It can't be said enough.
The sheer amazingness of the cards I've received during my time here has been staggering.
I never thought trading would become this big of a part in my "blogger" life. It seems like more packages are arriving on my doorstep with each passing day.
That's probably a testament to all the terrific people we have here in the blogosphere.
However, as the number of incoming packages have increased, I've noticed another special trend that always seems to put a big smile on my face.
People are finding more creative ways to package their outgoing cardboard.
The cards I recently received from Jeff over at "2 by 3 Heroes" are a fantastic example of that.
From what I can tell, Jeff is a fairly regular reader of this blog. He seems to have a pretty good handle on a lot of the different things I collect.
Given some of my past praises of the sacred "multiple exposure" field, Jeff had a feeling that I'd enjoy this "gem" of Mr. Valenzuela.
And that I did.
While Upper Deck may have hurt the hobby in other ways, I don't think there's much denying that they helped improve the world of cardboard photography.
They were the first ones to introduce the "multiple exposure" tactic, after all. I'll always give them a huge amount of credit for that.
Although all of them are awesome in their own ways, this multi-image shot of "Fernando" might be the best of the best.
For some reason, the blurred nighttime background gives it a very "cosmic" feel to me.
However, the Valenzuela was only a small part of Jeff's "grand plan" with this package.
As you see above, he composed a little "checklist" for this group of cardboard.
A list that included quite a few of the many "mini-collections" that make up my vast array of binders.
Like I said, just the way some people have been sending cards lately has been enough for me. It shows that a good amount of thought goes into the things people send my way.
It makes me feel extremely lucky to have found this wonderful place.
So, let's take a look and see what this "checklist" had in store, shall we?
Jeff included quite a few of these, most of which I'd never seen before.
That '01 Upper Deck issue is only the second shot of the "Big Unit" at the plate in my collection.
Most pitchers look at least a little awkward with a bat in their hands. But, for some reason, Johnson looks especially out of place in that department to me.
Although preferred, I don't limit my "pitchers at the plate" shots to just the fronts of cards.
As shown by the Saberhagen, backs are perfectly acceptable as well.
It's been awesome to see that my "sunset" label has been catching on around here.
I've seen a few other bloggers use the phrase in their writings as of late.
Although I couldn't locate a true "sunset" card within Jeff's group of cardboard, I was extremely happy to see the inclusion of the term in his little "checklist".
This Carter was about the closest I could find.
His final cards actually came in '93. I still have a hard time deciding between his Topps and Upper Deck "sunset" issues.
Even though it might not be a "sunset" card, I'll never be able to turn down a card of "The Kid" and his million-dollar smile.
"Baseball with other sports".
With these two, I now own cards of ballplayers partaking in football, hockey, basketball, and golf.
I'd be interested to see what other "multi-sport" pieces are out there.
"Baseball not doing baseball".
This little "theme" could extend in a ton of different directions.
However, aside from any music-related baseball cards I own, these "behind the camera" pieces are probably the best of the bunch.
For whatever reason, they were a fairly regular sight during the overproduction era, as shown by Mr. Van Slyke's 1994 Upper Deck issue.
I have to wonder what he was using that camera for, though.
Perhaps he was checking out the babe in row 26 in a...creative way.
We'll never know for sure.
Although the Valenzuela was my favorite of the ones Jeff sent, it was far from the only "multiple exposure" card in the package.
This spectacular issue of Bernie Williams was certainly new to me. It takes the term "in-action" to an entirely new level.
To my knowledge, he's now the only player in my binders with both a "band" and "multi-image" card to his credit.
"Mark Grace and Jim Abbott".
Although I collect quite a few different players, both Grace and Abbott are easily in the "Top 10" as far as that goes.
I can't help but get excited whenever I can add new cards of theirs to my binders.
As a "low-end" collector, it's still one of my most basic pleasures.
Big time "check" right here.
Jeff included my favorite "submariner" of them all with Chad Bradford. In fact, the regular version of this one managed to make it pretty high into my "Top 100".
For now, I think I'll let the photography speak for itself.
And, finally, we have...
Jeff sent along a prime piece for my newest "mini-collection" with this one.
These kinds of shots give off a very "old school" vibe. And any card that can do that is definitely okay in my book.
Plus, they're just...cool. I don't really know how else to put it.
I honestly can't see how anyone could not like cards of the "bat barrel" variety.
For lack of a better term, they're just so bad-ass.
If the awesome "checklist" was any indication, we have quite a few creative minds here in the blogosphere.
It's apparent that Jeff is indeed one of them.
I could've never come up with a neat little concept like that.
And, yes, these cards did indeed cover quite a bit for me. Every card was like exploring a new avenue of my collection.
Honestly, I couldn't have asked for much more out of a trade package.