I swear, some people are just never satisfied.
Without the slightest provocation, the generous souls of the blogosphere just keep on giving and giving.
And, just when I think it's gotten to a point where they couldn't possibly give anymore, they manage to yet again outdo themselves. Then, they go ahead and top that one. And the next package tops that one.
And so on, and so on...
It's what I like to call the "chain of trading" (it's a thing now), and it's held true with many of my regular trade partners. The generosity just never ends.
Many of my first trades with some of my better blogger buddies were smaller (yet great), more introductory assortments than anything. As time goes on and as you get to know your fellow tradee a little better, though, the stacks get larger and larger.
And the generosity floods in more and more.
I know I'm constantly trying to outdo the last batch of cardboard I sent to some of my multiple trading partners. It's part of what keeps me going in the trade market.
I certainly owe Michael (a.k.a. Mr. Spiegel), author of the awesome blog "Nomo's Sushi Platter", a kick-ass trade package for the amazing cards he recently sent me.
It's one of the laws of the "chain of trading".
I've hopelessly lost count of the number of times Mr. Spiegel and I have swapped cardboard.
It's a lot. I know that. And, yes, while he's sent some simply superb batches in the past, I think this most recent assortment was his best yet.
By now, we know what we each collect. Mr. Spiegel has a terrific handle on what I like, which is pretty amazing considering the crazy amount of different things I enjoy.
Even though it's from the atrocious '07 Topps set, the "play at the plate" Scott Hatteberg at the top of this post is nevertheless a supreme addition to that mini-collection. (He sent both the regular and red back variations along, which look fantastic next to each other in my Reds binder.)
While perhaps not the most glorious shot of Joe Torre, the above card is a nice add to my "Award Show" theme as well.
As we all know, the hallowed Commissioner's Trophy is the ultimate in that department.
I have absolutely no information on what old-time jersey Jose Cruz Jr. is sporting there. I'm guessing it's some sort of old minor league club. Either way, it's one fantastic card.
The Sox jerseys, on the other hand, I'm more familiar with. The Sox have brought them back on quite a few occasions in 2013. Miguel Olivo wore it quite nicely back in '04, though.
I've said this before, but those '80s White Sox uniforms have always seemed very softball-esque to me.
Between "autographs" and "double dips", the mini-collection hits just kept on coming.
There's nothing quite like seeing a gloveman like Omar Vizquel turning a flawless double play.
Crosstown pitchers at the plate?
I can't ever remember seeing another hurler make an appearance in a home run-based subset, as Kerry Wood does there.
I don't recall many other AL pitchers posing with a bat on cardboard, either, which makes the Buehrle yet another rarity.
And, while we're talking about the White Sox...
Here are a couple South Side gems of the overproduction era.
I don't think I'd ever actually been glad to see a 1991 Donruss card fall out of a trade package before Mr. Spiegel came along. Those epic Sox throwbacks manage to make that awful design tolerable, if only for a second.
The Merullo might be the best card of a backup catcher in history. The guy played in 223 games over the course of six big league seasons. That's a little less than 40 a year on average.
But, for whatever reason, Score decided to reward Mr. Merullo with an awesome "play at the plate" shot in '92, one complete with an emphatic "out" call on the ump's part.
That's the beauty of baseball cards, in many ways.
Sometimes, even the most average of players can have their moment of glory.
The cardboard goodness just kept on coming.
Despite having seen this card a few times before, I'd never managed to track down a copy for myself.
Mr. Hernandez and Mark here make for a wonderful and absolutely heartwarming nominee for my "cards with kids" mini-collection.
And, not to mention, a new frankenset staple.
As new cards of both Vlad and Tom Seaver, these are both great adds to a couple of my most cherished player collections.
I'm just guessing here, but I'd be willing to bet that a lot of the cards Mr. Spiegel sent this time around came from a couple gigantic "monster boxes" he recently showcased on his blog.
Man, would I ever have a boatload of fun digging through something like that.
I'm rather surprised I didn't already own a copy of this one.
It's certainly a famous card. I've seen it featured around the blogs quite a few times in the past, always secretly wondering when I'd be able to get one for myself.
Now, thanks to Mr. Spiegel, I have one of the unquestioned highlights from the underrated '95 Topps checklist.
This Alomar is a take on the "tools of ignorance" that I don't think the hobby had seen before then. It's almost like something from a horror movie.
I mean that in the best way possible, of course.
Ah, Derek Norris.
Welcome to my humble abode.
I was starting to think I'd have to live with my dented red parallel of yours for my collection. And while I'm not a sticker for condition, I'd wanted to add a non-warped, more traditional base version of your amazing 2013 Topps piece to my frankenset binder.
On the surface, the Brooks Kieschnick doesn't look like anything that out of the ordinary. His tenure with the Brewers, however, was quite a memorable one. Here's the little bio from the back of that particular card.
"In 2003, Kieschnick became the first Major Leaguer to hit a home run as a position player, pitcher, pinch-hitter, and DH. On May 12, vs. Chicago, Brooks became the fifth active pitcher to hit a homer and allow one in the same inning."
While Kieschnick was a relief pitcher by title, he often came off the bench to pinch-hit and take his hacks as well. He even DH'ed for a few of the Brewers' interleague contests that year.
Overall, Kieschnick hit .300 with seven homers in just 76 plate appearances in 2003, which is pretty spectacular if you stop and think about it.
His 5.26 ERA that year, however, was far less noteworthy.
Now this is a stupefying piece of cardboard.
I physically laughed when I saw this one fall out of Mr. Spiegel's batch of cards, which doesn't happen too often.
That's former Cardinal hurler Matt Morris getting some exercise in for the day. With a gigantic Earth ball.
I don't know about you, but I've never seen one of those pop up on a baseball card before this one came along.
Whoever thought to feature this shot on a piece of cardboard is a pure genius.
Way to go outside the box, Ultra.
As it happens, we have a two-way tie for "Best Of" in this trade package.
It's a split between two former Cardinals in Matt Morris and Bo Hart.
Hart isn't what you'd normally call a household name nowadays. But, depending on the fan, any name can be a household name.
And, around here, Bo Hart is certainly what I'd call a household name.
As kind of a "flash in the pan" prospect for the Redbirds who came out of nowhere, he was all the rage in St. Louis for a few months in 2003. But, just as quickly as it rose, Hart's star seemed to vanish within seconds.
After a short stint with the Cardinals in '04, he'd be out of the big leagues for good.
It's guys like Hart that have served as sort of the foundation for this blog. I want to get names like his out there again. Forgotten heroes like him make for some of the more rewarding parts of my collection.
Bo Hart, you are most definitely a household name under this roof.
Oh, yeah, and this is an awesome "double dip" shot as well. Almost forgot about that.
As you can probably tell, it was just one great card after the next in Mr. Spiegel's most recent act of cardboard generosity.
Deny it if you want, but the "chain of trading" is real. I think this trade package was proof of that. I can't help but wonder what Mr. Spiegel will have in store once we decide to work out another swap.
If the "chain of trading" is any indication, I'm sure it'll be quite the jaw-dropper.