I pretty much live by one rule when it comes to baseball cards.
Simply put, I collect what I like. And I like a lot.
There's not much more to it than that. Like anyone else, I have my fair share of bigger collections (Hoyt Wilhelm, pitchers at the plate, etc.), but I've never tied myself down to a couple different focuses. It's been that way since I was a young lad.
Again, my life on the trading forums hindered me a bit, in that I began thinking I was the only one who collected that way.
In reality, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Life in the blogosphere has opened my eyes to that very fact.
From what I can gather, blogger Ethan is one of those "little of everything" collectors. And he runs not, one, but two great blogs in "Top of the Topps" and "Playing With My Cards".
He's a Dodger fan (yes, another one), but he seems to carve out space for random pieces in his collection. Why, he recently sent me a PWE stuffed with cardboard goodies.
I unofficially dubbed Ethan "The Hitman" after he knocked out a whopping four "Dime Box Dozen" needs over the course of two PWEs a couple months back.
Now, he didn't hit any current DBD members this time around, but he did send over at least one future nominee with the '94 Topps Barberie.
Multiple-image and "double dip" shots are both part of my collecting interests.
Combine them onto one card and you've got a must-have piece for me.
I like Ryan Howard.
I like 2013 Topps.
I like green.
I like shiny.
I like a lot.
Surprisingly, I'd never seen the '86 Brooks until Ethan showed it on "Top of the Topps" a while ago.
I commented that very fact on his blog. He must've kept it in mind, because a copy of it popped out of this awesome PWE.
You don't see pitchers pop up too often on "double dip" shots. Any cards with those heavy warm-up jackets are pure gold, as far as I'm concerned.
And where do we even start on the Baller?
The mustache? The necklace? The chest hair? Or the fact that he could tell people he's a "Baller" and not sound like a complete douche?
Take your pick.
The people in charge of Collector's Choice produced another surefire gem with this one.
Like the Barberie, it's what I like to call a "combo" need of mine. Mr. Ashby here unites my "autograph" and "cards with kids" mini-collections onto one peaceful card.
Check out the sideways hat look on the kid, too.
Interestingly, this probably proved to be my favorite card from Ethan's latest PWE.
I'd bet a lot of other collectors would care less about a minor league card of one-time prospect Roger Bailey. (Even I'll admit, I'd never heard of Bailey prior to this PWE.)
But not me.
This is a card I like because, well, it's just a great card. Not very deep, I know, but I think it gets the point across.
Here, Mr. Bailey appears ready to unleash some type of Super Soaker-like water pistol onto some poor photographer. It's certainly one of the more humorous cards you'll find.
The front would've been more than enough for this particular card. But, in the note he sent, Ethan warned me about a bit of hidden awesomeness on the back.
He was right.
There's Bailey again, in what seems to be an ordinary posed shot of a hopeful minor league ballplayer.
That is, until you read the scribbled note on the front of the baseball.
"Hi Mom...Send $."
Considering the fairly modest salaries most minor leaguers make, it's a legitimate plea. Not something you see on a lot of other baseball cards, though.
As it turns out, Bailey would go on to make the big bucks, playing in the bigs for three seasons with the Rockies. I'm happy for him. If this card is any indication, he seems like a good guy.
Before the man they call "The Hitman" came along, I had no idea who Roger Bailey even was.
Still, I'm left to wonder who came up with the idea for these funny photos. Bailey or the photographer?
Either way, it's a wildly fun piece of cardboard. And, although it doesn't fit into any of my many collections, it's a card I feel lucky to own.
Because it's a card I like.
That's really all that matters to me.