I haven't been doing a ton of trading lately.
Going downstairs to the sight of an barren mailbox for days on end hasn't been too exciting, although it has allowed me to get closer to getting all caught up on my trade posts. That's an impossible dream I thought I always wanted.
As my scan folder dwindles, however, I have to admit that I miss being way, way behind in my trade posts, as I've been for the last year or so. I miss giving pub to all the other great bloggers and readers out there. And, yes, I selfishly miss getting new cards for myself.
In fact, I've come to wonder if I could even keep blogging without trading. What if we had an isolationist collecting community? What if we all blogged without interacting whatsoever? What if we never traded with one another?
I don't think that'd be a world I could live in. Luckily, it's not much of a concern here in the greatest community on the interwebs. I still have surprise packages roll in from time to time, and I'm always open to more trading should anyone decide to contact me.
Plus, I'm not caught up on all my past trades just yet. My longtime trade partner and good buddy Jim recently hit me with a spectacular stack of cardboard. You might know him better as "gcrl" from the terrific blog "Garvey Cey Russell Lopes".
I don't know that anyone does the "little of everything" that I enjoy as well as Jim does. His trade packages always fire on all cylinders.
It all started with Ryan Klesko apparently using his Jedi mind powers to levitate a bat.
Bats became something of a theme in this batch.
The Davis is a diamond in the rough from '81 Fleer. A pitcher with a bat in his hands would've been good enough. A pitcher holding an aluminum bat, however, is otherworldly. I can't say I've ever seen such a thing before.
Also present was the goggled Alex Cole tossing his bat towards the dugout following what I assume was a base on balls.
I still don't think 1991 Upper Deck gets enough love.
As if the fronts weren't nice enough, the backs feature some of the best flip-side photography you'll ever see.
Some collectors might have a tendency to ignore the backs of cards, but I'm glad Jim took the time to check both sides while selecting candidates for this trade package.
Delights like Alan Trammell getting plunked or the massive Dave Parker skying over a 5'8" Mike Felder would've been lost to history otherwise.
Though the oldies are more his specialty, Jim added a little recent spice to the stack he sent.
This "Superstar Celebrations" Paul Goldschmidt insert was one of my many remaining 2014 wants.
All the bottled water action you could ever want on a baseball card is right here.
The sidewinding Dan Quisenberry is a cardboard legend.
I'm ashamed it took me until now to realize that.
These two added to the many odds and ends Jim sent.
The Buckner box bottom isn't all that pleasing to the eye, but it does deserve a significant amount of credit for being the only Topps card to feature him as a Royal. It leaves me wondering how much more I'd like '89 Topps if all the cards had sky blue borders.
Hey, look! There's a '96 Studio Orel Hershiser, a card I needed for my new "Bulldog" coll...
Wait. You're telling me Studio lasted until 1996?
Got me there.
Rule #2,723 of my collection:
You can't go wrong with pre-war reprints.
Judging by the inclusion of this pair of beauties, I guess Jim noticed my gushing over novelties like these. What we have here are reprints from the 1909-11 T202 Hassan Triple Folders series, a design later featured in the 1993 Upper Deck B.A.T. checklist.
The one on top features Eddie Collins and Frank "Home Run" Baker, two of the better players of their time. The bottom features a more curious pairing. Ed Walsh, the man with the lowest career ERA ever (1.82), is coupled with Fred Payne, a fairly pedestrian outfielder who only played six seasons in the bigs.
It's a pipe dream of mine to own a real one of these things someday.
Jim has a knack for including one WOW card in every trade package he sends.
For a moment, I thought this Garvey would be it. Fan Favorites, '84 Topps, and a great "autograph" shot all rolled into one. In a perfect world, Garvey would be featured as a Dodger.
Hey, you can't win 'em all.
I've seen and lusted over this card in the past. It felt great to finally have it in my collection thanks to Jim.
Little did I know it was only a preview to the real WOW of the package.
I even don't know where to begin with this masterpiece.
Let's start with the obvious. It's freaking Al Hrabosky. The Mad Hungarian. One of my favorite players to collect and a man who doesn't have nearly enough cards on the market. I can probably count the number of post-playing career issues he's had on one hand.
Couple that with a rare shot of Hrabosky in those awesome late '70s Royals jerseys. This is only my fourth card of him as a Royal and the first that wasn't issued during his career.
It comes courtesy of the fantastic Topps Retired Signature brand. One of my dreams is to find an entire dime box stuffed with these things one day. I'm still waiting for that fantasy to come true.
Oh, and let's not forget that this is a mini-collection hit, either. "The Mad Hungarian" is casually sitting on top of a dugout signing autographs for a bunch of young fans here.
If I were to revise my "Top 100" countdown from way back, this one would most certainly make the cut. Probably pretty high up the list, too, if I had to bet on it.
Just...wow. That's all I can say.
See, this is why I could never be a part of a closed-off community. Blogging and trading go hand-in-hand.
Writing about great trades like this one is a thrill that never gets old.