Before a couple weeks ago, I'd had absolutely no prior experience with flat rate boxes.
Never sent one, never received one. They seem like a good enough deal, but I never imagined I'd make a flat rate-worthy trade. I've made some big trades, but none that big.
Over the past few weeks, though, it finally happened. I lost my flat-rate innocence in a big way.
Recent maildays have seen three different flat rate boxes arrive on my doorstep. One, as you may have seen in a previous post, involved a huge stack of pages coupled with a "Dime Box Dozen" need.
The second one is what we'll be recapping this afternoon. (We'll get to the third box in due time around here.)
Bo, author of the fantastic blog "Baseball Cards Come to Life", recently made me an offer I couldn't refuse. In exchange for whatever I could spare from a batch of cardboard he compiled from my trade list, he offered to send me a brimming flat rate box of goodies.
This isn't even the first monumental trade Bo and I have made. And while the previous one was nothing short of jaw-dropping, this one might well have it beat.
What you see above is what awaited me inside that amazing flat rate box. As you might note, Bo made a generous donation to my pages fund.
Those two boxes, though...
...were really something else.
The one on the left, as you might be able to note, contained stacks upon stacks of awesome 1993 Upper Deck B.A.T. panels, included in an actual box of the product from back in the day.
There had to have been a couple hundred of 'em in there. And while their dimensions don't allow for binder storage in my "system", they're still just as great as any normal-sized cards I own.
As any brief browse through the checklist will tell you, the '93 B.A.T. set featured some of the greatest photography you'll find.
In fact, I've long wondered why card companies never used a shot of Rick Monday famously swiping the American flag out from under the protestors at Dodger Stadium.
Little did I know, however, that one had indeed been out there all this time.
This is an "action" shot in the most patriotic sense of the term.
Putting the photography aside for a minute, this checklist features quite the array of names.
Quite a few of the pre-war stars such as Young, Dean, Ruth, and Cobb are featured. Best I can tell, the Cobb/Charles O'Leary issue at the bottom is one of the reprint inserts that were issued inside packs of the '93 B.A.T. product.
From what I can find, the design of these is modeled after the 1912 T-202 Hassan Triple Folders set.
I'd really like to get my hands on an actual one of those someday.
As icing on the cake, the checklist featured a lot of modern stars that you don't often see in today's hobby.
Roy Face, Rico Carty, Marv Throneberry, and Monte Irvin are just a small fraction of the forgotten heroes I found inside this awesome box.
Plus, the Carty features one of the better "bat barrel" shots you'll find.
In the end, though, this was easily my favorite from the stacks of B.A.T. cards.
I'd actually bid on this very card during a Listia search a few months ago. I was devastated when I lost the auction.
As fate would have it, though, the Fidrych was one of the final cards I discovered from this amazing batch. It features the very same "grooming" shot that graces the front of one of my all-time favorite pieces of cardboard.
In this case, "The Bird" certainly is the word.
As great as those stacks of B.A.T. cards were, though, let's move on to the second box of Bo's generous flat rate extravaganza.
I found these postcards tucked near the bottom of its reaches. Despite having never been to Cooperstown, I can proudly say that I at least own a pair of postcards from the Hall of Fame. Ones that feature a pair of my favorite HOFers, to boot.
I'll make it to Cooperstown one of these days, though.
Between panels and postcards, however, Bo managed to slip a nice mix of standard-sized cardboard in with all the other treasures.
It was never my plan to start any kind of fruit-themed collection. But, thanks to a few I've recently received (most notably Mr. Saberhagen), I guess I'll have to start making a special effort to start tracking them down.
I've never heard of one-time Angels prospect Ryan Hancock.
But his orange-themed '94 UD issue earns him a spot in my newfangled "fruit" collection.
I've seen this card around the blogs a few times before.
Before Greg Vaughn's 1994 Upper Deck card, I'd never knew of "Vaughn's Valley" in old County Stadium.
The great minds at Upper Deck magnificently juxtaposed a rather ordinary shot of Mr. Vaughn with a "Vaughn's Valley" backdrop with this piece.
As with many recent packages I've received, quite a few mini-collection hits made their way inside Bo's flat rate box of fun.
This '96 Upper Deck issue of blogosphere icon Will Clark is one of the better "autograph" shots I've seen. (I never knew Mr. Clark had such a following before I joined the blogs.)
The bat tucked inside the back pocket is a unique touch.
As usual, I'm always happy to receive new pieces to my "cards with kids" and "double dip" collections.
And, of course, I never pass up a chance to show a Bip Roberts card here on the blog.
Here's a couple new additions to my "pitchers at the plate" and "play at the plate" themes.
Clouds of dust are always a plus when it comes to plays at the plate.
I think we can all agree on that.
This proved to be a historic mini-collection add.
As far as I know, this may well be the oldest "multiple-exposure" shot in my collection. Mickey Mantle's playing career ended way, way before the multiple-image concept became a "thing" in this hobby.
Whoever thought to come up with a shot like this was certainly ahead of their time.
And, while we're on the topic of "The Mick", Bo also included quite a few neat HOFer oddballs for my binders.
The Mantle appears to be another one of the gaggle of unknown reprints issued during the '80s. The "Brooksie" comes from the unlicensed Front Row set that made its rounds in the early '90s.
When it comes to oddballs, Hall of Famers usually reign supreme.
At least from my experience.
Bo also slipped a nice stack of 2001 Sunoco Dream Team oddities into his joyous flat rate box.
In fact, I'm pretty sure Bo nearly sent me the entire set of these things. After a little research, I found that these were sold in three-card packs with gas or Coke purchases back in '01.
They're amongst the most beautifully-designed oddballs I've ever seen.
If you really want odd, though, look no further than Lenny Dykstra's 1994 Collector's Choice issue.
Before Bo told me about it via email, I'd had no idea what the fuss was about. After all, the front wasn't anything that out of the ordinary. Just your standard action hitting shot.
That's when I flipped it over.
Nice set of hooters you've got there.
I mean...the owls. They're beautiful.
Hey, I can't pass up an opportunity to quote Dumb and Dumber.
But, seriously. I never thought I'd see a Hooters ad on a baseball card. Beer and Pepsi ads, yes, but never a Hooters one.
Still, you can't tell me this was an accident on the part of Collector's Choice. They knew full well what they were doing by slipping this shot onto the back of Dykstra's issue that year.
Either way, let's just say it's easily the most Hooter-ific card in my collection now.
While I may have been in the dark at first, I'm an avid supporter of flat rate boxes these days.
Just look at all the cardboard goodness they can hold.