With the holidays just around the corner, you may be thinking about to put on the “hobby wish list.” Of course we all know what we’d like to ask for, but the odds were far better that Ralphie was going to get the Daisy Red Rifle Pump Action Carbine with a Compass in the Stock that we might get the bat or jersey we have longed for. Never give up, but maybe its time to think about something less affordable and easier for your Holiday shopper to find.

Something to consider are the sports books published by Random House in the 1960s and 1970s. The target audience for these publications appears to have been the grade-school aged sports fan. The books are all what I call “Chapter Books” in that the entire book need not have be read or read in any particular order. The font is large and the diction very basic. The books are filled with wonderful black and white images that I continue to use to this day.

From a collectors stand point, there are any number of things that make these book appealing. First and foremost has got to be the cover shots…they are bright, clear and make for a wonderful complement to any player or team memorabilia display. Sized at 8 ½ by 5 ¾ , they don’t take up a great deal of space either on a book shelf or when teamed with a favorite jersey or bat. The books are all hard bound and are without dust jackets so you don’t have to worry about loosing display appeal because of a tear.

These books are very easy to find on E-bay. What I have found is that in most cases, the shipping is more than the cost of the book. In most instances book and shipping is in the $8-$10 range. I have found that the most expensive of these books are two from the baseball series and are:

#5 Baseball’s Most Valuable Players (Mantle Cover)

#6 Great Rookies of the Major Leagues ( Pete Rose cover-series of 3 action shots)

These two books can be found in prices (minus shipping) from around $3.99 to $25.00.

These offerings seem to go for a bit more if you find them at a trade show as the dealers who carry them realize their value as collectables. The vast majority of these feature cover shots of period stars who later became Hall of Famers in their respective sports.

E-Bay searches I have used that have proven helpful include (use of ( ) indicates variations on searches):

Random House Baseball Book(s)

Random House Football Book(s)

Random House Basketball Book(s)

Old Sports Book Lot

Old Sports Book Collection

Punt Pass and Kick Library (Random House)

Little League Library (Random House)

Major League Library (Random House)

Pro Basketball Library (Random House)

Another aspect that collectors might find appealing is that the books themselves, published as part of series, make for nice collecting theme in their own right.

I do know that besides football, baseball, and basketball, there is also a series of these books for hockey as well. I have never bothered to pick any of these up as my interest in hockey is just not the same as with the others. No matter what your sport is or if you are looking for either photo references, items to enhance a display, or just something new and fun to collect, consider these wonderful books as a more than just a “Random” possibility.

As always, enjoy what you collect and collect what you enjoy.