What makes a player a "legend" in the world of cardboard?
Perhaps it's simply a string of tremendous cards in a row. Perhaps it's part of that whole "iconic" thing. Perhaps it's just a fond memory we have of a certain card or player.
To tell you the truth, I don't really have a good answer to that question.
All I know is this.
If a player has a blog named after him, he's a "legend" in my eyes.
For that reason, I definitely consider Hideo Nomo to be a "legend" of this hobby.
In fact, I recently received a package from Mr. Spiegel, the uber-Nomo fan author of "Nomo's Sushi Platter".
It proved to be one of those "just because" packages, one that I had no idea was headed my way. I just opened up my mailbox, and there it was. Completely out of the blue.
That's a special feeling.
As you may have guessed, a few Nomo cards were among the first ones to fall out of the mailer. Appropriately, it's one of the "trademarks" of a package from Mr. Spiegel.
Although he has long warranted a spot in my binders, I've never specifically hunted for Nomo cards in the past. To me, he'd always been one of those guys who was simply...there.
I was only three years old when "Nomo-mania" swept the nation. By the time I really started to get into baseball, Nomo was just simply another pitcher toiling around the bigs.
He just never seemed that special to me.
Until I joined the blogosphere, that is.
No matter what, absolutely any cards I receive from the uber-Nomo fan himself definitely warrant a spot in my "keeper" collection.
Plus, this awesome Collector's Choice checklist has to be one of the more "psychedelic" cards out there.
Still, even packages from the "Platter man" himself often extend past the greatness of Hideo Nomo.
Mr. Spiegel managed to add a new piece from the wide, wide world of oddballs to my collection with this one.
Without the efforts of my fellow bloggers, I doubt I'd appreciate oddballs all that much. My pre-blog self had a passing interest in them, at best.
These days, I'm always excited to add a new oddball to my collection. Although I'd seen them in the past, I'd never managed to find an '81 Coca-Cola issue for my binders.
This package thankfully changed that.
I find it criminal that I virtually ignored oddballs for so long. They deserve to be appreciated more than almost anything else in this hobby.
You made me come to my senses.
Another "trademark" of a package from Mr. Spiegel is simply the inclusion of a few "fun shots".
From my past writings, he knew I'd enjoy anything of "pitchers at the plate". Especially one that added to my player collection of Darryl Kile, at that.
I've previously mentioned in passing how much I love autograph shots on cardboard.
Or, as I've come to call them, cards of the "Hey, mister, can I have your autograph?" variety.
Mr. Spiegel managed to find one of those for my binders with the Hoffman as well.
It shows that he pays attention to what I write around here.
That really means a lot.
More than I could ever put into words.
My initial introduction to Panini Cooperstown came from Mr. Spiegel's blog.
His writings are what basically convinced me to ask for a box of the stuff this past Christmas.
Fittingly, he included a few Cooperstown subjects in this trade package.
I'll never get sick of anything related to the Hall of Fame. I'll never tire of collecting Gaylord Perry. Or cards of a pensive Earl Weaver.
Hall of Famers have always been a main collecting "force" of mine.
And I don't see that changing anytime soon.
This is a first for me.
I've long since denounced the whole "memorabilia" craze that has swept the hobby over the past decade or so.
Yet I was tremendously excited to see this one fall out of the mailer.
Because it's the first memorabilia card I own that features a "pitcher at the plate".
I have a couple "game-used" bat cards of pitchers in my collection, but not one actually pictures them with a bat in their hands.
On top of that, Micah Owings is one of my favorite "binder inductees". After all, he's likely the greatest-hitting pitcher of my generation.
Perhaps I should thank Hideo Nomo for all this great cardboard.
Without "legends" like Hideo Nomo, perhaps Mr. Spiegel would've never started his blog.
Which means that none of us would've been exposed to the terrific writing he's provided over the last couple years.
Which means that I never would've received this great package of cardboard.
Therein lies the hidden power of Nomo.