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I've always believed that bargain hunting is firmly implanted in my genes.
From what I've noticed over the past 21 years, it certainly seems to run in the family. My dad is an avid record collector. My mom constantly carves out time to hit a slew of local garage sales and the like.
In fact, unbeknownst to me, she stumbled upon a nearby flea market last weekend. (Not the one I constantly rave about on this blog.)
To my surprise, she came home with a big batch of baseball cards. From what she says, she nabbed a small little binder and a fairly substantial box of cardboard off a vendor for a mere five bucks.
Even if I didn't end up needing a single one, merely digging through all those cards would've been worth the price tag alone, at least as far as I'm concerned.
Yes, I did need to sift through a large amount of yawn-inducing overproduction era cardboard. And, no, nothing in this box even scratched the surface of my last similarly-themed purchase.
Still, I did manage to find quite a few diamonds in the rough for my collection.
Let's start with the binder.
For the most part, it didn't provide too much excitement. The binder itself was pretty cashed, and the pages it held were those older ones that tend to stick together. As far as supplies go, it didn't fill any needs.
While there weren't many noteworthy cards inside the binder, a few did manage to separate themselves from the rest.
Jim Rice is the subject of one of my more recent player collection quests. This 1990 UD issue is one of his coveted "sunset" issues.
Note the "DH" designation in the corner, a staple of send-offs throughout history.
As you'll soon see, hits to my many mini-collections were no strangers to this purchase.
The binder provided my first taste of that with this pair. A quick flip of Greg Maddux's 1990 UD card revealed a neat "pitcher on the basepaths" shot.
And Mr. Valenzuela is one of the all-stars on my "bespectacled ballplayers" squad.
A couple new rookies for my binders never hurt.
I guess Maurice Vaughn hadn't earned the more well-known "Mo" label by the time his '90 Bowman rookie hit the shelves.
And I'm not one to turn down any cards of the "Second Spitter".
While the binder may not have been all that exciting, the box was just the opposite.
Yes, I did find myself sorting through quite a bit of 1989 Fleer 1990 Donruss in the process, but there proved to be quite a few gems underneath all the rubble.
Including, I may add, even more hits to my mini-collections.
This "silver signature" parallel of former Cub Kevin Roberson is as good an "autograph" shot as you'll ever find.
All the more reason to love Collector's Choice.
Here's a couple of crosstown beauties for my mini-collections.
Much like the aforementioned Maddux, the flip side to Amaury Telemaco's 1997 UD issue features a nifty "pitcher at the plate" shot. While he enjoyed a nine-year big league career, I'd never heard of the guy until that card popped up in this box.
The '98 Score McElroy fills needs in both the "bespectacled ballplayers" and "behind the camera" departments.
It's what I like to call a "combo" hit.
"Plays at the plate" and "double dip" shots are always welcome around here.
Especially ones that feature my beloved Cubbies.
Although I've never dubbed it as an official mini-collection, I continue to be fascinated by cards of stretching ballplayers.
I count miscellaneous limbs of at least seven different Reds in this shot.
Shades of Mr. Quisenberry.
Neither of these fit all that well into any of my mini-collections, but I couldn't resist featuring them on the blog.
The Wallace is one of the better posed shots I've ever seen. It's too bad I've never heard of the guy.
And, as I learned from the back, Andy Hawkins holds the dubious achievement of losing his 1990 no-hit contest against the White Sox by an amazing 4-0 score.
Apparently, his Yankee teammates committed three errors in the eighth inning of that contest, allowing all four unearned runs to score.
As I learned after a brief bit of research, Hawkins' eight-inning no-no isn't officially considered a no-hitter anymore. The very next year, then-commissioner Fay Vincent ruled that a pitcher must go the full nine innings and win the game in order to officially toss a no-no.
So, sadly, Andy Hawkins is no longer a member of the "No-Hit Club".
But, as far as I'm concerned, he's now a part of the "Wacky Cardboard Club".
If you haven't noticed already, this box contained a whopping share of Cubs cards.
While I'm not exactly sure how they were distributed, these Denny's oddballs have been relatively common dime box finds from my experience.
Still, this "Ryno" issue had never managed to find its way into my collection until this box came around.
Here's a couple more Cub beauties.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Wrigley Field provides for some awesome cardboard backdrops. The Girardi is a terrific example of that.
Mark Grace's 1993 Score Select issue is the 234th different Cubs card of his I own.
Even I'm surprised by that number.
A decent portion of these cards were stored in a 1998 Collector's Choice factory set box.
I've gone on and on in the past about how much I love the Collector's Choice brand, so finding a complete set of those would've been a dream come true.
Sadly, this box was devoid of anything '98 CC-related. Still, the factory set noted that each set came with a set of ten exclusive oversized "Starquest" inserts.
Those, my friends, were happily tucked away at the bottom reaches of the box, all still intact.
And, while none of the ten quite fit into any of my player collections, I have good homes in mind for each and every one of them via future trade packages.
This, though, proved to be the unquestioned find of the entire box.
As I've always said, you can literally find anything inside miscellaneous purchases like these.
Aside from a couple '78 and '79 Topps Cubs issues, this was the only vintage gem in the box. (At least from my definition of vintage.)
This 1961 Topps issue of former Pirate skipper Danny Murtaugh features his club coming off a huge upset of the favored Yankees in the '60 World Series, thanks to the heroics of Mr. Mazeroski.
I don't own many old manager cards, so this was certainly a welcome diamond in the rough.
By my account, my mom certainly hit a home run with this buy. I couldn't have asked for much more. It's more than comforting to know that I have parents who look out for this little hobby of mine.
You just never know when little gems like these are going to pop up in your neighborhood.
So, if you happen to have a free Saturday or Sunday on your hands, I'd recommend hitting a few local garage sales or flea markets in your spare time.
You never know when you're going to find your own little cardboard treasure.