Mike Fruitman helps a customer decide which box of cards, Aug. 7, at MikeÕs Stadium Sportscards at the East Bank shopping center. Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

A goody bag from a kids’ show in Miami, which included a pack of baseball cards with a Pete Rose inside, was all it took to ignite a passion for collecting, and eventually selling, trading cards. 

Mike Fruitman, now manager of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, went on the Skipper Chuck Show in Miami and received the goody bag with the card of the notorious baseball player.  It set the course for his life. 

He learned the trade from a regional card show as a young man. He started visiting the predecessor of the Stadium Sportscards, sometimes filling in briefly at the shop while the owner ran errands.

Mike Fruitman holds up one of the more expensive cards in his shop, Aug. 7. Mike himself doesn’t necessarily collect sports cards, but does appreciate a good Joey Chestnut trading card. Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

That turned into a job at the store, which led to him buying it Dec. 8, 1992. Starting with $2,000 in inventory, he wanted to make sure that when he reopened the store as his own, every shelf would be filled.

He ended up having one vacant spot left in the entire store — it was in the football section. 

“So, I filled it with a Lawrence Taylor card that cost $0.25,”  he said.

A year and a half later, he relocated the shop to its current location at East Bank Shopping
Center at Parker Road and Quincy Avenue.

The wall of cards on display at MikeÕs Stadium Sportscards. There are a bevy of sports and trading cards throughout the store. Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

Fruitman himself doesn’t collect sports cards so much these days, but he still does collect a few varieties of trading cards. 

“I enjoy collecting quirky cards like (signed cards) from Joey Chestnut, actors, singers and non-athletes,” he said. “I enjoy owning pricey cases of cards that might deliver expensive and highly sought after single cards.”

After a long tenure as the owner of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards, Fruitman recently sold the business in April. But there’s no need for concern, he still works as the general manager of the shop, and he is still giving out the institutional knowledge that comes from a storied career of more than 30 years in the game.

Mike Fruitman stands for a portrait at MikeÕs Stadium Sportscards. Fruitman opened the store in 1992. Portrait by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado


Photo essay by Philip B. Poston

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