Friday, May 29, 2020

Free Card Friday #2

Another Friday, more free cards!

Everything in this post is up for grabs (including the above Expos trio) to anyone who wants them. Guidelines for the claiming process is all detailed in the first Free Card Friday post. Also, if you're not a regular trade partner of mine, please email your mailing address to me at nickpecucci AT gmail DOT com.

I've already ordered some stamps and hope to start getting these out sometime next week -- if you'd like to keep on building a stack past then (I plan on doing these posts for the foreseeable future) I'd be glad to do that for you.

And so, without further ado, here's what's on the block this week.

Page #1

Notes: Early '90s Baseball Card Magazine inserts (the Expos trio at the top of the post is also a BCM card).

Page #2

Notes: Minor league cards, past and (relatively) present.

Page #3

Notes: All of these are '70 OPCs -- the one in the middle is an Expos team card (note the tinted back & French text!). Not in the greatest shape, but not terrible either. I also have quite a few more of these if there's a specific team you're looking for.

Page #4

Notes: The staple of any good dime box...random stuff! Chavez is an X-Fractor, Ibanez is one of those retail-only Heritage black parallels from what seems like forever ago.

Page #5

Notes: Star power! Alomar is the infamous Devil Rays zero-year sighting, Fidrych is a sunset card.

That's it for this Free Card Friday -- claim away!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Trading with the family, biologically and not

This quarantine has forced me into a notable blogging first: I made a trade with my dad!

With social distancing and mask-wearing and all, I haven't been able to see Dad in the flesh since this whole Covid thing started, which obviously sucks. But nothing, it seems, can stop his usual card-giving ways, since he's taken to sending me cards in the mail as of late. Not long after I mailed him his latest collection of Music Cards from Gavin, I found this strange custom my dad had somehow stumbled upon and purchased online (the design reminds me of one of my all-time favorite oddball sets, now that I think of it).

John Dillinger is a rather infamous figure in Chicago's crime-filled lore, and growing up around the city you can't help but hear his name quite a bit -- but I still had no idea he once played minor league ball!

I've never heard of these customs before, but they sure do feel and look like actual baseball cards, complete with outstanding backs!

I particularly like how this bio is written in the present, as it was for Dillinger in 1924, way before his crime sprees in the days when he was an everyday newlywed and auto mechanic -- certainly a card I never thought I'd have in my collection.

Dad is still working his vendor gigs at Target, stocking cards and other items for people who haven't stopped their retail-buying ways amidst the quarantine.

Thankfully, Dad always manages to pick up a few packs of whatever he stocks before the retail hounds can get to 'em, which was the basis for another envelope he sent me in the mail recently with the contents of a few 2020 Gypsy Queen packs he snagged.

I still don't much like GQ, but I'm thankful to open packs of anything in these strange times -- stuff I actually need, like a Rizzo parallel and my first card of Sir Didi on the Phillies, are pure bonuses.

For me, the biggest surprise of the limited 2020 card calendar this far has been Topps Stickers, because I have to say I actually like these...a lot.

I don't know how much of that is due to having almost no other current products out there right now (probably at least a little bit). But when I've had to go to Target for groceries as of late I've always thrown a few packs of stickers in my sanitized hand basket. They're cheap (99 cents a pack!) and good for a little innocent fun, plus the design is kinda nice and way more colorful than anything else Topps has put out this year. Dad's even sent me a few sticker packs through the mail as well.

I used to not like that Topps puts two different guys on the front and back of each card (it's weird pulling a card of Anthony Rizzo with some random dude like Gary Sanchez on the other side) but I've had a good amount of fun mixing and matching the stickers and backs as needed -- even though it tests my OCD, I guess as long as the guy on the flipside isn't a "binder guy" I can consider it an Anthony Rizzo card, and only an Anthony Rizzo card.

And hey, these stickers even brought out the extremely small crafty side of me as well.

These League Leader stickers come two per card, and since I don't have much use for them that way, I stuck them each to separate pieces of scratch paper to create, voila, two DIY mini cards!

In addition to Dad's cards, I've also received a good amount of PWEs from my non-biological (or so I would think) blogging family over the quarantine months as well.

I was victim to another Zippy Zapping from "Torren' Up Cards" that included my first 2020 Utz card (still have yet to find these in the wild here in the Midwest), and I'll be the hundredth person to say that I like these way better than the actual 2020 Topps design.

A Zippy Zapping cornerstone: Japanese cards!

It's a fact that 100 percent of the Card-Gens I own have come via Zappings, and that Miles Mikolas is way cool since, a) I've become a big fan of his, and b) he basically resuscitated his career in Japan after a first failed stint as a US prospect.

Not one, but two Dime Box Dozen needs recently arrived in an envelope from Tom at the "Angels in Order" blog -- makes sense that he'd be the one to send me that Bo (a Short Term Stop/Sunset combo!).

Also I probably own more stuff from 1990 Topps than any other single set of baseball cards, so how in god's name I didn't already have that Griffey is beyond me.

Tom was nice enough to throw in a few recent insert needs along for the ride as well -- I've said it before but I still get way too much pleasure out of the simple task of deleting cards from my want list tab.

Coincidentally, another blogosphere Tom recently sent me a PWE as well that had a pair of Dime Box Dozen needs inside -- this one came from Tom of "Waiting 'til Next Year" fame.

I had the gold parallel of that Vlad without the base version (ugh!) and the Davis is a fairly common base card I somehow hadn't yet added to my new collection of his.

Tom sent this random piece of minor league greatness along as well -- I have no idea who Randy Stein is (apparently he's a four-year big league veteran who played in six games with the Cubs in '82), but that is one SWEET 'stache.

Between cards of John Dillinger, Dime Box Dozen needs, and handlebar mustaches, you just never know what someone might stuff into a PWE -- whether they're biologically related to you or not.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Don't let the dog near your Card Barrel order

I basically have one rule for my pets: Do. Not. Touch. My. Baseball. Cards.

Aside from occasionally knocking over a rogue stack of cards and getting fur under the scanner lid, the (seven!) cats roaming around the house have generally abided. The new dog my mom recently brought home, however, has already broken my Golden Rule. I received another quarantine Card Barrel order last week, and in the middle of sorting, I got up to do something else and left the cards on the living room table. When I got back a few minutes later, the cards were everywhere, and a few of them were absolutely pulverized. This 2020 Total Keuchel -- among the more expensive cards of this order, mind you -- pretty much got the worst of it.

Needless to say, I was not a happy collector -- and while I've since ordered a replacement copy of the Keuchel, it still hurts.

I've always been more of a cat person anyways, and I'm inclined even further that way now.

I don't know how the dog did it, but she went straight for the most expensive cards of the order with these Topps Totals -- note the crease and slight teeth marks on the Maeda. Maybe it's a sign not to spend $1.50 per card on a set that should be for low-end collectors.

Thankfully, the Beckham remained unscathed -- and if you're wondering why I spent good money on a utility guy/fringe big-leaguer, it's because I've collected Beckham since his White Sox days and before this, he hadn't had a Topps card issued since 2016.

I'm also glad the dog didn't get to the other crown jewels of this order, like these excellent SSPCs.

I still need a few of the bigger names from this set, and I whittled that list down by a good amount here.

There's a lot of beauty and weirdness in in this set -- often on the same card -- but I thought I had already covered everything down that road of SSPC.

Apparently I was sorely mistaken -- there's still a whole lot more handlebar mustaches and pitchers with bats and scowling sluggers left to chase!

If there was any kind of theme to this order, it was rediscovering sets I once loved that had, over time, faded into the background and/or sets I wrongly assumed I didn't need any more cards from.

Tristar Obak kinda falls into both categories, because I forget how cool these are until I see them all over again. They cover some of the forgotten corners of some of baseball's biggest names (like Satchel Paige's stint with the minor-league Miami Marlins in the late '50s), and the pre-fame days of huge stars like Seaver and Rizzuto.

That's also my first card of Monty Stratton, a former White Sox pitcher whose career ended when a hunting accident forced the amputation of his right leg(!).

I bought a bunch of Conlons in my last Card Barrel order, but as luck would have it, they restocked 'em with a whole bunch more I needed not long after I received that stack.

These are all from the '93 Conlon set, and once again, I can't help but gush at how much I love these cards.

I also discovered a nice treasure trove of minor league cards on the site this time around, which was a thrill because minor league cards rule.

Card Barrel is always good for some random cards of dudes I collect.

I've been trying to do a lot more cataloging recently, and in the process I realized that I really don't own as many Dave Stewart cards as I should, considering how much I like the guy.

This order changed that pretty darn quickly.

Some mini-collection hits and generally fun stuff here -- I'm not sure how I'd never seen that '79 Borbon before, but it was love at first sight.

More randoms I discovered during a few of the many Card Barrel rabbit holes I seem to fall into.

It sure seems like '92 Bowman is (paradoxically) one of the more scarce overproduction-era sets, so adding anything from those is always a relief -- not sure if that's because people hoard them with all the big rookies, or if they were actually produced in lesser quantities, or both, or whatever, but I rarely see them in dime boxes.

That's also a new one for Derek Bell's infamous "Operation Shutdown" stint with the Pirates, and egad! -- that's a new Keith Hernandez Indians card I'd never seen before! 

But if there was one unifying force in this order, it was easily the huge stack of Metal Universe cards I bought.

Even though they have no reason to exist, and have absolutely nothing to do with baseball other than the players featured on them, I love these goofy things. It's a whole set of ballplayers imagined as weird, wild superheroes in a gluttony of colorful situations -- even for the '90s, it's out there. I also recently learned that Skybox, the producer of this set, was, at the time, owned by Marvel...and now things make a whole lot more sense.

If there's one knock against these, it's that they don't usually scan very well, but considering the job my scanner did with the pile of '96...

...and '97 Metal Universe singles I bought, I guess I can't say that anymore, because here they are in all their strange, colorful glory.

A couple of the superheroes couldn't escape the wrath of the new three-pound dog in the house (look if you must), but thankfully most of them made it into my binders unscathed.

I mean LOOK at this -- it's Rod Beck with four arms!

While the new ones of guys I collect anyways like Shooter and Darryl Kile are definitely cool, perhaps the best part of it all is that Metal Universe me giddy over guys like Kevin Brown and Bret Boone, guys whose cards don't usually excite me very much. That, in a lot of ways, is one of the main jobs of a baseball card set -- get me interested in the cards of players I don't collect, the ones who otherwise barely register on my radar. And while Metal Universe certainly attacks that goal in a strange, fantastic way, it's safe to say they succeed.

Of course, I've already thrown a bunch more cards from this set into my Card Barrel cart -- only this time I'll be sure not to abandon them in a place ripe for a massacre from a tiny dog.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Free Card Friday is here!

Well, it's official: the Free Card Friday craze has finally hit Dime Boxes!

First off, I apologize for getting around to this so late, considering how many cards I've already claimed from quite a few of you generous Free Card Friday hosts out there. But better late then never: everything you see in today's post is free for the taking. I ask but one favor: please do not share this post anywhere online. While I'm more than happy to give these cards away, I want to try to limit the claims to people who actually read this blog, because you loyal readers out there are the reason I'm still doing this blogging thing after so long.

Other than that, I have no restrictions. I'm using the honor system as far as whether you actually read this blog or not, so please try to abide. Claim as many cards as you want, as often as you want. First come, first serve. I'm hoping to do this every week (or at least every other week), so if you'd like to build a stack over multiple Free Card Fridays, feel free to do so. If you'd like your cards shipped right away, that's fine too, just say as much in the comments. Also if you're not a regular trade partner of mine please email your mailing address to me at nickpecucci AT gmail DOT com.

I'm making a note to remind myself to order more stamps right now.

Page #1

Basically, the mechanics are gonna work like Julie's "Pick Pockets" system -- I'm gonna post pages of cards, and the cards are numbered 1-9 from left to right (Rojas would be #1, Howard #4, Boone #7, etc.).

If you want, say, the Steve Busby from this page, comment saying Page 1 - #3 (Busby) or something similar to that. The three '69 stamps at the top of this post are available as well, comment with Hands stamp - Intro or something (take one or take all three!). I'll also post notes for the cards in said page, if applicable. (If you have any further questions, please let me know!)

But enough of me babbling: it gives me great pleasure to introduce Free Card Friday here on Dime Boxes! Have fun!

Page #1 Notes: Oddballs! Mays has remnants of a large red piece of tape on the back. Others are in at least decent shape.

Page #2

Page #2 Notes: Some vintage, with usual scuffs and marks of time. The '62 and '63 are fairly heavily creased, and the '78 Bench has a large crease in the top-left corner. Others are in standard vintage condition.

Page #3

Page #3 Notes: Shiny stuff, rookies, etc. Ohtani is a Big League box-bottom, Matthews Jr. is /999, others are standard refractors/parallels/inserts.

Page #4

Page #4 Notes: Dime Box Miscellany! Big Unit is a GQ SP, Cespedes is a Throwback Thursday card I accidentally bought twice on COMC (nice job, Nick).

That's what I've got for this week. Again, feel free to take as few or as many as you wish. Hopefully there's at least a few in here that'll find good homes.

Claim away!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The anatomy of a zero-year card

Of the many curiosities in the world of baseball cards, my favorite is, and has always been, zero-year cards.

A refresher: a "zero-year" card is a card of a guy who never actually played for the team they're depicted with on said card. They've fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and I was posting about them by the second day in the life of this little blog. As you probably know, I love unfamiliar uniforms, and these are pretty much the ultimate in that category. And in relation to some of the other stuff I collect -- like double play cards and throwback uniforms -- they're somewhat scarce. 

But until a few days ago, I never really studied the different ways and means a zero-year card can come about -- turns out there's quite the laundry list of stories behind these wacky pieces of cardboard.

By far the most common way a zero-year card happens is the case of the bigshot rookie who gets traded before ever cracking the roster of the team that drafted and/or developed him.

Of course, sometimes those rookies turn into huge stars, adding a strange twist to their first cards. When someone becomes a franchise staple, like Anthony Rizzo and Noah Syndergaard have, the sight of them in any other jersey tends to get rejected like a bad thought. But like it or not, Rizzo wasn't always a Cub -- he was traded to the Padres (and became a classic Short Term Stop there) in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, and Thor was dealt to the Mets for RA Dickey.

Hindsight looms large in the zero-year universe, and I'm sure both of those teams wouldn't mind having those trades back.

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose zero-year cards aren't that rare -- I think something like 90 percent of minor leaguers never make it to the majors, which means all their cards are technically zero-years.

And since my zero-year collection is mostly limited to "binder guys," I don't really chase cards of those hundreds and hundreds of nameless rookies. But once in a blue moon I get wind of some story that gets me interested in someone, even if that story doesn't end in a big-league stadium. Greg "Toe" Nash is a good example, and I encourage you to read up on him. He basically got discovered playing semipro ball while working in cane fields in the middle of nowhere.

For a variety of reasons -- both personal and physical -- Nash never did make it to the bigs, but his cards still loom large in zero-year lore.

Some zero-year cards are, admittedly, cards that probably shouldn't exist in the first place.

Most of these involve stars in other sports who excelled in other sports (MJ, Ricky Williams, John Elway, etc.) and wound up on gimmicky baseball cards -- but that doesn't stop me from chasing them, because they're still fascinating (if unnecessary) pieces of zero-year history.

Sometimes zero-year cards come about because the player just wasn't good enough to make that team for whatever reason.

If you go by strictly big-league experience, Mark Prior was a career Cub. But his minor league comeback attempts tell a frightfully different story -- after getting nixed by the Cubs, Prior latched on with the Padres and the Rangers and the Yankees and the Red Sox and the Reds (deep breath) before deciding enough was enough and hanging 'em up.

As far as I know, this Padres card is the only one from that myriad of comeback attempts, and it tells a story way deeper than any stat sheet ever could.

Sometimes zero-year cards are historic.

Curt Flood was traded to the Phillies in 1970, but refused to play for them in protest of baseball's evil reserve clause and sat out the entire year -- thus resulting in what is probably the most famous zero-year card ever made.

Zero-year cards are strange enough on their own, but a select few have wandered into the downright bizarre.

Johnny Estrada was a New York Met for about three weeks between November-December 2007, after having been traded there from the Brewers. Then the Mets then basically said Nah, we're good and non-tendered Estrada, thus making him a free agent. It wasn't a last cut in spring training or a sudden trade or anything that might otherwise result in a card being made -- this was in December of the off-season, meaning that Johnny Estrada was never really close to actually playing for the Mets.

But apparently the checklist for 2008 Topps Heritage was finalized sometime during that three-week stretch, because, wouldn't you know it, there's Johnny Estrada, in all his (nonexistent) Mets glory.

Sometimes injuries create a zero-year card, which makes me feel kinda evil about the pleasure I take in this whole zero-year thing.

Take Orlando Hernandez, who was traded to the Expos in 2003 in the last year of his contract, only to miss the entire season due to arm surgery, never actually playing for them -- but, of course, I still want all the Expos cards of El Duque!

Some zero-year cards exist in a gray area.

Denny McLain played for the Senators in 1971 and was still with the franchise when they moved to Texas and became the Rangers that offseason. Even though he'd be traded to the A's in March, before the Rangers played their first game, it was too late for Topps, who'd already included McLain in their '72 set as a Ranger, thus unwittingly documenting something that never happened.

Even though McLain shows up in the team listing of the Senators/Rangers organization as a whole, I still consider this a zero-year card because my focus is on the jersey, and history shows that Denny McLain never played a game with the Texas Rangers.

And finally, sometimes zero-year cards exist because an aging star decides he'd rather not go down in the long history of once-great players ending up in obscure uniforms.

What they might not know, however, is that their inklings that maybe they still have something left in the take, that maybe they wanted to play one last year don't just get torn from the history books. Roberto Alomar, for example, was a Devil Ray for a couple months in 2005 before deciding to retire in the middle of spring training rather than play for that miserable team. But that didn't stop him from showing up in 2005 Topps as, yes, a Devil Ray, thus preserving that zero-year non-stint in the annals of baseball history.

Maybe my interest in these weird, wild pieces of cardboard is that they, in essence, write a different history of baseball as we know it, create some weird alternate universe -- thus adding another glorious, maddening chapter to what is already a mad, mad world of baseball cards.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The (Second) Dime Box Frankenset Bracket: Our champion

#7 (Page 31) -- 1973 Topps #273 Chris Speier (27 votes)


#6 (Page 6) -- 1999 Fleer SI Greats of the Game #52 Joe Rudi (21 votes)

Well, after darn near two years of page voting and bracketology, the Second Dime Box Frankenset draws to its inevitable conclusion...with our sliding friend Chris Speier looking down at us from the top of the mountain.

I'd be lying if I said this wasn't a bit of a surprise -- given Joe Rudi's demolition of most of the cards he faced in the tournament, I thought he was the favorite. But Speier took an early lead and never looked back, collecting 27 of the 48 total votes for the championship win. He'll be forever enshrined on the sidebar on the blog from here on out, taking his rightful place there under Billy Cowan, the first frankenset king. Let's give him a round of applause as he enters frankenset immortality, shall we?

Still, some questions remain -- first off, if this is the second Dime Box Frankenset, than what card could possibly be keeping Speier out of the first frankenset?

1958 Topps #273 Hal Smith


For reasons I hope I don't need to explain, I fell in love with this card the minute I bought it at a card show a couple years ago. I loved it so much, apparently, that it knocked a future frankenset king out of the #273 slot. This takes nothing away from Mr. Speier -- you could definitely argue that his is the better card, and you might even be right. But alas, such tough choices are both the thrill and the agony of building a frankenset. (The '58 Smith is also the oldest card in either frankenset, I should add.)

Another obvious question: what next? No, I don't have any plans to build a third frankenset, sadly. I like the way the two-frankenset system works -- I think of it as a major- and minor-league deal in a lot of ways -- and I'm worried that a third would start to water down the quality a bit. Besides, I still haven't completed the second frankenset yet (I'm still seven or eight slots short, last I checked). Perhaps one day I'll wake up and decide to spawn the Third Dime Box Frankenset into life, but just not now.

Good news is that I do have another theme idea that involves binder pages and all you awesome readers voting on them. Bad news is that it probably won't be feasible for a while since it's gonna take quite a bit of cataloging on my part (no time like the present though!). In the meantime, I'll probably still have Tuesdays be a "theme day" on the blog, namely catching up with a few of my older themes  I've been neglecting.

Lastly, and most importantly, I'd like to extend a gigantic thank you to all the readers out there who voted on these pages and matchups from week to week over the life of this frankenset. It means so much to me that other people can appreciate these great, wild, and sometimes downright weird pieces of cardboard. And I can't tell you how much fun it's been sharing these goofy frankenset choices with you, and seeing how the polls shake out. It's been perhaps the most consistent joy of my life over the past couple years, and man am I gonna miss it.

And so, as much as I've been dreading saying this, I suppose it was inevitable: the Second Dime Box Frankenset polls are now closed.

Monday, May 18, 2020

(Free Card) Friday on my mind

I must say the recent Free Card Friday fad has been great fun.

With the absence of card shows, the free stuff so graciously offered up by my fellow bloggers has filled a void in my life. It's almost like virtual dime boxing. But not those teasing kind of dime boxes -- the ones I walk up to, flip through for a few seconds, and, quickly seeing nothing of interest, walk away disappointed. Nope, these are good dime boxes, the ones I could spend hours going through.

I've been lucky enough to secure a whole bunch of nifty Free Card Friday goods from a number of different bloggers over the past month or two, but the most prominent of my selections have probably been Brian of "Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary" fame.

In addition to the all-too-fitting golden Goldschmidt parallel at the top of this post (a mini-collection hit!) came these two shiny Darvishes from Brian's Free Card Friday festivities.

I'm not usually a fan of Prizm, but there really isn't enough green on baseball cards these days.

That colorful Scherzer parallel was another Free Card Friday find I knew was coming, but the shiny parallel of Mr. Cub was a complete and joyous surprise.

Brian's most recent Free Card Friday post featured a bunch of stuff I wanted, and I start feeling kinda guilty if I start claiming more than one or two cards at a time -- I can just hear the selfish echo of me saying can I have that one, and that one, and that one, and THAT one when I type out the comment.

But when such great cards are up for grabs, I can't help but do it -- no way I'm letting Thurman Munson inserts or Mark Reynolds parallels slip by me (yes I collect Mark Reynolds, for some reason).

Once again, Brian threw a few complete surprises in with my Free Card Friday spoils.

The Harden is a die-cut parallel from that weird era when Upper Deck seemed obsessed with the letter X, and the Alexei Ramirez is a mini-collection hit and a very welcome new card of a guy I've been a fan of and collected ever since he played for the hometown White Sox.

These were part of a Free Card Friday event Brian held a while back and haven't gotten around to posting until now -- I've still yet to find any of those Walgreens parallels in my area, and if it weren't for Brian I wouldn't be convinced they actually existed.

Also, while I've never been a fan of Diamond Kings, they still beat the hell out of Topps Project.

But Brian's far from the only person who's offered great Free Card Friday stuff on their blog -- these two came from Jeremy of the "Topps Cards That Never Were" blog.

Both cool, but I'm especially fond of that Musial since it's just a beautiful card (doesn't hurt that it's numbered to all of 30 copies!).

This Justin Upton Heritage refractor came from Kevin of "The Diamond King" who recently returned to the blogging business (welcome back!).

I probably shouldn't like chromed-up versions of old Topps designs, but my brain doesn't always listen to reason when it comes to shiny baseball cards.

A bigtime rookie on a Free Card Friday?

Apparently, because I graciously snagged this one for my budding Tatis Jr. collection from Rod of "Padrographs" on one of his Free Card Friday posts -- I'm a big fan of the younger Tatis but it still pains me to think that he was once in the White Sox system (and traded for James Shields!).

John of "Johnny's Trading Spot" has been holding Big Fun Games each Friday for the past few months, and I was lucky enough to get in on a couple.

I won a fun lot of A&G minis in a recent BFG, which coincidentally was the same prize pack I received the last time I participated in one of 'em (and I'm completely fine with that).

I entered another of John's BFGs recently, but like a dunce I forgot about it at thus lost my pick when time ran out -- thankfully John sympathized with my idiocy and still sent me a fine consolation prize of minor leaguers.

There's a few recognizable names in here, an all-star trainer(!), and my first card of Tom Kotchman -- a former coach and scout and the father of Casey Kotchman, one of my main player collection dudes.

Finally comes a handful of cards from Chris of "The Pedestrian Collector" who opened up a box of 1993 Ultra and offered up his extras in a recent Free Card Friday post.

I didn't think I still needed a whole lot of cards from this set, but apparently there's at least four because these stars I claimed were all new to me (I'll never stop confusing it with '92 Ultra, though).

Not long before his Big Fun Game party, Chris also sent me a separate package o' cards that included a nice stack of mini-collection hits (including one of the elusive 42-jersey photo variations from 2016 Topps!).

Chris knocked out a whole bunch of recent needs, including yet another photo variation with the Schwarber and a gold parallel of one of my Cards of the Year for 2019.

And hey, a Dime Box Dozen need!

As I've mentioned before, I recently started collecting Ted Simmons, which means that I raided Card Barrel's inventory for every card of his they had. But for some reason they didn't have a copy of this wildly common '88 Fleer single, which made it a prime Dime Box Dozen suspect and one I'm glad didn't last long on the list thanks to Chris.

So, yeah, you could say Free Card Friday (and its various incarnations) have been good to me lately. And I know that, despite my promises, I've yet to reciprocate the favor and offer my own free cards to the masses. But without revealing too much, let's just say I'm planning on it...soon.

Until then, it's Monday, and I've got Friday on my mind.