Saturday, August 31, 2013

Flea market freedom, Pt. 1: On my dime

Here's a thought.

Let's say it's Sunday and you have what will most likely be a long week of school and work ahead. Where would you spend that last day of freedom?

That's an easy answer for me.

The local flea market, of course.

In fact, that's exactly where I was last Sunday, just before I started at both a new school and a new job this week. I had a few extra bucks in my wallet and wanted to send summer vacation out with a bang.

It seems like I say this after every flea market haul, but I may have scored my best finds during last week's digs. I've already recapped that "mystery box" I nabbed over the course of this week.

But, for the next few posts around here, I thought I'd recap my buys from my "regular guy" who always seems to have an awesome display of cardboard out every week.

The best part is that he seems to change the dime boxes every week. I rarely, if ever, see the same dime card twice. It's almost always a new selection, which means I never know what exactly I'm going to find.

Take this past trip, for instance. I actually found a new Hoyt for my collection. I have the autographed and serial-numbered "retrofractor" variations of his Topps Super Teams issue, but I'd somehow never managed to track down the base card.

That's a dime box success if I've ever seen one.

All in all, I set another new record at the regular guy's table.

I snagged over 400 cards total from the four gigantic dime bins he had on display last week. (Along with a few quarter, fifty-centers, etc. that we'll get to later.)

The bargain I got may have also set a new mark. I guess I've locked in the "regular customer" discount plan, which means I was only charged ten bucks for what should've been around $40 worth of cardboard.

If I wasn't the one getting the discount, I wouldn't believe it myself.

Among my discounted gems was the Wal-Mart blue parallel of Mr. Hudson here, the only card I know of that features a pitcher in the process of smashing a home run.

It's one of the best of the decade so far, if you ask me.


Oops. These are actually Topps Lineage knockoffs.

Ah, they're still cool. Minis are always welcome around here.

The more, the merrier.

Interestingly, I nabbed both the base and Traded versions of the great Keith Hernandez.

Or, as I like to say, these dime bins got me both ends of the '83 Topps Keith Hernandez doubleheader.

Also included were a couple great additions to my "Short Term Stops" collection.

Jim Abbott's first tenure with the Sox didn't last very long, consisting of just 17 starts in 1995 before being dealt back to the Angels midway through the season. (He'd have a second tenure on the South Side in 1998.)

Bert Campaneris ended his career in a utility role with the '83 Yankees, playing in 60 games for the Bronx Bombers that year.

"Campy" in pinstripes never looked quite right to me.

I scored a decent stack of cards from Pacific's "Tom Terrific" set, but this one was the far and away favorite.


Because it's the only one I've ever seen that documents Seaver's largely forgotten third stint with the Mets.

Of course, "Tom Terrific" enjoyed a number of memorable years in Queens during the '60s and '70s. After a few years in Cincinnati, he went back to the Mets in '83. And, after his '86 season with both the White Sox and Red Sox, Seaver attempted to make a return to the club for a third time in 1987.

Sadly, the future Hall of Famer just couldn't cut it anymore, deciding to hang 'em up before ever playing in an official game for the '87 Mets.

So, yes, I guess this one is a semi-"zero-year" card.

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm starting to buy more and more notable dime box rookies these days.

Although I wouldn't say I collect either Deion Sanders or Johan Santana, I had to have these two. Both were among the most hyped rookies of their day.

I can't say I was around to see the "Neon Deion" baseball craze, but I assume his '89 Topps Traded issue was one of the more sought-after cards at the time.

On the other hand, I do remember the hype around Johan Santana's 2000 Fleer Tradition Update rookie. He was quite possibly the best pitcher in baseball for a few years in the mid 2000's, which made that particular first-year card a highly coveted piece.

Although he's far from a star these days, I never thought I'd find a Johan Santana rookie priced at a mere dime.

As has become commonplace, the dime boxes once again proved me wrong.

With a single in Montreal, Tony Gywnn collected his 3,000th hit on August 6th, 1999.

With a homer in Tampa, Wade Boggs collected his 3,000th hit on August 7th, 1999.

Two of the game's greatest batsmen reached the 3,000 hit plateau within one day of each other. 

That really is amazing when you stop and think about it.

Let's go a bit further back in time with my Hall of Fame flea market pickups.

Although both Winfield and Eckersley would go on to play well into the '90s, I'm assuming both of these shots were taken sometime in the late '70s or early '80s.

As far as all-legend sets go, the American Pie brand will always be one of my favorites.

Which is way more than I can say about the song "American Pie".

Hey, we can even go back a bit further than that.

While Burleigh Grimes and Richie Ashburn are both Hall of Famers, I've heard some pundits question their induction into Cooperstown. Personally, I think both of these guys earned their spot in the Hall.

If a "baseball name" Hall of Fame were ever to open, guys like Grimes and Ashburn would be among the first inductees.

I don't think there's much questioning that.

Can we go even further back, you ask?

Sure can!

My new HOF pickups stretched from the more recent to the dawn of professional baseball. In fact, brothers George and Harry Wright (bottom-left, bottom-center) were members of the 1869 Boston Red Stockings, the first official pro club.

I should probably mention that they went 65-0 that year.

While it's riddled with quality control errors, I've always liked the oddball-ish "Baseball Immortals" set. (It gives off a strong '75 Topps vibe, doesn't it?)

Unfortunately, past greats like Ed Delahanty, "King" Kelly, and "Iron Man" Joe McGinnity have almost nothing to chase outside of this checklist. I'm pretty sure this is the first dime card of "Old Hoss" Radbourne that I've acquired.

Luckily for me, I found at least a few dozen "Immortals" in these dime boxes alone.


Staying on the turn-of-the-century bandwagon, we'll close out today's post with a card of the "Big Train" himself, Walter Johnson.

For part of their short-print checklist in 2010, National Chicle photoshopped past stars into modern uniforms. I'm still torn on how I feel about these.

It's a good concept, but they sure look strange in my binders. I mean, I'll have to mix a Nationals jersey in with my Senators cards. (Although, technically, the original Senators were officially known as the Nationals.)

Still, it's a nice piece of cardboard. And one that I was absolutely shocked to find in a dime box.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of it, however, was the outstanding little nugget of trivia it featured on the back. I have a ton of useless baseball facts rolling around in my head, but this one may well take the cake.

Walter Johnson is the only player to win 20 games and hit .400 in the same season. "The Big Train" went 20-7 and hit .433 for the 1925 Senators.

Amaze your friends with that one.

Such a gem of baseball trivia was just another great chapter in my saga of flea market finds.

It really was a great way to spend my last day of summer vacation.

Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm back...with a new mini-collection

Oh, how sweet it is to be back.

While it may not seem like much to others, I've basically had a week-long vacation from my collection. Not a voluntary one, by any means, but a hiatus that the dreaded school and work combo forced me to take.

No sorting, no organizing, no filing cards away. Nothing.

I haven't even thought about the blog in a couple days. I actually wrote Wednesday's post on Tuesday night, which was pretty much the last blog-related activity I've done since then.

As someone who likes to post day-in and day-out, it was certainly a strange experience. But, I guess that's part of what having a job means. Less time for your hobby, but more money to fund it.

For now, though, I'm work-free on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, which is nice for quite a few reasons. Of course, now I get to finally spend some long-awaited quality time with my cardboard.

And it's pretty darn nice to be sitting here penning this blog post for all of you. Although it was only a two-day break, I missed the subtle joy I get from writing.

As a result, I'm breaking back into my posting habits with a brand spankin' new mini-collection announcement.

Perhaps you might remember the ill-fated "Turn Ahead the Clock" promotion that MLB launched in the late 1990's.

Quite a few clubs created futuristic variations of what their team's jerseys may look like in the year 2021. (Fittingly sponsored by Century 21.)

Now, seeing as how throwbacks have been all the rage over the last couple decades, it was an interesting idea. And a good concept, at that.

But the actual product was flat out atrocious. Goodness, what a train wreck that was. (The similar recent Rays jerseys haven't been much better.)

It was so bad, in fact, that I absolutely have to document it in some way with my collection. So, as of tonight, I'm officially collecting any cards that feature those awful "throw-forward" jerseys.

Admittedly, I'm not sure how many of these things actually exist. I believe I currently own four specimens, including the Tim Salmon you see above. (I featured another in an older post.)

Of course, if you have any of these hidden amongst your extras, I ask that you please think of me. The "Turn Ahead the Clock" promotion was just so goofy. So crazy. So strange.

Which makes it a perfect addition to my batch of mini-collections.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The mystery box, Pt. 2

Just a fair warning, folks.

Until I can get the hang of this whole job and school thing, the vast majority of posts I'll be writing around here will be either the recap of one of my many backlogged trades, or a simple "look what I got!" write-up.

I want to write about my usual, random batch of topics, but I just don't have the time or energy to do so at the moment. I'm planning to get back on my feet with those posts soon, though.

But, hey. Those "look what I got!" posts are quite a bit of fun, too. Right?

Besides, I still have a bunch of flea market finds to gloat about around here. After I posted about "Part 1" earlier this week, I thought we'd look at the second half of that big "mystery box" tonight.

As I mentioned in my initial post about this purchase, the inclusion of so many mid '90s cards is what sold me on the box. More than perhaps any other era of the hobby, there are an absolute slew of under-the-radar gems from those years.

One of the cards that stood out most to me was the '95 Upper Deck Jeff Fassero you see above. It's a great dugout shot, one that features a camera angle we don't usually get to see in this hobby.

Still, that was just the beginning.

There were a whole bunch of great '95 UD treasures left to discover.

Up until now, I've basically been indifferent towards Upper Deck's efforts in 1995. It was a "meh" for me, at most.

After digging through this box, though, the set is starting to move up the spectrum. I think it crossed over from "meh" to "like" territory. It's true.

I like 1995 Upper Deck.

Between the digital clock in the background of the Mike Blowers card, the fantastic "double dips", and the great Manwaring "play at the plate" shot, this far from a "meh" set.

I'm not sure why I didn't come around earlier.

One set I've always been on board with is 1993 Upper Deck.

I still find great cards from this checklist at staggering rates. As I've said before, '93 UD is the king of photography. And, to top it all off, they're fairly easy to find.

There were a few budding stacks in this box, just waiting to be picked through.

I scanned every one of the above cards for a reason, but I think the Dykstra "centerpiece" just about takes the cake here. In a very high-quality shot, there's actually dirt flying off of "Nails" in that beauty.

I can't help but think of Pigpen from Peanuts.

As far as single sets go, 1994 Topps was probably most prevalent in this mystery box.

I found at least a couple hundred of these during my dig, both of the base and gold variety.

For reasons I can't quite explain, I've long wanted Eddie Guardado's '94 Topps issue. I found about three copies in this box alone.

Plus, I absolutely love the Bob Feller decal cameo on the Tino Martinez. There should be more of those on cards.

Speaking of which, mound conferences have never received a lot of airplay in this hobby. The "centerpiece" of this page features a terrific manager/catcher/pitcher combo.

If you ask me, 1994 Topps is very hit-and-miss when it comes to photography.

But, when it hits, it really hits.

I'm still not all that big on 1997 Topps.

Although I this mystery box resulted in quite a few cards from this set, it's not into "like" territory for me...yet.

I'll admit, though, this purchase did get me appreciating '97 Topps at least a little bit more. (As did a recent trade package I haven't posted yet.)

As usual, the "centerpiece" of this page is my favorite of the bunch. Those red "Canada Day" Jays uniforms are certainly out of the ordinary.

All things considered, though, it's still a "meh" set.

For now.

Moving away from the full-page scans, I thought I'd close out the mystery box with one of my favorite topics to write about.

My mini-collections!

Yes, there were certainly a fair share of those to be found. The mid '90s seem to be a great period for my wacky collecting interests.

Take this crazy Scott Servais card, for example. It managed to hit both my "multiple-exposure" and "play at the plate" needs in one shot.

It's the first I've seen of that particular combo.

The Leiter is another combo first for me.

I've never come across anything that combines my "behind the camera" and "cards with kids" themes before.

And, of course, the Clayton is yet another terrific add to my "double dip" collection. He seemed to have quite a few of those during his cardboard career.

For further evidence, just look at the middle-left portion of the '95 UD page I featured earlier.

As I've said in the past, front or back doesn't really matter to me.

If it fits into a mini-collection. I want it.

Sure, the front is preferred, as we have with the terrific L.A. Angels throwback on Brian Anderson. But the back works, too. I'm not one to turn down a "pitcher on the basepaths" card.

In fact, I didn't even discover the back of the Neagle until my second or third go-around through my mystery box. Just another lesson. Always take a look at the "flip sides" of your cards, kids.

You never know what you might be missing.

Oddly, crowning a "Best Of" from this box wasn't all that difficult.

For me, Mr. Vizquel here took the honor without much of a fight.

That's six (count 'em, six) different images squeezed into one single, solitary card. The term "multiple-exposure" doesn't even begin to do this thing justice.

As if that weren't enough, those six (six!) different shots show the beauty of a double play in motion. That's another combo mini-collection need for all of you scoring at home.

And quite possibly the best one I've ever found.

I'll admit, I very nearly balked at the chance to purchase an entire box like this at first. I wasn't sure it'd be worth the twenty bucks I plopped down for it.

But, after having gone through the experience and digging up a shocking number of gems, I'd say it was an overwhelming success.

Worth every penny.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thanks, internet!

It's hard for me to imagine collecting without the internet.

Being a kid of the '90s, surfing the web has always been a part of my life. And, for about ten years now, my card collecting has been constantly intertwined with the online universe.

I have the internet to thank for my early days on the trading forums. I have the internet to thank for the impulse buys that I'm prone to make from time to time. And, of course, I have the internet to thank for this very blog and all the others around the blogosphere.

As I recently found out, though, the web wasn't done helping out my collection.

You see, without the internet, a little set called 1998 Pacific Online would've never been released. And, thus, I would've never found fifty-cent packs of them at my local flea market last month.

Without those, I wouldn't have gotten interest in the Red Sox cards I pulled from that break from Brad, author of the terrific blog "Red Sox Fan In Nebraska". Apparently, the packs I bought were of the red-foiled and tougher-to-find retail variety, something I didn't know at the time.

I offered to PWE Brad the Red Sox contents free of charge, but he insisted on sending something back my way. A few days later, I found a great assortment of random cardboard on my doorstep from him.

In the continuing saga of finding new objects on baseball cards, we have a ball machine making an appearance on Al Leiter's 2003 UD First Pitch issue.

Not something you see every day.

These are a couple of the nicest minis I've received in a while.

Not only do they feature the faces behind two of my most precious player collections, but they're also from the somewhat overlooked 2003 Topps 205 release.

Since the set wasn't around all that long, I don't usually see it get a whole lot of mentions around collecting circles.

But it's always been one of my personal favorite "throwback" checklists.

Don't look now, but it's mini-collection time!

It seems like almost all my trade posts hit this point sooner or later. That's a testament to all the great cardboard hunters we have around here in the blogosphere.

Brad certainly did his part, tracking down this neat "behind the camera" shot of Charlie Hayes from '96 Upper Deck.

I'm still surprised by how many of these things I haven't found yet.

There's a lot more than you'd probably think.

Also included in this assortment were a few great autograph shots.

The "glove on the head" style of signing always earns extra points in my book.

Although I couldn't tell you exactly what throwbacks those are, that's a mighty fine jersey on Olmedo Saenz there.

It's also one of the baggiest uniforms I've ever seen. Very Manny Ramirez-ish.

Interestingly enough, I just told the fascinating tale of Brooks Kieschnick's days as a Brewer in a post this past weekend. He was one of the biggest two-way threats the game has seen in recent years. (Although he was probably a better hitter than pitcher.)

I'm glad to finally have a card of him at the plate.

This one doesn't quite fit into any of my many mini-collections.

Yet it's a card that put a smile on my face nonetheless.

Adding to the "inanimate objects on cardboard" list is both a balance beam and what looks to be a blue ball. I love how the blue ball fits almost perfectly with Ochoa's Mets jersey. What a strange blue ball.

Please forgive my college humor. Let's get off the subject of blue balls.

For all our sakes.

This was my favorite card that Brad sent over.

To start, let's run through a list of Jim Bouton's career accolades.

He won 21 games for the AL pennant-winning Yankees in 1963. He earned another 18 victories the next year for another Yankee pennant winner.

He became an original Seattle Pilot in 1969. Of course, the bulk of Bouton's groundbreaking book Ball Four comes from his stint with the expansion club.

After eight years away from the bigs, he made an unprecedented comeback with the Atlanta Braves in 1978 at the age of 39. (I'm still waiting for a company to make a card of him as a Brave.)

As if all that wasn't enough, the man invented Big League Chew. I went through tons of those pouches during my Little League days.

It's a feat that's documented on this terrific Obak piece. Bouton and teammate Robert Nelson came up with the idea in 1977 during a stint in the minors.

Having seen it a few times beforehand, I've wanted this card for a while. And now, thanks to a few innocent cards from the web-based 1998 Pacific Online set, it's finally in my hands.

That's the internet for you, folks.

It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The mystery box, Pt. 1

Well, day one at my new college was a definite success.

While it's still early, I have a feeling the next few months of school are going to be both challenging and quite a bit of fun. Still, it's nice to be back at my humble abode for the night.

So, what do you think I did the instant I got home?

That's right. I played with my baseball cards. This is really the only time I'll get to do so during the week, so I might as well make it count.

More specifically, I sorted and scanned a few of my favorite treasures from the "mystery box" I picked up at the local flea market last afternoon.

In case you missed last night's post, I scored the huge heap of cards you see above (which were individually priced at a dime each) for a cool $20 from a flea market vendor yesterday. It's the first time I've ever purchased an entire dime box.

All in all, I found about 100 to 150 pieces I would've bought had I actually searched and sifted through the entire bin, card by card. In essence, that means I spent right around five to ten bucks for the sheer fun of digging through the thing.

So, was it worth it?

You bet it was.

Devon White kicks off the first of two posts I'll be writing on this box.

This was one of the very first gems I found. As you'll see in "Part 2", most of my haul was comprised of mid '90s Topps issues, which are a whole lot of fun for me.

In fact, this beauty from the '94 Topps checklist is nothing but fun. I can't say I've ever seen another shot of a guy reading his mail before. I must admit, I'm a little surprised this card hasn't popped up around the blogs a little more in the past.

This was the first I'd seen of it.

I like to imagine that ballplayers dig through their fan mail with a smile on their face.

Mr. White certainly seems to be enjoying himself there.

Thanks to this mystery box, I'm now proud to say that I own the "Cyberstats" parallel of one of the best cards from the '95 Topps set.

You can get a better, non-foil look at it here, but trust me.

It's a masterpiece.

These were certainly a pleasant surprise.

I can't say I find new cards from either the Pacific or Emotion brands much these days. They're not exactly in demand.

While I wouldn't say I love either set, I have a healthy appreciation for each. And it's always nice to find a couple new ones for the collection.

Plus, the folks in charge of the Emotion release used a shot of former pitcher Jeff Fassero posing with a bat.

That's always a plus in my book.

In a big box like this, you're bound to find at least a few oddballs.

This group stayed true to that rule. I probably dug up at least a dozen oddities during this dig for cardboard treasure.

While oddballs themselves are hard to define, is it safe to say that any sticker-related set can be classified under the oddball realm?

I think so.

While they're probably not official "oddballs", these struck me as a couple of the strangest cards I found in the mystery box.

The card on the right is from the fairly common '93 Topps checklist. The name, however, is what grabbed my attention.

Sherard Clinkscales?

Now that's a tongue-twister if I've ever heard one. Sadly, "Clinky" (I'm just assuming that was his nickname) never made it to the bigs. He pitched in the Royals' system for three years in the early '90s before being given his walking papers.

And, no, your eyes aren't deceiving you. That's what an '89 Bowman card looks like without the borders. Apparently, some kid decided to go all Hostess on it with the rather sloppy cutting job.

So, now, I basically have a "mini" from 1989 Bowman in my collection.

If I'm telling the truth, they're actually a whole lot better than those ugly, oversized monstrosities.

This may well be the trippiest scan in the history of this blog.

Courtesy of the '97 Stadium Club "Matrix" parallel set, this Belle is one fancy piece of cardboard. It was in a toploader and everything when I pulled it from the box.

Still, I wouldn't stare for too long.

You might start seeing some strange things.

The mid '90s was actually a pretty neat time for inserts.

I've always liked the one-and-done '96 Pinnacle Aficionado release, but I'd never been able to track down anything from the "Global Reach" series. Thanks to this box, though, I'm now the proud owner of that beautiful Dennis Martinez.

Let me tell you, it looks every bit as nice as the scan suggests.

Die-cuts were still a fairly new phenomenon back in the '90s as well. I'd imagine the Suppan was one of the first of its kind.

So, while the mid '90s may have gotten a bit out of hand, it did still come out with a few neat innovations by the time the dust settled.

To close out tonight's post, I thought I'd show one of the more interesting cards I've ever come across.

When I first saw this piece, I figured it was simply another ad card. I've found those in boxes like these quite often.

Upon flipping it over, however, I discovered this was actually a redemption for a Reggie Jackson autograph card. Yes, you read that right.

A Reggie Jackson autograph.

I see two possibilities.

Either some lucky collector pulled this from a pack of 1995 Upper Deck and didn't send it in for some crazy reason, or it was pulled sometime past the redemption's expiration date.

The latter is probably more likely, but I can't help but wonder about the former.

I mean, the back does say that you had to send this and $5 to UD's mailing address. But if someone's buying packs of baseball cards, I'm sure scrounging up an extra five bucks for a Reggie Jackson autograph wouldn't be much of a hassle.

Still, at the least, the redemption itself is an interesting piece to have. I can't imagine many are floating around these days.

But, yeah, I would've much rather had the Mr. October autograph.

If only I could've found this box back in 1995.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

An open letter to my readers

Dear readers,

Things have been a bit crazy here in Dime Boxedonia lately.

As I've mentioned before, I'll be starting at a brand new college tomorrow. I'm excited. And, I'll admit, a bit nervous.

Of course, one of the downsides to the school year is the time it takes away from my hobby. Although I'll forever be hopelessly in love with cardboard, school always comes first. No questions asked.

After a few great months of soaking up my summer vacation, I was prepared for my blogging to take a slight dip.

Then, just this past Friday, it happened.

I finally got a job.

Within a few days, I was hired, prepped, and given my training schedule for the coming weeks. It's still a blur.

I'm glad to finally be in the workforce. I'll finally be able to start helping out around here with things like school books, cell phone bills, etc. And, of course, I'll have a little extra baseball card cash in my wallet as well.

Still, by adding a work schedule on top of my college classes, I'll have almost no time to blog during the week. I should be okay on weekends, but, at least from Tuesday until Thursday, I wouldn't count on seeing many blog posts.

Which is a shame, because...

I decided to spend my last beautiful summer day at one of my favorite places in the world.

The local flea market.

With the looming time crunches of school and a new job, I devoted the day to digging for cardboard treasure. And, boy, did I hit the jackpot.

As usual, I went straight for my regular card guy. He had four gigantic dime boxes on display, as well as his usual array of quarter, fifty-cent, and dollar boxes. And not to mention a couple miscellaneous vintage bins.

I spent nearly an hour-and-a-half at his table, sifting for gems. (And getting a nice tan along the way.)

When the dust cleared, I'd nabbed over four hundred new dime cards, a haul which included the celebratory David Cone at the top of the post. I mixed in a few quarter and fifty-cent cards as well, which you can see in the toploaders in the above photo.

In terms of quantity, that probably would've been a new flea market record for me. I'm almost positive it set a new mark as far as quality goes, too.

As has become par for the course at my awesome flea market, the vendor cut me a mega-deal as well, charging me all of ten bucks for the lot. That's a little more than two cents a card.

Of course, I would've been infinitely satisfied if those ended up being my only finds of the day.

But they weren't.

I was finishing up my day of treasure hunting just as most of the vendors were closing up shop. As I was getting ready to leave, though, I spotted an guy with unmarked box of cards.

Upon inquiring about the price, he told me that they were ten for a buck. Or, a dime box, in collector lingo. Almost instantly, I found a few huge stacks of mid '90s cardboard, which aren't all that easy to find.

It also quickly became clear that these had been sitting around for a while. A lot of the cards were stuck together. It wasn't bad enough where I'd damage them buy pulling the cards apart, but it would've been quite time consuming to pull each one off the next.

After a bit of consideration, I decided to ask the vendor if he'd consider selling the whole box for 15 bucks. I did this for a few reasons.

1) I'd been perusing the flea market aisles for a good couple hours before this table came along. I wasn't quite up to spending another half-hour pulling all these cards apart at that point.

2) It's a long day for the vendors, too. The place opens up at 6 AM, and it was about two in the afternoon when I found his table. I didn't want to keep him standing there while all the other dealers closed for the day.

3) It sure would've been a ton of fun to dig through all those cards. Besides, I'd never bought an entire dime box before.

To my delight, the guy countered at $20, which was fine with me. I'm not a haggler, and five bucks isn't much to quibble over. That's how I took home that huge box of cardboard for a twenty-dollar bill.

And, yes, I've already dug through it. It was worth the $20.

Unfortunately, dear readers, until I can get a handle on juggling school and a job, posting might be a bit sporadic around here. I take pride in blogging almost every day, so this will certainly be a new experience for me.

Have no fear, though. I'll be around enough. During my free time, I'll try and schedule posts for days when I won't otherwise be able to blog. I'll just have to cut back a bit.

I guess it's just part of becoming an adult.

It had to happen sometime.


Dime Box Nick.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The chain of trading

I swear, some people are just never satisfied.

Without the slightest provocation, the generous souls of the blogosphere just keep on giving and giving.  

And, just when I think it's gotten to a point where they couldn't possibly give anymore, they manage to yet again outdo themselves. Then, they go ahead and top that one. And the next package tops that one. 

And so on, and so on...

It's what I like to call the "chain of trading" (it's a thing now), and it's held true with many of my regular trade partners. The generosity just never ends.

Many of my first trades with some of my better blogger buddies were smaller (yet great), more introductory assortments than anything. As time goes on and as you get to know your fellow tradee a little better, though, the stacks get larger and larger. 

And the generosity floods in more and more.

I know I'm constantly trying to outdo the last batch of cardboard I sent to some of my multiple trading partners. It's part of what keeps me going in the trade market.

I certainly owe Michael (a.k.a. Mr. Spiegel), author of the awesome blog "Nomo's Sushi Platter", a kick-ass trade package for the amazing cards he recently sent me.

It's one of the laws of the "chain of trading".

I've hopelessly lost count of the number of times Mr. Spiegel and I have swapped cardboard.

It's a lot. I know that. And, yes, while he's sent some simply superb batches in the past, I think this most recent assortment was his best yet.

By now, we know what we each collect. Mr. Spiegel has a terrific handle on what I like, which is pretty amazing considering the crazy amount of different things I enjoy.

Even though it's from the atrocious '07 Topps set, the "play at the plate" Scott Hatteberg at the top of this post is nevertheless a supreme addition to that mini-collection. (He sent both the regular and red back variations along, which look fantastic next to each other in my Reds binder.)

While perhaps not the most glorious shot of Joe Torre, the above card is a nice add to my "Award Show" theme as well.

As we all know, the hallowed Commissioner's Trophy is the ultimate in that department.

Hey, hey!


I have absolutely no information on what old-time jersey Jose Cruz Jr. is sporting there. I'm guessing it's some sort of old minor league club. Either way, it's one fantastic card.

The Sox jerseys, on the other hand, I'm more familiar with. The Sox have brought them back on quite a few occasions in 2013. Miguel Olivo wore it quite nicely back in '04, though.

I've said this before, but those '80s White Sox uniforms have always seemed very softball-esque to me.

Between "autographs" and "double dips", the mini-collection hits just kept on coming.

There's nothing quite like seeing a gloveman like Omar Vizquel turning a flawless double play.

Crosstown pitchers at the plate?


I can't ever remember seeing another hurler make an appearance in a home run-based subset, as Kerry Wood does there.

I don't recall many other AL pitchers posing with a bat on cardboard, either, which makes the Buehrle yet another rarity.

And, while we're talking about the White Sox...

Here are a couple South Side gems of the overproduction era.

I don't think I'd ever actually been glad to see a 1991 Donruss card fall out of a trade package before Mr. Spiegel came along. Those epic Sox throwbacks manage to make that awful design tolerable, if only for a second.

The Merullo might be the best card of a backup catcher in history. The guy played in 223 games over the course of six big league seasons. That's a little less than 40 a year on average.

But, for whatever reason, Score decided to reward Mr. Merullo with an awesome "play at the plate" shot in '92, one complete with an emphatic "out" call on the ump's part.

That's the beauty of baseball cards, in many ways.

Sometimes, even the most average of players can have their moment of glory.

Bat barrels!

Big gloves!

The cardboard goodness just kept on coming.

Despite having seen this card a few times before, I'd never managed to track down a copy for myself.

Mr. Hernandez and Mark here make for a wonderful and absolutely heartwarming nominee for my "cards with kids" mini-collection.

And, not to mention, a new frankenset staple.

As new cards of both Vlad and Tom Seaver, these are both great adds to a couple of my most cherished player collections.

I'm just guessing here, but I'd be willing to bet that a lot of the cards Mr. Spiegel sent this time around came from a couple gigantic "monster boxes" he recently showcased on his blog.

Man, would I ever have a boatload of fun digging through something like that.

I'm rather surprised I didn't already own a copy of this one.

It's certainly a famous card. I've seen it featured around the blogs quite a few times in the past, always secretly wondering when I'd be able to get one for myself.

Now, thanks to Mr. Spiegel, I have one of the unquestioned highlights from the underrated '95 Topps checklist.

This Alomar is a take on the "tools of ignorance" that I don't think the hobby had seen before then. It's almost like something from a horror movie.

I mean that in the best way possible, of course.

Ah, Derek Norris.

Welcome to my humble abode.

I was starting to think I'd have to live with my dented red parallel of yours for my collection. And while I'm not a sticker for condition, I'd wanted to add a non-warped, more traditional base version of your amazing 2013 Topps piece to my frankenset binder.

On the surface, the Brooks Kieschnick doesn't look like anything that out of the ordinary. His tenure with the Brewers, however, was quite a memorable one. Here's the little bio from the back of that particular card.

"In 2003, Kieschnick became the first Major Leaguer to hit a home run as a position player, pitcher, pinch-hitter, and DH. On May 12, vs. Chicago, Brooks became the fifth active pitcher to hit a homer and allow one in the same inning."

While Kieschnick was a relief pitcher by title, he often came off the bench to pinch-hit and take his hacks as well. He even DH'ed for a few of the Brewers' interleague contests that year.

Overall, Kieschnick hit .300 with seven homers in just 76 plate appearances in 2003, which is pretty spectacular if you stop and think about it.

His 5.26 ERA that year, however, was far less noteworthy.

Now this is a stupefying piece of cardboard.

I physically laughed when I saw this one fall out of Mr. Spiegel's batch of cards, which doesn't happen too often.

That's former Cardinal hurler Matt Morris getting some exercise in for the day. With a gigantic Earth ball.

I don't know about you, but I've never seen one of those pop up on a baseball card before this one came along.

Whoever thought to feature this shot on a piece of cardboard is a pure genius.

Way to go outside the box, Ultra.

As it happens, we have a two-way tie for "Best Of" in this trade package.

It's a split between two former Cardinals in Matt Morris and Bo Hart.

Hart isn't what you'd normally call a household name nowadays. But, depending on the fan, any name can be a household name.

And, around here, Bo Hart is certainly what I'd call a household name.

As kind of a "flash in the pan" prospect for the Redbirds who came out of nowhere, he was all the rage in St. Louis for a few months in 2003. But, just as quickly as it rose, Hart's star seemed to vanish within seconds.

After a short stint with the Cardinals in '04, he'd be out of the big leagues for good.

It's guys like Hart that have served as sort of the foundation for this blog. I want to get names like his out there again. Forgotten heroes like him make for some of the more rewarding parts of my collection.

Bo Hart, you are most definitely a household name under this roof.

Oh, yeah, and this is an awesome "double dip" shot as well. Almost forgot about that.

As you can probably tell, it was just one great card after the next in Mr. Spiegel's most recent act of cardboard generosity.

Deny it if you want, but the "chain of trading" is real. I think this trade package was proof of that. I can't help but wonder what Mr. Spiegel will have in store once we decide to work out another swap.

If the "chain of trading" is any indication, I'm sure it'll be quite the jaw-dropper.