If you’ve ever been on a vacation with your in-laws, you know at some point it’s good to get away for a while and get some “me” time. And what better excuse to do this than baseball cards?
We took a trip to Perdido Key, Flora-bama recently, and four days in I decided it was time for me to go off on a little adventure. After a bit of Googling, I decided on M&M Sports Cards in Pensacola, an LCS only 40-minutes away. I went early in the morning (10am, early for card shops, I think) so as not to miss any afternoon family fun.
I had to explain to my wife that there are a lot of Griffeys in the world, and some of the best ones are sitting in boxes in card shops across the nation, often in places where no one collects Griffey, Mariners, or even baseball (New Orleans, for example, is a football town with very few baseball collectors). These cards may never see the light of day, so it’s up to us Griffey collectors to go out and find these orphaned cards and give them a home. In addition to that, I would be supporting local business, filling the car with gas, picking up some groceries, and every other excuse I could think of to buy myself a few hours away. It worked.
M&M’s is an excellent card shop. Having visited card shops in other cities, I know that not all have survived in as good a shape as the one I frequent back home. Many have taken on new identities as paintball stores and comic shops to supplement their patronage. Once I saw a place that sold baseball cards and sandwiches (mostly sandwiches, it seemed). So walking into a new place and realizing that it is a real, honest-to-goodness card shop brings me a lot of relief. That was the case with M&M.
Out front there were bins with 50%-off sports memorabilia. In the front window there was a sign advertising the shops’ Trade Night. Inside, the shop was organized (but not too organized – you know what I mean), well-lit, and full of glass cases, shelves of sealed boxes from the 90’s through today, and rows of 5000-count boxes organized by team. This was exactly what I was looking for.
I was greeted immediately and asked if I needed help finding anything. In situations like this I don’t like to show my Griffey fandom too soon (I find this can often affect the cost of unpriced items. Plus I like to find things myself so they are more of a surprise), so I told the gentleman I was just killing some time looking around. Within two minutes I had found several items I would definitely be purchasing and set them at the register as a way of saying, “Don’t’ worry, bro - I am buying some stuff today. I will not be wasting your time.”
The man running the store was also one of the owners, a friendly fellow named Mark (or possibly Mike, but I think it was Mark). He was packaging a large quantity of cards in little yellow padded envelopes for mailing. Clearly this shop has adopted the method of supplementing sales via eBay, something I can’t imagine any card shop nowadays not doing.
I ended up poking around for a good 45 minutes. While I was doing so, another customer came in who appeared to be a regular and bought two boxes. He was super friendly and even recognized the New Orleans Zephyrs logo on my hat. I was glad to see that this shop has its regulars.
Here’s some of the stuff I brought home:
The first item I picked up, a sealed set from mid-90’s Upper Deck. I knew right away that I already had the Griffey from this set, but this particular one offered something more:
A numbered COA with a big ol’ Griffey head on it. Oh, no! Only 216000 of these sets were produced? Hurry and get yours before they’re gone!
So this Legends Memorabilia magazine is something I already have, but I don’t like to open and read them for fear of compromising the condition, so I always buy an extra when I can and the price is right. This particular periodical is actually a price guide, but it seems to be a price guide for other Legends memorabilia. So it can conceivably tell you its own value. Part of me wondered if reading this thing would be like dividing by zero, thereby creating a black hole in time-space. I’m still not 100% what the purpose of the magazine is, but it's a looker.
This is a stack of 189 Stadium Club base cards from this year. There were two gold parallels in it (including that awesome Eckersley card), but all the rest went toward completing my set. I’m currently at 80% with lots of dupes.
I don’t even know what to tell you here. They called to me. Check out Vanilla Ice!
I met Laura Dern once at Bonnaroo. She was super nice. I had to buy her Americana card.
I also pulled a bunch of singles out of those 5K-count boxes, including a sweet Dizzy Dean card I’ll be delivering to the Dizzy Dean McDonald’s in Wiggins, Mississippi. These were 50 cents each.
Finally, here are the Griffeys I brought home. That Pacific card in the top left corner is actually pretty rare, but the rest are not terribly hard to come across.
So that was my M&M experience. The shop is located at 1922 Creighton Rd # B, Pensacola, FL 32504. There was a lot of NASCAR and Miami Dolphins merch to be had as well as a few antique-looking toys and games. It's everything you may be looking for in a card shop, and a solid excuse for some away-from-the-family time if you're on the Gulf Coast for vacation.