Sometimes, blogging friendships can be formed in the unlikeliest of ways.
My personal favorite story in that regard has to do with Padre fanatic and good buddy Joe. Also known as "TTG" around the blogs, we first met around the blogosphere when his blog was called "Friars on Cardboard".
These days, though, he runs a similar (and equally awesome) blog titled "From An Unlikely Source!". This write-up, like the other Joe-centric trade posts I've read lately, is a play on the name of his new home. But, hey, it's one of the better blog names I've come across, so it definitely works.
Early last year, Joe won the very first contest I ever held on this blog. I whipped up a package with some spare Gwynns, Padres, and other randoms, and shipped it out to him. And I thought that'd be the end of it.
Ever since then, though, Joe has been sending me awesome cardboard on an incredibly consistent basis. I've done my best to return the favor during my time here, but I don't think I've even come close to equalling what he's bestowed upon me since that fateful contest win.
In fact, even nearly a year after that original batch of Padres, his regular shipments of cards continue. As luck would have it, he's unleashed steady stream of perfect PWEs onto my doorstep during the past couple weeks.
One of the key pieces of his first envelope was the Vlad you see above. It's yet another new addition to easily my largest player collection, one that totals well over 600 cards.
The Vlad actually came with one of those protective coating layers on it. Of course, I tore it off in a heartbeat. I actually get a great deal of satisfaction out of doing that.
I'm still not quite sure why.
Joe hit a couple player collection needs with this pair.
I'm sure he included the Bautista due to the in-action "bat barrel" shot. It's certainly a beauty in that regard.
But, as you might know if you've been reading this blog as of late, I'm probably the last Danny Bautista player collector on the face of the Earth.
These are the first two 2013 Topps Stickers I've added to my collection.
They're not bad cards, but I've never felt the need to grab any off the shelves of my local Target. That Bernie Brewer card sure is amazing, though.
It takes the whole "in-action" theme to a whole other level.
From what I've read on his blog, Joe shares a special connection with former reliever Tom Henke.
Henke made his major league debut on the same exact day Joe was born. The hurler's first shot in the bigs came with the Rangers on September 10th, 1982.
Until I looked it up, I had no idea how good Henke really was. Over the course of 14 seasons, he appeared in 642 games out of the 'pen. (While never making a single start.)
He posted a stellar 2.67 career ERA, while fanning 861 batters in 769 2/3 innings during his time in the bigs. Oh, and he was an All-Star during his final year in "The Show" (1995), compiling a sparkling 1.82 ERA in his "sunset" season.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Fittingly, one of my favorite cards out of Joe's recent PWEs was this awesome "throwback" shot of Mr. Henke.
It was the first of many mini-collection hits he managed to find for me.
I can't say I'd ever seen those particular Brewer throwbacks on cardboard before that Cirillo came along.
I'm fairly certain those are from their inaugural season in 1970, right after they'd moved east following their lone infamous year as the Seattle Pilots.
No, I've never heard of Bill Krueger.
But the fact that his '93 UD flip side features him at the plate certainly earns Krueger some points in my book.
Take a gander at these beautiful additions to my "double dip" collection.
You've got to love the Ozzie Smith cameo on the right.
Speaking of "double dips", there's another with the Kent.
I've made it a point to try and avoid cards of his during the course of my collecting career, but I'll make an exception for that one.
I guess PWEs from a Padre fan wouldn't be complete without a few Friars, now, would it?
Much like his outstanding career as a closer, Hoffman is at the top of his class as far as "autograph" shots go.
Topps's 2002 checklist may not have been good for much, but that shot is certainly a beauty.
Speaking of autograph shots, here's another awesome specimen from 1993 Upper Deck.
This shot comes from the nascent days of the Florida Marlins franchise in '93. Young catcher Charles Johnson was one of their top prospects at the time.
Here, we see the soon-to-be Florida backstop in the process of signing a whole bunch of teal-colored Marlins gear. I feel sorry for anyone who actually wore any of that awful stuff.
Players and fans alike.
Oh, and while we're on the topic of '93 UD...
One does not simply tire of 1993 Upper Deck.
Just ask Joe. He's trying to complete the '93 UD set. Go and help him out if you can. I know I'll be taking a look through my extras.
I've said this over and over again, but I've always thought 1993 Upper Deck would be absolutely perfect for a set-based blog.
If Joe's up for it once he completes the set, he'd certainly be a terrific man for the job.
Earlier in the year, I documented my hopes of completing a 2013 Topps Adam Greenberg rainbow.
A lot's happened since then. We're almost into August now. I've come a long ways with this blog. Heck, I've come a long ways in real life as well. I'll be a "rookie" at a new college in a few weeks.
But, sadly, my quest for a Greenberg rainbow is still where it was back in February.
Base card, check.
Blue, red, gold, black, pink, emerald, everything else...absolutely nada.
Since then, though, a new rainbow possibility has presented itself.
Thanks to the help of my fellow bloggers, I've tracked down the base, blue, red, and emerald variations of my main man Casey Kotchman's 2013 Topps issue so far this year.
Lo and behold, the serial-numbered gold parallel fell out of Joe's initial stream of PWEs. As a result, I've decided to make this my new rainbow quest for now.
If you happen to be sitting on any other parallels of Mr. Kotchman here, let me know.
In the meantime, I hope this post promoted my continued support of PWEs. All these fantastic gems came from a few little envelopes.
Then again, I guess it helps when you have great people like Joe sending them out.
I know I'm in for a treat whenever I see a PWE from him on my doorstep.