I've long been an avid fan of American history.
Which means that, yes, I'm one of those people who like to point out that July 4th was most likely not the exact day the States gained their independence from England.
By most accounts, it probably should've been July 2nd.
But I think that's enough of a history lesson for today. Despite its somewhat flawed history, I do enjoy celebrating the 4th each year. And, hey, now that I'm 21, I can enjoy my first (legal) Independence Day "cold one", if I wish.
Of course, the 4th means fireworks as well. I've never been the biggest fan of those. Still, I've accepted the fact that they're an integral part of the holiday's identity.
Much like the M-80s that many hooligans my age seem to light off every 4th of July, quite a few PWEs have been going "boom" in my mailbox as of late.
So, in keeping with the ever-present "PWE Appreiciation Week" festivities, I thought I'd present a few more envelopes of cardboard goodness. (By the way, I've already sent out a couple PWEs this week, and intend to ship a few more within the next few days.)
The first comes from reader Jeff, who, as far as I know, does not yet have a card blog. His envelope was centered around the above '87 Topps Concepcion, a card which was on my "Dime Box Dozen" list for mere hours before being offed.
I can't quite explain how such a relatively common piece of cardboard eluded me all these years. Now, though, I can proudly say I own a complete Dave Concepcion "Topps set". From his '71 rookie to his '88 "sunset", I now have every single base Topps card of his.
It's a proud accomplishment for this low-end collector.
Jeff was also nice enough to include a few of my Opening Day insert needs in this particular PWE.
The "Opening Day Stars" series is quickly becoming one of the more under-appreciated sets in today's hobby, if you ask me.
After the hundreds that saw the light of day in the '90s and 2000's, there's been a noticeable lack of "autograph" shots in checklists these days. As a result, the "Ballpark Fun" Pedroia was certainly refreshing to see.
I was starting to think card companies forgot that players, you know...
Actually signed autographs.
This next batch of "fireworks" actually came courtesy of a couple separate blasts from the same blogger.
Blogger and prolific commenter Ethan is one of the new kids on the block around the blogosphere. However, the guy already has two different blogs.
One is the terrific "Top of the Topps", which has been on my blogroll for a couple months now. The other, however, is the brand spankin' new "Playing with My Cards", which was just unveiled a few days ago. Go and check it out if you haven't already.
Ethan has been nice enough to drop a few awesome PWEs onto my doorstep over the past couple weeks.
One of my favorite pieces he sent my way was the above Collector's Choice "pitcher at the plate" shot of Ramon Martinez. Given Ethan's Dodger fandom (yes, we have another Dodger blogger in the blogosphere), it certainly made sense.
Plus, it's all the more reason to love the Collector's Choice brand.
One of the highlights from this PWE was Don Sutton's 1989 Score card.
As far as I know, Score was one of the only brands to grant Sutton a true "sunset" issue. The Hall of Famer had an unspectacular 16-game stint with his original franchise in '88 before hanging 'em up for good.
Given my love for "sunset" cards, I'd long wanted to make it a "Dime Box Dozen" need. When its turn finally came up in the rotation, I wondered how long it'd take for a collecting sniper to put a hit on it.
Much like the 1987 Concepcion, it was only on the list for a few hours. Oh, and Ethan threw in a copy of that very same '87 as well. In fact, Mr. Concepcion arrived on the exact same day as Jeff's PWE.
I'm not the only blogger to have one of those "first world problems" on my hands. (Oddly, his experience involved the only other '89 card of Sutton as a Dodger I've seen.)
Amazingly, I received a third '87 Topps Concepcion on the very same day. But that's another trade for another post.
To loosely quote one of my favorite movies...
"You see what happens, Larry? You see what happens when you put 1987 Topps on your 'Most Wanted' list?"
You get three of 'em on the same day.
That's what happens, Larry.
Against all odds, Ethan managed to knock out another pair of former "Dime Box Dozen" needs.
That puts the count at four "hits" within the span of two PWEs, which is probably some sort of record.
One of the most amazing acts of blogger generosity I've seen resulted in me landing Jimmie Reese's 1991 Studio issue a couple months ago. He was the Angels strength and conditioning coach during the early '90s.
Oh, and did I mention he was ninety years old at the time?
After I posted about the sheer excitement of having a Reese card in my collection, I was alerted to the fact that he had another "coach" issue on the market. Unbeknownst to me, Bowman honored the man in their '91 checklist as well.
Predictably, it eventually wound up on my "Dime Box Dozen" list. Ethan knocked it off a couple weeks thereafter.
The freightening '81 Donruss Hrabosky was a card I'd wanted for a long, long time. It'd been a "Dime Box Dozen" need for a month or so before Ethan purged it off the list.
Just call him "The Hitman", if you want.
Ethan's certainly deserved the label with his recent "Dime Box Dozen" massacre.
The last and final PWE of this post comes from a familiar face around here.
Every so often, Douglas from the awesome blog "Sportscards from the Dollar Store" drops an envelope on me.
One of the more consistent features of his PWEs over the past few months have been hockey takes on some of my most cherished mini-collections. This one, of course, is a ice-themed parallel of my "Award Show" collection.
Here, Boston Bruins center Tyler Seguin hoists the ultimate award in the game of hockey, The Stanley Cup.
While I don't watch the sport religiously, I was ecstatic to see my hometown Blackhawks take home the title last week. I didn't go to the official parade, but a couple of buddies and I did end up going downtown on the very night the Hawks captured the Cup.
It was, without a doubt, the craziest night of my life.
And I was just a couple blocks down from Wrigley Field the whole time.
But, getting back to the baseball side of things, a couple of my "Dime Box Dozen" needs fell victim to this PWE as well.
Coincidentally, Douglas was the one who first alerted me about Jimmie Reese's 1991 Bowman issue.
And, yes, after wanting the card for about five or six years, two 1981 Donruss Al Hraboskys wound up on my doorstep within a couple days of each other.
It's funny how things work out sometimes.
Given the extreme few "argument" cards out there, it's easy to see why the '95 Score Dykstra was such a desired need of mine. It's probably the most intense dispute I've seen on cardboard yet.
Thanks to the efforts of another blogger, I learned that this shot was almost certainly taken from a Phillies-Marlins contest on May 8th, 1994. Dykstra was indeed tossed due to this argument with home plate ump Angel Hernandez.
A little more research into that particular game shows that he was ejected after being called out on strikes in the first inning. As the leadoff hitter.
So, Dykstra, the very first batter of the game, got tossed.
I can't say I've ever seen that before.
Let's close things out with a baseball player gripping a football.
This Barfield is a tremendous new addition to my scarce "multi-sport heroes" mini-collection. Apparently, Rangers pitchers had some sort of football-themed workout back in the day.
I've seen a couple cards that feature Nolan Ryan with the pigskin.
Such an odd card is a fitting end to a couple weeks' worth of spectacular PWE fireworks.
And, to those of you who enjoy them, I wish you nothing but a great night of kicking back and watching the lights in the sky.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!