Thursday, September 24, 2015

The mini-National

I guess a small part of me has always lived in the past.

I mean, heck, I'm still waxing nostalgic about this year's National, and that was almost two months ago now. Admittedly, some of that is due to the painfully slow pace of my trade posts lately. But I'll take any chance I can get to replay my day at the National in my mind.

As I've mentioned in past posts, I got to meet up with Brian of the fantastic new blog "Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary" at this year's convention for a while. We shared a dime box dig together, and went hunting for discount vintage after that.

Brian's a great guy, and, although the experience of meeting him first-hand would've been more than enough for me, we did swap some cards. I didn't get a chance to look through what Brian gave me until I was on the train ride home, but I can say that what I found was like a mini-card show packed into a little white box.

It was so perfectly crafted to fit my various collecting needs that I almost didn't believe it. Since this year's National was in Chicago (and given my Cubs fandom), it seemed appropriate that there were Cubs of all sorts in this box.

This fantastic Jim Edmonds oddball comes from a series of sheets that were issued with the Chicago Tribune for a few weeks in 2008.

Brian made the transition from oddballs to reprints with these two.

The Grace has long been one of my all-time favorite Cubs cards (since when did he wear #53?), but I've yet to track down a real copy of Ryno's rookie.

Then again, I haven't looked very maybe I should get on that.

My favorite current Cub was covered with this quartet of Rizzos.

I love the odd sight of him as a Padre, but I think that sparkling Team Italia beauty is my favorite of this bunch.

Brian also introduced me to the "Starting Points" insert set from this year's A&G.

As opposed to most of the huge insert series A&G has felt compelled to thrust into their checklists in past editions, I actually kind of like these. I've always enjoyed cards of big stars as baby-faced rookies, and this set presents the possibility of unfamiliar uniform sightings as well.

This batch certainly has that. Adam Jones as a Mariner, Chris Davis as a Ranger, Rizzo as a Padre (again), and, my personal favorite, Jose Bautista as an Oriole.

It's easy to forget that Joey Bats was basically a Quadruple-A guy when he came up...and that he played for four different teams in his rookie season.

Also included was a boost to my new Shooter collection, including my first card of him as a Padre.

I've since acquired a truckload of new Becks thanks to a recent Just Commons order, but that's for another post all together.

Brian jumped aboard the random train for a bit as well.

I dare you to find any type of cohesion between OPC Fernando and Deivi Cruz chillin' with the Tiger mascot.

That's why random rules.

I've always loved the sheer beauty of these A&G relic designs.

The little square swatches of fabric play second fiddle to those elegant black borders.

From there, Brian's mini-National veered into the world of mini-collections.

Here's a nice quad-paneled Jeets double dip that mimics one of the oldest double play cards I own.

Like so many other people I trade with, Brian has shown himself to be a mini-collection king.

All four of these were treasured adds to my various themes, and I especially love the rare shot of a double dip at the hot corner with that Buechele.

A couple pitcher-centric mini-collection hits here.

The Brown might be the strangest PATP I own for the obvious fact that it looks like he's giving birth to an opposing baserunner at home plate.

At this point, I'm almost out of breath writing about all the fantastic cards Brian bestowed upon me at the National.

There were that many, and we haven't even gotten to the best ones yet. The more current cardboard is great, but Brian really packed it on with the vintage. This '79 Topps Dave Parker had been sitting on my Dime Box Dozen list for a couple months at the time.

Brian made sure to put an end to that.

The Cubs-themed cards carried over to the vintage with these two.

I managed to track down a good number of those awesome '60s Greats of the Game singles at the National, but that Tinker had eluded me.

Until Brian came along, that is.

This is a sticker.

Apart from that, I have absolutely no information on this magnificent oddball. It certainly looks old. It smells old, too.

Yes, I smell my baseball cards.

This is where Brian started to bring out the big guns.

You mean to tell me that he dug up not one, but two new vintage Ron Santos for me? In one trade package?

No, not possible.

I was almost disappointed when this fell out of Brian's mini-National box.

I'd just spent my entire day trying to track down a '65 Topps Luis Tiant rookie (it was one of the Elusive Three, after all), and Brian had one waiting for me all along. Aw, shucks.

But right when I was about to chalk it up as a dupe...

...I flipped it over.

And my jaw dropped. Check out what it (partially) says in the bottom right corner. Printed in Canada.


Brian's big quest as of late has been to build the '65 OPC set (he's within two now), and, somewhere along the line, I guess he came into a spare of this Tiant. I could care less about the condition...because, heck, I never dreamed of owning a copy in the first place.

I came into the National hoping for the base Topps version of this card, and walked out with the Topps and OPC in my pocket.

You'd think that'd be the best Brian's mini-National had to offer.

I did, too, until I saw Hoyt here.

Brian did something that the National couldn't do, in that he added a new Hoyt to my collection. But it wasn't just any Hoyt. It was a vintage oddball Hoyt.

At first glance, this looks like a standard Post oddball, but what you see here is actually a 1962 Jell-O Hoyt Wilhelm. It looks a lot like its Post cousin (which I did already own), but the black font and different stat box gives it away.

The Jell-O singles are also quite a bit scarcer than the Posts, which gave me all the more reason to jump for joy and thank the baseball card gods that I know people like Brian. In my mind, I'm still at the National.

With friends like Brian, can you blame me?


Tim B. said...

Incredible trade Nick!

Zippy Zappy said...

Man that twist with the OPC Tiant was amazing.

Tony Burbs said...

I remember my grandmother collected up all of the sheets for the White Sox/ Cubs Chicago Tribune set that the Edmonds comes from as they came out in each edition and then gave them all to my little brother. He didn't even collect baseball cards at the time - I was peeved. Funny how that stuff sticks with you.

Also, I believe Grace wore #53 in Spring Training before his rookie season; but, I'm not 100% on that.

A magnificent trade package overall though!

Jon said...

Don't feel too guilty about wanting to live in the past. It is often a better place to be.

Brian said...

Awesome - I had slowly been building that box after I made the decision to go to the national. I have another box for Jeff from 2X3 Heroes which I just need to tape up and get to the post office. Once again, it was great getting a chance to meet a fellow blogger and talk collecting!

Big Tone said...

That Grace Is also one of my favorites.Pretty much anything with a rookie cup on it, is these days.

Adam said...

That is one epic trade. That Luis Tiant is fantastic, even with the creases and tears.

Robert said...

Great package! I wish the Pirates would find a way to bring back the gold uniforms from the late 70's early 80's

Julie Owens said...

Brian is a magician! Super sweet cards!