There it is.
The "haul", as I like to call it.
I've had pretty good luck over the years with card shows. There aren't a ton of local ones, but the shows I do attend have been all been fantastic. I've never experienced an "unsuccessful" card show.
"Unsuccessful" garage sales and flea markets, sure.
But never a bad card show.
What you see above is the 773 cards in total that I came home with after all was said and done. You read that right. Seven-hundred and seventy-three cards.
Aside from the stack of cards I pulled for fellow bloggers who I still "owe" for some great packages, every single one is a "keeper" for me. (Aside from any doubles I may have accidentally purchased.)
The broadness of my collection is what I love most about it. The fact that it literally entails every part of the history of the game makes it unique, at least in my eyes.
Besides, dumping out all those cards onto the floor after a successful show sure is a great feeling.
There was literally a little of everything at this show. Some quarter cards, some discounted vintage, everything. (Both of which will come in later installments of what will be my four-part card show posts.)
But for now, let's focus on the dime boxes.
Or should I say, the dime box. But don't let the singular form of that word fool you.
Aside from a 12/$1 box I found near the end of the show, there was only one true dime box amongst all the aisles of cardboard yesterday.
But I'm pretty sure it was the best dime box I've ever gone through, and that's not an exaggeration. I know for certain that I've never bought more cards from a single table in my life.
See those two card-filled boxes behind all the other scattered cardboard? Those all came from one dime box.
All five hundred of them.
It might well be the best fifty bucks I've ever spent.
I found so many cards, in fact, that I'll be splitting my "finds" from this table into two posts. This post is dedicated to the more current players, while the second installment will feature all the cards of retired players that I found. (Mostly from newer sets, although this box did have some vintage inside. But more on that tomorrow.)
The vendor had about ten 1600-count boxes on display, all of which were jam-packed with baseball cards. (I assume they contained that many cards because they looked to be about half the size of a 3200-count box.)
I spent a little over an hour digging through those boxes. As they say, "Patience is a virtue."
If there's one thing I pride myself on, it's patience. I can sit and dig through cards for hours on end. It's all about finding those "gems" that lie inside.
This table had plenty of those.
So let's start digging.
I didn't mean literal "digging".
I was actually a little disappointed after I dug through the first of many dime boxes the vendor had on display. Most of it was comprised of newer rookies, which I didn't have much interest in acquiring.
However, I did find one card I've wanted for a while with this Justin Maxwell UD rookie.
I just wish I had it in time for the "renovations" post I did a few months earlier.
This one and the Maxwell were the only two cards I found out of the first 1600-count box.
The fact that I only found a pair of cards out of all those stacks should tell you how dry that first box really was.
But I didn't buy this one because I wanted a card of one-time Mets prospect Joe Smith.
I just liked the Coney Island ferris wheel in the background.
It turned out that the first dime box of the bunch was an anomaly.
The other ones were more than worthy of a big "thumbs up", as you'll see in the rest of this post.
Even Deion Sanders thinks so.
I'd think that this is the only card that features someone actually in an airplane. For anyone interested in the backstory to this shot, it comes from the period of time when "Neon Deion" played for both the Braves and the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
On a few occasions, Sanders flew from a Falcons practice to a Braves night game in Atlanta during his multi-sport career.
This is definitely one of the oddest cards I've ever come across.
That's what makes it great, though.
What's with the basketball card?
That's actually speedster Kenny Lofton during his college days at Arizona, where he made it to the Final Four in 1988.
The '92 Pinnacle "Sidelines" subset is great for these weird shots. There's Tom Glavine in full hockey gear, for one.
I'm at a crossroads on where to put this card. The back of it has him in an Indians uniform, but it would look odd having a basketball shot amongst all the others, so perhaps it should go in the miscellaneous binder. Then again, this one is still technically a "baseball card".
Either way, it was a great addition.
For some reason, I used to go absolutely crazy for serial numbered cards.
Although I've cooled off on them lately, they're still welcome additions to my collection.
If I'm lucky, I'll come away with one or two numbered cards from a dime box. Numbered cards are more quarter and fifty-cent box material.
Not this time, though.
I found thirty-two numbered dime cards. Something like that is pretty much unheard of in the world of dime boxes, and one of the major reasons this particular one was so unbelievably good.
How Fleer landed on numbering that Junior Spivey card to 258 copies, I'll never know. But I do like the fact that the numbering is on the front. I've always enjoyed that for some reason.
I even found a great new piece to my budding Ryan Dempster collection with his "Prospects" card from 2001 Fleer Focus, numbered to 4,999 copies.
Not your everyday dime box finds.
There's a few guys that seem to pop up in every dime box.
Vlad Guerrero and Mark Grace are part of that group. My Vlad collection is nearing the 600-card mark, while my Mark Grace collection is closing in on 250 different issues.
I have dime boxes to thank for that.
A lot of times, I'll buy a few dime cards just because they're "cool", for lack of a better term.
This is one of those 3-D issues that seemed to run rampant during the mid 1990's. I don't collect Rondell White, but I couldn't pass this one up, especially for just a dime.
While they might be a tad "gimmicky", I'll never be able to resist the simple joy of a 3-D baseball card.
While we're on the topic of those "cool" cards, here's another one.
Even though I've never heard of Todd Linden, I had to have this card. I'm still not sure what the story is with those crazy cars on the wall of AT&T Park, but I've never seen a card that shows them in greater detail than this one.
If these things start to show up in my nightmares, at least I'll know who the culprit was.
I'm talking to you, Mr. Linden.
It pains me to say it, but I bought not one...
...but two Sammy Sosa cards last afternoon.
He's one of my least favorite players in the history of the game. In fact, I don't think I'd ever voluntarily welcomed any new Sosa cards into my collection until yesterday.
At least I get to laugh at him whenever I look at the Studio one. I've seen that card a number of times over the years, and I'm glad I finally own a copy.
Sosa aside, you have to admit that the above Sports Illustrated card is awesome. I can't recall any better action shots off the top of my head.
The fact that they managed to capture the split-second when the ball met Sosa's bat is amazing. (Plus, my man Brad Ausmus has a cameo on this card.)
I would've bought this card no matter who was featured on it. Even Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.
Speaking of that...
I bought a Roger Clemens card.
Again, I couldn't pass this one up, even if Clemens is arguably my least favorite player to ever step onto a baseball field.
My regular readers likely already know how big of a fan I am of cards that feature "pitchers at the plate".
Not only is this one of those, but it also features a broken bat. I've never specifically bought "broken bat" cards, but perhaps I should start.
They sure do make for great action shots.
Here's a couple more "pitchers at the plate".
Rick Ankiel does it one better, though. Cards of pitchers on the basepaths are even more rare, considering it doesn't happen all that often.
Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that Ankiel was able to get on base, knowing what we now know about his hitting ability.
I saw at least a couple dozen Kerry Wood cards scattered amongst the many dime boxes on display. I bypassed all of them.
Except this one.
It's the first card I have of Wood (a .171 career hitter) at the plate.
That in itself instantly makes it my new favorite Kerry Wood card.
Before yesterday, I'd never seen these "reverse negative" cards from 2002 Upper Deck Authentics.
Thanks to the commenters on this post, I actually knew what they were the minute I saw them.
I would've bought these no matter who they were. It was just a bonus that I collect both Abernathy and Koskie. (My player collections know no bounds.)
I'll never dream of owning the inspiration for these cards, though.
Pacific sure did have some odd sets when they were still in the baseball industry.
Their "Vanguard" issue makes Rick Ankiel look like he's about to enter into another dimension.
Although I kind of prefer the little "rookie" parallelogram to the big "rookie card" logo on today's cards. (That might be the first time anyone's dropped the word "parallelogram" into a blog post.)
Back in 2007, you'd be hard-pressed to find any cards of Jack Cust in a dime box. Although it took a decade for him to have a good year in the majors, he finally came through with the A's in '07, hitting 26 homers that year.
It's been a tough road for him ever since, but I'm still an avid Jack Cust collector.
Although it looks like he might be having some intestinal troubles, this particular issue was one of my better dime finds of the day, numbered to 2,001 copies.
Here's a couple "can't-miss" prospects who never delivered on their potential.
They're a common theme in most dime boxes.
Sean Burroughs was the Padres' first round pick in 1998, while Eric Munson was the Tigers' first round selection the following year.
Neither would put together anything close to a successful career. (Although I did enjoy Burroughs' comeback story last year.)
I'm sure these cards garnered some nice money back in the day.
While it pains me to say it, they're not much more than dime box material nowadays.
I've had a tough time finding these "prospects" cards from the late '90s and early 2000's.
Much to my surprise, I found a big stack of them in these dime boxes. Although these two are far from well-known, they were a couple of my favorite "gets" of all the day's finds.
I've been a Geoff Blum fan ever since he hit that game-winning homer in the 14th inning of the '05 World Series.
He's a prime example of the "Famous for 15 Minutes" crowd that Andy Warhol theorized about back in the '60s. (Blum is a .250 career hitter.)
This isn't the first time I've brought up the name "Calvin Pickering" on this blog. He's the feature of one of the oddest inserts in my collection.
I have dime boxes to thank for my entire collection of his.
I'm not a huge fan of horizontal cards with most "throwback" sets.
They just look out of place in A&G or Turkey Red.
Not Cracker Jack, though. In fact, the horizontal cards might be the best part about them. Not to mention that this one captures the "D-Train" during his quirky delivery.
It's a thing of beauty.
This one isn't just a great action shot.
It's a great action shot from a World Series. As if that wasn't enough, it's a perfect example of a "play at the plate" as well.
I'm almost positive that this shot is from the '03 World Series between the Yankees and Marlins.
What I'm not positive about is if Alex Gonzalez was safe or out on this play.
Talk about a couple of nice inserts.
Don't look too closely at that card on the left. You might get hypnotized.
I'm not sure how others feel about them, but I'm a huge fan of the transparent "Studio Stars" inserts from a few years back. (Although that's the first numbered version I have.)
They're certainly unique.
As a kid, I remember obsessing about getting a card of Jose Cruz Jr. as a Mariner.
It was one of those "half-year" cards that I loved so much, as he'd be dealt to Toronto halfway through the '97 season. (I still call them "half-year" cards.)
With this candid '97 Fleer shot, I'm up to about eighteen different issues of Cruz Jr. during his time in Seattle.
My ten year-old self is ecstatic.
Remember how I said I didn't have any cards that featured a Red Sox "throwback" card?
I can't say that anymore.
Those neat Red Sox uniforms go all the way back to the days of Cy Young.
I love my "short term stops" collection.
Rickey Henderson is probably the king of those. After all, he switched uniforms eleven times during the final eleven years of his career, including three separate stints with the A's and two with the Padres.
His shortest stop, however, came in Anaheim at the tail-end of the '97 season. He'd hit just .183 in 32 games for the Angels that year. I'm sure a lot of people don't even know "Rickey" played for them.
They're probably better off.
I've always liked cards that feature a future star (or anyone tagged as one) during their high school days.
It's staggering to think that some average high school kid had to pitch against the likes of Paul Konerko or Derrek Lee. Or even Rocco Baldelli.
In terms of design and stat-keeping, the back of the card on the right might be the worst example in the history of baseball cards. Here's what it says:
"Year: 2000, BA: .500, HR: 5, RBI: N/A."
I guess we'll never know how many runs Rocco Baldelli drove in during his senior year of high school.
Minor league cards are always interesting.
One of my other big "quests" as a kid was getting a card of Moises Alou as a Pirate. I've only been able to find two for my collection (I know there's at least one more out there), but I'll count the minor league one towards that.
The gold-and-black colors scream "Pittsburgh Pirates".
The Kane County Cougars, a Single-A affiliate for the Marlins, are the closest minor league team within reach, about an hour away from where I live.
There's a good chance I saw Ross Gload play for the Cougars in '98. I would've been six years old at the time, which is probably around the first time I attended a game in Kane County.
Perhaps I'm even in the background of that card somewhere.
This final card was my runaway favorite, as far as these dime boxes are concerned. (Even with all the "legend" cards I have yet to show.)
It's the craziest shot I've ever seen on a piece of cardboard, and that's no exaggeration. Before yesterday, I'd never seen it before. If I had, it probably would've been one of those impulse buys.
Without further ado, here is the "craziest card" in my collection.
No, your eyes aren't deceiving you.
That's a picture of Andre Dawson taking a baseball to the face. On a baseball card.
I was able to "date" this card with a little research. It comes from a wild Cubs-Padres game at Wrigley Field on July 7, 1987.
"The Hawk" was beaned by San Diego pitcher Eric Show in the third inning of that game, quite possibly because he dominated the Padres' pitchers in the first two games of the series.
In the moments following the beaning, Rick Sutcliffe charged out of the Cubs dugout to get at Show, triggering a wild brawl. Even a bleeding Dawson made a run at the mound to get a few shots in during the fracas.
Out of all the photos to use, Classic decided on this one. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that it captures the precise moment the ball met Dawson's face.
Wow. A baseball card of a guy getting hit in the noggin. I never thought there was such a thing.
My motto really is true, I guess.
You just never know what you'll find in a dime box.