Tuesday, August 27, 2013
It's hard for me to imagine collecting without the internet.
Being a kid of the '90s, surfing the web has always been a part of my life. And, for about ten years now, my card collecting has been constantly intertwined with the online universe.
I have the internet to thank for my early days on the trading forums. I have the internet to thank for the impulse buys that I'm prone to make from time to time. And, of course, I have the internet to thank for this very blog and all the others around the blogosphere.
As I recently found out, though, the web wasn't done helping out my collection.
You see, without the internet, a little set called 1998 Pacific Online would've never been released. And, thus, I would've never found fifty-cent packs of them at my local flea market last month.
Without those, I wouldn't have gotten interest in the Red Sox cards I pulled from that break from Brad, author of the terrific blog "Red Sox Fan In Nebraska". Apparently, the packs I bought were of the red-foiled and tougher-to-find retail variety, something I didn't know at the time.
I offered to PWE Brad the Red Sox contents free of charge, but he insisted on sending something back my way. A few days later, I found a great assortment of random cardboard on my doorstep from him.
In the continuing saga of finding new objects on baseball cards, we have a ball machine making an appearance on Al Leiter's 2003 UD First Pitch issue.
Not something you see every day.
These are a couple of the nicest minis I've received in a while.
Not only do they feature the faces behind two of my most precious player collections, but they're also from the somewhat overlooked 2003 Topps 205 release.
Since the set wasn't around all that long, I don't usually see it get a whole lot of mentions around collecting circles.
But it's always been one of my personal favorite "throwback" checklists.
Don't look now, but it's mini-collection time!
It seems like almost all my trade posts hit this point sooner or later. That's a testament to all the great cardboard hunters we have around here in the blogosphere.
Brad certainly did his part, tracking down this neat "behind the camera" shot of Charlie Hayes from '96 Upper Deck.
I'm still surprised by how many of these things I haven't found yet.
There's a lot more than you'd probably think.
Also included in this assortment were a few great autograph shots.
The "glove on the head" style of signing always earns extra points in my book.
Although I couldn't tell you exactly what throwbacks those are, that's a mighty fine jersey on Olmedo Saenz there.
It's also one of the baggiest uniforms I've ever seen. Very Manny Ramirez-ish.
Interestingly enough, I just told the fascinating tale of Brooks Kieschnick's days as a Brewer in a post this past weekend. He was one of the biggest two-way threats the game has seen in recent years. (Although he was probably a better hitter than pitcher.)
I'm glad to finally have a card of him at the plate.
This one doesn't quite fit into any of my many mini-collections.
Yet it's a card that put a smile on my face nonetheless.
Adding to the "inanimate objects on cardboard" list is both a balance beam and what looks to be a blue ball. I love how the blue ball fits almost perfectly with Ochoa's Mets jersey. What a strange blue ball.
Please forgive my college humor. Let's get off the subject of blue balls.
For all our sakes.
This was my favorite card that Brad sent over.
To start, let's run through a list of Jim Bouton's career accolades.
He won 21 games for the AL pennant-winning Yankees in 1963. He earned another 18 victories the next year for another Yankee pennant winner.
He became an original Seattle Pilot in 1969. Of course, the bulk of Bouton's groundbreaking book Ball Four comes from his stint with the expansion club.
After eight years away from the bigs, he made an unprecedented comeback with the Atlanta Braves in 1978 at the age of 39. (I'm still waiting for a company to make a card of him as a Brave.)
As if all that wasn't enough, the man invented Big League Chew. I went through tons of those pouches during my Little League days.
It's a feat that's documented on this terrific Obak piece. Bouton and teammate Robert Nelson came up with the idea in 1977 during a stint in the minors.
Having seen it a few times beforehand, I've wanted this card for a while. And now, thanks to a few innocent cards from the web-based 1998 Pacific Online set, it's finally in my hands.
That's the internet for you, folks.
It's the gift that keeps on giving.