I feel like I've been saying this all the time lately, but...I have a couple more announcements regarding my posting habits on the blog.
1) You may start to see more late evening/nighttime posts (like this one) show up as, due to work and school, my usual 6-7 P.M. blogging window isn't open much these days.
2) I do apologize to everyone who has sent me great cards over the last couple months because I've once again fallen hopelessly behind with my trade posts. I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but some of what you'll see in this post arrived nearly two months ago.
I mean, I have three separate posts to write on just the small packages and/or PWEs that have been hitting my doorstep. It's about time I showcased these wonderful cards people have been gracious enough to send me, because, if I've learned one thing around here, it's that good things can indeed come in small packages.
The Luis Aparicio insert you see above came from Gavin, the guy you might know as the mind behind the terrific blog "Baseball Card Breakdown."
The "Looie" was actually a throw-in with these two, which I had specifically requested from Gavin.
I loved the idea of reproducing the '68 Topps Game design in this year's Archives, and I couldn't help but pounce on these two Cubbies. And, as an added bonus, their correlating actions (if anyone actually plays the game anymore, which I highly doubt) are quite fitting.
Rizzo's currently leading the league in hit-by-pitches, and Javier Baez is a strikeout machine.
Gavin helped me out with my new "Shooter" collection as well.
I had recently placed a Just Commons order (which has yet to arrive) that included north of 50 new Becks for my collection, but I don't believe any of those were older than these two.
The '92 Ultra on the right lists "Shooter" as a rookie, but the '89 Star minor league issue on the left outdoes that one by a good three years.
Am I crazy, or does Rod Beck look like an alien without his famous facial hair?
These two Panini Cooperstowns came courtesy of a small PWE I received from my buddy Zach of the great blog "The Underdog Card Collector."
The Cooperstown brand may be defunct (for now), but I do still need singles from its inaugural offering in 2012.
There really should be more Whitey Herzog cards.
These next few gems came from the man who is generally regarded as the PWE King of the Blogosphere, none other than Jeff of "2x3 Heroes."
If there was one saving grace to the God-awful Donruss brand, it was the ability to say HEY TOPPS! We have Ichiro cards and you don't! HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!
But now they can't even say that anymore. Ichiro showed up in this year's A&G after assumedly signing a contract with Topps sometime in recent months.
So now Donruss is completely worthless.
I don't believe Jeff collects "autograph" shots, but I do know that, like myself, he chases "broken bat" cards.
He gifted me a new one with that Billy Ashley (a dupe, I assume), which I almost missed at first glance.
Jeff surprised me with a second PWE not long after that first one, and this quartet of Golden Age minis fell out of it.
My favorite of the lot here is probably the Joe Tinker, although the Arnold Rothstein (the big money behind the 1919 World Series fix) is no slouch.
Note to, well...everyone: If you have any spare Golden Age minis lying around, I'm always in the market.
Jeff made it a Panini-centric envelope with this Diamond Kings "Wee Willie" Keeler.
I'm still deciding whether I like the brand or not, but this one is pretty darn nice.
Next up is a PWE I received from Brian of the terrific "Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary" blog.
Brian has quickly made himself known as one of the better bloggers and traders around here, and he gifted me what can be described as nothing short of a legendary box of hand-picked cards during our meeting at this year's National. But that's for another post which I'll be writing very soon.
Before that, Brian dropped a smaller envelope on me in the standard through-the-mail way.
I've always enjoyed this "Masked Mauraders" subset, and the fact that this one features Brad Ausmus (a top-tier player collection guy) is an added bonus.
Here's not one, but two new "anthemic" cards...from the same set, no less.
Looks like Stadium Club had a brief obsession with these types of shots in 1995.
The parade of PWEs continues with these two from Weston of the awesome "Fantastic Catch" blog.
I already had the Vlad, but I wanted to show it again to bask in the glory of how oddly-shaped that "All-World" insert series was.
The Rendon "bat barrel," however, was all new to me.
Now we've come to a PWE from my single most frequent trading partner here in the blogosphere, Mark of the legendary blog "This Way to the Clubhouse...".
I have a hazy memory of Mark and I actually emailing one another and setting up a specific, concrete trade once, but that was a long time ago. We simply surprise each other with unannounced PWEs now.
He certainly caught me off-guard with this reprint of former Sox manager Paul Richards. What you see here is actually a reprint from the oddball '54 Wilson Franks set, which, as you can tell, drew heavily on the design of 1954 Topps.
Now that I think of it, you don't see reprints of oddball releases too often, do you?
Mark added to the fun with a couple brand new mini-collection hits here.
And I feel compelled to share the secret every time I post a Sportflix card: scan your 3-D cards sideways for better results.
I feel out of breath (in a writerly sense) with all the great traders I've given credit to in this post, and the last of this bunch comes from Robert of the spectacular "$30 A Week Habit."
Robert recently took a brief hiatus from the blogs, but I'm happy to see that he's back and chugging along again. He was nice enough to hit me with a GQ-based PWE as of late.
When you combine minis and Mr. Cub, it's hard to go wrong.
I've always said that Gypsy Queen is among the top in the insert game these days, and these two add fuel to that train of thought.
I love this year's "Walk Off Winners" series, and I'm positive that Dykstra will be fighting for a spot in my Cards of the Year countdown come December.
We close with a serious head-shaker on the part of Topps.
Listen: I always love throwbacks, and this is a most-appreciated addition to my Cubs binder. But as if the fact that "The Queen's Throwbacks" concept is a ripoff of the "Franchise Flashbacks" from Opening Day wasn't bad enough, this is the exact same photo Topps used for Anthony Rizzo's card in that Opening Day series.
In summation, Topps used a recycled photo for a recycled idea. But, at the end of the day, Rizzo is Rizzo and a throwback is a throwback, and I'm happy Robert chose to send this one my way.
Whew. Seven different trading partners in one post...and that was only one of three PWE marathons I'll be writing in the next handful of days.
Looks like people really are getting the most out of their stamps these days.