Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Blind boxing

I was hit by a sudden storm of cardboard a few weeks ago.

You may remember the gargantuan box that reader Wes sent me. A generous selection of cardboard treasure arrived from reader Michael the following day. Then, the day after that, another big box showed up on my doorstep.

This one came from Bo of the terrific blog "Baseball Cards Come to Life!". We've traded on a few occasions in the past, and he's managed to come up with a perfect mix of cards each time. Bo kept most of the contents in this latest box secret, though I did know a few things were coming.

I made an offhand comment in an earlier post saying that I had every solo Topps card of Ron Cey apart from his '84 issue. It was the only roadblock in the way of completing what I call a "Topps set" of "The Penguin".

A short while later, Bo offered to send me a spare '84 Cey. This box was in my hands a little while after that and, poof, my Ron Cey project was finally complete.

Cey is a good example of why I limit myself to solo cards for "Topps sets".

I'd have to chase this one down if I extended it to multi-player issues.

One thing I like about Bo is that he seems to read my posts with an eagle eye.

I mentioned a growing affection towards earlier Studio designs in another of my past write-ups. Like he did with the '84 Cey, Bo contacted me a short while later and offered to throw some extra Studios into the box he was preparing for me.

One of the more interesting pieces he included was the very bro-tastic shades shot of Rob Dibble. Bo balanced things out with a nice card of the mild-mannered and much more likable Jim Abbott.

I'll take Abbott over Dibble a hundred times out of a hundred.

This trade was born when I sent Bo a couple of my UD Masterpieces want lists.

He responded by knocking out about 95 percent of the ones I needed, including the Evan Longoria rookie you see in the center. Tropicana Field is one of my least favorite parks in the bigs, but UD managed to make it shine on that card.

As is the power of Masterpieces, I guess.

Other than that, I had absolutely no idea what Bo was sending.

I can't say I made many blind trades like this one when I was on the forums. They weren't really a thing over there, and I don't know that I was too fond of them at the time anyways.

In the blogosphere, however, almost every swap I make is a blind or at least partially-blind trade. And I absolutely love it. The mystery of not knowing what might be inside a package is a big part of what keeps me going as a collector and trader.

One of the first things that caught my eye was the amount of oddballs Bo tossed into his latest box. The way this sweet Mattingly glows and shimmers makes it better than most of the mainstream designs that were on the shelves in the early '90s.

Although I still think Mattingly's 'stache deserves an oddball on its own.

More oddball fun.

Add Jimmy Dean to the list of food-based oddities in existence.

I'd had a few of these in my collection before Bo's box arrived, but these two beauties inspired me to do a little research into what exactly they were.

Apparently, these come from the 1989 Kahn's Cooperstown Collection checklist. The fact that the set includes arguably my favorite Negro Leaguer in "Cool Papa" Bell earns it a ton of bonus points in my book.

Though these came out in 1989, Kahn's reused a Donruss image from eight years prior for that Stargell.

Further evidence that recycling isn't anything new.

Part of what drives me as a collector is trying to figure out what a photographer was trying to do with a specific shot.

It's obvious that whoever captured that '89 Fleer photo was trying to highlight Steve Lyons's quirky personality. You can see his nickname of PSYCHO scrawled across his batting gloves.

What Fleer was going for with the Grant, however, is anyone's guess.

Here. Take this bat. And the glove. Lean over a little bit. Now yell at that guy in the outfield.

I think we got it.

The sheer oddness of these two make both perfect additions to my frankenset.

Which reminds me, go and vote in the new frankenset format if you haven't already.

Bo absolutely nailed the mini-collection portion of this box.

One of the finer hits he found was this astounding shot of Dennis Eckersley in 1960's A's throwback gear. Just when I think I've discovered everything 1993 Upper Deck has to offer, I find more.

It's the set that keeps on giving.

Don't sleep on 1990 UD for mini-collection hits, though.

These spectacular "double dip" and "bat barrel" shots are among the better ones you'll find.

I'm particularly fond of the Smith for the Wrigley Field ivy in the backdrop.

There are plays at the plate, and then there's Dave Gallagher.

He looks like a steam engine coming down the baseline, bowling over that poor catcher without breaking stride.

The Mondesi is a new addition to my "broken bat" mini-collection, and one that is easy to miss without looking closely.

Thankfully, I had the trusty eye of Bo to scope it out for me.

Here's a couple new hits to my "interview" and "autograph" themes.

The Evans is about the third or fourth "interview" shot I've seen from '82 Topps alone.

The mini-collection train kept on trucking with these "pitcher at the plate" and "anthemic" finds.

I spy a lot of empty seats behind Mr. Sampson there.

Bo even scoured the backs of a few cards to hunt for new mini-collection heroes.

This 1991 UD Gary Gaetti is definitely one of the better flip sides I've found. It's a great coup for my "cards with kids" mini-collection, and the only one I own that features one, two, three, four little 'uns.

The one on the far left even appears to have the beginnings of a mullet going there.

That's the '90s for you.

It's tough to single out a specific favorite from Bo's box, but this one might be it.

I didn't know about this card until fairly recently. It slipped under my radar in when it was originally released 2008, which is shocking considering the amount of Topps I bought that year.

I've been digging through dime boxes ever since in search of Taylor Buchholz and the Pirate Parrot. No luck. Until Bo came along, that is.

This shot is just so silly. Part of me wonders if this was originally intended to be a serious photo session. Maybe the photographer spotted the Parrot wandering around the ballpark halfway through and said "Hey, how 'bout a quick photo with this guy?"

The more I look at this card, the more I love it. It's exactly the type of fun, loose image that I wish Topps would use more often these days.

We can only take so many game-faced action shots.

I'll spill the beans and say that the streak of three straight days of boxes ended after this wonderful assortment from Bo.

As you might guess, all that cardboard made for a great deal of vigorous scanning, sorting, and organizing. I spent hours in solitude with my newfound cardboard in the days following.

I wouldn't have it any other way.


buckstorecards said...

The Mark Grant is obviously a late 80s attempt to turn Mark into a two-sport superstar. Sadly, the second iteration of the San Diego Gulls was a year or two away.

Bo said...

I'm glad you like it! Did you notice that there were several zero-year players in there, too?
Also, take a very close look at the card Stottlemyre is signing on that Stadium Club card...

The Junior Junkie said...

Dennis Eckersley had this amazing pose that made its way onto a lot of awesome cards