This has been one of the best birthdays ever.
Great time with the family, great "eats", and, of course, great gifts.
Not only that, but pitchers and catchers are starting to report, and Season 3 of "Eastbound and Down" is premiering today. And I'm off school tomorrow.
Does it get any better?
I'd also like to thank all of you in the blogosphere for the birthday wishes, especially David from "Can't Have Too Many Cards" for including me in his daily "Blow Out the Candles" post.
Along with a couple of discount packs from Target and a 2012 Topps hanger box (and a Beach Boys documentary), my dad got me a nice assortment of cards for my birthday this year, much like the Christmas present I previously posted about.
This time, he insisted I prepare a large list of cards that I'd like that he could pick from. This way, I still wouldn't know exactly which cards I was getting while also avoiding duplicates.
However, my dad went off of the list for a couple of my gifts, such as the Pete Gray card at the top of the post.
I was a little late in recognizing the greatness of the Obak sets. I've wanted a card of the famous one-armed Pete Gray forever, only finding out he had a card in the 2011 Obak set a couple months ago.
Here's another great Obak card from my dad's gift.
This card is quite striking. Even though the famous double play combo never actually played at Wrigley Field, it's still an awesome card.
Here's a couple of cards that I couldn't believe I didn't already own.
It's good to see that Jose Cardenal was still rockin' the Afro in 1979.
I especially like that Al Oliver card. What's with the folding chairs in the stands?
Neither of these cards were on my list either. But I sure do love Hostess cards!
That "Catfish" Hunter card is among the better-cut Hostess cards I've seen. Perhaps the kid that cut it from the box had OCD or something. It's that good.
The "Bert Hooten" on the other hand...let's just say that it really wasn't cut well. And Hostess managed to spell Burt Hooton's first and last name wrong. (His name is spelled correctly on the back, though.)
The fact that everything is off on the Hooton card is what makes it so great. It's one of the best Hostess cards I've come across!
Speaking of error cards, my dad actually stumped me with a piece of baseball card trivia.
I'd never heard about Ralph Lumenti's 1959 Topps card. Perhaps he never did either, because the player featured isn't him. It's actually former Senators pitcher Camilo Pascual.
I say it all the time. You always learn something new in this hobby.
I love cards of Tony Conigliaro. However, there aren't many out there because his career was much too short.
This is my fifth vintage card of good ol' "Tony C". I also have his '65, '67, '69, and '71 issues.
I've wanted both of these cards for a long time.
Billy Martin's 1962 Topps card would be his final issue as a player. His first card as a manager would come in 1969, where he was also featured with the Twins.
I actually owned the Martin card before, but I don't like to talk about what happened to it.
Okay, I traded it for some hockey cards when I was starting to get into collecting hockey. (Shudder.) What can I say? I was young and stupid then.
But I've got it now, and that's all that matters.
Wilbur Wood is one of my favorites. And that's his rookie card.
His real, actual rookie card. Score!
Now on to the top three cards my dad got me for my birthday.
This is one of the most iconic cards from the 1970's, without a doubt. It's up there with Herb Washington and Mark Fidrych.
I wish I could've seen Reggie Jackson during his playing days. He really stood out, both on and off the baseball field.
I think this is my new favorite Reggie Jackson card. Nope, I know it is.
I can't decide which of these last two cards I like better. I'll call it a tie for first.
Even though the picture isn't the greatest, this card is absolutely amazing.
I don't know a whole lot about Hoyt Wilhelm from after his playing days. Apparently, he served as a pitching coach in the minor leagues for a little while.
And he even has a baseball card to show for it. Apparently, "Hills" released a minor league set at some point.
I don't know much about this card. I don't know what year it's from, and I don't know what minor league team that is.
All I know is that it's awesome.
I've previously mentioned how much I wanted this card.
And now, it proudly holds a special place in my collection.
Dick Allen is one of my favorites from baseball history. His career got a little off-track in the early 1970's. Who knew he even played for the Dodgers?
This is one of the dreaded high-numbers from the 1971 Topps set (#650). Not only that, but Beckett also lists it as a short print. A short print and a high-number? Man, that's one rare card.
I first became aware of this card's existence a few months ago while doing a search for Dick Allen cards. Once I saw it, I knew I had to have it. And now I do.
I love this card.
I'll be back tomorrow with Part 2 from my "birthday haul".
Thanks for the awesome birthday gift, Dad!