The hobby lost one of the good guys, when Steve Gold recently passed away. Steve was the owner of AU Sports (gold=AU...get it?), probably the store with the largest inventory of sports card singles.
Many years ago, when I first started working at Lerner Newspapers in Skokie (IL), I discovered that AU Sports was about a mile from the office. Having heard a lot about the legendary store, I had to see it for myself. This started a long love affair.
On my first time there, I had a list of about 20 baseball singles from various years. Mrs. Gold (Steve's mom) got the first one for me and decided I needed to get the rest myself. From then on, I became a regular and one of the many who were allowed to "self-serve".
Mrs. Gold was the wife of Eddie Gold, former columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Mr. Gold was seldom around, as his health was already in decline. Mrs. Gold was pure gold though. She would "yell" at people, but it was all done with love and in fun. Sadly, Mrs. Gold passed away several years ago, but I will always cherish the many hours we talked and laughed.
Many times when I had hunkered down for a long session of card-finding, I would end up serving other customers. I have even logged in a few "official" days of work there.
AU recently moved to a better location in Niles (IL). Thanks to diligent workers like Tom and Scott, the store is organized and streamlined. Oh sure, the big wall of cards remains. This wall is an 8 foot by 50 foot wall of singles (and about 3 feet deep) from 1952 to present. How many cards is that? Your guess is as good as mine.
I have gotten many cards for other bloggers at AU Sports. I have spent many hours searching for cards and talking sports with the regulars there. I have met a bunch of sports stars there, too. These memories are priceless (notice, I resisted the golden pun).
Steve will be missed by all. He was genuinely a nice guy and way too young, only 52. I owe much of my collection to AU Sports. I also owe them for many great memories.