Hey, guess what?
I'll actually have a fair amount of free time coming up during these next few days.
School hasn't been too taxing so far this semester, and I'm in the midst of about a week-long break from work.
So, at least for the very near future, I'll probably be back to my regular posting habits around here. Which means I can finally make a bit of a dent in these trades I've been accumulating for the past month or so.
It's good to see that Mark, author of the fantastic blog "This Way to the Clubhouse...", is back and posting again after a bit of a break from blogging. He's a first-rate "friend of the blog" and probably my most frequent trading partner, as I've mentioned before.
Mark continued his awesome trade package ways with another outstanding batch a little while ago.
One of the first cards out of his most recent stack was the above Jon Lieber. Since it features a pitcher-centric "play at the plate", I was instantly enamored with it. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that this piece could've worked as either a Lieber or Mike Cameron card.
In the end, though, I think UD made the right choice in adding it to Lieber's catalog.
Into the Phillies binder it goes.
Okay, I'll admit it.
Although I like to think I'm on the more mature side of 21 year-olds, I still can't help but chuckle every time I see this guy's name.
Rusty Kuntz. (Yes, I know it's actually pronounced "kyoontz".)
And, hey! Some lucky fan is getting a Rusty Kuntz autograph!
Moving past the topic of, um...unfortunate names, let's take a look at a couple other neat mini-collection hits Mark sent over.
I think the bat barrel speaks for itself. And, yes, I do classify "side wall" cards under my "At the Wall" theme.
Besides, Steve Pearce does a mighty fine Spiderman impression, I must say.
More mini-collection fun!
Between terrific "double dip" and "pitcher at the plate" specimens, Upper Deck produced a couple fine pieces of cardboard here.
I'm especially fascinated with the Miles, as I'm 99 percent sure that's a double play shot from the 2006 World Series.
Mark also included the Silver Signature parallel of one of the greatest "argument" cards I own.
The fact that the dispute carries over to the back of this masterpiece just adds to its greatness.
I believe this is a first in my collection.
Although I know others exist, I'm pretty sure this is the only "face mask" card I own. Former Rockie Charlie Hayes is seen here sporting the rare headgear at Wrigley Field.
Have I mentioned how badly I miss Collector's Choice, by the way?
Here are a couple other interesting randoms Mark thought I'd like.
Anything George Sisler-centric is always welcome in this household. Because he played in the same era as guys like Ruth and Cobb, you don't hear his name too often.
I mean, the guy did hit .400. Twice.
The Schlereth father-son combo certainly made me do a double-take. It's not every day you see a former NFL tackle (Mark) make a cardboard appearance with an MLB reliever (Daniel).
Although, Topps, I doubt many players actually refer to the big leagues as "The Big Show".
No matter what Bull Durham might have you believe.
As I've already said, this latest package was yet another chapter in a long line of terrific trade packages from Mark.
One thing that made this edition stand out, however, was his inclusion of a few specific "Picks to Click". Apparently, he labeled a few cards he thought I'd especially enjoy for my frankenset.
Sadly, I'd had a copy of this Vina (a permanent frankenset inductee) in my collection for a while. But, as far as I know, I haven't yet shown it on the blog.
As one of the more unorthodox "play at the plate" cards I own, I've long treasured this piece. Vina looks to be giving a forearm shiv to an unfortunate catcher.
A small (and perhaps a little twisted) part of me thinks that this could possibly be considered a "brawl" shot.
Going in high like that has probably led to a dust-up more than once in this game.
The best of Mark's "Picks to Click", however, was this one.
Although he is a former Cub, I can't say I'd ever heard of Jim Bullinger before. He enjoyed a fairly mediocre seven-year big league career.
This card, though, is far from mediocre. It's one of the more outstanding works of photography I've ever seen, in fact. And I'm not just talking about baseball cards.
Whoever came up with the idea for this photo shoot is an absolute genius. Taken from the famous Wrigleyville rooftops on Sheffield Avenue, this image gives the collector a truly astonishing look at my favorite ballpark in baseball. One that no other card has matched.
This, my friends, is a true "Pick to Click".
And, in any other trade package, it probably would've been the best of the bunch.
But not this one.
Although it wasn't specifically labeled as a "Pick to Click", this was actually my favorite piece from Mark's batch.
In fact, it's one of the greatest cards I've ever received.
The Classic brand may have been a bit of a yawner for the most part, but I'll be darned if they didn't stumble onto a few absolute gems every now and then. (Need I remind you of the Andre Dawson beaning, folks?)
On this piece, we see the exact moment Joe Niekro was outed for doctoring the baseball during an August 3rd, 1987 contest against the Angels. The ump on the right couldn't help but notice the emery board that Niekro rather nonchalantly tossed out of his pocket.
Mere seconds after this photo was snapped, the knuckleballer was tossed from the contest. (Despite his pleas of "Who Me?".)
I've seen the clip of the rather infamous moment dozens of times. I'll never tire of it.
Never, though, did I think I'd be able to document it within my own collection.
In that sense, I guess it's like a dream come true. And it's all thanks to Mark and his tireless trade package efforts.
Everything I get from him is a definite "Pick to Click".