I have one great fear as a collector.
It's painful to even think about, but I wonder what would happen if my collection were to vanish within the blink of an eye. Be it from a flood, moving van mix-up, or some other disaster, I always seem to come back to one central question.
Would I be willing to hit the redo button?
If, for some horrible reason my cards all went ka-poof, could I bring myself to completely start over with this hobby?
I've asked myself those questions for a long time now, and I still don't have a definite answer.
However, if anything like that were to happen (shudder), a monumental trade package I recently received would be a nice reboot starter kit.
Adam, a longtime reader of this blog and many others, recently contacted me about sending over some much-needed supplies for my collection. He responded to my previous pleas for nine-pocket pages, sending me a nice stack of those puppies.
However, he also included few eight-pocket pages, something I'd only heard about in the past. Thanks to Adam, I now have a safe home for my oversized 1950's beauties.
No, those vintage cards didn't come as part of the package. They're just a few of my favorite '55 Bowman and '56 Topps pieces I've had lying around my room for the last few years.
But they sure look awesome together in a page, don't they?
Next up in this starter kit was a sweet little binder.
I'm always on the lookout for these. Whether it be at flea market, garage sales, or wherever, I have a bounty on three-ring binders. This, however, is the first one I've received via trade.
For what it's worth, this is now the second of my two Detroit Tiger binders.
Originally, I thought Adam was only sending along the pages and the binder.
Those were all I asked for, and I would've been more than happy had they been the sole contents of the package.
But Adam outdid himself with these oversized nuggets, sending along about a dozen assorted Cubs and White Sox '81 Topps Supers. This one of the epically-mustachioed Tim Blackwell was my personal favorite.
Between the pages, binder, and Topps Supers, Adam really went above and beyond what I was expecting.
And that was before I saw...
...the 800-count box he included in this gargantuan trade package, filled to the brim with hand-picked cardboard.
That massive heap is the reason why this is yet another two-part trade post. It was just way too much to fit into one write-up.
Again, I pray that I never have to hit the reset button with my collection. (All this talking about it is making me kind of uneasy.)
But if I did, this starter kit would give me hope that perhaps I could one day restore it to a shadow of what it once was.
As long as people like Adam are out there specifically tailoring trade packages to my liking, unearthing treasures like this multiple-exposure Mike Mussina, there's hope.
I've toyed with the idea of starting a "Braving the Elements" mini-collection.
In other words, I'd be on the hunt for cards featuring guys battling deplorable conditions. Things like rain, snow, cold, etc.
This trio shot of Dante Bichette, Dave Nied, and Andres Galarraga, would probably be the very first inductee into that theme.
Oh, and let's not ignore the double bat barrel action going on here, either.
Also joining in on the mini-collection fun were awards and throwbacks.
I've said this before and I'll say it again.
The White Sox have the absolute best "turn back the clock" garb.
The Phillies made their mark in the throwback department as well.
Mr. Chamberlain is sporting some pretty awesome duds there.
And, as one of my personal favorite mini-collections to build, "play at the plate" shots are always welcome around here.
Stadium Club is a goldmine for those things.
I own a decent amount of "pitchers on the basepaths" cards, but this is the first one I've seen that features a hurler donning the infamous warm-up jacket.
Or, in the case of the late Frank Castillo, a rather comfy warm-up sweater.
On to the "double dips".
As atrocious as the '92 Donruss set is, I have to give it credit for that DeShields masterpiece.
I absolutely love how they managed to include the sprawled-out Expos shortstop in the frame. Not only that, but the Braves baserunner is none other than future-HOF pitcher Tom Glavine.
Heck, maybe 1992 Donruss isn't all that bad.
Did I really just say that?
Now we're into the "Cool Cards That Don't Quite Fit Into Any of My Mini-Collections" portion of this post.
Above are two things that don't sprout up too often on cardboard. Cacti and cell phones.
I'm sure that's the first time I've used the word "cacti" on this blog, too.
I can't figure out what the heck is going on with that '97 Topps Rey Ordonez.
My best guess is that former Cub Brian McRae is in the process of being doubled off second in that shot. If that's the case, Ordonez's awkward stretch makes it almost impossible to tell where exactly the throw came from.
The front of Jose Lind's 1991 Upper Deck issue actually features a ferocious "double dip" shot. But I chose to show the back here because he's jumping over one of his Pirate teammates.
Need I say more?
Here's Mo Vaughn warming up with a red foot stretchy thingy.
I'm sorry, but I have no idea what those things are actually called.
Cool shades, bro.
I've always thought a nickname like "Shades" would work well in baseball. (Although that might be a byproduct of watching That Thing You Do! at least a dozen times.)
Kind of sounds like an old blues singer.
We'll close out this post with a nice autograph shot of ol' "Shades", sans-glasses.
Notice that, despite his Phillies garb, the kid on the left is handing McDowell an old Mets program.
It's little quirks like those that make me love this hobby all the more.
Just from this first part alone, I've already shown pages, binders, and cards. And, in part two, I'll be showing (you guessed it) more cards.
All in all, those are the three main ingredients I'd include in a collector's starter kit.
As far as storage goes, they're pretty much all I've needed for the last dozen years.