It'd be an understatement to say 2020 wasn't exactly a banner year for COMC.
The delays and general snafus have been well-documented by many others already, so I'll just say this: way back in July, I remember wanting to put a shipment through with all the cards I'd accumulated on COMC during the year. So I checked the schedules and found my order had an estimated shipping date of mid-January, as in, last month. So, of course, I chose to wait. And I waited. And I waited. Building up my cart all the while, spending money on cards I only "owned" virtually.
I don't think I was ever afraid of COMC going under like a bad stock and losing all those cards -- but I was a bit worried about the great unknown of when I'd actually see everything I'd been buying. I can't enjoy cards virtually. I need them in my hands. A pandemic tends to make things tough for businesses, sure, so I was perfectly content to wait while COMC got everything sorted out. Baseball cards were a very minor concern in the grand scheme of things.
But still, the hunger and anticipation of that card-crazy side of my brain grew and grew as the year went on, especially without any shows to tide me over -- a hunger that finally, near the end of 2020, led me to finally hit the REQUEST SHIPMENT button on the overflowing COMC cart I'd been building since last February.
Given what the shipping windows looked like during that July episode, my order actually made good time -- I think I requested it in November, and it arrived a couple weeks ago, beating the original mid-February estimated date.
If 2020 had been another normal, non-dystopian year, this order probably would've been divided over two or three separate shipments. But we all know that didn't happen, and so my cards came to me in a huge box with about a year's worth of accumulated cardboard inside -- nearly 300 in all. Obviously, I wish things had gone differently in 2020, but holy cow was it fun seeing all those cards show up at once. Every stack I pulled out was a surprise -- oh wow this is so cool! OH WOW I forgot I ordered that! Pure bliss.
I'd particularly forgotten how many minor league cards I bought -- in addition to this quartet came the excellent Ozzie Guillen at the top of this post, the only card I've ever seen of his brief stay as a young prospect in the Padres' system.
I'm just gonna leave these here and try not to think about how many other minor-league jewels are out there right now, floating undetected in the infinite baseball-card universe.
(I'd also like to note that neither of these guys made it to the majors, which somehow makes these cards even cooler to me.)
People scavenge COMC for many reasons, but I mainly use it for the oddballs.
There's just so much stuff there I'd never have a prayer of finding anywhere else -- heck, I don't even know what that Chuck Klein is, or how I found it in the first place, but I'm sure glad it's mine.
For the Did You Know? files: Fergie Jenkins once coached in the minors, and Schottzie (2) received her very own baseball card.
Put those together with a Japanese card of future Mariners closer Kaz Sazaki, and an image of an elderly Cy Young telling a bunch of youths to get off his lawn, and you have a good indication of why COMC remains a prime collecting haven for me.
Regionally-issued cards are always a treat, since I doubt many cards from the coasts show up in the tiny Illinois suburb I call home.
Modern oddballs don't have near the aura that surrounds Drake's and Mother's Cookies cards of the past, but they still exist, and deserve our attention.
That Ichiro was given out as a wrapper redemption at an All-Star FanFest party on the other side of the country, which talk about a card I would've bet good money on never owning. The DeRosa is another West Coast-centric oddball, courtesy of Emerald Nuts, and that Starlin Castro earns the distinction of being the first Card-Gen in my collection not sent to me via a Zippy Zapping.
Also, that Posey is from a set that came packaged with New Era hats a few years ago -- a real steal at 35 cents considering I haven't worn a baseball cap since the 4th grade.
WHOA: a whole sheet of Orioles Reggie(!) including a card of Orioles Reggie signing autographs(!!!).
(Yes, I've since split this panel up into the three separate cards, as god intended.)
More random goodies -- I couldn't really demonstrate it in the scan, but that Mo Vaughn does indeed fold out into a miniature seat (although I'm already dreading trying to stick it into a nine-pocket page).
And yes, another Orioles Reggie!
Here's Babe Ruth with the popular wheels of his day, and a rare Astros sighting of Eddie Mathews, with a box score embedded in for good measure.
Whether intentional or not, it seems like every post I write mentions minis at some point, and this COMC haul sticks to the trend.
Best I can tell, those Yankees cards were part of a stadium giveaway at Yankee Stadium, sponsored by the Wiz (nobody beats him!).
Baseball card ornaments, and baseball cards that come with a pouch for smaller baseball cards (aka "Card-Supials").
Why did Pacific stop making cards again??
This post is gonna go a while, partly because of the year-long accumulation of cards, but also because there's just so many trap doors on COMC, and it's way too easy to fall into 'em.
Photo variations remain a begrudging enjoyment of mine (especially that Rizzo!), and one of my most frequent COMC searches.
If you want a good indication of how much wax is being broken these days, go look for these Silver Pack inserts on COMC.
They're supposed to be somewhat scarce -- you get one special four-card Silver Pack per box, I think -- but none of these cost more than 50 cents, which more fun for me because I think they're spiffy.
I admit, part of me enjoys sticking it to the cash-grabbers when I find supposedly "expensive" cards cheap on the secondary market.
Topps Now singles, of course, retail at $9.99 a pop, but the Ichiro was the priciest of this lot at a whopping two dollars (and well worth it). The Arenado and Kemp were a measly buck a piece, which seems like a steep loss for the seller sitting on those, not that I'm complaining.
That's also the first and only card I've found of Curtis Granderson's brief stint with the Dodgers, and I'm sad it came in a dull Topps Now set that a lot of people might never see.
One of the other fun uses I've found for COMC is picking up singles from the litany of online-only sets that seem to come out every year.
I'm still not sure why Topps asked Bryce Harper to curate a set, or what exactly you get out of being part of Topps's Montgomery Club, but I'll sure take the cards for a few quarters a pop, because they're a lot more interesting than a lot of what's on the shelves right now.
I was a bit skeptical when I threw these newfangled 3-D Topps thingies into my cart, but having them in hand now, I can assure you they're absolutely fantastic up close.
As much as I love Topps's Throwback Thursday series, I can't bring myself to plop down good money and buy them directly from Topps.
Especially when I'm continually finding them on COMC for loose change.
Like any good card source, COMC often comes up big on the vintage front.
It takes a bit more sleuthing than the modern stuff, but there's deals to be had on the oldies -- like this stunning '53 Bowman Color Hank Sauer I found for a scant $1.50.
A few other vintage biggies from the uber-COMC order, including a couple HOFers and a pitcher at the plate I somehow didn't know about until now.
Also my brain hurts a little after seeing that Eddie Yost -- I've had his standard portrait card from that set in my binders for years, but apparently '62 Topps features a few photo variations which seem to exist for no other reason than to confuse us poor collectors.
If I use COMC for vintage, and I use it for oddballs, then it only makes sense that I'd use it for...vintage oddballs!
Another chapter in the Things I Learned From COMC chronicles: there's OPC versions of the famous '69 Deckle Edge inserts, which, as seen with that awesome Dick Allen, feature distinct black facsimile signatures and less-deckled edges.
A downside to buying cards online is that it's sometimes hard to tell what size said cards are.
You can't really tell from the scan, but both of these cards are oversized (the Dent is particularly massive) -- I won't be able to slip them into standard nine-pocket pages, but they're still welcome additions nonetheless.
TCMA and Kellogg's, two of my vintage oddball heroes.
The SSPC brand is basically a one-year wonder, but people kinda forget they had a few other releases throughout the '70s.
These four (Luis Tiant, Tommy John, Ron Blomberg, and Bake McBride) hail from the less-common '78 SSPC team checklists, and darn if that Tommy John isn't one of the strangest baseball cards I've seen in my life -- the sour face, the knock-off T-shirt, everything.
SSPC also issued a couple smaller sets in 1975 -- I'm not sure if they're actually that rare or what, but I seem to have trouble finding these for anything I'd call affordable prices.
Thankfully, COMC helped me land a couple spectacular '75 SSPCs of a couple of my favorite '70s dudes with Dave Kingman and Dick Allen here.
At just a hair over four dollars, this beauty of the late Tom Seaver was the "big-money" purchase from my year-long COMC saga, and the rightful star at the end of a towering stack of cards.
It's been almost exactly a year now since I dropped the first card from this order into my COMC cart. Obviously, best case scenario, I would've like to have had it on my doorstep a lot sooner than the 12 months I ended up waiting. In the end, though, I'll admit it was a whole lot of fun seeing a year's worth of COMC adventures all wrapped up into one nifty box, and mesmerizing myself all over again with the cards waiting in that box.
But still...let's just hope my next order makes it here before 2022.