The overarching themes of my collection aren't all that easy to grasp.
Heck, I'm not even sure if I have a full handle on everything around here. I'm still discovering possible new "themes" for the future.
When I professed my love for "bat barrel" and "pitcher at the plate" cards, I honestly didn't expect much if them in the way of trade packages and such. I figured people wouldn't want to take the time to dig through all their cards to find a couple I might need.
And...that was the last time I underestimated the amazing generosity and devotion of the great people around here. I'm still amazed at the amount of "sunset" issues and "behind the camera" cards that have been rolling in lately.
In reality, though, most trade packages include at least a few cards that don't fit into my collection. Whether they be doubles or just pieces I can't find a use for, I've ended up with some extras during my trading days. I'm sure we all have.
However, I constantly find myself adding those doubles or "outcast" cards to my outgoing trade packages. And if that person can't use them, then maybe they'll find their way into another collector's hands. It's a never-ending process.
However, pretty much all of the trade packages I've received have managed to rack up a fairly good "batting average". Most of the "random" mailers that hit my mailbox usually hover close to the .600 mark or so.
Just the other day, I received a four-card PWE from Zach. You might know him better by his alter ego and/or his fantastic blog, "The Underdog Card Collector".
This was pretty much my reaction as I went through each of the four cards in the envelope.
"Cool, I need that one. Need that one, too! WOW! AWESOME!!"
Now, we'll get to what elicited the "WOW!" and "AWESOME!!" exclamations out of me soon enough.
In the meantime, let's focus on what Zach "hit" with this latest batch.
He went four-for-four. He indeed batted 1.000. A rare feat!
Admittedly, I slightly "enhanced" that average with these first two.
I'd specifically requested the 2013 Topps gold parallels of former Cubbies Geovany Soto...
...and Kyle Farnsworth from Zach a while ago.
I sure hope I don't get handed a 50-day trading ban. That would suck.
While vastly overshadowed by the outstanding blue and red parallels, I do like this year's gold design quite a bit. Even if they are seemingly impossible to pull.
After all was said and done, though, the golds ended up taking second billing to the rest of Zach's PWE.
It's not that I don't like them. Because I really do.
It's just that the other two cards in this thing were that awesome.
And I'd been wanting to add both to my collection for quite a while.
Although I can't find the specific link to it right now, I remember one of Zach's first posts on his blog involved this very card.
At the time, I commented on how much I loved it and how it'd always been a goal of mine to acquire a copy.
Because Zach is a Padres collector and probably treasures this card, I never thought he'd be the one to help me fulfill that longtime void in my collection.
But, alas, he did. I'm sure he picked up a double of it at some point, because I can't imagine any Padres collector would ever let this one out of their sight.
As far as photography goes, Mr. Corrales may be the absolute oddest and greatest from '73 Topps. Anyone familiar with the set knows how big of an honor that is.
But does he beat out the used car-themed Luis Alvarado?
Let me get back to you on that one.
I'm not sure how or where I first saw this one, but the first thing that drew me into its grasp was that overwhelming look of pain and agony on the face of Corrales. I'd never seen anything like that before. I still haven't since.
It took me a while to notice the other amazing quality of this masterpiece.
That's a Cub there, sprawled out on the ground next to Pat Corrales. Right?
Wait, is that an Afro?
And...is that a #31 on the back of that jersey?
Why, that's Fergie Jenkins!
A pitcher! A Hall-of-Fame pitcher!
Featured on one of the greatest "action" baserunning shots in baseball card history!
As if that weren't enough, this is also one of those rare pieces of cardboard that can be specifically tracked to a single moment in time.
I'd love to do it, but another member of the blogging brethren beat me to the punch.
Now, after the legendary Corrales fell out of the envelope, I asked myself a question.
"Does it get any better than this?"
I still can't decide which card I like better. It's a toss-up.
All I know is that I now own a couple of absolute cardboard icons with this pair.
Much like the Corrales, I'm not exactly sure where to start with Mr. Hubbard here.
Well, for one thing, the guy was born on an Air Force base in Germany. The back reads, and I quote, "Born: 9-25-57, Place Hann AFB, Germany".
Not exactly a common sight on the flip side of a baseball card.
While I don't know for certain, I'd bet that Hubbard is one of the first German-born player in my collection. (Further research showed that Ron Gardenhire, Edwin Jackson, and Will Ohman are all German-born as well, for what it's worth.)
Germany aside, though, let's get to the real "meat" of this one.
With all the craziness going on around him, it's easy to overlook the rather epic facial hair Hubbard is sporting here. Perhaps we already had a "Fear the Beard" candidate all along.
Now, as far as the background goes, I'm completely and utterly lost.
Yes, we have what appears to be an eerily gigantic Phillie Phanatic present. I see what looks to be a Friar-based mascot on the extreme left-hand side of this one as well, although I might be wrong about that.
From there, I see a strange, furry paw-like figure poking on of the right side of Hubbard.
But, of course, all the craziness culminates in the ultimate "draw" of this one.
Although I can't say I know much about reptiles, I'm pretty sure that's a boa constrictor draped around the shoulders of Glenn Hubbard.
For that, he sure earns quite a few points in my book. I'd never have the ba...I mean, courage to put that thing around my neck.
Personally, I've never seen a baseball card feature as much "fun" as this one.
In the end, that's what this hobby should be.
And, speaking of fun, that was one of the greatest PWEs I've ever received.
Or could ever receive, for that matter.
I'm not sure how or where you found the likes of Corrales and Hubbard, Zach, but you sure knocked it out of the park with this one.
In fact, you hit 1.000.
That's one for the record books right there.