ONTARIO — There’s a new shop devoted to baseball trading cards in Ontario. Sultan of Swat is tucked away inside of another local business, Come Thrift Ontario thrift store.
If the name of the card shop sounds familiar, don’t be surprised, “Sultan of Swat” was one of the nicknames of Babe Ruth, the baseball great who played for the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, and the Atlanta Braves.
Jerry Spivey took his interest in baseball to the next level when he started a hobby of collecting baseball cards. Some of the notable cards in his store’s collection include Hall-of-Famers Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Spivey said that his most prized card is one that he keeps at home — a Babe Ruth card that is graded at 5.5. For those unfamiliar with card-grading, it is an appraisal process that takes several points of physical condition into account when assigning value.
Spivey said that while he does have cards that are valuable to serious collectors, his store also carries thousands of “dollar cards” for those individuals wanting to add to their collections or start a new one. Spivey said that he has the expertise and interest to help guide new collectors build up their collections and cultivate a new hobby.
Spivey said that in addition to thousands of baseball cards, he has action figures of some of baseball’s greats including Nolan Ryan and Jose Canseco. His most valuable, non-card, baseball artifact is a baseball signed by Mickey Mantle himself. Spivey explained that when the ball was signed by Mantle, it was immediately handed over to be shrink-wrapped and sent home with its new owner. “It’s so pristine,” explains Spivey, who has never taken the ball out of its shrink-wrap.
Spivey also has another baseball signed by local legend Harmon Killebrew, of Payette. A Hall-of-Famer, Killebrew spent 22 years in the Major Leagues and played for the Minnesota Twins.