I wish I could sit here and tell you there's a specific story behind the 824 different things I collect, but that'd just be a lie.
As time passes, the reasons for hoarding some of the stuff I chase become fuzzy, and sometimes dissolve all together. Yet the desire to collect them remains, as does the excitement. But once in a while I'll be flipping through a binder and ask myself why DO I collect him?, not having much of an answer. This doesn't make me regret any of the collecting decisions I've made over the years, but it does make me wish I could time travel back to the exact moment I decided that player or theme or whatever was going to join the ranks of my collection.
Because for every Ichiro and Mark Fidrych - guys who have left a substantial footprint on my life - there's a Sonny Gray.
While Gray has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence here in 2023 - he's currently leading the league in ERA - his good-but-never-spectacular career is like dozens of other solid pitchers I don't collect.
So, then, why Sonny Gray? I...can't tell you, exactly. I remember liking something about his very 19th-century-sounding name when he first came up as a rookie, but that doesn't explain why I still chase his cards almost a full decade later. He's also not the kind of guy who gets major airtime on this blog - I offhandedly mentioned collecting him in a recent post (probably for the first time in "Dime Boxes" history) and, bless his hart, Jim (aka gcrl) of "cards as i see them" fame was paying attention, because a smattering of Sonny Gray cards showed up in my mailbox shortly after.
I love when fellow bloggers note even my most dashed-off sentences, and safe to say my life with 2023 Topps has been off to a very Sonny start (oof, sorry).
Jim also threw in a few friends for the ride, including a couple Shiny White Sox and more 2023 Topps fun.
Given the state of prospecting these days, I don't expect to ever have a huge Wander Franco collection, but I sure was glad to add that double dip to my binders.
These go along nicely with an earlier PWE I received from Jim that I'm long overdue in showing.
I've only recently learned that "color matching" is a term people use for parallels in card speak these days, and between the red border and the red jersey, I think that Dickey is a color match...yes? Am I using that right, kids?
A few other randoms from Jim - Reggie Jackson oddballs always rule, but man was there any product he didn't appear on in the early '90s?
Unlike the Sonny Grays of the world, I can tell you why I collect both Jody Davis and Dave Winfield.
Given the local connection, I collect almost everyone who made any kind of impact with the Cubs, and Davis was a fan favorite here in the '80s. As far as Dave Winfield goes...are there really people out there who don't want his cards? (If there are, I'll gladly take any cast-offs.)
But even collecting guys doesn't exclude from me from needing incredibly obvious cards of said players - which is why I was overjoyed and relieved to see these two former Dime Box Dozen suspects fall out of a recent PWE from Mr. Shlabotnik of "The Shlabotnik Report."
With the Dime Box Dozen dudes came a few recent inserts from Shlabotnik HQ to cross off the want lists - I still can't quite get used to seeing Juan Soto on the Padres, which, of course, makes me want his Padres cards even more.
I'm so behind in posting that I often have a backlog of multiple mailings from the same people sitting in my trade folder, as is the case here.
I've slowly been draining Mr. Shlabotnik of spare 2005 singles since that year marked a rare hiatus from my baseball card life, and a few more showed up in this PWE - including a rare and much-needed Devil Rays Hideo Nomo sighting!
Between generosity and discount boxes, I've crossed out a huge number of 2023 Topps insert needs at this point, way more than I have for past Flagship releases (thanks, overproduction!).
Surprise Mike Trout cards always do my heart good.
Despite the incessant hype, I just couldn't resist collecting Julio Rodriguez - he's a major part of baseball right now, and the best way I can attempt to explain my binders is that they try to document where the game has been, and is going.
One thing I've always loved about the blogs is that we don't really care about names or value around here - people on Twitter have heart attacks over anything Julio-related, but Mr. Shlabotnik saw this card on my want list and sent it to me, just like that. As is the beauty of the level-headed blogosphere.
So yes, send me your Sonny Gray cards, send me your Jon Garlands, send me those obscure under-the-radar dudes a few of us remember - they'll have a good home here, even if I won't be able to tell you exactly why.