Tuesday, September 3, 2013
My weakness, Pt. 1
Free cards are my kryptonite.
Whether it's a bunch of overproduction era issues or a few stacks of newer singles doesn't really matter to me. If they're free, I'm more than willing to take on a box of mystery cardboard.
Most of the time, it's a win-win for both parties. Most of the people who give away free cards are just trying to clear some space. I happen to have a decent amount of unclaimed real estate in my room. (Although I'm sure my mom would disagree there.)
So, when Jeff of the great blog "Cardboard Catastrophes" recently offered up a free box of cards to the first commenters, I jumped at the chance, claiming the second of two he was giving away.
However, I was not expecting what arrived on my doorstep about a week later. In possibly the heaviest box I've ever received in the mail, I found two gigantic layers of cardboard. (What you see in that photo is just the top layer.)
So many free cards.
Of course, I had an absolute blast digging through everything Jeff graciously sent my way. And, in the continuing saga of multiple-part posts on this blog, I'm going to need two separate write-ups to get through it all.
On that note, let's take a trip into the glorious world of free baseball cards.
There wasn't a whole lot of vintage, but I did manage to find a couple neat ones for my collection.
This '79 Topps "League Leader" issue managed to pair two of my favorite pitchers from the '70s under one roof.
As you might guess, a decent chunk of Jeff's box was comprised of overproduction-era cardboard.
But, while many others might sigh at the idea of digging through more cards from that time period, I jumped for joy.
I love going through cards from the so-called "junk wax" era, just because there are so many gems I haven't yet discovered. And, if the aptly-named theme on this blog is any indication, I'm always hunting for those.
Score Select is a nice overproduction era set that doesn't get much play these days.
This is a pretty darn nice action shot of Mr. Morris, though.
Given my abundance of '90 Upper Deck and '89 Topps, I couldn't believe I didn't already have these two.
That's another great thing about free cards. They might just fill a few gaping holes in your collection.
These certainly did.
Let's take a look at a couple other random gems from the overproduction era.
As far as cardboard goes, I think Rickey Henderson's 939th stolen base might be the most-featured single moment in history. That's around the ninth or tenth different card I own that shows the record-setting swipe.
On a different note, "Flash" Gordon certainly wore some mean shades back in the day, didn't he?
Although Jack Clark has quickly cemented himself as a moron in recent weeks, that's one of the better gems I've seen from the '87 checklist.
Heck, you'd be hard-pressed to find another '80s card that features more sheer action.
Bowman, of all sets, helped hit a mini-collection need with the Fisk "autograph" shot.
But more on those later.
This particular batch of free cards had its fair share of minis.
More specifically, I discovered a hearty group of these neat UK mini oddballs amongst the box's reaches.
Someone really went to town in airbrushing the "Cobra" there. Jacket, helmet, striped collar. All airbrushed.
I think the culprit might've accidentally removed the brim of Parker's batting helmet in the process, though.
The Carter actually came in a two-card uncut panel along with Don Mattingly. But, since I already own a couple uncut sheets of these, I decided to separate the two. I felt a bit odd doing it, I'll admit.
Still, I'm sure "The Kid" will fare much better on his own.
While we'll get into the more recent stuff in the next installment of this post, I couldn't help but show off these two legends here.
Getting free cards of guys like Honus Wagner and Casey Stengel is always a treat.
In digging through a big box like that, I had a feeling I'd find a few mini-collection needs sooner or later.
How right I was.
One of the better free cards I scored was this '91 Score Rick Parker, one that features a spectacular "play at the plate" shot.
Not surprisingly, it was shoo-in for my frankenset.
The mid '90s was a great time for both "autograph" and "pitcher at the plate" cards.
It might well be the most well-represented era in both departments.
Both of these come from Bowman's annual "Rookies I Don't Know" series of sets.
The Trayvon Robinson shot is easily one of the better "Web Gems" in my collection.
Even more surprising is the fact that it came from Bowman.
Closing things out for the afternoon is a great "interview" shot from 1984 Fleer, the company's greatest moment in the sun.
You can find quite a few of these in Fleer's earlier releases, although I believe this is the first one I've seen that features the familiar NBC logo.
All that is just the start of what this free box of cardboard had in store. While it certainly took a great deal of sorting, organizing, and filing, digging through all of it was more than worth it.
If there's one thing I've learned about this hobby, it's this.
Free cards rule.