Even by Chicago's standards, the weather around here has been fairly bleak lately.
I'm having trouble remembering what the sun even looks like. It seems like "a chance of flurries" has been in the weather reports for the past few weeks.
Apparently, that forecast has carried over to my mailbox as well.
Well, that's not exactly accurate.
It's been more like a blizzard.
Trade packages have been absolutely flooding in from left and right within the past few weeks. Once again, I find myself behind in a number of collecting areas. Scanning, sorting, and organizing.
And, more importantly, trade posts.
So, if you're a trade post kind of person, then you'll be in for a treat over the next couple weeks on this blog. The trade "flurries" will be hitting quite a bit around here.
If you're not a fan of trade posts, well...I don't know what to tell you.
But, come on!
Who doesn't love a good trade post every now and then?
I know I do.
On that note, let's start the "flurries" with a package I received from Jim, a longtime blogger and eagle-eyed collector. You might know him better as "gcrl", the man behind the terrific blog "Garvey Cey Russell Lopes".
When I say "eagle-eyed", I mean it. He found a few cards for my many "mini-collections" that I never could've found.
Take this A.J. Hinch card, for instance.
On the surface, it doesn't look like anything special. A standard Topps base card of a marginal big-league catcher.
But, as Jim noted on the penny sleeve he included with it, Mr. Hinch here is a treasured reverse negative.
The error is indeed noticeable upon closer inspection. The Nike "swoosh" on Hinch's glove hand is backwards. As is that awesome A's patch on his sleeve.
If I had found this card during a dime box dig, though, there's no chance that I would've caught the "flip".
An eagle eye always helps, I guess.
A baseball card within a baseball card. Longtime pitcher Ricky Bones appears to be holding a copy of his 1995 Topps issue on his '96 Topps card here.
I might have to start labeling these as the "Cardboard Inception" series.
At first glance, these look like your run-of-the-mill baseball cards, don't they?
Aside from the fact that they feature a few old-time HOFers, nothing about this pair seems all that different from the norm.
...until you compare the size of Mr. Maranville with a standard quarter.
Not so normal now, are they?
Oddballs in every sense of the word, safe to say.
Jim noted that he tried to include "a little of everything" in the package he sent.
That seems to be a common theme with the cardboard I've received during my time around here. I honestly have no idea what to expect from any of my fellow trade partners anymore.
Besides, there's no wrong way to send a "little of everything" package.
That's the great thing about 'em.
I always manage to find something I need inside each and every one.
As you're about to see, Jim did a truly spectacular job in molding a ragtag group of random cardboard into a treasured trade package.
Little things like David Justice doing his best Superman impression are what trades such a distinct aspect of my collecting life.
It'll certainly have a nice home in my binders.
Here's a pair of bubble gum blowin' and bat bustin' Brewers.
Hey, I like alliteration, okay?
On the one hand, these are both shiny new "pitcher at the plate" cards for my collection.
But, upon closer inspection, they're a whole lot more than that.
Charles Nagy there is a rare specimen. Cards of post-DH/pre-interleague play American League "pitchers at the plate" are tough finds.
The Mets, however, are a National League franchise. Shots of "pitchers at the plate" shouldn't be too rare for them.
May I remind you, though, that Rick White was a relief pitcher for the majority of his career. Another rare find!
Plus, Topps had a little bat barrel action going on there, too.
I must've woken up a pack of Darryl Kile hoarders at some point.
Ever since I made a brief mention of my collection of his in an earlier post, people have been sending me his cards left and right. They've literally shown up in almost every trade package I've received within the past few weeks.
I couldn't be happier about that.
He'll always have a special place in my collection.
For obvious reasons, his cards are among the most powerful pieces in my binders.
Between the tragic figures of Darryl Kile and Doug Million, I realize I'm being a bit of a downer here.
Sorry about that.
This card has been near the top of my "most wanted" list for the past couple months. I just recently welcomed him into my Rockies binder, after all.
To me, it's just my little way of honoring the man's legacy.
But enough with the sadness.
Here's a tremendous action shot of the "Sultan of Swat" for your viewing pleasure.
It certainly puts a smile on my face.
Hopefully, my appreciation for oddballs has come across in my past writings.
But, in case you missed those, I'll say it again.
I love oddballs!
Judging from what I've seen on his blog during my time around here, Jim is a fellow oddball devotee. The amount of odd Dodgers he owns is simply amazing.
Because of that, I guess I should've known that a few oddballs would find their way into the package he sent my way.
Still, they proved to be a complete surprise.
I've actually had a few of these local '83 Thorn Apple Valley pieces in my binders for a while now. They popped up in one of my dime box crusades a few years ago.
Happily, the issues of both the Cubs coaching staff...
...and Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins were new to me.
But those weren't the last of the oddballs.
Heck, those weren't even the last of the Cubs oddballs.
This Pepsi issue of Mr. Kingman here proved to be my absolute favorite "find" of the package.
In the end, it was actually one of the cards that inspired me to write that "uniformity" post from a couple days ago.
Something about that oddball-appropriate Chicago (NL) designation next to Kingman's name just seems right to me. More than San Francisco (NL) or New York (NL) ever could.
I think you can see how amazing Jim's batch of cardboard was. Between reverse negatives, "micro" cards, and oddballs, it included everything a "low-end" guy like me could ever want.
Still, this was only the start of the recent "mailbox blizzard" that has swept my area.
As far as trade posts go, we've only just begun.