Today's Profile: Morthas.com
This site of sports autographs and memorabilia is named for Morthas, the Greek god of collections and collectors, who was a lesser known cousin of Hephaestus (also a nephew of Zeus and Hera).
I interviewed Steve Ironsides, the proprietor of Morthas, from his home in suburban Boston, one of those little hamlets ending in "—ham." When I caught up with him on his cell phone, he was actually at the Whatever-Ham Post Office, picking up his latest autograph, former Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop Dick Groat.
MPF004: So, how did Morthas begin?
Steve Ironsides: Well, I guess the beginning goes back to Greek mythology and how Morthas was born to--
MPF: No, I mean the website. How did Morthas.com get started?
SI: Oh. I was inspired by the 83F Project, which is one man's mission to get every single baseball card from the 1983 Fleer set, signed by that player. (Editor's note: Ironsides doesn't really talk in hyperlinks over the phone. I added them later.) It's ambitious to be sure, but it's only one sport and only one year. I thought, I can dream bigger! I can take on all of baseball! All of sport!
I draw the line at bowling and golf, though. I'm not convinced anything you can do while drinking qualifies as a sport. Same goes for shuffleboard and darts. Just because it's on ESPN at 3 a.m. doesn't mean it's a sport. I'm looking at you, Australian rules football!
Not a sport according to Steve Ironsides, no matter how many old ladies in the pub watch you play.
So, to make a long story short, I bought out the rights to 83F from the poor sap who thought it up. It cost a pretty penny, but hey, this is Web 2.0! I mean, Google paid a shitload for Youtube, so I figure at those rates, 83F was a bargain.
MPF: Uh, OK. does that mean you make money on Morthas?
SI: You don't understand how the Internet works, do you? How long have you worked in the Internet industry?
MPF: Uhh ... about six weeks.
SI: Exactly. Get back to me when your ears dry.
MPF: Right. So, um, did you have a lot of the memorabilia on your own, or did you go raid your parents' basement, or do you buy stuff at card shows?
SI: A little bit of all of the above. I'm lucky that my mom didn't throw out my childhood baseball card collection, like so many moms of our generation. Some I've acquired in adulthood, some I get from going to shows and exhibitions, some I trade with people I've met through my website, some I get from little old ladies in Omaha, Nebraska. Really, from everywhere.
MPF: Fascinating. Say, why is Boston, your hometown, so good at sports all of a sudden? Or should I say "wicked good"?
SI: I'd love to display some of that classic New England humility and say it's a marvelous coincidence that all the teams are playing well, it was just our time, we've been lucky as fans, and all that. In reality, THEO EPSTEIN RULZ!!! And TOM BRADY RULZ!!!! (Ed. note: he really does talk like that over the phone.)
MPF: Yeah. Well, thanks to for talking with me today.
SI: No problem man. Come check out Morthas.com for new finds every day!
Will do, Steve. You can find his excellent web site on the blogroll to the left.