Long before he orchestrated industries as general manager of the Red Sox, Brian O’Halloran stood in front of the original Dunkin Donuts in Quincy, slapping newspapers to make a few bucks.
Weymouth native sold copies of the Herald and the Globe as a child, then turned the money into baseball cards on his way to collect a collection of more than 20,000 cards, which he donates to the Red Sox Foundation to raise money for social justice.
To add an important piece to the collection was the “trade of the century”.
“That was the equivalent of Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb,” O’Halloran said, referring to the Sox’s famous trade, which swindled sailors just before the 1997 trade deadline.
Long ago, O’Halloran and his older brother, Mike, shared a Domino’s pizza, but Mike had a significantly larger appetite. Mike finished his assignment while his little brother was down on the last piece.
That was when Brian made an offer.
“When I was very little, my brother is 2 – ½ years older than me, so one of his friends cheated me out of a bunch of my cards in the mid 70’s to change like a dollar,” Brian recalled. “I thought, ‘Oh, money!’ So I was tricked. Then I changed my brother, who did not really collect cards, but who had a few. I traded him the last piece of my Domino’s pizza for what turned out to be a Jerry Rice rookie card.
“I do not feel it anymore. I do not know where it went. I never found it. Maybe I deserved it. And I do not know what it was worth at the time. But it was the trade of the century. ”
It is estimated that a Rice rookie is now worth about $ 100 or much more, depending on the condition.
As he often does as a GM, O’Halloran looked for long-term gains.
“That’s the only thing with a slice of pizza: there is no way it will increase in value,” he said.
Fast forward for 35 years, and O’Halloran’s entire collection of cards is still hidden in plastic containers, mainly organized in boxes and binders by year, team and brand (Topps, Donruss and Fleer were among his favorites) and put in his basement.
Just before spring training this year, O’Halloran opened the locker and knew it was time to get rid of them. After noticing MassLive reporter Chris Cotillo donating the charity card collection early in the pandemic, O’Halloran was inspired to do the same.
He had desperately tried to get his children short, but none of the three O’Halloran children took the bait. They do not want the collection, nor does their old man.
‘So I was like,’ Am I giving these to someone, giving them to charity? What are they even worth? I have no idea. Is that a good thing? Is it a burden for anyone? ‘”He said. “And then I saw Chris’ thing, and now I have this GM title, which might help. So I mentioned it to the people at the Red Sox Foundation, and they ran with it from there. ”
The entire collection, which he believes includes most rookie cards from the late 70s and 80s, will be raffled off to a lucky winner next Thursday. Tombola purchases are purchased with a donation to the Red Sox Foundation’s efforts for social justice, fairness and inclusion. A $ 25 donation gets 10 tickets, a $ 50 donation gets 121 tickets and a $ 100 donation gets 300 tickets. The winner gets the card collection and a chance to spend time with O’Halloran.
“I do not know, and somehow do not want to know what they are worth,” he said. “I did not want to sell them. I do not want them in the house anymore. They just take up space. It seemed like a good way to do it. ”
O’Halloran will not keep any of the cards to himself, not even his favorites of Oil Can Boyd and Wade Boggs.
“I was a factory-bound guy,” he said. “I wanted to get the Beckett guide and order things. It was pre-internet. I wanted to order a factory set, and if there was a card missing from a set I made myself, I would go to the store and go through the common and try to complete the set. But I definitely have a bunch of factory kits I remember buying. Mail order.
“And for that matter, it was a few years before you got the nominal beginner cards, and I wanted to buy 100 of them. I never hit. I was a terrible evaluator then. I bought a pack of 100 of Ramon Martinez’s rookie cards. I should have bought his little brother, but I did not. That’s one of my evaluation errors. ”