Sports fans find plenty to like at The Ballpark in Apple Valley

Calvin Havercamp, owner of The Ballpark sports card and memorabilia shop in Apple Valley, holds one of the gems of his collection — a rare 1933 card, issued by a cigar company, featuring baseball great Babe Ruth. (Photo by Andrew Miller)
Calvin Havercamp, owner of The Ballpark sports card and memorabilia shop in Apple Valley, holds one of the gems of his collection — a rare 1933 card, issued by a cigar company, featuring baseball great Babe Ruth. (Photo by Andrew Miller)

Autograph event May 21 features past, current Vikings players

Calvin Havercamp started collecting baseball cards in 1971 when he was 13. His enthusiasm for the hobby waned, though, as his teenage years progressed.

“When you’re 15 or 16, you’re more interested in cars and girls,” he said with a laugh.

It wasn’t until 1987, when the Minnesota Twins claimed the World Series title, that Havercamp began to get interested in sports cards again. And it just so happened that his brother, who was launching a career as an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas, was looking to sell his sizeable collection.

Havercamp offered him $2,000 for the lot, and shortly thereafter opened The Ballpark, a sports card and memorabilia shop, in St. Louis Park. He moved the business to Apple Valley in the early 2000s.

The Ballpark, which Havercamp said is the longest-operating shop of its kind in Minnesota, is marking its 15th anniversary in Apple Valley this month.

Vintage sports cards adorn the walls of The Ballpark in Apple Valley. In addition to trading cards, the shop also offers collectibles such as signed baseballs and bats, and programs from notable sporting events. (Photo by Andrew Miller)
Vintage sports cards adorn the walls of The Ballpark in Apple Valley. In addition to trading cards, the shop also offers collectibles such as signed baseballs and bats, and programs from notable sporting events. (Photo by Andrew Miller)

The shop will be hosting a Minnesota Vikings autograph-signing party from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 21, with former Vikings Dave Osborn and “Benchwarmer” Bob Lurtsema, along with current Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen.

Lurtsema will be bringing his own photos and signing autographs for free, while autographs from Osborn and Thielen will be $10 apiece. The Ballpark will have color photos of Osborn and Thielen available for purchase.

The autograph event May 21 will be the fourth in The Ballpark’s history. The shop twice hosted former Minnesota Vikings running back Chuck Foreman at its St. Louis Park location, and last year held a signing with Foreman and Lurtsema in Apple Valley.

In addition to vintage baseball, football, basketball and hockey cards, The Ballpark offers an array of sports memorabilia — signed bats and balls, programs from historic games — as well as collecting supplies such as plastic ball cubes and folders for storing cards.

The Ballpark is located at 203 150th St. W. More about the shop is at theballparkinc.com.