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Harrison’s Card Shop Adventure

Harrison Cards 1 (featured)

by Mark Jent

It was a lazy summer Saturday in the middle of August. We had let each of the kids invite a friend over to the house to hang out. We were successful in doing so with the oldest and youngest, but had struckout on last minute invites for the middle one. I needed to run an errand to go pick up some mulch, but it’s always more fun in the ‘ole brown pickup truck when I’ve got someone riding shotgun. I made my pitch to Harrison to join me for what would inevitably be a hot and sweaty adventure with no air conditioning in the ‘86 Chevy Silverado, but he was content in staying home. That was until I uttered the words, “Hey buddy, go with me – we’ll stop by the baseball card shop on the way home.”

His eyes lit up. He was in. I grabbed the keys and we were off. 

Harrison is 9 years old and in the 4th grade. He is an energetic and adventurous kid who enjoys spending time with his friends, being outdoors and playing baseball among other things. We’ve had our fair share of baseball adventures over the years – his first game at Turner Field when he was three, his first trip to Dodger Stadium when he was four, a couple of father-son trips with Simply A Fan and plenty of his own games over the years. He started really sitting down to watch baseball with me during the Cubs 2016 World Series run and he’s continued to stay engaged ever since, but nothing like how he’s been tuned in to watching our Dodgers during this shortened 60 game season. Although I had taken him to this card shop for a few minutes five years ago, he must have been too young as he told me he didn’t remember. With his current childlike innocent love of the game, this had an opportunity to be a new memorable excursion.

Cards-R-Fun is a vintage relic, as it is the last baseball card shop remaining in Nashville. It is not just any card shop, it’s the same one that my parents took me and my brother to 30+ years ago when we were kids. It was always a special trip to Nashville when we loaded up for the hour drive from our small hometown to come to the big city with our allowance or hard-earned yard mowing money to buy a few singles or wax packs. Although it has moved locations, it is still owned by the same guy – Mr. John Dunphy.

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Harrison was excited to scour the place for Dodgers cards. In particular, he wanted to find Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson cards, who he learned about recently when we watched a documentary on the ‘88 Dodgers. He was on the lookout for a Justin Turner card, his favorite player, and a Mookie Betts, the newest addition to the Dodgers lineup who is from Nashville and played in Crieve Hall Baseball like he does. 

Dunphy’s card shop has quite the inventory, but like a lot of old shops it is lacking in organization, so it’s like going on a treasure hunt to find most anything! Harrison was ecstatic when we found a Hershiser ‘85 Topps, his rookie card! Harrison’s persistence in searching for hidden gems led us to finding that single Justin Turner, a Corey Seager rookie card and 21 common cards for ten cents each! In typical generous John Dunphy fashion, he just gave him a handful of cards since it was his first visit, all Dodgers’ World Series highlights cards from the ‘89 Upper Deck set. 

Harrison made me laugh when he found and wanted to buy a Mike Friers common card. Friers is the former Astros pitcher who honorably ratted out the Astros for their cheating scandal when they beat our Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. It was the best dime we spent!

Although we only spent an hour at the card shop that afternoon, the fun has continued in the weeks since then. That evening I posted a picture of Harrison holding his Orel Hershiser rookie card on Twitter. Hershisher, who is now a broadcaster for the Dodgers, replied with a message for Harrison less than 20 minutes before the first pitch for that night’s game! It’s hard to know whether the father or son was more excited about that epic tweet. {Click here to see original tweet.}

After I posted our story on Facebook and Instagram too, I began to receive messages from friends and strangers asking for our home address as people wanted to add to Harrison’s new growing collection. The next week we started receiving packages in the mail full of baseball cards! Even though it’s been nearly a month, we continue to have people give us cards out of nowhere – a friend from church, a coworker, etc…

Harrison has a younger brother Zach, who just turned 8. In the ensuing days, you can guess what happened; somebody was asking me when daddy was going to take him to the card shop.  So the next Saturday I made a return trip with son number two. Zach’s card shop adventure was unique to him and is worthy of his own story, so it’s coming soon to the website.

Buying and collecting baseball cards has been around for decades. My Dad has about 30 cards that survived the bike spokes from his childhood in the 50’s (another story!). I still have all of mine from when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s. As worthless as many of them may be, it’s the nostalgia that keeps them stored away in a box. I still buy a select few on occasion, but introducing the hobby to your kids is another level of excitement.

It was such a fun summer Saturday adventure, one I will not soon forget. I didn’t wake up that morning thinking that we had a baseball adventure in store for us, only that I needed to go get a truckload of mulch. Looking back, I am grateful that none of his friends could come over and that I could come off the bench to pinch-hit. 

15125 Old Hickory Blvd
Nashville, TN

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