Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dime Box Heroes: The Dime Box Class of 2013

1992 Donruss Triple Play #136 Hall of Fame

What a day.

What a day.

The 2013 Hall of Fame class has come and gone.

And, according to the world of baseball writers, no one proved worthy enough to warrant a plaque in Cooperstown.

With no disrespect to the trio of veterans' committee inductees, I have to say that this year's induction ceremonies will likely be quite a yawner.

Personally, I thought Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza deserved to get in this year. At the least.

Still, it's not something I'll lose sleep over.

As much as I've enjoyed hearing the perspectives of...well, nearly every baseball fan on the planet, I'm looking forward to a much-needed return to normalcy.

I'm especially looking at you, MLB Network. Although I enjoy watching you on a daily basis, these last couple weeks have been pure overkill.

I'll be reading as many of the HOF rebuttal posts that the blogosphere has to offer over the next day or two, but what I just typed is about all I have to say on the topic right now.

One last note.

Probably the most important of all. 

Aaron Sele actually got a HOF vote.

I'm still not sure how I feel about that.

For all of you who are ticked off at Cooperstown and everyone involved with it right now, I invite you to join me for the rest of tonight's post.

I'll be "inducting" a few players into a Hall of Fame tonight.

No PED issues. No ominous "character clauses". No two-hour specials about nothing.

Just good ol' cardboard.

This entire "Dime Box Heroes" theme has been a way to showcase some of my absolute favorite dime box treasures from my collecting career.

The sheer variety of dime bins is second-to-none in this hobby. I've found everyone from Adam Hyzdu to Babe Ruth in those things over the years.

Still, I could definitely single out a few dime box "Hall of Famers".

Guys who seem to pop up in every single dime box on the face of the planet. Guys who I've spent quite a few dimes on during my dime box adventures.

Most of all, they're guys who continue give me the most "bang for my buck" as a collector.

So, without further ado, I'd like you to meet the first batch of "inductees" from the unofficial Dime Box HOF Class of 2013.

By Cooperstown standards, a lot of "fringe" guys are common dime box suspects.

Dave Parker, Steve Garvey, Bill Madlock, and Dave Concepcion are all guys who have warranted HOF discussion over the years.

That kind of "borderline" label makes all the Garveys and Madlocks of the world even more susceptible to the dime box depths.

One of the more common dime box "fringe" players, however, has to be Mr. Kenny Lofton.

He was actually on this year's HOF ballot.

Where he promptly received just over three percent of the vote, far less than I thought he'd get.

Thanks to dime boxes, I've managed to land at least one card of Lofton on every single team he played for during his time in the bigs.

All eleven of them.

And, yes, I realize I posted this '97 Metal Universe insert just a day after I labeled the set as "headache-inducing".

What can I say?

The inserts are actually pretty neat.

Certainly one of my better dime box finds, I'll tell you that.

Still, don't be led to believe that actual Hall of Famers are strangers to dime boxes.

Because they aren't.

By any means.

The amount of bona-fide stars I find in dime boxes still boggles my mind to this day.

I've probably nabbed a good 30 or 40 Rod Carew dime cards for my collection over the years. The same goes for Juan Marichal.

More recent HOFers are fair game for dime bins as well.

Just ask Rickey Henderson.

Given the amount of "unfamiliar uniforms" he wore during the later stages of his career, I've found myself snatching up quite a few of his Padre and Dodger issues during my time as a dime box fanatic.

I've never actually decided to start a full-on player collection of his, though.

For a long time, I virtually ignored all of his earlier issues as an Oakland A.

However, in the last year or so, I've made a special effort to simply buy "cool" cards from dime boxes, even if I may not collect the player featured on the front.

Rickey Henderson has quickly become the "poster boy" for those.

He's received a staggering amount of awesome cardboard over the years.

As you see above, even the mid '90s wasteland of Bowman granted him a surefire masterpiece for my binders.

That in itself has to make "Rickey" a dime box Hall of Famer.

My Gary Carter collection is a fairly recent addition to my binders.

As I've mentioned many different times before on this blog, I decided to start collecting "The Kid" after his untimely passing in February of last year.

At that point, I'd had about 20 cards of his in my collection. 

In the last year, though, I've just about tripled that number.

And it's all thanks to dime boxes, of course.

I've come home with stacks of dime cards of "The Kid" from the last few shows I've attended.

I'm still not quite sure why vendors still relegate such a terrific ballplayer and human being to dime boxes. 

But, hey.

I'm not complaining.

All the better for me, anyways.

In just a fairly short time, Gary Carter has definitely cemented his fate as a dime box Hall of Famer in my mind.

No five-year waiting process necessary.

When it comes to dime boxes, Mark Grace is probably the most common "fringe" player.

That works out great for me.

He just so happens to be my favorite one to collect.

I grew up watching Grace man first base on warm, sunny afternoons at Wrigley. He'll always be one of my favorite Cubs.

That's certainly reflected in my collection.

I own well over 200 different cards of the guy.

Still, I have to give dime boxes a large part of the credit for that.

They've probably made up a good third of those.

From his rookie days in Chicago to his final years in Arizona, dime boxes have allowed me to accumulate a smattering of cardboard from every point in Grace's career.

Even though it's been a long time since I've seen Grace at first base on one of those those warm, sunny afternoons, one thing will never change.

I'll always be willing to fork over a dime for any cards of "Gracie".

It's still one of the best deals in cardboard.

Although Lofton, "Rickey", "The Kid", and Grace are all more than worthy of a "Dime Box HOF" plaque, one player will forever stand above all in the dime box department.

Mr. Vladimir Guerrero.

At over 600 different issues, he is by far the subject of my most expansive player collection.

I'd say a good 250 to 300 of those have come by way of the dime box during my time in this hobby.

That's a good thirty bucks right there. All devoted to "Vlad".

So, was it worth it?

You bet it was.

For that price, I maybe could've bought one of his rare autograph issues. Or possibly a few of his jersey cards.

It's really isn't much of a contest, though.

For thirty bucks, I'll take the 300 dime cards.

Every single time.

Cards like this 2002 Upper Deck Vintage piece manage to pack in a lot of beauty for a simple dime. Much more than an autograph or piece of fabric ever could.

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure that I'd still be collecting without dime boxes.

Had I not discovered the beauty of a stack of dime cardboard, chances are that I'd still be largely involved with the world of memorabilia cards.

And I doubt I would've been able to sustain the budget or patience needed to chase down those things.

Because of that, being "inducted" into my dime box Hall of Fame class is one of the highest honors I could ever bestow upon a player.

I could easily do a series of posts on something like this. (Which might not be a bad idea, now that I think of it.)

For now, though, this wonderful group stands above all in my dime box travels.

Congratulations to the "Dime Box Hall of Fame" Class of 2013.

You guys certainly deserved it.


Michael Chase said...

I'm a big fan of "Magnetic Field" as well as "The Kid," of course!

The Class of 2013 seems to be a really cool addition to Dime Box Heroes!

I'm not sure if you did a Class of 2012 but I'm going to do some Dime Box Diggin' right now to see : )

Anonymous said...

Love the '87 Carter. I'm a huge fan of catcher (and pitcher) action cards.

Also, that throwback Vlad card... and the others... totally worth it!

tourist504 said...

I loved Kenny Lofton when I was collecting. The guy was fast. There's a great Upper Deck issue (1996 or 97) that shows him running the bases with a parachute tied to his back. A parachute. Like a funny car on a drag strip. Had no idea he's been through 11 teams...

Also, I've been putting aside Vlads for you. I'll need your address soon!