The Early Years of Bucks County Baseball Co.

by JP Lutz November 07, 2020

The Early Years of Bucks County Baseball Co.

Bucks County Baseball Co. is a retail vintage sports and collectables superstore that specializes in vintage sports clothing and collectables that opened in Bristol in 2014. But did you know where the business got its start?  Back then it was known as Bucks County Baseball Cards in the 1980s and 90s. The store was established by Jim Lutz in the early 1980s who, developed an interest in collecting trading cards of his favorite athletes he grew up watching. He decided to transform a hobby into a business so others who had a love for sports: “This started out as a hobby and it grew into a business. I started collecting cards of players who used to play when I was a kid, it kind of snowballed from there,” said Lutz

In the early 1980s Jim got involved in the promotion of sports cards and autograph shows. At that time, Lutz hosted the majority of these autograph shows at the Kings Caterers in Levittown, PA. Something that Bucks County Baseball Co. has involved themselves in had been card and autograph shows. So many famous athletes have walked through those doors and brought many stories and memories with them. The very first show: “Levittown I,” took place at Colonial Hall at Route 14 and Mill Creek Parkway in Levittown, PA, on Sunday, April 24, 1983. The show was headlined by two famous Phillies players. One was Johnny Callison, the former star outfielder of the team. The other was Chris Short who, was the Former “Pitching Ace” for the team.

Jim Lutz’s favorite guest was Eddie Joost. Joost played for the Philadelphia Athletics who, are now the Oakland A’s. He had a friendly personality, and as Lutz said: “would do anything for you.” There was also another Phillies player Roy Sievers who also had a friendly and welcoming personality. He also had a great relationship with Lutz and would send him Christmas Cards each year.

Throughout the lifetime of Bucks County Baseball Cards, Jim and J.P have done a lot of traveling to card shows all around the country. They would go to shows at locations in Pennsylvania, like Valley Forge and Willow Grove, as well as  national conventions in places like Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, and California. Lutz has obtained many great experiences from these trips.  One example is when J.P went to a convention in Chicago and the WWF was in town staying in the same hotel. Hulk Hogan, the favorite of J.P’s, was one of the wrestlers there. J.P and his Dad would try to look for Hogan in the hotel. After a lot of searching J.P was in an elevator by himself, the door opened and, Hogan entered with a friendly greeting.

That story was one example of the unique experiences that J.P went through by tagging along with his father to the shows. Not many kids his age would get to have experiences like those. He got to learn a lot about sports and its history. Also, he would be in the same room as all the athletes who played his favorite sports. Not only that, but he got to interact with them as well. J.P got to meet his hero Hulk Hogan!  What a fantastic experience! 

As mentioned before, Jim has lived through many great memories by interacting with the athletes. He has so many great stories to tell, including this one with legendary Phillies player Pete Rose. In late 1985, Lutz got Rose to come to an autograph show and appearance. That was around the same time Rose hit his record of 4,256 hits. With a guest like Rose, the crowds would come running. Things got crazy. Around 7-7:30, AM Lutz would set up for the show. At that time, there would already be a crowd. They showed up before he did. Newspaper reporters

would come and sportscasters such as Howard Eskin, a very famous face attracted a lot of attention. Lutz believes Pete Rose's record will never be broken. “If you get 200 hits a year for 20 years, that only gets you 4,000.” “Guy’s today aren’t going to play for twenty years.” You would not pay someone a lot of money when they pass their prime.

 

Although the times have changed in many ways, you can still see many collectables from the 1980s and 90s and even before that in the store. For example, we have several clothing items, books, bobbleheads, and other items that can help relive the past decades in sports history.



JP Lutz
JP Lutz

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