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May 30, 2008     Cape Gazette
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May 30, 2008

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FRIDAY, MAY 30 - MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2008 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Cape Gazette Fast-paced exposd peels back layers of car ['s controversy "The Card: Collectors, Con Men, a.d the Tr.e Story of History's Most Desired Baseball Card" By Michael O' K.sefe And Teri Thomson n 2000, 'The Card," then owned by hockey great Wayne Gretzky, was sold in an eBay auction to a well-known card collector for $1.27 million; in 2006, it was sold m another collector for $2.35 million, the most ever paid for a single baseball card. Depicting the mythically great player Honus Wagner, and print- ed in 1909, the authenticity of this card continues to be hotly debated by experts - many con- sider it to be a fake, So what's the real story with this card? Au- thors O'Keefe and Thompson peel back the layers of contro- versy and fuzzy history of this infamous car and the bizarre world of big-time sports memo- rabilia collecting. Trying to sep- arate fact from fiction, they tack- le a number of fascinating topics e.g. the life and times of the leg- endary Wagner and his part in the card saga; the humble begin- nings of card collecting and its transformation into a billion- dollar business; and how and why baseball cards packaged with tobacco, gum and candy became so enormously popular - billions have been printed, cir- culated, collected. The authors also disclose why card collecting has recently suffered a tremen- dous decline in interest and sales - two simple reasons - fraud and cheating. The authors reveal in detail the ingenious and sophisticated methods used by unscrupulous dealers to doctor, fake and coun- terfeit cards and other memora- bilia to scam collectors. If you have cards, autographs, jerseys, hats, bats or balls you think are legit (this reviewer included), you could be in for a surprise.. They also review the bizarre schemespeople use to steal memorabilia from card shows, private homes, stores - the hall of fame museum in Cooper- stown, N.Y., is a favorite target. The book's weak area occurs when the authors stray into so- cial, political and cultural com- mentary, far offbase from the central theme of an otherwise intriguing tale. One doesn't have to be a baseball or sports fan to enjoy this fast-paced and enter- taining expos6, part history, part mystery, part sports - all nicely woven together.  -i  "1 Told You I Wasn't Perfect" By De..y McLab vdth H Zamt Not only was he not perfect, but one-time baseball superstar Denny McLain plummeted in a nightmarish fall to utter disgrace soon after his career ended. Af- ter winning 31 games for the De- troit Tigers in 1968, the MVP award and the World Series, McLain was the toast of the baseball world. A few years late he was an inmate in a f'flthy, ver- min-ridden, tiny cell in a maxi- mum-security federal prison, thinking of ways to kill himseg McLain's shocking and har- rowing tale of his downfall is re- plete with con artists, big-time . drug dealers, professional hit men, mob loan sharking, violent crimes - you name it, somehow McLain managed to be involved. While he claims he was ha/re, duped and mostly a victim, a reader senses that he does not divulge all about his felony ar- rests and convictions. He does devote considerable space to his family problems, and to the trag- ic death of his daughter, which affected his behavior. In particular, his description of daily life, including isolation, in the many jails and prisons he experienced for many years is shocking and disturbing. He also has some strong words about the workings of the legal, crimi- nal justice and prison systems, from his front-row view. On a somewhat lighter and entertain- ing topic, McLain offers .his out- rageously candid opinions and insights on baseball manage- menL and about many of his for- mer teammates, coaches, man- agers and media types. Most of his comments are scathing and insulting, and while intended to be humorous, are simply crude. "I Told You I Wasn't Perfect" isn't a perfect bool with its many gaps, disturbing images and unsavory characters. How- ever, baseball fans can fred a lot to savor in the many tales about clubhouse shenanigans, alcohol, drugs and team politics. All in all, this is a powerful and en- grossing tale of family, tragedy, and hopefully, of redemption. Gerry Lore retired to Rehoboth Beach with his wife, Patty, after a 38-year career with an international pharmaceutical company. A U.S. Army veteran, he graduated from Purdue University and the Harvard Businesx School Something Different to Get Your Juices Going! Offering fresh vegetable and fruit juices as well as article smoothies featuring Rehoboth's most extensive organic whole food menu. One of a kind breakfast served 8 am to noon. Fesh salads and gourmet sandwiches for lunch served Olxm TIm. - Nee., 8 8.m. - 6 p.m. (so2) 22700,m00 - I