As membership grew, it was moved upstairs to the common area of the mall. A few of us with dual interest would get a few games in at Apache’s Bowl-o-Mat after the meeting. Later the name was changed to Fair Lanes. After the 1981 tornado cruised through the area, Apache was never the same. Now of course, it is history. But 35 years and a couple of thousand members later, the club still meets on the first Saturday of each month, at a strip mall on Old Shakopee Road and France Avenue South in Bloomington. The meeting is a little different now, mostly comprised of dealers selling sports cards and collectables, but everyone is welcome to browse. I am a lifetime member, but only get down there about twice a year now. It’s not quite the same as my monthly trips to Apache in the 80s, and eBay has kind of spoiled the hunt and satisfaction of finding that Harmon Killebrew or Rod Carew card needed to complete your set.
In the past, a few of our bowling enthusiasts have contacted me when one of the kids had a lucky pull when opening a pack of Topps or Upper Deck. I only do baseball, but I’m happy to lend advice if called upon. The stuff is expensive now, but the hobby can be very rewarding.