Thursday, September 17, 2015

National dreaming

I already miss the National.

It's nothing short of cardboard heaven for collectors, and a small, kooky voice inside my head is telling me to start stowing money away so I can fly to Atlantic City for the 2016 National. I've always kind of had an inkling to see Atlantic City one day, and baseball cards would give me a perfect excuse.

Even if I do go next year, however, the trip is still eleven months away. The good news is that I can still live through both the cards I physically acquired at the National, and others I received in the mail right around the time I attended.

I was lucky enough to make two in-person trades at this year's convention, one of which was during my first meetup with longtime blogger buddy William of the terrific blog "Foul Bunt." (The other trade I made will be featured in an upcoming post.)

I had a big box of Orioles and others that I'd been saving for William for north of a year, so it was nice to finally get those in his hands. Better yet, he was nice enough to put together a team bag full of cardboard for me.

I picked up the base card of this 2015 GQ Vlad at the National, and now I have the mini to go along with it.

I can say with 100-percent certainty that this is the only Puddin' Head Jones card I own, because I think I'd remember if I had another card of a guy named Puddin' Head Jones.

On the right is one of the strangest photos you'll ever see in this hobby. It's actually a new addition to my sparse "Tribute to 42" mini-collection, but I'm not sure that was why William included it. You'll notice that it's technically an Ian Kinsler card, only Kinsler is nowhere to be seen in that particular photo.

I guess that's one way to get creative with the unlicensed photos in 2010 Upper Deck.

William closed things out with this Jim Abbott from 2011 Leaf Limited, a set I had no idea existed in the first place.

It's numbered to just 299 copies, and, despite the lack of logos, I love it.

Because any new Jim Abbott card is a treasure, plain and simple.

I had a handful of PWEs arrive on or around my day at the National.

Even with the stacks of gems I unearthed at the show, much of what I found in the envelopes did manage to stand out on its own. The first comes from Tim of the fantastic "I Love the Smell of Cardboard in the Morning," a blog which is sure to be in the running for Best New Blog of 2015.

Like William, Tim kicked off this PWE with a new addition to my Vlad collection with this nostalgic mini from 2005 Topps Cracker Jack.

I have very fond memories of opening packs of Cracker Jack in the backseat of my mom's car, hence the nostalgia.

I'd specifically requested these from Tim a little while before this envelope showed up.

This is the entire six-card 2015 White Sox Kids Club set, which includes five players and one goofy-looking mascot.

I don't get the chance to acquire many current oddballs these days (not many are produced to begin with), so having this group in my binders is a real treat.

From there, Tim went to work on my mini-collections.

Here's Donnie Baseball signing for a gaggle of Yankee fans.

I still think he needs to grow back that 'stache.

A couple for the "pitcher on the basepaths" and "double dip" themes, and the Kendrick is actually the first Toys 'R' Us parallel I own from any year of Topps.

I don't live near a Toys 'R' Us, and it doesn't seem like many other collectors have the urgency to go to one to get their baseball cards.

Luckily, Tim does.

This envelope produced my first and second purple Toys 'R' Us parallels, and I think they're fantastic. Like the Kendrick, this Salvador Perez is a treasured mini-collection hit (this one of the "interview" variety).

I never thought purple could mix with baseball cards, but Toys 'R' Us proved otherwise.

The final PWE of this post came courtesy of reader extraordinare Mark Hoyle.

Mark told me he was including one particular card in this envelope (which we'll see in a bit), but the rest he threw in were all surprises.

The GQ mini parade continued with this one of my personal favorite Cub, Anthony Rizzo.

There's another Rizzo sighting, this time of the blue foil Opening Day variety.

I've been collecting Javier Baez since he came up last year, and I have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised by his improvements after watching him as a September call-up here in 2015.

Hopefully he'll become a regular in the big leagues sometime soon.

Jorge Soler was a bit of a disappointment this year.

I had high hopes for him, but, although he was a decent bat in the lineup, the power never really came.

No matter, as I'll still collect him all the same.

Mark's PWE wasn't limited to just Cubs.

This outstanding Opening Day "Superstar Celebrations" insert captures the ice-meets-skin point of impact for Adrian Beltre.

I'm a big fan of 2015 Opening Day's "Stadium Scenes" insert set, and Mark was gracious enough to throw a couple of those my way as well.

There's no way to know for sure, but the card on the left could be from a Dodgers-Cards game I attended last July.


Ten thousand points to A&G for that.

Mark is the king of vintage oddballs, and this trio of 1969 Topps Stamps cemented that title.

I have absolutely no idea how to store these, but they're still cool nonetheless.

This was the only card I knew Mark was sending.

I announced my intentions to track down a '75 Yaz at the National, but Mark did me one better by offering to send one of his dupes to me. This isn't a particularly rare or expensive card, and I'm not quite sure how I hadn't tracked one down as of last month.

Thankfully, this whale of a PWE put that mystery to bed once and for all.

While the chances are minimal that I'll be able to attend the 2016 National, I'm going to try my darndest to go.

If not...well, I always have these special PWEs that only the blogosphere has the magic to produce.


Zippy Zappy said...

"I don't live near a Toys 'R' Us, and it doesn't seem like many other collectors have the urgency to go to one to get their baseball cards."

I'm fortunate to have access to a mall that has both a Target and Toys R Us and I can say this definitively, nobody bothers to buy cards at Toys R Us because they're overpriced. Unless you have a coupon or gift card or just happen to stumble across a discounted blaster box/rack pack, the prices at TRU are roughly 15% more than at regular retail prices.
Plus they shrank the number of purple parallels that came with each blister pack down from three to one and yet the price is still the same.

P-town Tom said...

I have a Toys R Us in town and I haven't bought cards there in over four years. ZZ is correct, overpriced and one parallel card isn't a good reason.
It's a shame, too, because there's actual kids looking to buy things in the store... It should be a good way to get the number of young collectors growing. No?

Salgado said...

I gotta my hands on those Cubs stamps.

Anonymous said...

Hey Nick, I'm also having dreams of making it to Atlantic City next year! Glad you liked the stack I sent over this time around. For the record, I figured the cost of the TRU series one packs was worth it since there were three purples in each pack. The series two switch to a single parallel at the same price point has definitely turned me off though.

Tim B. said...

Sorry, I have no idea why that last comment posted as anonymous instead of me.

GCA said...

Aww, I'm jealous of the Puddin' Head Jones. I started a collection of him a couple years ago mostly to explore earlier card types. Figured I'd pick an interesting player. His Bowmans and Topps aren't too hard to find, but oddballs like that....

Mark Hoyle said...

Enjoy the Yaz

Josh Liss said...

The picture from the Cardinals Stadium card is from August 6th, 2013. I google searched "llinois valley central high school marching band national anthem cardinals" & it came up with a school newsletter from May of that year saying that they would be performing the Anthem on August 6th prior to a 7:05 game vs. LAD. The lighting in the picture seems to back this up. Also, as a Phillies fan, I'm extremely jealous of that Puddin Head Jones ;)