Phillies run sparks excitement for collectibles at Delaware County store

HAVERFORD – For Carl Henderson, owner of Carl’s Cards and Collectibles Inc., the Phillies playoff run has been a boon for the sport memorabilia store he has run for 27 years.

“We’re a true mom and pop store and it’s a good spot to be in right now,” he said Wednesday at the store at 22 W. Eagle Road. “The World Series is great for the city, it’s great for everybody. The schools are jumping in, and it takes everybody’s mind off other things. I just can’t wait for Friday to get here, the anxiety is off the chart.”

The store, which is tightly packed with items to fill every Philly sports fan’s dream, has hosted numerous Phillies players for autograph signings over the years.

Phillies gear and memorabilia at Carl’s Cards & Collectibles in Haverford Township includes this Brad Hall republica jersey. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)

“We had (Phillies pitcher) Zach Wheeler here back in August right before he went on the disabled list and we must have had a thousand people here,” said Henderson. “He was phenomenal: Three hours of signing and he was solid from the first autograph to the last. You couldn’t ask for a better representation of the Phillies.”

Henderson said having the Phillies reach the World Series sparks fans’ interest in past Phillies championships. He has had manager Charlie Manuel in for signings many times, as well as 2008 hero Matt Stairs.

“Last year we had JT Realmuto and Scott Kingery through a corporate deal, and I just sold out of my Realmuto inventory,” he said.

Phillies gear and memorabilia at Carl's Cards & Collectibles in Haverford Township. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)Phillies gear and memorabilia at Carl’s Cards & Collectibles in Haverford Township. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)

He said in the business it’s important to build personal relationships despite the bigger players who are taking a larger share of the market.

“Back in ’08 I already had a rapport with a lot of those guys. And, I remember walking up Broad Street for the parade and booking a signing with Gregg Dobbs to be in the store two days later,” he said. “One guy talks to another guy, puts in a good word.”

He is talking with Phillies pitcher Connor Brogdon’s mom about having him visit.

“I got my fingers crossed we’ll do something,” Henderson said. “There is always stuff in the works.”

Henderson said the business has changed, as players are less enthusiastic about coming out to autograph signings or they have exclusive deals with larger companies that limits Henderson’s ability as a small local store to compete.

His store doesn’t sell Phillies shirts and hats. He does sell plenty of Phillies memorabilia including large flags, which he has sold out of, and what he calls gewgaws, like garden flags and bracelets.

Phillies gear and memorabilia at Carl's Cards & Collectibles in Haverford Township. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)Phillies gear and memorabilia at Carl’s Cards & Collectibles in Haverford Township. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)

He noted that the team and Major League Baseball take much more of that shirt and hat market.

“The big boys get it first. I was at the game Sunday. As the fans left, they already had the gear. They got it already. They aren’t missing this,” he said.

‘Stars are aligning’

He said many customers come in and just want to talk about the home run.

“This is like Cheers here, without the alcohol. It’s a sports haven,” he said.

Henderson said he was amazed that the Phillies run has shut down talk about the Eagles on their bye week.

“People aren’t even talking about the Eagles. Can you imagine?” he said. “The excitement is on Red October and we’ve got it. It’s been a long time.”

Richmond said this is a golden time with the Phillies on Friday and Saturday, then the Eagles return followed by the games at Citizens Bank,

“To me the stars are aligning. Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “If you had asked me six weeks ago … this team was hard to watch, they just couldn’t get on the same page and then it was boom, somebody hit a light switch.”

“2008 was very similar: We got hot at the right time,” he said.

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