When I was young, I traded baseball cards in the mail. Living in an isolated mountain town in West Virginia, I would have never been able to do this without having joined up with the Topps Sports Club. That had little ads from people who wanted to trade baseball cards.
The way I remember it, things were much like today - there were set collectors, and team collectors, and some people had player collections even when there was only one manufacturer. I think they used their collecting energies on making scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings and photos of their PC guys. And check this out - I think the majority of those folks were female. Trading was only part of the simple joy of having a Pen Pal to communicate with. Now we all have probably too many Pen Pals, or electronic "Friends" as they are called today.
I'm hoping to discover some old mementos of those days later this year, and share them with y'all. It was a different century back then.
Now we communicate without the mailman, though he still remains key to trading the actual baseball cards. And this year has been great to be able to simply trade baseball cards, without setting up financial accounts on various websites to do it. I silently babble my musings into this liquid crystal display, and days or weeks later the mailman puts baseball cards in my mailbox. Miraculous!
My first trade of the 21st Century came courtesy of Adam at the Thoughts and Sox blog. If you have any old sports pages with a photo of Bill Virdon yellowing away, I'm sure Adam would want to see them. I shipped some 2012 David Ortiz picture cards across the country and Adam sent along an insert card that proved to be the last card in an insert set I needed, even after continuing to way over purchase Series 1 cards due to my Parallel Problem.
I liked this small (15 card) insert set. I like the visual arts. So you would think I would be all over Allen & Ginter, but that set just don't interest me. Not sure why, but 15 hand-drawn cards a year are just about the right amount. Plus, Willie Stargell was in that set, and each card had an interesting player bio tidbit rather than the "Over ten games in late June last season..." dreck. I haven't typed up the card surplus list from this one yet, but I have plenty more of most of them except CC here.
So I guess for me the art of baseball cards is all in the design. So sometimes 1972 is the place I wanna be:
Green, blue & yellow. Nothing to do with Reds. I love it. Oh, I like it when team and card colors harmonize, but I also like it when they don't, though that walks a finer line. I also like how the night game feel survived shrinkage to mini card land. This one though, became yet more surplus cardboard by the time I was actually able to meet up with this trade package in 3D life a good 6 weeks after Adam sent it. Plenty of these '72 minis available too ... how about if you buy too many Series 2 packs, and I'll fill out your Series 1 needs of these (list typed in when else but 'soon', whatever that means). Maybe we can get on the same page just in time for Ultra-Pro to finally make us some binder pages to hold these little beauties. I'll be watching their website closely around the time of the National.
It was actually a teensy bit of a complicated trade with AdamE (thanks again!), as my second and virtually simultaneous trade was with another Adam, as in ARPSmith's Sports Card Obsession. But all players made their correct connecting flights and Mr. Smith helped me with a card I have really been looking forward to scan...
...which turned out pretty nicely, but I think these cards will photograph better. These cards are amazing - one second they're blue, the next they are neon-orange. I was glad to send out an extra card of Stan the Man for this one. Stan Musial cards shouldn't be stuck in some random box for all eternity. I'm getting close to finishing the Spring Fever set and when I do, I think I will celebrate with some full-sunlight shots of their foil goodness. Then I think I will hang them on a Christmas Tree to bask in some pretty lights.
My love of shiny happy people baseball crowds has lead me to collect the Chasing History set in the foil version, which made up the other half of this trade. I can't believe I actually traded for something as dull as an Adam Dunn card. None of us need to see that, now do we? His was almost another pointless acquisition as I have since pulled the not-old "relic" version, which includes an exciting pinstripe swatch. Riddle me this how I got a white pinstripe on a blue swatch for a member of the Chicago White Sox. Another complaint for another night.
'round about the time these trades completed, I finally lucked into one of those 'Silver Slate Wrapper Redemption' cards, courtesy of a friendly card shop that took pity on me and simply gave me one, since they knew from their 21st Century technology that it was likely my tardy self would never receive any. I ended up with Heath Bell. Then I saw that Colbey from Cardboard Collections was much more on-the-ball than I with a post of his redemption. His included a card in my first player collection that I have also really been looking forward to seeing from a scan:
Also better in real-life, though the old-timey television-channel-off-the-air look from the scanner is unique too. This could possibly be Dotel's final card as he has moved on to the 60-Day DL without any good prognosis to be optimistic about. Colbey and I finished a quick 1-for-1 PWE trade for what I thought might be my first attempt at a rainbow. I thought I would start with some easy low-hanging fruit, but then of course I fell far deeper into wanting a rainbow not just of one player, when I could kinda sorta rainbow out the whole set. Octavio is now proudly anchoring a page in the Parallel Project, and remains to this day the only Blue Sparkle I have from Series 1. I could use some more. Hint, hint.
By this time Opening Day had arrived at last, and I set up another trio of trades to complete all while living out of a crew-cab pick-up truck. Perfectly suited for this was a trade of some '13 Opening Day and '13 Topps Stickers with the ToddFather.
I like stickers, and stickers like me:
The rest of the trade involved glossier mascots, in bigger photos:
Ta-da! An essential entry in my Chase of the MLB mascots this year featuring one of baseball's quintessential mascots. Thanks Tim!
Opening Day provided the base for another great trade, with Jim at Garvey-Cey-Russel-Lopes. I know it was actually Cey-Russell-Lopes-Garvey around the horn after a strikeout, but that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue quite as well. GCRL sent along yet another challenge for the scanner:
Methinks the Topps Voodoo is strong with this one. All blurry and such, the way they say Josh is seeing the ball this year. Perhaps the Angels didn't hire a very good opthamalogist for the pre-contract physical. And if I was getting paid that much for that little production, I'd hide my broken-down eyes under the brim of the cap a lot too.
As a bonus I received a card for yet another couple pages of cards this year:
You may see a gimmicky card of a jose-average National League outfielder with a blatant product placement contained therein. One could only hope Topps did take a payment for this card, in truckloads of product. I'm sure their Customer Service reps could use a little stress relief these days.
But I see a key cornerstone of a powerful project: Purple Pirates! ARRRRRR! What better team and color to pair up than Pirates yellow and purple borders? OK, sure, the black border cards would look quite a bit sweeter. But Pirates bury their loot, they don't spend it on a project too farrrrr. Those black cards arrrrrrr tough to find, even for Pirates. And what better carrrrrrd than a Pirate to have some beer in the background? ArrrrRRRR. Pirates love beer, until they get a little cross-eyed:
The best part of that cardboard awesomeness is that this card isn't even the greatest piece of Pirate Parrot memorabilia I have received this year! Stay tuned, mateys.
For all that wonderful baseball card fun I was able to place some Dodger Blues in a good home full of Dodgers, and I was even able to send along a Turning Two card Jim didn't have yet - not easy to do. There were a few more portions of Opening Day ephemera in that multi-faceted trade, but there seem to be some Tigers chasing these Pirates to the scanner...
...courtesy of The Prowling Cat naturally. Along with a trade that had nothing to do with the Detroit Tigers, the 'Cat shipped along a whole litter of kitties:
Who? TRAMMELL. Good thing Jim Walewander isn't in that set. That would be awkward. This might be my first-ever baseball card with just a player's last name, but perhaps not. I wouldn't think there would be too many sets with that feature. You'd have to ask Dime-Box Nick, he would know.
And the 'Cat didn't know it, but he sent along an entry on another new-set-to-complete-finally list, the 1984 Topps Detroit Tigers:
Sure, he only got round about 2 at-bats per game as a backup on the world dominating 1984 Detroit Tigers, but how many players are you going to find that can back up the Plate and the Hot Corner...and hit a 2 run Homer in the World Series? A collection is born. I was slack on the cards in 1984, surprisingly enough. Perhaps you don't need baseball cards as much when your team leads wire-to-wire.
There was so much roar restored in that package, I almost forgot the prime object of the trade in the first place. Everyone hold their breath:
traded with the Pros roster. I tried to round up as many Topps goodies as I could for the 'Cat (who also hooked me up with 2 more Spring Fever needs, but we've already seen one of those - you'll have to wait till Christmas for the rest); I hope I found enough to balance the scales here, but I don't think so. I have my eye on a few items...
Recently, we finally made it to Official Summer Time, and the end of my extra-busy time at work. So I have been able to swing some more complex trades across a number of insert sets in those complicated Archives releases.
Dislocated Padres fan Marcus rolled all the way to Texas where he hosts his All the Way to the Backstop blog. He meticulously picked through my somewhat new want list on my blog, which started out with my hopes and dreams and extras for the pieces of the last two years of Archives, and did he ever deliver with, yep, a scanner work-out:
Just a '77 style Verlander? Nope, that is a '77 Cloth Sticker Verlander. Sharp.
Marcus also went the bonus cards route with a bonus stack of 2009 O-Pee-Chee. I am going to enjoy working on this set for months to come, and supplying you with great card images like this one:
Light-towers. Storm-clouds. What's not to like? How much did I like this package? About this much:
But wait....there's more...well, not from the Backstop, but from another blogger trying to complete another very complicated Master Set: 2011 Lineage. That would be Nick from The Lost Cards File. I too am chasing parts of that set; much easier parts than Nick is. I sent along all I could that would help, including several of the '75 mini relics from my ceaseless hunt for those now-old blasters this winter. And in return I made beaucoup progress on my '11 Lineage '75-mini needs:
Yeah, so the Braves have never ever sported Padres colors, not even on your Throwback Nightmare night. Who cares? It's 1975, baby! I don't think they even had night cards hardly in 1975. I have to admit they did have much better card backs than the phoned-it-in snoozers the Lineage editors came up with. Which kept me from collecting some cards I really, really, really wanted when they came out. But that first set you bought much of when you are 8 years old — ahhh, you never forget your first one. And now I am in it to win. Hurry up, Ultra-Pro! Get-r-done! This set won't fit on the Christmas Tree. It needs binder pages.
Nick also collects more high-end cards than I, so he too could send along some extra sweet bonus cards for me as easy as rolling off a log. I did say I love those sparkles:
This one is tuned to two different off-the-air TV channels - the blue one, and the green one. I have definitely learned how to pick which Blue Sparklers I want. What TV has those channels? Why the baseball card television known as my trusty mailbox. This card makes a fitting end to tonight's broadcast....tune in tomorrow when we celebrate Canada Day. Eh.