Without a scanner, I doubt I'd have this blog -- a good 99 percent of the images I've shown in my years here have come via basic scans.
But every once in a while, my scanner just doesn't cut it. Whether it's a picture of a binder, a card show, or even sometimes an elusive photo of yours truly, I sometimes have to revert to my phone camera. This recently happened with a couple jaw-dropping trade packages I received from Tom of the excellent "Waiting 'til Next Year" blog. The first of these mailings, as you can see, contained a couple Cub-branded food items: a bag of sunflower seeds with Javier Baez on it, and a Ron Santo Ale.
I'll probably keep the seeds as a Cubs memento (I've honestly never been much for sunflower seeds), but I drank the Santo Ale the very night Tom's package wound up on my doorstep -- I'm no beer connoisseur, but it hit the spot after a day of work.
You can also see a team bag of cards from Tom in that picture, which gives my trusty scanner a chance to get back into the action.
Appropriately, the seeds and beer came with a couple food-themed Ryno oddballs, presumably dupes from Tom's legendary Sandberg collection.
A couple vintage Cubs, including a well-loved LaCock! (Hehehehehehehe.)
I received a second large box from Tom just last week, and the contents of it just about knocked me to the floor.
Inside, I found a few dozen loose SI for Kids pages, as well as a trio of the magazine's recent issues, completely intact. I've mentioned it before, and I'm not exactly proud of it, but I used to steal the cards from the SI for Kids magazines in my grammar school's library. I still own most of that pilfered cardboard to this day, and they all remind me of those moments of my childhood, for better or worse.
And in a kind of full circle scenario, I once again have semi-regular access to SI for Kids stuff: I'm sometimes asked to switch out and recycle the old magazines at the Barnes & Noble where I work, and I always pray that SI for Kids is one of the due outs since that means I get to snag the page of cards (it's not stealing, we're allowed to do it!).
The pages Tom sent were almost all of the early-to-mid '90s variety, a few years before I started swiping them from the school library (most of the ones I stole featured a completely different design).
Until this, I've basically had to live on finding SI for Kids cards here and there in dime boxes, which has happened maybe a half-dozen times (at most) over the years. So you can imagine how insane it was to see a whole mess of pages at my disposal like this. It was unlike anything I'd ever received in a trade package before.
Though I'll only be keeping the baseball cards (I have a slew of non-baseball ones available if anyone wants them), the sheer act of separating and tearing apart those perforated pages took me right back to my youth, of the fun that could be had from those flimsy photos of '90s heroes (with a few war-era legends thrown in for good measure!).
And while those SI for Kids pages already brought this package into the realm of the legendary, Tom just couldn't stop there.
You might notice a few other loose cards in that above photo: that's because Tom hit not one...
...but FIVE(!!!) of my Dime Box Dozen needs.
A lot of these have been sitting on my list for many months, some longer. The Kline was probably the most gratifying to receive. Aside from being a card of goofy greatness featuring a semi-obscure Dude I Collect, I've had the Gold Medallion parallel of it sitting in my Expos binder without the base version since before I started this blog...which means it's been on my want list for at least a good eight years. To think of a need like that being put to rest by Tom, completely unsolicited and by surprise, is almost overwhelming.
The cards themselves are excellent, but I don't think my scanner could've conveyed just how thoughtful and incredible these packages from Tom were: because the picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.