Wednesday, July 23, 2014
A labor of love, Pt. 1
I found this gigantic box sitting downstairs one afternoon a couple weeks ago.
I knew who the culprit was as soon as I glanced at the return address. It was reader Wes, a good friend of the blog and someone who has already shown an unbelievable amount of generosity towards my cooky collecting ways.
The last boxes he sent spanned three different posts on this blog. His latest offering was a medium flat-rate box packed to the gills with cardboard. I could barely carry it up the stairs because it was so heavy.
What you see above is what I laid eyes upon when I initially cracked the seal. Inside was a terrific typed note from Wes along with mounds and mounds of carefully sorted team bags of cards.
A few thoughts immediately ran through my head.
Holy crap! That was awful nice of Wes. I can't wait to dig through all of these.
I wonder how much time it took Wes to sort through his collection and find these for me?
I wonder how long it'll take me to sort, organize, and file all of these.
All in all, Wes put together a staggering thirty-nine different themes for his latest smorgasbord.
I can't imagine how much time and effort it must've took to sort these the way he did. I think the fact that he'd do such a thing for a fellow collector speaks to how much Wes loves the hobby, something for which I'm greatly appreciative.
That last thought that raced through my head is probably viewed as a negative for some. A lot of collectors simply don't like to organize their cards, which is understandable.
Not me. I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into each individual theme Wes composed for me. I spent a good two or three hours sorting and organizing through this megabox. That doesn't even include the time I spent filing everything away in the days following.
I savored every minute of it. This hobby is a labor of love.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the themes Wes put together, shall we?
Not surprisingly, the amount of cards Wes sent necessitated two separate posts.
Part 1 of this two-part series kicks off with the oddballs. Wes found a bunch of good ones for me, but I especially enjoyed this Troy Glaus Baseball America cover.
I think it's the first non-SI magazine cover I've seen featured on a baseball card.
Players I Collect
Ron Cey and Aubrey Huff were merely the tip of the iceberg in this section.
Wes hit a whole bunch of my player needs, but these two groovy designs particularly caught my eye.
It's hard to go wrong with '84 Donruss.
I guess Wes made a note of my appreciation of the "Wild Thing" section he included in his last box.
This latest offering featured another similar team bag, only this one contained about three times as many Mitch Williams cards. It was never my intention to become a "Wild Thing" supercollector, but I don't think I have much of a choice now.
Send me your Mitch Williams cards, everyone.
Pitchers at the Plate
A good portion of the themes Wes included were hits to my many mini-collections.
I feel a seizure coming on every time I look at something from UD Spectrum, but the nice shot of Jake Peavy at the plate managed to distract me.
It's one of Spectrum's few bright spots.
I've found that early Upper Deck is filled with "interview" subjects like the Langston.
You might have to squint your eyes to see the microphone peeking out above that Expos logo.
I still can't decide if the Schilling is a true "anthemic" shot.
It looks like Mr. Schilling could be bowing his head for the National Anthem, but he may well simply be enjoying one of those little pump-up moments that a lot of pitchers have before taking the mound.
I'll add it to the "anthemic" mini-collection for now.
Ah, the crazy dilemmas we collectors have.
Here's a great example of one of my newer mini-collecton quests.
I love how each of Gooden's teammates appear to be giving him a good ol' pat on the back in that shot. I've never seen another card quite like it.
Maybe I've been underestimating '92 Donruss this whole time.
The Hundley is one of many "bat barrel" shots you'll find in '09 Upper Deck OPC.
Just another reason to love an already awesome set.
When I first started this mini-collection, I figured "award show" shots were fairly sparse.
Great people like Wes have shown me otherwise.
Plays at the Wall
This is becoming one of my favorite mini-collections because of how much it leaves up to interpretation.
The most common feature shots at the outfield wall, though not many feature guys like Jerald Clark actually climbing it.
However, Wes took "at the wall" to include plays near side walls as well, as shown with the Abreu. I'd also include shots of catchers making grabs along the back wall.
It's really up to you.
Plays at the Plate
Wes absolutely went to town with a few of my mini-collections.
He included a boatload of "plays at the plate" from about every era imaginable. Some horizontal, some vertical. Some focus on the catcher, while others feature the baserunner.
You name it, Wes probably found it.
Topps appears to be getting slightly back on board the "autograph" shot bandwagon, which is a joy to see.
I've come across a few cards from 2014 that feature these types of photos. They've basically been non-existant over the past decade or so.
Another great thing about Wes was that he took the time to search the fronts and backs of every card to check for possible mini-collection hits. It's hard enough to sift through stacks of cardboard looking for ones to fit my wacky themes.
To examine the backs is going way above and beyond.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started collecting these.
Double plays are easily the most expansive mini-collection in my catalog. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of these things floating around.
I especially enjoyed the centerpiece of this particular page. That's Bill Ripken turning a double play on his '91 Ultra issue. If you look carefully, however, the sliding Mariner runner is none other than Harold Reynolds. Both he and Ripken are currently analysts on the MLB Network.
And both leave me scratching my head at times.
The final section we'll cover in this post was the awesome array of throwbacks Wes included.
Look at all the spectacular retro uniforms in this page. White Sox, Giants, Tigers, A's, Angels, Braves, Reds, plus so many more that I didn't include here.
Wes really covered all the bases.
However, this was far and away the best throwback of them all.
I've seen this card a few times before and wondered how I didn't already own a copy. Wes put that worry to bed fairly quickly.
Those old Giants uniforms alone would've made this a fantastic addition to my throwback collection. What makes it for me, though, is the bite-sized glove on Mike Benjamin's hand.
You can see the look of confusion on his face. I mean, the thing barely fits on the guy's hand.
No wonder old-time baseball players used to make so many errors.
Even if Wes had stopped here, this would've been an epic trade package. But he didn't. Believe it or not, there was even more cardboard in store.
I've said it once and I'll say it again.
Collecting baseball cards is truly a labor of love.
I wouldn't have it any other way.