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Steve Springer

The Gifts You'd Pay to Give

December 20, 1987|Steve Springer

You say you're more than halfway through a week of lighting Hanukkah candles or less than a week away from opening those gifts piled under the Christmas tree and you still haven't found a gift for the sportsman in your life?

You're tired of taking the easy way out with that reliable all-purpose cardigan but, you insist, this is a man who already has everything.

Maybe you just haven't looked hard enough.

There are all kinds of things out there for all kinds of sports fans and outdoorsmen--as long as money is no object.

Is there a baseball fan in the family?

Valley Baseball Cards in Tarzana has a baseball autographed by the 1938 New York Yankee squad for $1,000, or a bat with the signatures of the 1960 Yankees for $300.

America's Favorite Card Store in Sherman Oaks has a 1951 Willie Mays card (that was his rookie season) for $495. It's in less than mint shape. If it was in perfect shape, it would run between $800 and $1,000. Hank Aaron was a rookie in 1954 and his card from that year is available for $400.

Looking for something more unique? You can get a ball alarm clock--football, baseball, basketball, golf ball, soccer ball or tennis ball--for a mere $24.95 at The Price of His Toys in Beverly Hills.

So what's the big deal? Well, the best way to shut off the alarm on these ball clocks is to smash them. Literally. The balls shut off upon striking another surface. So you have to slam dunk, throw, pass, or kick them, swat them with a racket or smash them with a club. Pretty difficult to go back to sleep after jumping out of bed, grabbing a club and whacking a clock against a nearby wall.

For the true golf nut, this same store offers a nine-hole course in a briefcase. It comes complete with two putters, balls and a score card. Miniature golf to the extreme for $119.95.

Just picture the high-level board room meeting.

"Fred," the chairman of the board bellows, "do you or do you not approve of this merger?"

An annoyed Fred pokes his head out from his open briefcase and mutters, "Can you please hold it down a minute? I'm looking at a seven-inch putt here."

Or imagine a scene at the metal detectors at an airport.

"What have you got in that briefcase, sir?"

"Pebble Beach."

If serious golf is your man's game, Lindblad Travel is offering a two-week trip with stops at courses in Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China, Singapore, Bangkok and Pattaya, Thailand. Prices vary but going first class could run you just under $6,600.

Perhaps you have a duck hunter in your family. Hunters usually construct a blind--a wall of branches or other material--to conceal themselves from their quarry. But Abercrombie and Fitch of Beverly Hills is now offering a motorized blind, a sort of floating, camouflaged golf cart for $2,500.

As long as you're in the buying mood, the store also offers a shotgun for $14,000.

And, for the hunter's den, a hand-carved goose for $3,500, or--and this is a must for all hunters--a duck phone for $69.

There's even a hunter's chess game, the pieces being safari hunters, the board . . . a jungle, the price . . . $750.

For the skier, The Price of His Toys offers a Ski-Dometer for $59.95. It attaches to one ski and, as the skier races down a slope, it tells the average speed, highest speed, elapsed time and distance covered. Just don't look down on the turns.

For the football fan, The Price of His Toys is offering a Super Bowl weekend that rivals anything Joe Montana or Jim McMahon has ever enjoyed. The package includes a suite at a San Diego hotel beginning Thursday night, a tour of the city Friday, the Super Bowl party Friday night, lunch Saturday and a trip to a San Diego nightspot Saturday evening. Oh, yeah. Also included is a great seat for the game. Price of this toy: $5,500.

Finally, let's not forget aquatic sportsmen--the fisherman, the skin diver and the snorkeler. Through the Neiman-Marcus Travel Service, you can rent the Never Say Never, a 112-foot yacht used in a James Bond movie that can comfortably accommodate eight passengers and a crew of five.

The cost? If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it, but since you did, it's $5,000 a day or a bargain at $29,000 a week.

So no more excuses. And no more cardigans.

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