Friday, January 3, 2014
Itchin' on a photograph
I must admit, seeing everyone's New Year resolutions around the blogosphere lately forced me to contemplate a few of my own.
One area of mine that I think could use improvement is trading. I receive a decent amount of trade packages, but I don't think I send enough back out the collecting world.
Whether it was due to a lack of funds, time, or just plain laziness on my part, I didn't make nearly enough trips to the Post Office from about September and on last year.
I also don't think I drum up as many trades as I probably should. Most of the time, people have to contact me to get a trade going. I'm going to try and change that here in 2014.
Of course, though, I'll always have my usual roster of blogging buddies to fall back on whenever the trading bug hits. One such person is Mr. Michael Spiegel of the terrific blog "Nomo's Sushi Platter".
I've lost count of the amount of trade packages we've sent back and forth to each other. It's definitely quite a few. Mr. Spiegel was back to his usual gift giving ways recently, as I found a great package of cardboard on my doorstep a few weeks ago.
One of the headliners was the terrific Elston Howard/Sandy Koufax combo you see above, one that comes from the '75 Topps checklist. It's only the second or third issue I own from that year's MVP subset.
I really need to find more of those things.
More than perhaps any other blogger I've traded with, Mr. Spiegel has a keen eye for great photography.
I've been looking for an excuse to mention a great new song I recently found, and these two cards (and this entire post) give me an opportunity to do just that.
I believe I've mentioned my love for "ball bucket" shots in the past, so it's nice to know that Mr. Spiegel was paying attention to that. I'm also quite fond of that Jefferies, especially the perfectly centered outfielder in between the second baseman's legs.
Seeing the famous Wrigley Field ivy on cardboard is a great pleasure.
Seeing ineptitude by someone not on the Cubs at Wrigley is also a great pleasure. That ball is nowhere near the glove of Dave Martinez. I smell an extra-base hit.
While the design isn't too bad, 1988 Topps won't win any awards for its photography. I've nearly fallen asleep digging through stacks of them in the past.
In all my travels, though, I've never once seen that one of manager John Wathan. Skippers are usually relegated to the typical stare-into-the-distance-and-look-managerial shots. Rarely do you see them with any sort of equipment.
Wathan was once a catcher for the Royals, but his playing career ended a full three years before that card was issued.
I guess he couldn't resist the urge to step into the cage every once in a while as a skipper.
I don't know if Mr. Spiegel knew it at the time, but he sent along some new additions to a couple of my favorite player collections with these two.
Because much of both Wilson's and Boyd's careers spanned between the '80s and early '90s, many of their cards are easy to find. These two somehow fell through the cracks.
If you have any spare Mookies or Oil Cans around, I'll gladly take them off your hands.
This reminds me.
I've been planning to put together a Panini Cooperstown want list for a while now. I'll have to get around to doing that.
In the meantime, here's hoping that Panini brings this brand back in 2014.
The great "play at the plate" shot probably should've been the first thing that grabbed my attention with this one.
But it wasn't.
No, my eyes instantly shot to the name. Jayhawk Owens.
It was definitely one of the better nicknames I'd ever heard. Wouldn't you know it, though, it's not a nickname at all.
The former Rockie backstop's full name is Claude Jayhawk Owens. I'm not kidding.
I can't decide whether to shake my head or applaud.
I'm sure we could all crack jokes about how geeky these guys look.
Say what you want, though, but both Henke and Batchelor were professional baseball players.
Even if they didn't particularly look the part.
Mr. Spiegel has long been on the mini-collection MVP list.
He always seems to dig up a stack of new ones with each passing package. I've never been big on '96 Upper Deck. Even so, I'm not one to rag on a terrific "pitcher at the plate" shot.
If I had to pick, I think I enjoy the white borders best from the rather colorful 1991 Score checklist.
Granted, that terrific Al Newman "double dip" would've looked awesome with just about any border.
I'm still in awe over these two.
The Jaha has to be the absolute cutest "cards with kids" piece I own. (I'll have to think of a better name for the mini-collection someday.)
Coming from one of the greatest Upper Deck sets ever, that '08 UD Peralta is a stunning new addition to my "throwbacks" theme. The Royals honored the Kansas City Monarchs with those duds as a tribute to the Negro Leagues in a 2007 game against the Pirates.
The spectacular patch on Peralta's sleeve just tops off this beauty.
Had it not been for this amazing development, those previous two mini-collection hits probably would've been my favorites of this package.
I've gone on record denouncing the recent "super short-print" strategy put forward by Topps. It's an obvious way to milk collectors out of a few extra bucks.
But I'll be darned if this thing isn't insanely cool.
It's the scarcity that gets me a little riled up about these SSPs. Most do feature terrific photos, yet the forced rarity of them takes low-budget collectors such as myself out of the market for them.
That's why it was such a pleasure to see this one fall out of the mailer. Sandoval is a favorite of both mine and my dad's in today's game, and he's seen here having a little fun with the Pirates mascot.
It means a lot that someone like Mr. Spiegel would think to send this rare card to me.
I guess all this generosity is making me feel a little more guilty about not doing more in the trade department last year.
Don't worry, folks. I'll do my best to change that in 2014.
You can bet on it.