A while back I blogged about how much fun it was to page through the dealer catalogs from folks like Larry Fritsch Cards, or Kit Young, then, about a week later, a lady here at Krause dropped off a half dozen or so catalogs from TCMA, the Baseball Advertiser as it was dubbed, saying they were going to throw them away and didn’t know if the sports department might be interested. We were/are.
The 48-page Spring of 1984 catalog included a cool welcoming letter from company president Mike Aronstein, along with a little “National Notes” sidebar story telling readers about the upcoming National Convention in Parsippany, N.J.
In contrast to the Fritsch and Kit Young catalogs that emphasize vintage cards, the TCMA catalog offered hundreds of more-recent sets, most notably all of the major mainstream stuff, plus the vast inventory of their own creations, the TCMA Great Teams, Greatest Players, reprints, the Fleer and Laughlin World Series cartoon cards (shown), Z-Silk Cachets and First-Day Covers, puzzles, buttons, reference books, cool posters and lots of records.
This was neat stuff at a time when the hobby was welcoming tens of thousands of new collectors every year, and the offerings in these catalogs provided a nice entry point for collectors who might have otherwise been intimidated by the prices of vintage cards. Little did we know at the time but the prices of vintage cards probably represented a major bargain at that particular moment in history.
I even noticed a giant crossword puzzle, about 4-by-5 feet, that had nearly 1,500 questions about baseball. I bought that thing despite the fact that I wasn’t particularly enamored of crossword puzzles, though I was interest in baseball triva. I had been married for about one year at the time, and my exceptionally good sport wife thumbtacked that thing up on our bedroom wall, and we proceeded to complete it over the course of a couple of years.