Believe it or not, I received other non-cardboard presents this year.
My mom was nice enough to get me an awesome Seattle Pilots jersey, one that will no doubt be making an appearance at future card shows.
That's on top of the unbelievable box of Panini Cooperstown I showcased yesterday.
As usual, I received a whole lot of cold, hard cash as well. I'm sure some of it will go towards cardboard at some point down the road.
Hopefully the thirty-dollar Target gift card I got will last until the end of January. I'd love to treat myself to some 2013 Topps with it, although my pack-busting urges may get the best of me before then.
And, of course, there was that stuff from my dad...
Which is exactly what I'll be showing off in tonight's post.
Sure, he managed to find a few non-card gifts for me this year. Most notably, a cool Beatles t-shirt and a box of Skittles that should last me until February.
But, for the most part, the "loot" from my dad consisted of glorious cardboard.
Glorious, glorious cardboard.
Thanks to him, I found myself with even more Panini Cooperstown on my hands, courtesy of a retail blaster from Target.
Coupled with the 24-pack hobby box I received earlier in the day, the eight-pack blaster brought me up to 32 total Christmas Cooperstown packs.
That's got to be some sort of record.
I'm sure most of you got your Cooperstown fill last night, though, so I'll keep it brief here.
I'll just show the above Polo Grounds "Ballparks" insert, a pull which proved to be my favorite of the entire blaster.
What an extraordinary shot.
They really packed 'em in back then.
Like last year, a couple repack boxes found their way into my stocking from "pops" this holiday.
While I'm always up for busting some repack goodness, this particular grouping was fairly dry.
Even by repack standards.
Still, the cards themselves aren't necessarily what makes or breaks repacks. It's the sheer joy I get out of digging through all those forgotten pieces of cardboard.
In a strange twist of fate, though, this neat "Joey Bats" orange refractor stared out at me from the little "window" of the package.
It's not often you see "shiny" cards like these in a repack.
As a nice addition to my Blue Jays binder, I'll definitely take it.
I've recently decided to make Mr. Quisenberry one of my prime player collection focuses.
From what have in my binders thus far, I'd place him amongst the "cardogenic" ranks of ballplayers. I guess most sidearm/submarine-type pitchers seem to fall into that category, though.
They're just too awesome to ignore.
We'll close out my abbreviated repack recap with this one.
A pull which proved to be one of the better repack finds I've ever witnessed.
Heck, netting any OPC card from such an odd grouping of cards would've been more than enough for me.
But one of "Rickey" himself? A young "Rickey", too?
And a Hall of Famer?
In the end, though, blasters and repacks proved to be small potatoes.
After all, the real "meat" of my dad's holiday gifts were yet to come.
Some of my readers from way back might remember the basis for last year's Christmas post on this blog.
Now, for the second year in a row, my dad went on a bit of a "Checkoutmycards" splurge in composing his main gift to me.
I'm starting to think that introducing him to that website was the greatest idea I've ever had.
Although he managed to add a fantastic array of cardboard to my collection last year, I think he bested himself this time around.
He knows my collection better than anyone else in the world, something that certainly showed in this year's gift.
Or should I say, gifts. Note the plural.
But we'll get to that second part later.
Much to my delight, I found a team bag inside the first neatly-wrapped present, one that was absolutely bursting with cardboard.
From there, I saw a '65 Topps Bert Campaneris staring up at me. A rookie card of one of my favorite members of the "Swingin' A's" on my all-time favorite Topps design.
It marked the second year in a row that "Campy" had found his way into my dad's holiday gift to me.
After that, I knew I was in for a huge treat.
I tore into the rest of that team bag with unabashed enthusiasm.
"Lou" Burdette also proved to be a repeat offender this Christmas.
My dad included his error-laden '59 Topps issue in last year's holiday "loot".
For some reason, Topps could never quite get a handle on how to spell his first name.
Officially, Burdette's name is "Lew", short for Lewis. However, from 1958 on, Topps incorrectly listed it as "Lou".
Little quirks like these are part of what made early Topps issues so great.
Even minis weren't immune to my dad's COMC finds.
Given my past experiences with A&G and others, he knows that I'm an avid supporter of these bite-sized pieces of cardboard.
It doesn't matter whether they're from Obak...
...or vintage Topps.
I simply love minis!
But, between you and me, I love '75 minis a whole lot more than those other ones.
Just don't tell Obak, okay?
Although 1975 was a prime year of his childhood collecting days, my dad never knew about the existence of these until I started getting interested in vintage.
That's the great thing about technology, though.
Any card you want can be yours. Even ones you never knew about before.
I know I'm certainly happy to have Mr. Kranepool in my collection right now.
I'm sure my dad is, too.
As I said, my dad knows my collection better than anyone.
He knows my love for the ever-rare "player swap" errors. And he even goes out of his way to find new ones for my collection.
Before Christmas, I'd only heard vague references to "player swaps" in '75 Topps. I'd never actually seen one for myself.
But, thanks to my dad, one now proudly resides in my household.
That Larry Haney card doesn't feature Larry Haney at all.
It's actually former catcher and now-famous pitching coach Dave Duncan.
On top of that, my dad is the one who first got me interested in the likes of old-time baseball.
He's the one who introduced me to guys like Dizzy Dean and the famous "Gashouse Gang" Cardinal teams of the 1930's.
I guess it's typical that he managed to find a brand new "Diz" card for my Redbirds binder. And an oddball one, at that.
Not many people know how much enjoyment I get out of that. You people in the blogosphere are part of an exclusive club.
But, in the end, no one knows better than my dad.
I have been on an extremely powerful Gary Carter kick lately.
I've scooped up a few dozen cards of "The Kid" at the last couple shows I've attended.
Judging from this Archives insert, I guess my dad noticed.
The unfamiliar "57" on Carter's jersey leads me to believe that this shot was taken during the early stages of his career.
After I found this one in the team bag, I remember thinking...
"Could this gift get any better?"
Because beneath the knock-off Archives sticker, I found a pair of actual 1977 Topps cloth sticker inserts.
This duo doubled the amount of these in my collection as we speak. Cardenal and "Yaz" join Al Oliver and Mark Fidrych as the only '77 stickers in my binders.
Should anyone ever decide to do a "best Afro" countdown, I'm sure Mr. Cardenal would be near the top of the list.
A couple days ago, I had a crazy thought.
If I ever decided to get into the whole set-building thing, I'd bet these would make for a nice initial challenge.
They're certainly cool enough.
It's high-number time.
After years of not being able to land any of the '72 "Traded" issues for my collection, I've managed to add two to my binders within the past couple months.
Thanks to a two-dollar vintage box, the Jose Cardenal found its way into my home.
And now, courtesy of my dad, I'll be able to add the elusive Joe Morgan to my Reds binder.
I'll take all the '72 high-numbers I can find these days.
Lately, members of my "Dime Box Dozen" needs have been dropping like flies.
With the '73 Cepeda, my dad managed to knock out the latest "suspect" as part of this awesome Christmas present.
So, why was it such a desired need of mine?
It's an "unfamiliar uniform" card.
Truthfully, it's probably a little more than that. After all, Cepeda's entire tenure in Oakland consisted of just three at-bats near the end of the '72 season.
He never even reached base in an A's uniform.
That's grounds for a "Dime Box Dozen" need any day of the week.
Even with my myriad of player collections, my dad seems to know which players take top priority.
This Jimmy Wynn 3-D/autograph combo certainly put a huge smile on my face.
Although I'm not huge on memorabilia pieces anymore, those Fan Favorites autos will always have a special place in my collection.
Now, I just have to figure out what the heck is going on with his autograph on that 3-D issue.
Dick Allen has always been one of my dad's all-time favorite players.
As a result, he's become one of my favorites as well.
Few player collections bring me more joy than my ever-expanding group of Dick Allen cards. Every single one is a museum piece in itself.
Needless to say, it's a bit hard to explain how excited I was to add these to my collection.
If there's one thing I've learned in my years in collecting, it's this.
Dick Allen cards will always be cool.
I was more surprised than anything when this one fell out of the team bag.
I'd never really told my dad about my Virgil Trucks collection. And it's not like he's one of the better-known players of the era.
Yet, somehow, my dad had a feeling that I'd enjoy this piece of cardboard history.
Boy, was he right.
Currently, it's only the second 1950 Bowman card in my collection.
Although I collected Trucks before I joined the blogosphere, I've come to see him in a whole new light during the last year or so.
A few fellow bloggers have had nothing but nice things to say about his TTM signings and his personality as a whole.
He certainly seems to be a stand-up kind of guy.
So, here's to you, Mr. Trucks.
I verbally said that word when this one found its way into my grasp. I almost never utter it in my day-to-day life.
"The Bird" coaxed it out of me, though.
It's not just any ordinary Mark Fidrych card, mind you.
It's a minor league Mark Fidrych card, one that captures him during his stint with AAA's Evansville Triplets in 1980.
Every time I think I have most of the Fidrych issues out there, a new one finds its way into my hands.
My dad certainly knows how to keep an eye out for my collection.
To close out this post, let's move onto the "ultra gift".
A gift so great that it was separately wrapped.
Before the holidays, my dad had hinted that he'd found a huge gift for me this year.
To keep me on my heels, he gave absolutely no hints as to what it could be.
He told me it was indeed a baseball card. But that was it.
That was all I could go on.
A few things popped into my head.
"A new Hoyt Wilhelm card for my collection? Maybe even a 1950's Roberto Clemente issue or something."
I had absolutely no clue.
In the end, though, I wasn't even close with either of my guesses.
The actual gift proved to be better than anything I could've ever imagined.
A whole lot better.
Given that he wrapped it separately and all, my dad was worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype.
I thought he was crazy.
Of course this would live up to the hype!
It's the second authentic tobacco card I've added to my collection in the last six months!
But it gets even better.
On the surface, the five-year career of Bill Burns doesn't look like anything special.
Even with a solid 2.72 career ERA, he posted a 30-52 record with five different teams during his time in the bigs.
However, what makes this card so special involves the post-baseball life of "Sleepy" Bill Burns.
As I've mentioned before, it's long been a "pipe dream" of mine to add a real tobacco card of any of the eight "Black Sox" to my collection.
Trouble is, they go for quite a pretty penny. It doesn't look like a "dream" I'll be able to realize anytime in the near future.
So, my dad managed to find the next best thing.
If you've seen the movie Eight Men Out, then you probably remember Christopher Lloyd's role as one of the many gamblers involved with the "fix".
His character's name?
"Sleepy" Bill Burns.
The very same.
Burns was actually a big part of the scandal back in the day. From what I know, he was nearly penniless after the Series was said and done.
He testified against the eight Sox players in court the following year.
For better or worse, he was a major player in the fascinating tale of the "Black Sox".
And now I have a real, actual baseball card of his.
How freaking awesome is that?
You could say I had a good Christmas.