Some of you may remember my discovery that the son of one of my college professors is a card collector.
Had I been better prepared, I would've given him a whole bunch of cards that afternoon this past summer. After all, how often does one get to impact the collection of a budding young hobbyist?
Well, as the card gods would have it, I have that professor for another creative writing course this fall, and, earlier this week, I prepared a special present for her son. I tried making something like a "collector's kit," and I stuffed a little tin box with some penny sleeves, a handful of toploaders, and, of course, a few stacks of cards. (Mostly Cubs, since he's a Cubs fan.)
My professor said he really enjoyed the gift, and, after class yesterday, she gave me a little envelope of hand-picked cards from her son on his behalf, an envelope that included this wonderful note inside. (It says, I believe...Thank you for the amazing cards and card protectors, and includes a few little scribbles of baseball cards.)
The sheer thoughtfulness of the gift was enough, and I picked my five favorites from the stack during one of my afternoon breaks from class yesterday.
#5 -- 2007 Fleer #314 Livan Hernandez
Cards like these take me back to when I was about the age of my teacher's son.
I'd been collecting since the age of about eight or nine, but it wasn't until about eighth grade that I decided to focus exclusively on baseball. I bought many packs of 2007 Fleer during that period of transition, the brand's swan song.
Seeing cards of "remember him?" guys like Livan Hernandez take me back to those eighth grade days.
#4 -- 1996 Stadium Club #168 Bret Boone
Hitting me with anything Stadium Club is probably a good bet, but I'm especially partial to anything from the mid '90s era.
You don't see these pop up too often these days, and this terrific horizontal Bret Boone is a great example of what I've missed. Although I never did understand why guys wore sunglasses on their caps rather than over their eyes.
Does a good job of making sure that team logo doesn't fade, I guess.
#3 -- 1998 Ultra #130 J.T. Snow
I've collected J.T. Snow for as long as I can remember, but I don't often get new cards of him into Dime Box HQ since the peak of his career came during the gluttony of mid-to-late '90s sets.
This, however, is indeed a prime addition to the Snow collection, and one that features a fantastic landscape image of the former first sacker doing his best to keep a ball fair.
It's yet another piece of cardboard greatness brought to you by the wonderful people at Ultra.
#2 -- 1995 Fleer Update #U-190 Fernando Valenzuela
My newest trading buddy nearly pulled a fast one on me here.
I was almost positive I already had this particular Fernando in my binders, and I very nearly chucked it into my doubles pile without checking. In hindsight, it's a real good thing I did, because it turns out, of course, that I didn't own one after all. I'm sure most collectors can relate to this thought-I-had-it-but-didn't phenomenon.
A new Fernando Valenzuela is great...but one featuring the immortal '95 Fleer design is a hundred times better.
#1 -- 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini #285 Carl Crawford
Hey, a mini!
I noticed when I was flipping through his binder over the summer that my teacher's son liked busting packs of more recent sets. One of the team bags in the gift I gave him earlier this week was entirely filled with loose 2015 singles I had lying around because a) I had no other homes for them and b) I figured it might save him some allowance money.
I guess he was willing to part with one of his latest-and-greatest pulls with this Carl Crawford mini from last year's A&G. It'll take a prime spot in my Dodgers binder.
I probably don't have to tell you how pleasing it is to have a new collecting pal, and I'll definitely be supplying him with new gifts throughout the semester because God knows I have enough extra baseball cards lying around to give him.
Rest assured, I'll be doing my best to make sure he stays a collector for life.