Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The oddball machine

I cringe at all the time I wasted not caring about oddballs.

Up until a couple years ago, oddballs were never a vital part of my collection. If I happened to find one of a guy I collected, great. If not, I completely ignored it. 

I'd continue to pick up cards from boring "mainstream" sets like Bowman or whatever other abomination was on the shelves, but God forbid I actually splurge on an oddball. 

I honestly don't know what I was thinking.

I'm fully on the oddball wagon these days, and a lot of that is thanks to the blogosphere. What started as a self-proclaimed oddball "kick" has turned into a permanent part of my collection. People continue to drop awesome oddities on my doorstep, many of which I never knew existed.

Tony of the terrific blog "Off Hiatus Baseball Cards" is quickly cementing himself as one of the blogosphere's oddball legends. We've traded a few times now, and he's never ceased to surprise me with his selection of oddities.

When he decides to crank up the oddball machine, you never know what might come out.

The packages I've received from Tony have led me to question what an oddball even is in the first place.

I think most of us can agree that a disc-shaped card from Holsum Bread (or any food-themed issue, for that matter) belongs to the world of oddballs.

But can a standard Flagship insert be classified under the file of oddities? I used to think not, but I'm starting to have second thoughts.

Much of Topps's Walmart-exlusive series from 2007 honors past oddball designs. This Dice-K (remember him?) pays tribute to some kind of old Japanese set. (The backs don't go into much detail, sadly.)

While it may come from a big box store, this is certainly an oddball to me.

Retired legends make for a classic sub-genre of oddballs.

The Speaker comes from the Galasso Glossy Greats sets of the '80s. I'm not sure many people know about them, but the ones that do can't get enough. Including myself.

They're basically the cult favorites of the oddball world.

I tend to link most minis into the oddball genre.

The sheer fact that they're smaller than a so-called standard baseball card instantly separates them from the pack. While definitely cool, these Fleer minis from Tony brought back a little of my binder OCD.

Exceptionally small minis like the Topps Micro and Cracker Jack releases from the '90s are simply too tiny for a nine-pocket page. More current minis from sets like A&G, on the other hand, are big enough to be binder-worthy for me.

Size-wise, these Fleer minis fall right in the middle. They look strange in a nine-pocket page, but, then again, I'd feel even more strange leaving them out.

Into the binders they go.

I honestly had no idea that 2014 Topps Mini was even out until Tony sent this package my way.

While we might not consider them as such now, I have a feeling that we'll be calling these things oddballs a lot more often in about five years or so.

You might call Kellogg's the king of oddballs.

Few oddball sets have managed to even come close to matching the 3-D mystique of these things. Even in 1983, the brand's dying year, Kellogg's was still churning out high-quality baseball cards.

While everything else from Tony's oddball machine was fantastic, this Brett was by far my favorite of the bunch.

Kellogg's always manages to steal the show.

But the story doesn't end there.

I received yet another package from Tony late last week. And, once again, this batch featured a healthy dosage of oddities.

Tony recently posted a few trade bait cards on his blog. While I always worry about butting in ahead of player and/or team collectors on those types of "COME AND GET IT!" trade bait posts, I couldn't help but pounce on a few of the cards Tony put up for grabs.

Aside from showing off Eck's awesomely awful helmet hair, the fact that this one comes from the '81 Coca-Cola set made it a must-have for me.

The other two cards I claimed came from the wonderful TCMA brand.

This particular checklist honors the 1960s. Ron Santo and Norm Cash were a couple of the premier players from the decade.

I'm still holding out for that dime box full of TCMAs one day.

Once again, though, Tony had to go and surprise me.

While the Eck, Santo, and Cash were the only three cards I claimed, I found a couple other miscellaneous goodies waiting for me.

This particular oddity blew my mind. What you see here is apparently an unused membership card for the Hank Aaron Booster Club. I'm not sure how Tony managed to get his hands on something so obscure. I doubt this piece is listed in any kind of baseball card guide.

I don't know if oddball is even a strong enough word to describe it.

This particular mailer from Tony had a bit of a bulge to it.

The minute I opened it, a small square box fell out. Once again, Tony's oddball machine completely baffled me.

I don't know about you, but I had no idea Topps produced anything like this. As the front indicates, each of these 1992 "Triple Headers" boxes came with a special team ball containing three "superstars". (Gum not included.)

When I popped the box open...

...this is what greeted me.

An Expos team ball featuring Ivan Calderon...

...Denny Martinez...

...and Delino DeShields.

These things are extremely light and have a very Christmas ornament-like feel to them. It's prominently sitting on a shelf in my man cave...er, bedroom as we speak.

From minis to Kellogg's to team balls, I think this entire post can be summed up in two words.

Oddballs rule.


Tony L. said...

I love oddballs. If I weren't a team collector, I'd probably try being a "type" collector to get one of all the oddballs.

I may still do that too!

I'm glad you liked these oddballs, and let me just add...there are more, you know.

Mark Hoyle said...

The triple headers are cool. I grabbed the sox one a few years ago

Matthew Scott said...

Team ball and candy!!!! You can't go wrong.

Anonymous said...

FYI, the Fleer "Classic Miniatures" came in box set form, and last month I got the entire 120-card 1986 set for $1. Haven't had a chance to even look at it, though.