Some sports collectors save colorful rectangular pieces of paper.
But this ephemera is not baseball cards. It's schedule cards.
And since pocket-sized cards aren't the only ways schedules come, collections can include postcards, pencils, keychains, matchbooks, cans and posters.
According to schedule collector John Drugan of Warren, Mich.: "I overlap with collectors of certain sponsors -- say, Coca Cola -- collectors of brewery-related items and, of course, team memorabilia collectors. In many cases, schedules are overlooked and underpriced. Most are destroyed before the following season, so they can be quite rare."
Part of the challenge, says Drugan, is finding "local sponsor variations that can change from year to year."
Team schedules, like baseball cards, date from the 19th century, but they don't command the prices -- or the attention -- of cards.
"Selected 'skeds' from the '60s and early '70s may be worth up to $5, and some even older and rarer have brought over $100," according to Drugan. "These are very low prices compared to cards and given the rarity of some items. The reason is that there are only about 1,000 to 1,500 collectors across the U.S. and Canada, and many of those collect only one team or sport."
There is a network, though. Two major newsletters provide information for beginning and advanced collectors and list auctions of older material. Their classified ads help collectors get together to trade. Marty Falk, 8 Fillmore Place, Lawrenceville, N.J. 08648, publishes The Sked Notebook. Keith Gadbury, 204 N. Charro Ave., Thousand Oaks, Calif. 91320, publishes Right On Schedules. They answer inquiries and will send samples of their newsletters.
Subscriptions to The Sked Notebook are $12 per year or $7.50 for six months (make checks payable to Marty Falk).
Right on Schedules comes out 18 times a year, and subscriptions are $9.50. Two hobby newsletters had come and gone. Gadbury and Jim McConnell, known to sked collectors as "the father of the hobby," first published Right on Schedules in October 1980. McConnell sold his collection in 1988 and dropped out of the hobby. Right on Schedules has a circulation )) of 130, and Gadbury says that, according to his records, "Over 1,000 people have subscribed to ROS at one time or another."
Trading by mail or at small, informal get-togethers are popular ways for people to build their collections. There are even conventions that draw up to 100 people. One will be in Detroit this month.
"Often there are collectors who don't know that there is a trading network," says Drugan. "I myself collected local Tiger skeds for 20 years before I found out."
Marty's Oriole Mart has moved to larger quarters at 1720 Liberty Road in Eldersburg. Hours have been expanded, too, and the phone number remains 549-6269. . . . Action Packed's 1991 NFL cards aren't just in packs. They're inserted in magazines, too: the June 7 Sports Collector's Digest, August Tuff Stuff, August Baseball Card News and the program for the National Card Show...Baseball fans can wear or display their favorite stars with "Starshots," produced by Starshots, Inc. This collectible features round badge 2 1/4 inches in diameter with a color action photo of the player and a display easel with five-year player statistics on the front and a player biography on the back. It has a suggested retail price of $1.99.
June 15, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
June 22, baseball card show, Cromwell Bridge Holiday Inn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 893-0013.
June 23, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
July 13, baseball card show, Carrolltowne Mall, Sykesville, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 549-6269.
July 14, baseball card show, Glen Burnie Elks Hall, Severn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.