A special thing happened to me about a week before Christmas.
I won a contest here in the blogosphere.
Although I'd like to be, I'm just not one of those people who wins contests a whole lot. It's been that way for a while now.
As you'll soon see, though, this awesome array of cardboard more than made up for the years of contest disappointment that I'd carried throughout my card-collecting life.
You could call it a "Christmas miracle", of sorts.
See, before the holidays, I put in an entry on a few of the "giveaway" lots over at "The Diamond King".
Given my past contest failures, you can imagine how surprised I was when my name actually came up under the "winners" section.
I had won "lot #3", a group of 50 modern Hall of Famer cards.
And, wouldn't you know it, I collect Hall of Famers!
It was a match made in heaven.
Even though Kevin, the generous author of the blog, had posted a tremendous picture of all the cards he'd be including in the lot, I was still taken aback when the cards arrived on my doorstep.
I couldn't believe it.
It was the single greatest lot of HOFers I'd ever received. And that's no exaggeration.
Although the cards weren't gift-wrapped and didn't have a bow on top or anything, I still treated them as a little "bonus" Christmas present.
Before I get into my "winnings", I'd just like to thank Kevin for such an awesome prize package.
It is greatly appreciated by this blogger!
I strategically placed that splendid Zenith parallel of Mr. Williams at the top in order to try and hypnotize you into clicking onto this post.
Did it work?
I know it would for me.
These are some rather high-end cards to be featuring on such a low-end blog.
But I don't care.
High-end or not, though, this duo is absolutely beautiful. Dizzy Dean and Johnny Mize have rarely been showcased in a greater light.
They'll look fantastic in my Cardinals binder.
Feast your eyes on some more shininess.
I still can't believe someone would simply give away such beautiful cardboard. Especially this wonderful insert of Mr. Killebrew.
I guess that's a testament to the generosity of the blogosphere, though.
The sheer volume of stars in this package was second-to-none.
From "Hammerin' Hank" to "Stan the Man"...
...and from "The Yankee Clipper" to Roger Maris himself, the names just kept on coming.
Heck, by this point, I was only halfway through my "spoils".
There was still a whole lot of Cooperstown goodness to go.
Numbered cards were no stranger to this mailer, either.
I've always had a deep affinity for Sweet Spot Classic's "Famous Firsts" subset. The few I've managed to pick up over the years are utterly fantastic.
Even after five days in my possession, I haven't been able to take my eyes off that Kaline. Numbered to just 1,000 copies, it's the first I've seen from those "Classic Studio" inserts.
Needless to say, I'll be on the lookout for more in the future.
Even with names like Williams, Dean, and DiMaggio, I was glad to see that Kevin added in a couple HOF Negro Leaguers to his "giveaway" package.
I think we sometimes tend to gloss over them when it comes to Cooperstown.
Card companies are probably partially to blame for that.
Although it was in operation for nearly fifty years, my entire Negro League collection is confined to just two small snap cases on my dresser.
Even after years and years of hunting down Negro League cardboard, I still don't even have enough of them to fill a binder yet.
Thankfully, this awesome Buck O'Neil insert brings me one step closer.
I've actually wanted to land a copy of this one for a while.
Personally, I think it's one of the more overlooked issues in cardboard history.
Card #3 in the '95 Topps checklist is fittingly devoted to honoring the 100th birthday of "The Sultan of Swat" himself, Babe Ruth.
The fact that Topps specifically gave a him a spot in their checklist that year should tell you just how big of an impact "The Bambino" had on the game of baseball.
But because it was released during so-called "wasteland" of the mid '90s, I'm not sure that many collectors even know of its existence.
No matter how you slice it, this is a true piece of cardboard art.
I thought something was seriously wrong when this one fell out of the package.
After several attempts, I just couldn't manage to slide this card of "The Mick" out of what I thought was a penny sleeve surrounding it.
Then came the grand reveal.
This card is actually laminated.
A first for my collection.
The gold stamp on the back of this one reads "Last Day Production".
I'm not at all sure what that even means. I'd have to assume that it was some type of marketing ploy on the part of Topps.
Nevertheless, this will make for a nice little "quirky" addition to my collection.
The Mantle was actually my second-favorite card out of the package.
"Best Of" honors went to a parallel of a card that ranked quite highly in my "Top 100". In order to not spoil anything, I held back from showing it in this post.
But it was certainly a nice surprise, I'll tell you that.
In the end, I couldn't have asked for much more out of a contest.
After years and years of winning a whole lot of nothing in contests, this spectacular group of cards made the waiting worth it.
Heck, maybe I'm not that unlucky after all.
Maybe I'll go play the lottery tomorrow.