It's been a wild couple of days around these parks.
Due to a massive storm, we were without power for the entire day yesterday. I sat around for a good five hours watching episodes from my Seinfeld and Big Bang Theory DVDs on my laptop during the day. By night, I was re-reading The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst, thanks to what little light my cell phone provided. It was certainly interesting living without electricity for the day (it's the first time that's ever happened), but I'm sure glad they got the power back on this morning.
Why? Because now I can blog, of course!
Looking back, a full day without blogging wasn't all that bad. It recharged the batteries a bit, something that most everyday bloggers should probably do from time to time.
But it's great to be back.
I guess it's fitting that the power went out yesterday, because I received perhaps the greatest bit of hobby-related news on Monday. Due to the amazing generosity of a fellow hobbyist, I am about to knock yet another lifelong goal off my collector "to do list". Yes, I said that about that Dizzy Dean card.
But this one trumps that a hundred times over.
So what was it? Again, you'll have to wait until it comes in the mail. (Sorry!)
For now, I'm glad to present my finds from a "virtual dime box" for the first-ever time on this blog! They made up the biggest portion of that "mail day to end all mail days" that I've blogged about lately.
The cards themselves were priced at the 15/$1, which is about as cheap as you'll find. One of the few downsides of any "virtual" card purchases is the shipping costs. Even with that taken into account, the cards only set me back about a dime a piece, delivered.
That's quite a deal, if I do say so myself.
I picked from a list of thousands of cards. I settled on 168 that I had to have for my collection, which I'll provide a small sample of in this post.
I know I say it a lot, but dime boxes really do have a little of everything. This one was no exception, "virtual" or not.
The only other downside to buying a random group of cards online is that you don't get to see the cards until they arrive on your doorstep. Lately, I've been finding a lot of cards at shows that I just can't pass up, even if I don't necessarily collect the guy.
I might've unknowingly passed up a few "masterpieces" on that list, but I can live with it.
Besides, there were easily enough of those to go around with the cards I ended up buying.
I've been planning to use the base version of Brandon Inge's 2002 Ultra card in my "Cardboard Masterpieces" theme in the near future. I managed to snag the Gold Medallion parallel of that one in this haul of dime card loot.
From that angle, it almost looks like the ball hit him flush on the head. I'm left wondering one thing about this card.
Did he make the catch, Kevin Mitchell-style?
There is an upside to not being able to see the cards upon purchase, though.
The beauty of some cards can take you aback, as was the case with this early issue of J.T. Snow.
As I've mentioned a couple times already, the Angels are my favorite non-Chicago sports team. Their L.A. Angels throwbacks are among my favorite in the game. I believe this is just my second card of a player in a retro Angels uniform.
Plus, I can't help but think of Bertram from The Sandlot (my all-time favorite movie) whenever I see one of those old Angels hats.
Topps should consider doing a license-themed insert set in the future.
Although they might be considered a tad gimmicky, I've always liked them. This new piece for my "Scotty Pods" collection certainly stands out from everything else.
Without his height or weight or anything else, he'd have a tough time passing this off as his ID in real life.
I doubt a police officer would care about his .308 career average.
Here's a card that will definitely find its way into a future "Gems of Junk Wax" post.
I picked up the Danny Tartabull from this "Spirit of the Game" insert series from a local shop's quarter box a while back.
Double plays have never been shown quite as elegantly on a piece of cardboard.
Few insert sets have had better titles than these.
I remember pulling a couple of these back when '04 Topps was still on the shelves. I'd never heard of any of the guys I got, though. Luckily, I managed to nab the Carl Furillo insert in the "virtual dime box", one of the better-known players from the famed Dodgers teams of the '50s.
Besides, how often do Furillo cards pop up anymore?
Even minis were no stranger to this dime box.
Topps Cracker Jack is one of the better "throwback" sets in recent years. Although it was short-lived, I still can't get over how nice these cards are.
By now, I'm a shoo-in for the "Most Chris Shelton Cards Shown on a Blog" award.
This one is just icing on the cake.
I'll just say it off the bat.
I know absolutely nothing about these cards.
The edges are rounded (like playing cards), but they don't appear to be of use for any type of card game or anything. I've never heard of the "MVP" brand.
As far as oddballs go, these are neat.
Gary Carter is the subject of one of my newer player collections, my way of honoring his legacy through cardboard.
These two cards from '92 capture him during the twilight of his career, the last season he'd play in the bigs.
I doubt a lot of people even know he was a Dodger at one point. It took me a while to find out.
He's remembered best for wearing Expo and Met shades of blue, though.
One of the major features that drew me to this "virtual dime box" were the minor league cards.
There's something about seeing a future star during his earlier minor league development stages that I'll always enjoy. Little did they know in '91 that Hoffman, a shortstop-turned-pitcher, would become one of the most dominant closers in baseball history.
In the case of Phil Niekro, minor league cards can also give some insight into the post-career whereabouts of players.
Until a few days ago, I had no idea "Knucksie" ever managed in the minors.
Another thing I like about minor league issues is that they can serve as "pre-rookie cards", if there is such a thing.
Justin Duchscherer's "official" rookie card came in '01 with the Rangers. That card of his comes from 1999, during his brief tenure in the Red Sox system.
Terrmel Sledge didn't have a rookie card until '03 with the Expos. He began his minor league career with the short-season Everett Aquasox in '99. (A Mariners affiliate.)
What you see there is his first-ever card.
I guess you could consider both of these "semi-zero year cards" as well.
I've never even thought about buying a pack of Topps Pro Debut, nor will I in the future.
The fact that these "Hall of Fame Stars" inserts keep popping up in dime boxes gives me no reason to. These are the only cards I have any interest in from that set.
I find it odd that a future Hall of Famer like Phil Rizzuto once played for a team called the "Bassett Furnituremakers".
That's not very "mighty" sounding.
If there is a polar opposite of the minors, it's the short-lived senior leagues.
I've already devoted an entire post to some of these cards on this blog.
I just can't get enough of 'em.
It feels good to know that "Rollie" was still fashioning the good old handlebar mustache during his time in the senior leagues as well.
But judging from the looks of those uniforms, I can see why the league wasn't around for very long.
Any "Pops" card for a dime is an absolute steal.
Much less one where he's wearing such a cool hat. Donruss wasn't exactly known for "out of the ordinary" shots during their time in this hobby, but they managed to sneak one in with that Stargell.
The SSPC Mario Mendoza was one of my personal favorite finds of the "virtual dime box". I highly doubt there's a "Mendoza Line" in this hobby, in terms of the prices.
No matter the price, I'm sure there's a card for you. There's got to be a few decent "penny boxes" sitting out there somewhere.
I just have to find them.
For no specific reason, I recently decided to start collecting cards of Dave Parker during his Pirates days.
I ended up adding about a dozen great new pieces to that collection, all thanks to this "virtual dime box".
"The Cobra" deserves to be recognized in my binders, after all.
From there, we move on to my all-time favorite Pirate not named Roberto Clemente.
Mr. Al Oliver.
He's one of the few ballplayers I've been able to meet over the years, as I don't often seek out autographs at card shows anymore.
Being able to talk with him and Bill "Spaceman" Lee in the same afternoon made for one of the best days of my card collecting life.
You know what they say.
Like uncle, like nephew.
High school cards are always fun, too. Maybe one day down the road, my high school alma mater could be featured on a baseball card.
I wouldn't count on it, though. It was all about the football team over there. A crowd like the one in the background of that Preston Wilson card was almost unheard of at my school's baseball games. (Meanwhile, I almost fell asleep at the one football game I attended during my high school years. My friends and I left at halftime when the score was 38-0.)
From the looks of it, Mookie and Preston Wilson had similar batting stances.
It must run in the family.
I've had a tough time coming across magazine-issued cards in my dime box quests.
Yet there were a couple in this "virtual" one. Until I saw that Jim Palmer, I never knew that Topps once issued any type of magazine.
The Alomar comes from Baseball Cards Magazine, a neat throwback to the 1959 Topps rookie card design.
Some of you might remember a Griffey from the same magazine that recently popped out of a 12/$1 box.
I managed to score quite a few dime cards from the Pacific-issued "Tom Terrific" set in this "virtual" purchase.
Nowadays, an entire set comprised of a single player seems extremely odd. Even Topps would never make an entire set of Derek Jeter or Albert Pujols. (I hope.)
I can imagine a kid opening a pack of these a couple decades ago.
"So, who'd you get?"
"Tom Seaver. Tom Seaver. Tom Seaver. Tom Seaver. And...Tom Seaver. Yes!"
I absolutely love finding cards from the '04 UD Timeless Teams set.
Great design, great baseball history, just great all around. Not to mention the fact that they recognized a lot of often-forgotten players in this hobby with names like Sparky Lyle and Steve Yeager.
Two of my favorites from this dime box.
Well, well, well.
If it isn't the first two "Gems of Junk Wax" inductees.
Conlon Collection and UD All-Time Heroes are two of my favorite sets, no matter the era. The player selection for them is second to none, especially with names like Nick Altrock making an appearance. (Perhaps also the first appearance of the current sideways hat trend.)
The Altrock is actually a burgundy parallel, an absolute beauty to look at in person. (Oddly enough, I just rented Anchorman from Netflix.)
I could go on and on about how much I love the '94 UD All-Time Heroes set.
Guys like "Moose" Skowron just don't get enough airtime in this hobby.
Let's close out this "virtual dime box" with some celebrations!
Baseball is supposed to be fun, after all.
Whether they're in-person or virtual, dime boxes never fail to provide me with those "gems" that I love so much. They're awesome, they're pieces of history, and not to mention, they're extremely budget-friendly.
I can't foresee a time where dime boxes could lose their intrigue.
Judging from all the great cards I continue to find, it just doesn't seem plausible.