Friday, May 8, 2020
The Card Barrel Quarantine Era continues
I've always been a bit of a homebody, so I'll admit this quarantine probably affects me way less than other people who crave the outdoors a bit more.
The thing I miss most is probably the ability to add to my card collection at will. If I was itching for new cards and had some money to spend, I could always go to a local card show. Can't do that anymore -- predictably, I'm really starting to miss card shows. I haven't been to Target in weeks, and I know it's not much of a tragedy since there aren't any new cards coming out. Ebay's fine but I don't use it much, and my Sportlots activity is sporadic, at best. COMC and Card Barrel are my two main online card outlets, and with COMC out of commission for the time being, that leaves Card Barrel as my main card supplier of the Quarantine Era.
I just received my second Card Barrel order in the span of a few weeks -- the fact that I received maybe two or three orders from them all of last year should tell you how stir-crazy I'm going for baseball cards right now.
Like the Denny's Mo Vaughn at the top of the post (it's still hard to wrap my head around Denny's giving baseball cards away), these are all new cards for some of my top-tier player collections.
The Gooden fits right in with the whole "wrong number" theme I posted about recently -- apparently he wore #64 in Spring Training with the Mets in '93 to try to recapture some of the magic of his youth.
An accomplishment: this order put me at over 9,000 cards for my mini-collections in total!
I somehow missed the Franmil Reyes during my first run through this year's Heritage checklist -- it's a brilliant nod to the similar Vada Pinson PATP in '71 Heritage (complete with a Yankee catcher and all!).
And speaking of Heritage, these four completed my "News Flashbacks" set for the 13th consecutive year.
I've never been much of an All in the Family fan, and I don't love The Doors as much as a lot of other classic '60s bands, but no matter -- it's a pleasure putting another Flashbacks set to bed!
One of the many tragedies of card collecting is that there are cards I want in sets I don't particularly like, but one of the beautiful things about Card Barrel is that I can just cherry-pick said cards for loose change.
The recent two-way player phenomenon has thrown a bit of a wrench in my "pitchers at the plate" mini-collection, but for now I'm still including guys like Ohtani and Michael Lorenzen under that umbrella (not to mention the Lorenzen also features a throwback jersey!).
I was so surprised by how much I liked the couple 2019 Bowman Heritage cards I bought in my last order that I pulled the trigger on a bunch more this time.
That Scooter Gennett was a nice diamond in the rough: I completely forgot the Reds traded him to the Giants late last year, and that's the first (and only) card I've seen of him in the uniform.
I suppose I'm doing my best to clean out Card Barrel's inventory on '97 Upper Deck -- seriously, I just love this set so much.
Much like the "wrong number" curiosities, I'm also partial to "wrong position" cards -- '97 UD documented the one(!) inning Archi Cianfrocco caught in his entire big league career, as well as Darren Daulton...the outfielder?
But '97 Upper Deck isn't just about the quirky and weird of the baseball world -- it's also got a ton of just plain nice cards.
This order had everything from DB Coopers to wrong positions to, yes, zero-year cards -- Eloy Jimenez (sadly) never got to play for the Cubs, and Michael Kopech came to the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade before his big-league debut.
And for some reason, I really like finding early Pro Debut cards of young stars -- I think it has something do with the fact that the minor leagues have otherwise been all but ignored by card companies in recent years.
Same goes for Heritage Minors -- that Schwarber was the most expensive card of this order (a whole $1.25!) but absolutely worth every penny.
I can't help but smile every time I see Conlon cards -- these were some of the first cards I bought when I first got back into the baseball side of the hobby, and, more than any other set, they've taught me about the game of the past and the guys who played it.
I've since picked up pretty much everything I need from the '91 and '92 Conlon checklists, but I'm still missing a bunch from the later ones -- these are all from the '93 set and feature such old-time greatness as The Big Train and a card of Connie Mack with a cameo from dead-ball legend Big Ed Walsh(!).
This order featured just a single Fan Favorites card, but boy was it a doozy.
As much as I may miss card shows and such now, I have a feeling that when I do look back on these weird times, I won't so much remember the cards I didn't get -- it'll be the ones that, against all odds, I did manage to get, mostly through survivors like Card Barrel, that stand out and cement themselves in my memory.