Everybody's talking about wax and packs and cash, and I'm over here buying weird oddballs for 18 cents on Sportlots and wondering why I never gave this site much of a chance before.
I've purchased cards from Sportlots in the past, but they were mostly small orders, a few cards here and there purchased maybe two or three times a year. It was never my go-to place for card shopping. Trying to find cards from individual sellers instead of having one wide umbrella to choose from (a la COMC or Card Barrel) required a cluster of time I didn't want to devote. I'd heard about the new "box" option on Sportlots, where I could basically have a bunch of different orders shipped to a third location and sent to me all together, but I'm too impatient for that - I need my cards now, dammit.
In a time where the card shows and card sites around me seemed endless, Sportlots was kind of the odd man out.
Enter our evil villain COVID.
All my local card sources obviously evaporated last year, which, when paired with COMC's year-long wait times, made my infinite card sources suddenly seem smaller. I decided to give ol' Sportlots another shot - and I'm happy to say that it's flown up the list and become my #1 card site so far in 2021. It's a great place to find cheap singles from new sets I'm never gonna find (RIP Target card aisles), but also a dreamland for unhinged randomness.
Sure, finding individual sellers with wide inventories and fair shipping costs does take a bit of time, but that payoff is sure sweet when you stumble upon one of those lucky few. I've made a handful of purchases this year that rivaled anything I could've gotten on any other card site, one of which arrived in the mail recently.
Call me a Sportlots convert, because where else am I gonna find these excellent Orioles team issues for 18-30 cents a piece? (Including, HOYT and, yes, a new ORIOLES REGGIE!)
I'm thinking this particular seller had some kind of Baltimore connection, because I found these Orioles-centric oddities as well, which were issued as part of some kind of Maryland Lottery program.
Talk about cards I'd never have a prayer of finding here in sleepy Illinois.
One thing I've learned over the years is that team-centric sets are the best places to find the unheralded and forgotten greats who are all but ignored by today's companies.
I certainly don't see Topps putting out any Tony Conigliaro or Bernie Carbo cards in the near future, which made these singles from the 2001 Fleer Red Sox checklist fun to get.
This batch of cards was similar to my other card site orders, in that I honestly can't remember what started it or the specific trails that led me to the cards I eventually bought.
I probably searched "Fan Favorites" at some point - I'll always take those at 18 cents a pop - and the Blyleven is a nice score since you don't see too many cards of him with the Pirates.
If all high-end sets looked as good as Topps Tribute, I might have a harder time ignoring them.
Two questions: is it weird that I'm already nostalgic for Panini Golden Age?
And: do I need to point out the irony of a mini Eddie Gaedel?
As you've seen, most of my purchases revolved around older legends, but I jumped at these from the 2003 UD MVP Update series because I actually don't think I've ever seen 'em in the wild - they were exclusive to factory sets at the time.
This seller didn't have the Greg Vaughn from this set that's been sitting on my Dime Box Dozen list for eternity, but he did help me out with a few others I needed, including a card that reminded me how good Kenny Lofton looked in Cubbie blue.
A few other random oddballs - I returned to baseball cards in 2005, but I never saw those Pack Wars cards at the time, and I still have no idea what one was supposed to do with them.
My favorite Sportlots sellers are the ones with incredibly large and varied inventories - this guy had something like 10,000 pages of cards to sift through(!), which of course means I only scraped the tip of the iceberg here.
Fun discovery: I had no idea Obscure Player I Collect (OPIC?) Mike Remlinger was once in the Seattle system, and that card's a fun addition to my Mariners binders even though he never played in the big leagues with them.
Some random inserts and such - I think my favorite Dennis Eckersley cards might be his Indians ones.
I have a good chunk of what I need from the '90s Conlon sets, but most of the scarcer '80s stuff continues to elude me.
My only complaint with these is that there's no names on the front, but the dead-ball photography and lesser-known player selection (clockwise, from left: Bill Wambsganss, Greasy Neale, Carl Mays, Hal Chase) make these every bit as top-notch as the more well-known Conlons.
I'm one of the few remaining reprint fans out there - but I'll admit that while they're nice surprises in dime boxes, I usually don't shell out the cash to buy specific ones online.
I did, however, have to make an exception for these fantastic Play Ball reprints, because unlike the '52 Mantle and such that we've seen a thousand times already, you don't see these reprinted a whole lot. And to me a reprint I've never seen before is just as fun as getting a "new" card.
Here, we've got Paul "Daffy" Dean, Zeke Bonura, Hank Greenberg, and my first-ever reprint of Ted Williams's rookie card, which seems strange given how often his other cards have been reproduced to death.
And also "The Clown Prince of Baseball" himself, Al Schacht - and how great is this baseball card?!
When I look back on it now, this order alone rivals anything else I've bought on other card sites, and shame on me for never really giving Sportlots the time of day, not seeing all the jewels it had to offer.
I'm just sad it took a worldwide pandemic for me to finally realize that.