I've got a question for you people.
Have I really done that much to warrant all the amazing generosity I've received during my time as a blogger?
I sure don't think so.
All I do is write about some goofy cards from my goofy collection. A collection which doesn't even have a tangible center, mind you.
Nevertheless, I guess some people out there have enjoyed it, which I wholeheartedly appreciate.
And, even better, some of you have helped me to add to this thing I call a "collection". Lately, a few of you have been doing so in about the most awesome way possible.
By sending me a big box o' cards.
Yes, my friends, I received another gigantic array of cardboard in the mail yesterday. This is already the third time this has happened in the past three weeks.
Now, blogger Thomas has chosen to bestow a mind-blowing group of cardboard onto me.
He's the mind behind one of the better new blogs out there. You can call him "The Junior Junkie", if you want.
During my eight-year "forum life", I might have received three of these types of boxes.
Although I'm always up for digging through a box of cardboard, I knew exactly what would be in each one during my forum days.
Here in the blogosphere, I've gotten three boxes in the last friggin' three weeks.
And I had absolutely no idea as to what was inside of any of them.
That element of surprise made the three boxes from fellow bloggers about a zillion times more fun to open.
I uncovered a staggering amount of "gems" digging through the previous two "blogger boxes".
As you'll soon see, this latest one continued the trend.
It revealed a ton of awesome cardboard for this "goofy collector".
For now, though, we'll start off with some not-so-goofy preferences of mine.
Take Conlon Collection, for instance.
Nothing goofy about those.
Just some good ol' baseball history.
Thomas included quite a few of these in the generous box he sent me. Although I'd already had most of them, they certainly brought back a slew of memories.
The first baseball card box I ever opened was one from the '91 Conlon series. I was just starting to get back into the baseball side of the hobby and figured it would make for a nice re-introduction to things.
And, at about twenty bucks, it proved to be a very affordable one as well.
Needless to say, busting that box proved that I'd definitely made the right choice in getting back into baseball cards.
Between the forgotten tales of Gavvy Cravath and Lefty O'Doul, I learned more about the game from Conlon than any set that had come before.
Since then, I've always had a deep appreciation and love for anything of the Conlon variety.
And, although it'd pretty much be impossible to judge such a thing, it might well be my absolute favorite baseball card set.
That's how special they are to me.
I doubt anyone ever called Bob Gibson "goofy".
He probably would've tried to kill anyone who did.
No, Mr. Gibson belongs to one of my more rational collections, that of Hall of Famers.
Over the years, these "Million Dollar Moments" inserts have provided some terrific additions to that aspect of my binders. This "ferocious" Bob Gibson piece is a fine example of that.
Funny thing is, they were actually meant as "filler" cards back when they were released by Fleer in '97. Each one has an ad for some stupid sweepstakes promotion on the back.
But, man, are the fronts something else.
I'm only now starting to realize the movie theater-like qualities of these. The black borders and widescreen pictures give the feel of an old newsreel clip. Especially with the horizontal ones.
My tiny, tiny set builder voice has often tried to convince me to go after this insert set.
I just may have to cave in one of these days.
More non-goofy Hall of Famers!
If any of you are sitting on some old TCMA cards, I beg you to send them my way. As much as I love these, I've had a difficult time finding any over the years.
Save for one quarter box, anyways.
Still, TCMA or not, Bob Feller is a fairly common suspect in my Indians binder.
Ralph Kiner, not so much. His lone year with Cleveland came in 1955, the "sunset" season of his Hall of Fame career.
That instantly makes it a coveted piece for my collection.
I had a feeling this would happen.
I make a brief comment about recently picking up more Rickey Henderson dime cards, and people start sending me his cards.
Oh, well. I guess I have no choice.
I'll probably have to actually start collecting him now.
I'm fine with that, though.
I've kind of been "subconsciously collecting" his cards for a while, anyways.
This is basically just a formality.
Between Hall of Famers and "Rickey", I do somehow find time to collect more recent guys as well.
Nothing goofy about that, is there?
I'm sure many collectors out there hoard cards of Vlad and Mr. Lofton. Combined, I probably own over 800 cards of the pair.
Now that might be a little goofy.
And kind of scary, too.
Ah, who am I kidding? I love the fact that I have so many cards of guys like Vlad and Lofton. They're a testament to just how plentiful dime boxes can be.
Even so, Thomas managed to find a few cards of theirs that the dime boxes had previously missed.
By the way, is is just me, or does "Knothole Gang" sound like the name of a bad '90s punk band?
"Now introducing, KNOTHOLE GANG!"
Well, if you're not into the whole "goofy" side of the hobby, you may want to stop reading here.
Because Thomas sent me an amazing array of samples from the crazier side of collecting.
Don't believe me?
Hey, I warned you.
Perhaps we won't get this goofy in the remaining portion of this post.
But it's not that far off.
I think an offhand comment about disliking rap in an earlier write-up led these to be included in the box.
I really have to think before I type sometimes.
And, as my dad informed me yesterday, this MTV Raps Dr. Dre is actually a different person than the famous Dr. Dre.
Wow. That's way more rap than I ever wanted to discuss around here.
Let's move on.
For my sake.
Oh, hey, 1995 Fleer.
It's you again.
Thanks to his array of mid '90s cardboard, Thomas was able to include quite a few of these LSD-inspired pieces in the "blogger box" he sent my way.
This Bo Jackson may well be the most psychedelic "sunset" card ever produced.
Now, I probably know your reactions upon seeing anything from '95 Fleer.
It probably looks a little something like this.
Am I wrong?
To contrast, here's my '95 Fleer face.
You can call me a '95 Fleer "fanboy" if you want.
Like I said, I'm pretty goofy anyways. My adoration for LSD-inspired cardboard is basically icing on the cake.
Mr. Isringhausen kind of leads me into another aspect of my "goofy" cardboard personality.
Specifically, my absolute weakness for "behind the camera" shots.
Sadly, you don't see too much of these anymore.
They were kind of a mid '90s fad in the hobby.
Even Craig Biggio got in on the fun.
I really do wish someone would send me a box of Collector's Choice one of these days. (Hint, hint.)
Although others have said they have mounds of extras from the set, I've had an awfully tough time finding any of them around here.
Then again, that's pretty much been the case with anything from the mid '90s.
I'd love to find an all 1990's dime box one of these days.
Now that would be awesome.
Thomas really does have an eagle eye.
Last month, I wrote a post that involved the possibility of chasing "stretch" cards. I'm not sure why, but I've always had a fascination with them.
Over the next few weeks, I pretty much forgot about it.
Lo and behold, guess what wound up in this latest box o' cards?
Here's blogosphere legend Bip Roberts partaking in a pregame stretch.
After all, staying fit is an important part of becoming an athlete.
That's right, Mr. Nagy.
You've got the idea.
Use that stair machine to your advantage. Whatever helps you stay fit.
I guess Mr. Spiegel's prophetic words in the comments of last month's "themes of cardboard" post did come to fruition, after all.
"You will probably start chasing these themes. People will just start sending them your way and you will have no choice but to place them in a binder."
And I'm sure this isn't the last of it.
Here we go again.
More goofy cards for my goofy collection.
This time, we have one of the "bat barrel" variety.
Many fellow bloggers have responded well to this latest "chase" of mine. I've received quite a few in trade packages over the last month.
Even so, I'm not exactly sure that Todd Greene is wielding a bat in this photo.
It looks a little more like a lightsaber.
More bat-barrelled awesomeness.
I can't believe it took me so long to discover these things.
Looks like karaoke night at Tiger Stadium is in full swing here.
Travis Fryman certainly looks into it. He might make for a good addition to "The Cardboard Band", now that I think of it.
Still, with Fryman's swaying action and flailing arms, I can't help but think of the "Carlton dance".
I hope it's not just me.
Look at the jugs on this one.
The JUGS-brand radar gun, of course.
Why, what did you think I meant?
Kidding aside, this has to be one of the strangest cards I've ever seen.
I'm not sure many believed Upper Deck's "Top Prospect" labeling of Daron Kirkreit back in the day.
If he was such a "hot commodity", why did UD use a shot like this for his hallowed rookie card? And why were the Indians having him time pitches in street clothes in the first place?
Isn't that what scouts are for?
Somehow, the fact that Kirkreit never made it to the bigs doesn't surprise me.
I don't think I have an overarching "theme" for cards like these yet.
Guys pounding their gloves with some sort of hammer or kissing their bats doesn't fit into anything I have going right now.
Still, I may have to consider starting some sort of "equipment" theme in the future.
These are pretty cool.
But still cool.
Unlike most of the cards Thomas sent, I'd seen this one before.
For such a "goofy" collection, it was a bit of a treasured need of mine.
Something about those faux-throwback Rangers uniforms manages to make any baseball card way more awesome.
Plus, how could anyone not like that hilarious old-time fake facial hair? Score really took the whole "throwback" theme to the extreme here.
And, to top it off, I can technically consider this one a "pitcher at the plate" piece, since noted hurler Kevin Brown is indeed holding a bat in this photo.
Knowing what I know about Mr. Brown, though, he'd be one of the last people I'd expect to participate in a "fun" shot like this one.
In a way, though, I guess that makes it even better.
Even Kevin Brown couldn't help but crack a smile.
Unlike the past two "blogger boxes" I've received lately, I just couldn't crown a definite "king" from this group of cardboard.
Any one of the cards I've shown in this post could very well be deserving of the honor.
It could be Bob Gibson. It could be Jason Isringhausen. It could be Travis Fryman. It could be Kevin Brown.
And it could well be the celebratory Andres Galarraga.
I just can't decide.
One thing's for sure, though.
It's definitely not Ed Lover and Dr. Dre.
A huge, huge thanks goes out to Thomas for this spectacular array of cardboard.
I still don't think I'm deserving of the amazing amount of generosity I've received lately, but, hey, I'll take it.
I've just got to return the favor sometime.
I'll be working on that in the coming months.
Until then, I'll just go back to writing about the goofy cards that make up my goofy collection.
It's all I ever wanted to do around here.