Hello all. This is my first real blog post. Even though I’ve been penning ‘On Your Side’ in Tuff Stuff and now in SCD since 1991, I have always been lax at this Internet thing. I guess it’s my age showing, kind of like when I gave my late Dad, Stanley a new VCR in 1982. He just sort of let it sit there and watch the clock flash. That was me with this blog stuff, until now.

One of the things I was sad about with the demise of Tuff Stuff was that I never had a chance to write a ‘thanks and farewell’ column. As a matter of fact, in the last column I did write for Tuff Stuff, I celebrated my 20th Anniverasry with the Mag. Little did I know how prophetic that was. Soon thereafter, I received the news that Tuff Stuff had been banished to the Great Cardboard Heap in The Sky! After some trepidation and conversation, I landed on my feet as the new Editor-at-Large of Sports Collectors Digest, The Voice of the Hobby. Boy, if you had told me 10-15 years ago that I would be with what was at the time, the Competition and LOVE it, I would have told you no way. So here we go.

Before I entered the cardboard world, I was heavily involved in sales, both as a VP Sales and a President of Sales for some very large companies. In the mid ’80’s, I met a guy that introduced me to the Hobby. At the time, I had no clue that cards were worth anything at all. I had been a serious collector back in the day, but my ‘day’ was the early ’60’s when I was 10. I had more 1959 Topps Mantles in my bike spokes and glued to my school books than I have for sale in my store today. Since I was a Bronx Boy, The Mick was my guy and because of that, he was my fave to flip against the wall and otherwise mutilate. So here I am some 25 years later and some guy I just hired is telling me how much cash I blew.

Well, one thing led to another and soon enough, I was exchanging my suit and tie for shorts and a golf shirt. I opened Porky’s in 1988 and in late 1990, I saw a familiar type of ad running in SCD. It was a “call this 900 # and get a FREE chance to win this Ted Williams signed bat. FREE TO ENTER” Well, I know about this scam from my years in the telemarketing bisiness. Nothing is free in this world. Nothing! In small print it said that each caller was charged 99  cents per call. They were taking thousands of these calls, well more than the bat was worth. This was an illegal lottery and no one knew it. But I did!

I first approached SCD about this, but they were reluctant to puiblish what I intended to write. Then Tuff Stuff owner, Ernie White had a meeting with me at the 1991 National in Atlanta and partially because I said I would write if for FREE, he said yes and off I went. Through the next 20 years, I took on all the Card Makers, Cable TV late night sellers, rival publications, Athletes, eBay, you name it. I also wrote a fairly long running interview column called ‘On The Record’ for Tuff Stuff, where I would interview Industry Executives, asking the really HARD questions. Tuff Stuff to their credit and through at least 4 different owners, kept me on as Editor-at-Large and let me keep going.

I owe that to all my loyal readers that wrote in every Writers Poll to vote for me, to all those that sent me nice and even disagreeing emails [snail mail letters in those days. Yikes!], to all who called me, to all who read Tuff Stuff and kept us alive in a challenging economy. My sincere thanks to all of you and I must say that you are again the reason I am now with SCD. Let me remind you all that I still answer every email, answer the phone, and call you back when you leave a message!

Krause Publications bought Tuff Stuff some years ago and then F + W Publications bought Krause. So it’s basically all in the family. I’ve never written it for the money [WHAT MONEY? LOL] I do it because I care about the Hobby. I have been involved in the Hobby as a show dealer, store owner, and journalist the past 2+ decades + and have no intention of stopping. With this blog and my new SCD column, where I have NO word count restrictions [used to have a 900-950 limit at Tuff Stuff] , the bad guys had better sit up and take a look because I am STILL ON YOUR SIDE! TJS

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