Dumpster diving, antiquing, picking—whatever you call it, it’s something that many of us do each spring/summer as the weather breaks and the rain gives way to rising temperatures and sunny skies. One could argue that “antiquing” is a national pastime, as the majority of Americans have visited a garage sale, purchased an item from an antique store off the highway, or perhaps walked one of the numerous flea markets in the area. TV shows like American Pickers get us excited to see what treasures are still buried in attics, garages, and barns.
I recently met with a woman, Sarah, who told me that she started “picking” before television was even around. Sarah was born and raised in Chicago and was a huge Chicago Cubs fan. She lived close to Wrigley Field and even though she didn’t always have money to purchase a ticket to the ballgame, she would frequent the area just to share in the excitement of thousands of fans cheering on their team to victory.
One late afternoon during the hot summer of 1962, Sarah was walking down Waveland Ave. and noticed several items being tossed into the dumpsters. She stopped and asked the security guards what was being thrown away. The guards didn’t know or care; it was trash. Sarah started to befriend the guards, and after about 15-20 minutes of chatting, she asked if she could “dumpster dive” and see what was inside.
The security guards laughed and then let her climb into the dumpsters. At the very top of the pile were two large and heavy albums. Sarah didn’t open the albums to see what was inside, but she figured they could be something good. Reluctantly, the security guards allowed her to take them with her.
When Sarah got home, she quickly realized that the albums were old scouting reports filled out by the Cubs’ advance scouting teams. Advance scouts are paid to scout the opponents to try and gain the upper hand during a live ball game. It’s always important to know how your competition is hitting, fielding, pitching, and stealing bases. The scouts “rate” every weakness and strength for each player and document the findings in albums.
So Sarah found a very interesting piece of sports memorabilia and something that she has treasured for decades. But good luck trying to scale the fence at Wrigley Field today—let alone persuade the security guards to let you leave with anything!