Wednesday, June 26, 2013

PWE appreciation week

I propose a motion here in the blogosphere.

Sometime in the next week, every blogger in the trading market should pull out a few spare pieces of cardboard, wrap 'em in a PWE, slap on a stamp, and mail them to a fellow blogging buddy of their choice who they'd think would appreciate those very cards.

We'll call it a "PWE appreciation week".

It's just a thought, but it's one that has a lot of history behind it. PWEs have long been an integral part of my trading experience. 

As a broke college student, I rarely have the budget to mail out reams of packages every week. I do what I can, but it's just not always in the cards. (I'm in an exceptional mailing drought as we speak, unfortunately.)

That's where PWEs come into the picture. With the rising cost of bubble mailers, PWEs have continued to hold steady at an affordable price. One stamp (or 46 cents) can net another fellow collector quite a bit of cardboard goodness.

I think that's best evidenced by a few awesome envelopes that arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago, courtesy of a couple notorious PWE aficionados here in the blogosphere.

The first batch of enveloped cardboard came from Jeff, a friend of the blog and author of the superb "2 by 3 Heroes". While it's still over a month away, I'm pretty sure I'll be meeting Jeff at some point during the upcoming National. I'm excited for that.

Until then, though, he dropped quite a few great cards on me recently. While I'll be keeping the regular UD issue on my "Dime Box Dozen" list for now, I'm certainly pleased to have this '08 Upper Deck First Edition Varitek in my binders.

As you might guess, it's an awesome piece for my new "Award Show" mini-collection, one that features the absolute greatest award of them all.

Here are a couple flip side "pitchers at the plate" that captured my fancy.

For the record, Doug Drabek was a career .166 hitter. Funny, but after seeing that shot, I would've thought it'd be way lower than that.

I can't believe the guy actually hit two homers in the big leagues.

Like the aforementioned "pitchers at the plate" cards, flip sides are always welcome in my mini-collections.

That '95 UD Eric Karros is no exception. And, although I could be wrong, the interviewer on it looks a bit like Joe Morgan. (Although, upon further research, it's most likely not.)

At first, I couldn't quite figure out why Jeff sent me that Smoltz card. I'm not an avid collector of his, and the shot looked like another ordinary pitching action photo at first glance.

That's when I noticed a unique touch on Leaf's part. I can't believe it took me so darn long to notice the cast on Smoltz's left arm. 

I'd certainly never seen that on a baseball card before.

I can't say I'd ever heard of Scott Chiamparino before Jeff dropped this PWE on me.

Still, this nifty '93 Donruss Triple Play piece resonated with my collecting habits on a couple different levels.

1) Chiamparino was a pitcher, which makes his bat pose a part of my "pitchers at the plate" collection. (And, yes, he made the frankenset.)

2) He has one of the most Italian names I've ever heard. I have to do the accompanying hand gestures just saying it.

3) While pictured with the Rangers, Donruss noted that Chiamparino (hand gesture) was drafted by Florida in the expansion draft that year. He'd never play in a single game for the Marlins. (In fact, he'd never pitch again in the bigs after '92.)

In my mind, that makes it a "semi-zero year card".


Another noted legend in the world of PWEs is Kevin, the mind behind the great blog "The Diamond King".

Recently, he managed to drive me to the brink of insanity with a mind-boggling 27 different posts featuring glorious nickel box finds. The cardboard he managed to find for just five cents a piece is simply amazing.

I get giddy (and a bit jealous) seeing other people's terrific dime box scores. But a nickel box?

Like I said...insanity.

We'll get to it in a bit, but I (kind of) claimed the very first card he showcased in that series. Because he's an awesome person, Kevin decided to slip a few non-nickel pieces into the very same PWE.

Deion Sanders's neat 1992 UD "clash of the sports" card is one I've had my eye on for a long time. Even so, I had a bit of a dilemma on deciding which binder should be its home.

Because of the baseball/football combo, I was tempted to put it in my miscellaneous binder, one that features my multi-team and multi-player issues.

In the end, though, I felt it'd have a better home in my official Atlanta Braves binder.

"Neon Deion" is certainly a head-turner when it comes to nine-pocket pages.

The Dickey was pretty much the basis for the first PWE Kevin sent my way.

As I mentioned, it was the very first card he featured in his "nickel box" series. I didn't so much as claim it, per se. More appropriately, I simply expressed my jealousy over finding such an awesome card for a nickel.

Happily, though, I guess Kevin read between the lines. I was ecstatic to see such a great card wind up on my doorstep. I haven't yet tracked down Dickey's regular 2013 Heritage short-print, but I'm hoping to sometime soon.

It'll look great next to that chrome issue in my binders.

And, just for good measure, Kevin decided to add that Garciaparra throwback to the PWE festivities.

Red Sox throwbacks are extremely rare in this hobby.

This one kicked off a second PWE from Kevin, one that arrived just a few days after the first.

Although it may look like two separate pieces in the scan, this is indeed one horizontal card. It features Greg Maddux's famous circle change grip.

It takes me back to Bob Welch's eerie 1991 Score issue. And all the nightmares that went along with it.

At least this one isn't creepy.

Not as creepy, anyways.

These are a couple of especially awesome mini-collection hits.

The Johnson is a neat add to my "behind the camera" collection. In fact, the back notes that he was quite the fan of photography.

Maybe it's just me, but the "Big Unit" doesn't really seem like someone who would be into that sort of thing.

I find it hard to get into the Home Run Derby these days, but I'll certainly take any card that features the event's trophy. Mr. Tejada is holding the very award on his 2005 UD issue there.

I'm not sure what it'll take to get me interested in the Derby again. Shortening the event would help quite a bit. (I'd rather see a longer celebrity softball game anyways.)

And I could really do without Chris Berman announcing the thing.

I get sick of the "back, back, back, GONE!" call after about the second time.

This was the whole reason a second PWE wound up on my doorstep.

Unlike the Dickey, I flat-out claimed Mr. Carlton after I saw it on Kevin's blog. I wasn't about to pass up an opportunity to land such an awesome card.

Yes, it's not the greatest airbrush job in the world. And, true, "Lefty" doesn't look particularly pleased there. (Did he ever?)

Still, the fact that it was Steve Carlton in Giants garb sold it for me. There aren't many cards that feature his brief stint in San Francisco out there.

As it happens, "Lefty" was a Giant for just over a month in 1986, signing with them after being released by the Phillies earlier that year. (He'd sign with the White Sox after the Giants let him go.)

While his tenure in San Francisco was incredibly short, Carlton did manage to notch his 4,000th career strikeout as a Giant. That has to stand for something, I guess.

Before it became a terrific nickel box find, I'd never even seen this particular Topps oddball piece.

But, thanks to a bit of digging and generosity on Kevin's part, it now resides happily within my collection.

Still, it's far from the only one.

See, without the legend that is the PWE, none of these cards would be in my binders as we speak.

I'm sure a lot of you would be missing cherished pieces from your collections without the advent of the PWE.

So, it is for that very reason that I hope you join me for "PWE appreciation week". I already have a couple destinations in mind.

It's the least I could do for those glorious PWEs.

They've given me so much over the years.


petethan said...

Awwww crap! I haven't opened the Diamond King's PWE to me yet (I open on weekends, plus I'll be away this weekend, so I've got nearly two weeks to go!). But I was hoping for that Carlton, you lucky SOB! Ah, heck, you deserve it. And I'll probably seek the whole set at some point, anyway. That is some sweet cardboard, even if it sports a Figgin' Giants uni.

jaybarkerfan said...

A PWE week? I can support that!

The Baseball Card Snob said...

I'd love to support it, but, the Post Office has been absolutely destroying just about everything I have been shipping lately. This includes cards wrapped by hardsleeves in bubble envelopes.

Metallattorney said...

That is one of my favorite Varitek cards, and I have a lot of them.