Sunday, November 3, 2013

Buy Local Part 2: Dick Groat

A little Duke flavor for my second Buy Local post features the greatest Duke basketball player to appear in a Major League Baseball game.  I understand that the average sports fan in this country cannot stand Duke and they are one of those teams that attracts all sorts of fair weather fans and all kinds of hate.  Locally, there are plenty of alumni around North Carolina and as a school with billions of dollars in endowment money, they do a lot of good around the community.

As a graduate of the red North Carolina school, Duke is about ten times better than the other blue Carolina school which has problems with agents working as assistant coaches on the football team, football players plagiarizing papers, fake classes, parking tickets,Tyler Hansbrough reading like a third grader, and I could provide four links for P.J. Hairston.  Poke fun at Duke and Coach K all you want, they run a clean program.  If you don't like Duke, click here, and skip the video below.  If you like Duke basketball, click below and enjoy. 

Before the current run of the Coach K lead Duke Blue Devils, the team still had some really good players and some really good NCAA tournament runs.  One of their really good players during the early fifties was Dick Groat.  

Groat was an All-American for the Blue Devils in 1951 and 1952 and his jersey hangs in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium.  He also played a little bit in the NBA for the Fort Wayne Pistons after they used the third overall selection in the 1952 NBA draft to select the guard.  Of course, many people know Groat like this...

1954 Topps Dick Groat

Groat was one of the first North Carolina I took an interest in collecting when I moved here in 2006.  Sure, he's not really from North Carolina, but the connection to Duke makes him quite popular locally.  Basketball fans love him and baseball fans too.  While Groat was a very good baseball player his cards are quite affordable.  Most of his early cards can be pricy if you are looking for great condition, but otherwise they are quite reasonable for 1950s Topps cards.

Groat spent the majority of his career with the Pirates where he made three All-Star teams and won the 1960 National League MVP, but also appeared for the Cardinals and Phillies during the second half of his career.  Of course, I try to pick up the Cardinals cards, which are all under $5 on Ebay, but still really love to dabble in the 50s Pirates cards.  

2000 Fleer Greats of the Game Dick Groat Autograph

Groat has also been a very good signer, especially for some of the early Greats of the Game and Archives releases.  He has a nice signature and the prices of his autographs are quite reasonable.  Groat also signs while he is at work broadcasting basketball games for the University of Pittsburgh.  While I have several baseball autographs of Groat as a Cardinal and Pirate, I do not own a copy of a Duke Blue Devils autograph.  I am hoping to remedy that missing piece of my collection soon. 

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