Sunday, April 28, 2013

The "Holy %$^&!!" boxes, Pt. 1

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you.

Those are four glorious, card-filled boxes. And they all arrived on my doorstep thanks to one of the many generous souls we have here in the blogosphere.

A couple weekends ago, I went on one of my usual daily treks to our downstairs mailbox. I'd been expecting a few packages at the time, so I was already in a fairly eager mood.

My heart jumped a little when I saw those four boxes. At the same time, though, I remember thinking, "Nah. Those couldn't possibly be for me."

Yet, as I moved in closer, I saw something amazing. My address was indeed on each of those four boxes! Now, if you ask my friends, they'll tell you that I'm not a vulgar guy. Yet, under my breath, I couldn't help but say...

"Holy %^&&!! Those are for me!!"

Hence, the name of this little mini-series.

As it turns out, the boxes were from reader Mark from Michigan. He'd sent me an email saying he had some cards he wanted to send my way. But at no point did he hint that it'd be anything as monumental as this.

I spent most of my afternoon that day just sorting through all that cardboard. As I told Mark, there were certainly a tremendous amount of gems for me to discover, ones that, as you'll soon see, came from many facets of the hobby.

As a result, each of the boxes will get their own "episode" in this series, one that earns the distinction of being my first four-part trade post.

Commence part one.

Right off the bat, I knew I was in for a treat with these boxes.

One of the first cards I found was one that eliminated a longtime need of mine. Due to its relatively obscure status, I'd wanted this card of Dick Perez, the artist behind the "Diamond Kings" series, for a while.

After all, he was responsible for arguably the greatest subset of the '80s.

As you might already know, I'm a gigantic fan of neat photography on cardboard.

On the whole, Stadium Club might be as good as it gets in that department. Although they're not as commonly found as most early '90s sets (at least from my experience), they do still pop up here and there.

I uncovered a stack of about 20 cards from Stadium Club's 1992 release. While there were quite a few good ones, I'd have to rate this Kirk Gibson at the top of the list.

Topps seemed to fall in love with these neat batting cage shots in the early '90s.

I sure wish they'd bring 'em back.

To me, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers will always be Miller Park.

On the other hand, fans who have a few years on me probably picture County Stadium before all else. It's a "generation gap", of sorts.

While I don't have any vivid memories of the place, it sure looks like a nice setting for a ballgame.

Others might see creases, scuffs, and dinged corners.

All I see is one well-loved baseball card of Mr. Banks.

And a terrific add to my Cubs binder.

When digging through boxes like these, I'm always interested to see which cards received the "sleeve treatment".

Often times, it's the big stars or rookies. Yet, with others, the selection seems totally random.

The lone sleeved card I found in this box was the above '87 Topps Curt Young.

No offense, Mr. Young, but I have absolutely no idea who you are. Apparently, you enjoyed a fairly unspectacular 11-year big league career.

Still, you'll always be able to say you received the treasured "sleeve treatment" at one point.

In continuing with the '87 Topps theme, here's a couple favorites I found from the set.

Save for a brief one at-bat comeback with the Yankees in 1988, Chris Chambliss played in his final big-league games with the '86 Braves. His '87 Topps piece filled a gaping hole in my "sunset" collection.

Ron Cey, on the other hand, was a big-leaguer during the 1987 season. Under my rules, his blog-famous '87 Topps Traded A's card knocks that base '87 issue out of official "sunset" classification.

Nevertheless, that Cubs jersey still makes it one of my favorites from the wood-grain group.

Jeff Reardon does not approve of loud shirts.

While neither Horner nor Stieb are "binder guys" (yet), these will both earn places in my miscellaneous box of favorites.

After all, both chronicle a couple of historic moments from the game. That '91 Donruss piece actually features a great piece of photography for my "interview" collection.

Wait a minute.

Did I just put "1991 Donruss" and "great photography" in the same sentence?

I never thought I'd see the day.

To me, 1984 was far and away Fleer's peak year of production.

And I have far too few cards from the set for my liking. Surprisingly, they're fairly rare when it comes to dime boxes.

Thankfully, the first of Mark's four boxes contained a decent stack of '84 Fleer. As you might guess, my eyes absolutely lit up when I saw those.

Much like the '87 Topps Chambliss I featured earlier, Bucky Dent's 1984 Fleer card is a long-awaited add to my "sunset" collection.

All right!

Bring on the Bobby Grich!

That '85 Topps piece has to be one of my favorites from the set. A "peaceful" card if I've ever seen one.

Grich's 1984 Fleer card might well be the first "wardrobe malfunction" card in my collection. You can clearly see a good chunk of his...erm, thigh popping out from underneath his ripped Angels jersey.

I might have to make that the head of a new mini-collection in the future.

While it'd be hard to pick a single favorite piece from this initial box, there's a good chance that Mr. Hooton here would earn the honor.

This stakes its claim as one of the few O-Pee-Chee cards I own of the "sunset" variety. I'd plucked his base '86 Topps issue from a dime box long ago.

On top of that, it's one of the better "unfamiliar uniform" pieces out there. After successful stints with both the Cubs and Dodgers, Hooton closed out his career with a mediocre one-year stint with the Rangers in '85.

So, to recap, that's an O-Pee-Chee, "sunset", and "short term stop" card all rolled into one.

An instant classic, no doubt.

That wraps up the first of this four-part trade post. All that cardboard goodness came from just one of the four boxes Mark sent my way.

Stay tuned for the other three in the coming days.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

The amount of generosity I've seen in the blogosphere will never cease to amaze me.


Hackenbush said...



Nice mail day !!

Swing And A Pop-up said...

Very nice! I for one, am also interested in what cards get the "sleeve" or even the "screw down" treatment from other collectors.

Fuji said...

Gotta love the generosity that flows in our hobby. Very cool cards... especially the 83D Dick Perez.

Fuji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hiflew said...

Curt Young was fantastic. His career WAS fairly mediocre, but I think I pulled his card out of a pack around 8 billion times in my life. I think he was my first card for 3 different sets in the 80s, completely by chance.

BTW, he is currently the pitching coach for the A's and has been for a while. He is one of the PCs in the league.