Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Going for the record
I'm not sure why I have such an obsession with lists.
Many of the old notebooks scattered around my room contain a wide variety of my various rankings. Top 10 bands. Top 100 songs. Top 25 movies. Top 10 TV shows. You name it, I've probably made a list for it.
Between a massive "Top 100" countdown and an entire theme devoted to the concept, I think my love for lists has come across in this blog's history thus far.
Strangely enough, though, there's one thing I haven't listed out just yet. As of right now, I have absolutely no idea who my top trading partners are.
I know I've received a stacks upon stacks of individual packages from a select few of my blogging buddies over the past year-and-a-half. Trouble is, I'm not sure who holds the trading "title" as of right now.
However, I'd be inclined to think that longtime buddy Mark, author of the fantastic blog "This Way to the Clubhouse...", is going for the record. We've long had that informal trading style where stuff simply winds up on each other's doorsteps from time to time without warning.
And, much to my surprise, yet another terrific batch of cardboard from Mark found its way onto my doorstep in recent weeks.
Starting with the magnificent Tartabull above, it had all the makings of what I like to call a true "Mark package".
It had mini-collection needs.
Cards featuring "double dips" are always welcome in this household. The sparkly Kendrick is going to look awesome next to the base version in my Angels binder.
And, best I can tell, the Phillips is a rare "combo" mini-collection hit. After all, he's sporting a throwback Tigers jersey there, if I'm not mistaken.
Along with a lurking Alan Trammell in the background.
It had more mini-collection needs.
Jason LaRue is one of my more obscure "binder guys". Couple that with an "autograph" shot from the revolutionary Topps Total brand, and you have one special piece of cardboard.
This package even forced me to consider adding a few new mini-collections to the fold.
I've accumulated a few of those ninja-like headgear pieces, as shown on Carlos Garcia's 1997 Score issue. (Apparently, Score was a good place to turn for shots like those.)
I'm not sure how many of those types of cards even exist. Heck, I'm not sure what I'd even call such a crazy mini-collection.
But it's certainly something to think about chasing down the road.
As I've found, Mark is an absolute expert at sending me some good ol' miscellaneous cardboard.
None of the next few cards quite fit into any of my mini-collections, but all proved to have a certain charm that I couldn't resist.
At first, I was ready to chalk the above card up as a "play at the plate" piece. But I can't even be sure a true "PATP" is even in the makings there.
All I have to go on is the somewhat awkward slide of former Expo Shane Andrews and the disembodied legs of both the opposing catcher and umpire. Oh, and don't forget the cap and catcher's mask in the foreground.
Even with all my years in this hobby, that's certainly one of the stranger photo angles I've seen on baseball card.
Mark has taken to adding a few minor league cards within his recent packages.
Even if I have absolutely no idea who the featured player is (as we have with this pair), my collection is always open to a few new minor league cards.
After all, I doubt you'll see a big league team called the "Sultans of Springfield" anytime soon.
Even seven years after its release, I'm still finding things to love about 2006 Upper Deck.
With its massive checklist, it's easy for cards like that Chen to get lost in the mix. Luckily, people like Mark are there to help fill in some of those lost gaps.
Now, Chen and his Panamanian pride will forever be documented in my collection.
As will a terrific knuckleball shot of the great Charlie Hough.
That pitch looked to have a little more force behind it than most knucklers, judging from the photo.
I was waiting for this moment.
Thanks to Mark, I was finally able to receive my first taste of the much-hyped Panini Prizm product. As far as a recap, I'll keep this short.
I'm not much of a fan.
Don't get me wrong, though. I'm always happy to add cards to my many player collections, especially my newer ones as we have with Mr. Rizzo here.
But the chrome-like base and lack of logos just isn't doing it for me here. They're a little too...Finest-y.
And I've never busted a single pack of Finest.
To close things out, Mark even managed to hit one of my longtime needs with this one.
No, Satchel Paige never pitched a single game for the Braves organization. His only experience with the franchise came during a brief coaching tenure in the late '60s.
Had this Swell issue not existed, I'm sure the fact that Paige was a one-time Atlanta coach would've been lost to me.
And many other baseball fanatics, I'm sure.
One of these days, I might have to dig through my archives and find out who I've received cards from on the most different occasions.
In the grand scheme of things, it's not all that important. As much as I try and fight it, though, the list-marking part of me is dying to know.
Yet, as I said earlier, it's safe to assume that Mark is near the top in that department. Not only in quantity, but in quality as well.
He understands this wacky collection of mine.
That's come across in the packages he's sent throughout my blogging tenure.