Of all of the thousands of items in David Doelling's sports collectibles store, Southtown Sluggers, 5445 Telegraph Road, Oakville, one of the more unusual is a baseball signed in 1945 by a one-armed outfielder and his St. Louis Browns teammates.
Gray had lost his right arm in an accident as a child, but persevered in his efforts to play baseball and was a member for one year of the St. Louis Browns, playing 77 games and batting .218.
Doelling dug out the old Browns baseball from a display case full of them that was tucked along a wall that featured box upon box of baseball cards and other baseball memorabilia.
Among the many St. Louis Cardinals keepsakes in the Southtown Sluggers store is a New York Mets jersey awaiting a future collector who might be interested in that sort of thing. Stan Musial items also are in abundance, but Doelling says the fervor to obtain items from the revered Cardinals great has waned somewhat since "The Man's" death and civic funeral in January.
There still are, however, plenty of other items for the serious or casual sports collector to browse through, including posters, scorecards, magazines, bobblehead figures and trading cards in every sport. It's an inventory that Doelling says he's fortunate to be able to continue offering in an actual store.
"There are only a few of us left," Doelling said of baseball card shops. "More and more, people are buying and selling online."
Still, there's nothing like being able to actually hold an item in your hand as you horsetrade for the the best deal on a Rogers Hornsby baseball card, a Matt Holliday bat or a Lou Brock Brockabrella headwear item.
For more information about Southtown Sluggers, contact Doelling at 314-487-9242.