No, that's not the same photo I featured on this blog a few days ago.
This is not, I repeat, not a duplicate post of my "spoils" from this past weekend.
What you see above is a different huge box of cards.
I know. I can't believe it myself.
This one came via another member of the blogosphere...or rather a former member.
A couple weeks ago, Ted from "Crinkly Wrappers" contacted me, saying he'd recently found some cards he thought I'd enjoy.
Ted was one of the first "blogging buddies" I ever made around here. He'd sent me a few tremendous trade packages in the past, including a simply staggering box of minis.
Sadly, he decided to hang up the proverbial "blogging cleats" a few months back. Needless to say, I was devastated to see him leave the community.
Still, in the email he recently sent me, Ted said that he still prowls around the blogosphere from time to time, keeping up with the goings-on around here. He even plans to pick up a couple packs of 2013 Topps.
Obviously, it was great to hear from him again.
And, judging by the seemingly endless array of cardboard he sent, it's obvious that he's still every bit as generous as he was during his blogging heyday.
Just look at all those cards he sent me.
Look at them.
Again, I could easily break this thing up into two different posts. But, again, I want you to get a feel for just how much cardboard goodness Ted sent my way.
And, believe me, there was a lot.
So, let's dig in, shall we?
Believe it or not, there was actually a little more to the box than that initial photo would have you believe.
In order to achieve full "dramatic" effect, I had to leave out the array of oversized pieces Ted sent my way. After all, the sheer size of them would've blocked out every other aspect of that photo.
But that's not taking anything away from the larger pieces of cardboard.
They're actually pretty awesome.
In fact, Mr. Templeton was the very first person to greet me out of the cards from Ted. Although it might not show in the scan, this piece is huge.
It basically covered the entire box from end to end.
Although it'd definitely make for a great addition to my collection, I'll probably ship it off to one of the growing number of Padre collectors in the blogosphere.
I doubt I'll be able to find a toploader big enough to fit this thing, though.
Was that giant '86 Donruss card not odd enough for you?
How about an uncut panel of M&M cards?
I'd never seen any single cards from the set before this week, in fact. Much less any uncut panels.
As if it couldn't get any better, Ted actually sent two of these my way.
The other one featured Dale Murphy and Jose Canseco. But I spared you the indignity of having to see Canseco's roided-up face again.
Still not odd enough?
Then how about an awesome '80s fold-out card of George Brett?
From what I can gather, this one comes from some sort of All-Star set, courtesy of Donruss. Evidently, the 1985 All-Star game was played at the old Metrodome.
Although the stadium itself wasn't much to look at, it sure makes for a tremendous backdrop on a baseball card.
At least in my opinion.
Well, it finally happened.
To my knowledge, this is the first time I've shown anything from '89 Bowman on this blog. My least favorite set in the history of baseball cards, without a doubt.
As you might be able to tell from the first few cards I've shown so far, I'm normally a fan of oversized cards.
But not these.
Still, if I had to show one, I guess this Griffey rookie makes for a nice "debut".
It's actually a pretty cool piece.
Uh-oh. Did I just say I liked something from '89 Bowman?
Please, let's move on.
I think I might be going crazy.
Even with all the other oversized awesomeness I've featured thus far, these were easily my favorites.
One of these neat N-43 inserts came with every box of A&G back in the day. I haven't bought a box of the product in a few years, so I have no clue if they still do.
Given my absolute fascination with the early days of baseball history, it's safe to say that this magnificent Cap Anson insert will make for a terrific display piece for my room.
Ted actually sent me two of these outstanding N-43s. The other featured Mark Teixeira.
Speaking of which...
As you might be able to tell from the photo at the top of this post, Ted absolutely flooded me with minis.
I think that had something to do with the "big box o' minis" I referenced earlier. He must've remembered that.
About half of the gigantic box was made up of minis.
Minis here. Minis there. Minis everywhere!
However, this particular mini of "Tex" was the first one to catch my eye. I wasn't quite ready for it.
Although I don't collect cards of him in a Rangers jersey, I couldn't help but notice the numbering at the top of this one.
Only five copies of this card exist in the entire world!
And I have one!
Truthfully, I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with it. I'm still debating on whether to keep it or not.
Still, the "Tex" was far from the only neat mini in the entire box.
Very, very far from it.
I don't know if I've ever seen a better variety of minis.
There were Topps 206 minis.
But this isn't just any ordinary mini.
For one thing, it's a neat bite-sized piece for my new player collection of David Freese.
On top of that, it's one of the treasured "Cycle" minis, numbered to just 99 copies.
Awesome. Simply awesome.
I know I'll be keeping this one.
A great deal of the minis came from Topps' recent "Sticker Collection" set.
These are the first ones of the sort in my collection. I'd repeatedly seen them at my local Target, but never pulled the trigger on a pack.
I just wasn't quite sure that they were "binder-worthy".
But, after receiving this smattering of stickers from Ted, I'm convinced. They're most definitely deserving of a spot in my binders.
And what you see above is only about a quarter of all the stickers Ted included in the box.
The minis just kept on coming.
There were Gypsy Queen minis...
More Gypsy Queen minis...
Spooky A&G minis...
Regular A&G minis...
Floating head Heritage minis...
A ton of 1987 minis...
And even some classic Kellogg's minis.
I'm basically swimming in minis over here.
I couldn't be happier.
I'm all for some good ol' mini madness.
But Ted did send over some normal-sized cards, too.
As you'll soon see, he sent me a slew of terrific inserts from a couple of terrific "throwback" sets.
First up, Topps Lineage.
Compared to other years, I didn't buy a whole lot of packs in 2011. After all was said and done, I think I only busted a retail pack or two of Lineage.
Now, as far as the base cards go, I didn't miss much. They were okay, but nothing that spectacular.
The inserts are another story, though.
I missed quite a bit in that department.
This is the first I've seen from the "Stand-Ups" set. They're a tribute to the original '64 Topps inserts of the sort.
But this isn't just any insert.
It's a Sandy Koufax insert, folks.
That makes it about a zillion times cooler.
There's Mr. Koufax again.
Along with the "Chairman of the Board".
Although they're featured on the "meh" Lineage base design, I do like these "cloth" inserts. I imagine they're a nod to the '77 Topps stickers.
Like the "Stand-Ups", these are the first pieces from the set in my collection.
Needless to say, I think I'm off to a good start with this pair.
Here's a couple more "throwback" inserts, again courtesy of Lineage.
I will always love 3-D cards. Always.
No matter what shape or form they might take.
Strangely, I've found myself collecting a few failed Japanese "imports" in the last few years. I still enjoy picking up cards of Tsuyoshi Shinjo.
And I "inducted" Mr. Nishioka into my binders last year.
I guess I've just always had a fascination with players from Japan.
Especially this guy.
Ted also sent along quite a few gems from the "sister product" of Lineage, Topps Archives.
As far as inserts go, they're fairly similar.
However, one notable addition to the Archives checklist was the "Deckle Edge" insert series. They make for some of the more overlooked cards in the history of this hobby, as far as I'm concerned.
To see Ichiro on the awesome "Deckle" design sure is something else.
It's almost like a dream come true for me.
Much like Lineage, Archives featured 3-D and cloth-themed inserts in their insert checklists as well.
However, I'm much happier that Archives showcased the original '77 design on their cloth pieces. It gives them a much more "authentic" feel.
When dealing with a "throwback" set, that's pretty much the goal.
I wholeheartedly thank Ted for including quite a few "reprints" in the big box o' cards.
As many of my readers might know, I'm an absolute sucker for them. Yes, I understand I'm probably in the minority with that train of thought.
The authentic/reprint "combos" are one of the main reasons I love binders so much. And, luckily for me, I do own an actual copy of Dave Winfield's '78 Topps issue.
It's most definitely a classic.
Just look at those sideburns.
One of the my favorite aspects of anything the hobby had to offer in 2012 came from Archives.
Specifically, its short-printed "Fan Favorites" series.
With names like Ed Kranepool, Bill Madlock, and Oscar Gamble, it featured a lot of players that rarely see the light of day in the current industry.
Ted sent me one of the remaining SPs I needed with the Mitch Williams. Although I've only had it in my possession for a day, it's easily one of my favorite cards of 2012.
Without a doubt.
Even with all the amazing pieces I've showcased so far, two cards managed to separate themselves from the rest.
These were a complete surprise to me.
My exact reactions upon seeing these went a little something like this...
A Greg Luzinski autograph?!
An on-card autograph?
Of "The Bull"?
In the powder blues?
On the '78 Topps design?!
Could it get any better than this?!?!
A friggin' Dick Groat autograph?!?!?!?!
With an awesome action shot?!
I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
I just couldn't believe it.
Although I don't much like to drop "big bucks" on autographs anymore, that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy them.
Especially ones that feature some of the more "under the radar" players of the game like Luzinski and Groat.
They are beautiful, beautiful pieces of cardboard.
And, despite my "low-end" mentality, I am amazingly happy to add them to my collection.
So, let's give a standing ovation to this week's pair of "culprits".
Marcus, for sending me the awesome "spoils" from a few days ago.
And Ted, for adding all these new "gems" to my collection. From Anson, to Koufax, to Groat, I enjoyed each and every bit of it.
You guys have made this one of the best weeks of my life.
Heck, we're not even a month into the new year right now.
Judging from what I've received in the mail thus far, though, I've got a feeling it's going to be a good year for me.
A really good year.