Baseball Treasures to close after 38 years

  • Baseball Treasures on Main Street in Greenfield will close at the end of September. The display cases — emptier than they have typically been — hold baseball cards and collectible toys, while the walls are covered in autographed photos. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Baseball Treasures on Main Street in Greenfield will close at the end of September after 38 years. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • George “Skip” Price, owner of Baseball Treasures in Greenfield, left, with former Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/4/2020 4:10:22 PM
Modified: 9/4/2020 4:10:09 PM

GREENFIELD — Seventy-four-year-old George “Skip” Price received a diagnosis two years ago that no one wants to hear — Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

But that didn’t stop him, until now. The former Frontier Regional School eighth-grade earth science teacher and owner of the 38-year-old Baseball Treasures on Main Street has decided to close the store at the end of September after almost four decades.

“I’m going to concentrate on my health and relax a little,” Price said. “I’m hoping the pandemic ends soon, and my wife, Denise, and I can travel some.”

Price said he hopes someone buys his business and continues it. He said he’ll sell some items online after the store closes.

Earlier this week, three or four regular customers came into the store to say “Hi” to Price and buy something, while Price received three phone calls from others looking for something specific and hoping to buy what they want before he closes.

“I’ve got a lot of customers who have come in here for decades, and now some of their kids do,” Price said.

Henry Zaniewski is one of those customers.

“This is where I met Skip,” he said. “I’ve been coming here since my kids were little. My wife and kids would buy me birthday and Christmas presents. I collect Mickey Mantle cards. Now my kids are collecting.”

Price, who was born in 1945 in Chicago, was the son, grandson and nephew of servicemen. He moved around, attending nine schools in 12 years. He said he got the nickname “Skip” early in life, because he was the “man of the house” while the rest of the family, including his father who served in the U.S. Navy, was away.

He paused and looked around the store with pride in his eyes as he sat at a desk in a corner at the front. His wife waited on customers and asked him questions about different items and what she should charge for them.

The display cases — emptier than they have typically been — hold baseball cards and collectible toys, while the walls are covered in autographed photos of former Boston Red Sox second baseman Marty Barrett, former Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell and former Green Bay Packers middle linebacker Ray Nitschke, who all visited the store years ago to sign autographs. He also has autographed photos of actors William Shatner and Michael Douglas, and actress Glenn Close.

Price went to Northeastern University in Boston, where he got a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in science. He took a cooperative job with the National Park Service, and in 1969, without a teaching degree — he would later get his master’s in education at American International College while he was teaching at Frontier (1969 to 2003) — started his 34-year career as a teacher.

But, even while he was teaching, Price immersed himself in collectibles. He originally opened the store in his basement in 1982 and later moved to Osgood Street, then Federal Street and later Fiske Avenue. In 1993, he settled into the spot he’ll leave later this month. He rents the space from Dan Devine, owner of Brad’s Place and a former student of Price’s.

Over the years, Price and his wife would take some of their stock and set up at flea markets. He said he had decided to move to Greenfield from Westwood when he got the teaching job in South Deerfield.

“I drove out for the interview,” Price said. “I took Route 2 to (Routes) 5 and 10, and I heard sirens as I was headed to Frontier Regional. I pulled over to learn not that there were emergency vehicles coming my way, but that cows were crossing the road ahead of me. That was just something.”

Price was hired on the spot and never looked back. He also served as Student Council advisor, coached track and advised the Debate Club.

“But it’s collecting that has been like a drug,” he said. “You start collecting and selling and you can’t stop. My walls and cases are filled with treasures.”

Price, a father and grandfather, said more than anything, he wants to thank his customers for their loyalty all these years, and Devine for providing him with food and drinks.

“I just can’t begin to list all of the people who supported this business,” he said. “I’m so grateful.”

Even though the pandemic forced him to close in mid-March, Price said he looked forward to the day he could reopen, which ended up happening in late June.

“I’ve been happy to be back, but it’s just getting too hard,” he said. “It’s time. But I’m leaving with some great memories.”

Baseball Treasures will be open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. through the end of September, when it will close its doors for good.

Anyone interested in purchasing the business or any items should call 413-774-7653 or email bbtreasures@aol.com.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.



Greenfield Recorder

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Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

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