I am, by all accounts, much better at night than I am during the day.
Whenever possible, I like to stay up into the wee hours of the morning. I usually catch up on the nightly blog posts in my blogroll around midnight or so because I've found that reading about baseball cards relaxes me and puts me at peace.
One morning, a few weeks ago, a new post popped up right when I was about to shut the computer down for the night. It was, as far as I can remember, around 1 A.M. at the time, and the person who wrote the post was offering up a big stack of minis to the first person who commented.
The person behind that post was the ever-generous Judson of the great blog "My Cardboard Habit," and that first commenter was yours truly...because no way was I going to let free minis pass me by.
The box arrived a short while later, and digging through hundreds and hundreds of different pint-sized pieces of cardboard was one of the more entertaining trade package experiences I've ever had. In the end, I needed about half of what was in there, and a lot of the other half will be going to good homes in due time.
Among the "keepers" was this Bazooka mini of Byron Buxton, my first card of the Twins' uber-prospect.
A&G probably makes the most famous minis in today's hobby, and boy did this box have a lot of A&G.
The nine cards you see above come from various years and insert sets in A&G's long history, and each and every one added to my non-sports collection.
I tried to build a few of these when they initially hit the shelves ("Musical Masters" and "Where Nature Ends," to name a couple), but never really came within a whiff of completing any of them.
Maybe I'll have them done by the time 2020 A&G comes out.
Judson represented most of the recent years of A&G in fine fashion.
The Damon, in some ways, was what first convinced me to pounce on this free lot, because that was one of the few cards I recognized from the initial giveaway post.
Coming from 2012 A&G, it's a sunset card and one of the few Damon ever had as a Cleveland Indian.
The vast majority of the A&G minis in this box hailed from 2013.
These, like the nine-spot of insert minis I featured earlier, helped out my blossoming non-sports collection.
Though I'll admit that, aside from one song, I'm not much of a Black Flag fan.
Yes, this box was mini-exclusive, but those minis were about as varied as humanly possible.
Minis of current stars...
Minis of yesterday's heroes...
(And I apologize for the cut-off scans, because my scanner doesn't cooperate too well with the white borders of A&G...)
A&G back minis...
Regular back minis...
Name any mini imaginable, and it was probably in this box. I'm not exactly sure how Judson acquired all of them (if they were pack-pulled, I can only imagine how many packs he must've opened), but they ultimately found a nice landing spot with me.
Heck, I haven't even tracked down the base version of that Babe Ruth at the center of this scan. I'll have to get on that pronto, because I hate seeing minis all alone without their full-sized counterparts in my binders.
It's like a kid without parents.
And, no, Judson didn't forget the 2014s.
This was A&G's best effort in about five or six years, I think, and it looks even better in mini form.
Judson went heavy on the A&G, but absolutely overloaded on the Gypsy Queen.
I'd say about half of the couple hundred minis in this box were from 2013 GQ, if not more. Yes, for the millionth time, I'm not a Gypsy Queen fan...but, if you've learned anything from this post, I hope it's that I'll take minis in just about any incarnation.
Once again, we have a terrific crop of recent stars here, and I'm particularly excited about that Mo throwback in the center.
(Bonus: I'm not exactly sure why, but seeing that Frazier mini was what finally convinced me to start collecting the Toddfather.)
And, yes, the legend minis were strong with this box.
GQ, admittedly, does seem to provide a nice mix of retired guys. I spy Catfish Hunter, Don Sutton, Monte Irvin, and Bill Buckner (among others) in the same scan here.
I can't imagine those guys appear together in many other sets.
Hey, these are all photo-variation SPs, because I recognized them as obviously being different than the standard base cards, duh.
Ha. Just kidding. I had to pore over a checklist of the photo SPs because, aside from the Rivera, I had absolutely no idea any of these were short-printed. I wish Topps would give these a different border color, change the backs, or do something that would instantly shout SP! SP! SP! at you so I wouldn't have to do all the research.
That's the least Topps could do, because there's no way sane people are going to memorize 300 different images from a single set.
If I was hoping for one specific thing out of this giant box of minis, it was a throwback photo-variation SP from Gypsy Queen.
Lo and behold, out came King Felix here, shown in a fantastic old-time 1955 Seattle Rainiers jersey (a former PCL club).
I let out a holler of victory (yes, I really did) because figured I was holding the best card in this massive stack of minis.
If Hernandez caused a holler, than I'm not sure what you'd call the noise I made when I unearthed the immortal Hoyt.
It's not every day that my Wilhelm collection gets a new boost, and it was made doubly special because this particular Hoyt was actually a short-print in 2013 GQ. (Not a photo SP, mind you, just a boring, ordinary, standard short-print.)
In the end, Hoyt was a terrific and completely unexpected end to what was a spectacular box of minis, all courtesy of Judson.
I guess the best cards come out when the sun goes down.