Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A bit of a Scrooge

It's safe to say that working retail for most of my adult life has soured me a bit on the supposed magic of the holiday season.

I still have a soft spot for Christmas itself, but each passing year the lead up to it is met with relief more than anything. The bookstore I work at does the majority of its annual business in December alone, which means far more people and questions and gift wrapping than any other time of the year. I worry sometimes that losing the sentiment of the Christmas has turned me into a bit of a Scrooge. 

Thankfully, I have a number of reminders that there is something to be treasured in the holidays - one being that I was the recipient of a special "Baseball Card Breakdown" Christmas-themed gift from Gavin that have been making the rounds around the blogs.

(Side note: today is my mom's birthday, and Mark Grace happens to be her all-time favorite ballplayer. Happy birthday, Mom!)

The Grace came at a good time since I'm way overdue in posting some other cards I've received from Gavin in the latter half of the year.

I was lucky enough to win a contest on Gavin's blog a while back, and got to cherry-pick a few cards from his trade bait stack as a result. I, like so many fellow bloggers, am immune to the pleasures of Gavin's customs, so of course I had to nab that bubble-blowing bonanza of collection favorite Tony Gwynn.

The Hoffman, however, is very much a real card, and one I've been targeting for a while since it offers a rare glimpse of his zero-year Reds days.

A few other prize claims from Gavin's contest - Reggie is a Burger King oddball, Jenks is an X-fractor (and yet another zero-year card!), and please give me all your Topps Retired Signature cards.

Gavin threw in a few bonuses with my prizes, including these two that get me a couple steps closer to this Pro Cards MusiCards set I'm kinda sorta trying to complete.

(Though I have to admit I've never been a huge Led Zeppelin fan, he says, ducking the fists about to come.)

A separate envelope from Gavin saw a few more excellent customs come my way, including this beautiful Kellogg's-That-Never-Was Dave Winfield rookie.

Winfield ended up wearing a lot of uniforms in his career, but I don't think he looked half as good in any of 'em than he did in the old yellow-and-black Padres jerseys.

A few other customs that are actually reprints of real cards - only technically, however, in the case of that Dick Allen, which was a Topps proof that never officially made it to market.

(Editor's note: I've since acquired the real deal of that Walewander, and the two look great next to one another in my Yankees binder!)

And here's the part where Gavin gave me a heart attack.

Yes, friends, that's indeed a true Ron Santo auto from Topps Retired Signature. It takes a lot for me to get revved up by an autograph card these days, but damn if this card doesn't do it. A beautiful on-card signature of one of the greatest Cubs in history, and longtime favorite of my collection. Hard to believe anyone would send this card free out of the goodness of their heart, but that's Gavin for you.

With friends like these, I really don't have much of a reason to be a Scrooge - please remind me of that this time next year when someone asks me if I can gift wrap 18 different books for them.


Mike said...

Wow,great stuff from that good dude...the Allen & Gwynn cards are spectacular!

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

Yes indeed, that Santo is sweet! Have a great New Year!

night owl said...

Your mom and my mom shared the same birthday.

I haven't worked retail in a long time, but Christmas time was certainly an adventure. It gave me my first glimpse at exactly how insane the general public is. However, I kind of liked working then, lots of adventures and shared stories with co-workers about the loonies.

defgav said...

Glad you like, Nick!

Ha, I have a ton of MusiCards dupes I'd be happy to thin out on you, just say the word.

The Walewander oddball, as you might've guessed, was a custom reprint requested by our mutual friend Alex T., and of course I had to print out a 2nd one for you while I was at it. Very cool you landed an original, as I know that was a big whale of Alex's.

Pretty sure the Santo auto was among the cards I had hoped to hand off in person when I was in your neck of the woods this past summer, so I had to make sure I bought the heat with something nice.

Fuji said...

Oh man... gift wrapping 18 individual books sounds miserable. But I could see where that Santo autograph could turn your day around.

sg488 said...

Fist thrown,Led Zeppelin IV my favorite album ever, maybe an age thing,I'm probably twice your age lol.

Mark Zentkovich said...


Uncle Charlie's Showbox said...

I worked in a local coffee shop in our small town mall one year over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks when I was home for college.

It was nice learning how to make cappuccinos and lattes, but just a tiny bit stressful!

Laurens said...

Those festive '91 Fleer / penny sleeve customs are sweet looking.

Jafronius said...

Gavin is awesome...great Santo card! Last month was my 20th year at Target, and I totally agree with you...working retail saps my enthusiasm for Christmas. I don't work there as much anymore, but even avoiding the peak days doesn't help. Belated Merry Christmas!

Brett Alan said...

Just want to say that MY holiday was definitely brightened by the 11 year giveaway. That Hoyt postcard is glorious! Thanks again and happy new year!

Jeff B - Wax Pack Wonders said...

Those Topps Retired Signature cards are fantastic, especially the Santo for obvious reasons. I don't think I'd ever seen them before!

Chris said...

That Santo auto is awesome! I see more Topps Retired cards on the blogs than I do in real life/on card selling sites. Wish I could track down a few.

The Winfield Kellogg's card is excellent. Gavin's customs are so sharp I had to re-read your description to make sure it wasn't an actual Kellogg's release!

Jon said...

I'm grateful that I've never worked in a retail setting, doubly so during the Christmas season. With my temperament, I probably wouldn't last a day.