Sunday, July 22, 2012
A mail day to end all mail days, Pt. 2
Yesterday, I chronicled the first part of one incredible mail day.
Today, I'll be going through the "scores" from TTG, author of the great blog "Friars on Cardboard". This is the second package I've received from him during my time as a blogger. I get a huge kick out of opening any trade package I get, but his always manage to fascinate and entertain me more than any other.
More on why that is in a bit.
TTG was the winner of my first-ever contest on this blog. I'll have to gather up some more cards to send his way, because he's outdone himself with the great array of cards he's sent me ever since then.
This particular trade package was completely unexpected, which made it all the more fun to open. No warning at all.
One of the first cards that fell out of the mailer was the above '72 Topps League Leaders issue. I already had it, but my copy was heavily beat-up, almost beyond recognition. In this case, an "upgrade" was definitely in order.
I've never been huge on modern "league leader" cards. Maybe it's just me, but they simply seem like throwaways to card companies these days.
However, I've always appreciated the vintage "leader" issues. That's when they really knew how to make 'em.
Plus, I'll gladly take anything that features Hank Aaron.
TTM or in-person autographs are always neat, no matter the player.
Although Russ Springer had a long and well-traveled career, the basis for most of my knowledge about him comes from one of his MLB Showdown cards.
For a while, I was absolutely crazy about MLB Showdown. It's still a big part of me today, and it's carried over to my regular card collection as well. Some of my more "obscure" player collections can be attributed to the fact that they had a good MLB Showdown card, one that made either mine or my dad's "big league" Showdown rosters. (My Tim Spooneybarger and Jesus Colome collections can be chalked up to that fact.)
Springer had a "+5" control rating on his '03 card, which was awfully good. Those only went up to "+6", which were extremely rare.
As my MLB Showdown collection grew and I acquired better relievers, Springer was sent to the "farm teams". (Actually just a big box with all my extras, which I still love to browse through every once in a while.)
But I'll always remember him because he did once make it to my own "big leagues" of MLB Showdown. In a way, it's a lot like real baseball.
Although I doubt it will ever happen, one of my lifelong wishes is for a company to bring back MLB Showdown.
If I ever strike it big in the future, maybe I'll start making them myself.
So, needless to say, this particular in-person auto triggered a lot of MLB Showdown memories.
I've recently decided to start collecting cards of the "Wild Thing", Mitch Williams.
He once played for the Cubs, he had a mullet, and I love his work on the MLB Network.
As strange as it might sound, I wish I could come across a big box of '93 Donruss at a flea market or something. It's a great set, as I've come to realize in the last few months, and I don't have nearly as many as I should.
I've always collected Boof Bonser. The guy legally changed his name from John to "Boof".
How could I not collect him?
The Dunston is a great example of my post-blogosphere change as a collector.
Before I started this blog, I probably would've passed up that '92 Leaf Dunston without another thought. But a closer look revealed an interesting aspect of it that my pre-blogger self wouldn't have noticed.
If you look closely, you can clearly see raindrops splashed across that shot of Dunston. A high-quality photo for a (then) high-quality set.
After thinking about it, I don't know that I have any other cards that contain shots of inclement weather.
Perhaps I should split my card-collecting life into two parts. "Before Blog" (B.B.) and "After Blog" (A.B.).
Before I got the mail on my "mail day to end all mail days", I was reading a post from "Play at the Plate" that featured that very same Franco card.
My exact thought upon seeing the Franco was, "I wish I had that card!"
Little did I know what was waiting for me in the mailbox that same afternoon. To my utter disbelief, the very same Julio Franco card I had longed for fell out of TTG's generous trade package, just hours after I had originally seen it.
Maybe I should wish for a million bucks next time.
What really makes TTG's packages the best to open are the special hand-made "packs" he includes.
These works of art seem especially amazing to me, since I'm about the worst "artist" on the face of the Earth. I could never conceivably come close to drawing anything near as good as that.
You can tell he puts a good amount of work into each one, which makes them a real blast to dig through.
This is true artwork, my friends.
The first of the two "packs" I received was comprised of 13 cards from the '93 Hostess set. I'm not sure how these were distributed, but I doubt they were acquired through the three-card panels on the bottoms of '70s Hostess boxes.
Nevertheless, they still make for a pretty nice set. The blue borders aren't something you see a lot in this hobby.
Definite "gems" of their era.
The second of the two packs was even better.
It's the first "pack" of Fleer I've opened since they left the baseball card industry in '07. Needless to say, it was a nice change of pace from the Topps-exclusive packs I've been opening for the last two years.
TTG must have seen one of my earlier posts where I confessed my love for the LSD-themed '95 Fleer set.
Before I wrote that post, I'd never seen a positive review of it. I think it just caught so many people off-guard. Fleer's offerings from both before and after '95 were pretty bland, as a whole.
I like them because they're different. No other set in history has matched the sheer colorfulness of '95 Fleer.
Perhaps even better than the cards themselves was the pack in which they were included. TTG managed to squeeze in the name of every single player he included.
While there were quite a few highlights from the pack, I'd have to say the Darryl Kile was the true "gem" of them all. I've always been on the hunt for his cards, my little way of honoring his legacy.
I've never bought a "jumbo" pack in my life. Most are out of my price range, and there aren't really any shops around here where I could find any.
I have to believe that a jumbo pack of '95 Fleer would be far better than any other I could ever open.
It has to be.
Much thanks goes out to TTG for the awesome trade package, as always. If you haven't made a trade with him yet, I'd recommend you do so as soon as possible.
You won't be disappointed.