An early start to the National

Some collectors and I spent Tuesday night in Hoboken, NJ – the birthplace of baseball.  Sort of an early start to the National, I guess – and definitely a baseball-themed night.

We began the night at an establishment along the Hudson River, as we shared some stories (and beverages) with one eye on the MLB trading deadline.  Eventually becoming hungry for dinner, we walked along the river to 13th street, and encountered this:

Wait, what?!

As a kid I watched Sparky Lyle chauffeured to the mound in the late innings of tight games, in a car just like this one.  Each year a local Toyota dealer would provide the Yankees with a slick, new bullpen car, tricked out with pinstripes and the famous interlocking NY on the hood, and each year the Yankees would hold a contest to give away the old one (at least it seemed like they did this each year).  And I remember hoping I’d win, imagining myself driven to school every morning with the pinstriped car, proudly proclaiming my die-hard fandom.

Needless to say I never won, but was pretty pleased to have stumbled upon this last night.

Eventually we made our way to the legendary music club Maxwell’s, which sits on the corner of 11th and Washington, on or near the site of the old Elysian Fields – the birthplace of baseball, according to legend.  Besides being an incredible music venue and one of the few real legendary rock venues remaining in the NY/NJ area, Maxwell’s also has some ties to the great game of baseball.  First, it was the location of the music video shoot for the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days” (which ends with Springsteen telling a friend “Nettles got me in the ninth.”)  Second, it has long been home base for the great indie band Yo La Tengo, avid baseball fans who’s name is derived from the well-known anecdote of Richie Ashburn of the Mets, trying to figure out how to get his outfielders to communicate to one another and avoid crushing him while chasing flyballs.

After an excellent dinner, we ventured outside to the intersection, where each corner is marked with a “base” that theoretically represents the ball field at Elysian Fields (interesting how the urban planners who built Hoboken managed to get that intersection to fit exactly in that spot where the field was, on the future site of Maxwell’s, with a base on each corner, perfectly measured to the size of the ball field, eh?).  This spot is important enough to us that we almost named the company “Elysian Auctions,” but thought better of it because it’s so hard to spell.  We checked out the marker on 11th, memorializing the game.

June 18, 1846 – more than 150 years ago.

Not a bad way to kick off a trip to Baltimore, birthplace of Babe Ruth, to celebrate baseball history with a bunch of like-minded fans.

Leaving shortly.  Keep watching this space and our Twitter feed for regular updates.

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