Monday, December 12, 2016
You've got a friend in me
Yesterday, I gifted a stack of baseball cards to a fellow baseball-loving coworker of mine.
As far as hometown teams go, he's a Sox fan, but he also likes the Astros, and as far as players go, he's partial to past 'stros like Jeff Bagwell and Hunter Pence. (Most of the stack I gave him was comprised of spare Pences I had lying around.)
It felt good to physically hand baseball cards to someone I know. Rewarding, in a way. I have no idea if my gift will inspire him to buy more cards here and there in the future, but at least I can feel good knowing I did what I could for now.
Part of the responsibility of a collector, I think, is to try and expose as many people to the hobby they appreciate and love so much.
As you probably know already, however, that's not always easy when it comes to baseball cards.
It's a pretty limited hobby. I personally haven't had a card-collecting friend since about 7th grade. I've tried several times since then to pass the bug onto some of my other baseball-loving buddies, but it just never panned out.
Though I've often wished I'd had a close friend to share the hobby with over the years, this blog has helped close that gap a bit with all the great people I've (virtually) met. One of those blogger buddies is reader Michael P. who has been nice enough to drop quite a few large boxes of cards on me, his latest being a thick brick of cardboard I received around the time of my hiatus this year.
This most recent box included the GQ Abreu mini at the top of this post, as well as new hits to my player collections of John Olerud and the late Oscar Taveras you see here.
Michael also supplied some psychedelic '90s action here with a Bobby Bo Pinnacle Shades insert and a Bulldog from the always polarizing '95 Fleer checklist.
You can always get on my good side by sending me some millennium-era Pacific, because cards like these have turned out to be surprisingly tough finds these days.
A couple super early images of some future superstars, including a jarring image of A-Rod in what looks to be some kind of minor league reincarnation of a White Sox cap.
I've never specifically set out to collect errors, but I certainly won't turn them down when people like Michael send them my way.
That's HOF catcher Rick Ferrell on the left, as well as perhaps the most defective baseball card I've ever seen on the right. (Actually pictured: Mark Grudzielanek.)
I wouldn't say that horizontal cards are objectively better than their vertical counterparts...just that they have a higher potential to be.
Michael was gracious enough to throw a couple unopened packs of Panini Triple Play into the mix as well.
This set has become a staple of scrap heaps and dollar store repacks everywhere -- I have quite a few extras that I could supply to any budding card-collecting friend I may make in the future -- but I'll always have a soft spot for it.
Also included was a hearty helping of '92 OPC Premier singles.
It's not the most dazzling set ever made, but between Jim Abbotts and Rod Beck rookies and Andres Galarragas (as a Cardinal), I still found quite a few pieces to add to my collection.
(You'll have to take my word that the McCarver is a treasured OPC, but it is.)
Most trade packages I receive these days has at least a little mini-collection flavor to them, and Michael is certainly an All-Star when it comes to those.
Here's a fairly famous Bip PATP that, to my complete and utter surprise, I found that I didn't already own.
A handful of panoramic Opening Day inserts for my anthems collection.
A couple for the bat barrel and tip of the cap themes (and the Dunn is actually a refractor, despite what my scanner is trying to tell you).
Even though it's seven years old now, 2009 Upper Deck OPC is still one of the last sets that I feel was truly made with novice collectors in mind.
Cheap packs. A large base checklist. A small number of insert/parallel sets. Lots of fun images, including this former Dime Box Dozen need of (pitcher) Jake Peavy scampering to third base that I was ecstatic to see fall out of Michael's trade package.
I feel like one of the reasons it's hard to entice new collectors into the hobby is the sheer fact that many of them wouldn't know where to start. Let's face it: with gobs and gobs of inserts and parallels and what-have-yous in seemingly every set these days, there's not a whole lot of simplicity available for the novice collector.
I truly believe having a set like 2009 OPC available to the masses again might entice people like my coworker to pick up a pack of baseball cards, whether it be once a week, once a month, or once a year.
Along with a little urging from longtime card collectors like you and me, of course.