Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What a Package from Alaska!

When I posted my final mini box of 2014 Topps Stadium Club, I received a comment from a gentleman with the screen name "David in the North" indicating that he'd be interested in trading for the autograph (a James Jones #'d /50).  "David in the North" sounded more like a Game of Thrones character than a baseball card collector, but I emailed him back nonetheless, a trade was born, and boy was it a big one! 

I would have gladly sent David the autograph just because, but in return he mailed me what has to be one of the greatest bubble mailers of Red Sox cards I have ever received in the 8 years I've been writing this blog.  They came all the way from Alaska (screen name makes sense now).  We'll start off with the Clay Buchholz card above.  That's no ordinary 2013 Topps card...

...it's my very first Topps mini (well, since they revived these in recent years anyway).  Very cool to finally add some of these to my Red Sox collection.  There were a handful from the 2013 release.

 Felix is no longer with the team.  He had some disagreements with coaching/management on his way out, and seemed like a bit of a baby about the whole thing.  What do I know though.

The whole retro look of this card would be a lot better sans those obnoxious sunglasses.


I didn't recognize this image at all.  Turns out I don't have the full-size counterpart to this card yet.  David included a ton of 2014 minis as well, I can't show you every one individually but here are some of them:

 I think there were something like 15 from this set in total, has to be close to a complete team set.  Wow!

Here's where the package really starts to get crazy.  This card and the next I'm going to show were back-to-back in a penny sleeve.  Not being a Topps mini guy, I figured these gold inserts were numbered like the larger, flagship set, which would be /2013 for 2013 Topps.  When I took this card out to put it on the scanner bed, I found it was serial numbered to just /62 copies!  This instantly becomes one of my best Uehara cards, although David sent an even better one in this same package.

Same deal here, this one was numbered to /63 copies!  I was in amazement at David's generosity at this point, but there's still much more to come...

Somehow I did not have a copy of this '92 Leaf Luis Rivera yet.  What a photograph.

David is building an impressive 2014 Topps Chrome collection, and I was the beneficiary of a duplicate Shane Victorino Orange Refractor.  I'm a total sucker for all of the colored Chrome refractor parallels.  There was also a 2012 Orange David Ortiz in the package, which I mailed off to Mark Hoyle since I already had one.

So many firsts in this package, I'd never seen this insert set from 2014 Opening Day before.

How about some shiny?  2013 Topps Finest Refractors of Allen Webster...

...and Jacoby Ellsbury.  These represent my very first 2013 Finest cards, period.

I had the '88 Donruss Clemens, but not the Leaf version.

There were even oddballs to be found.  Really love this 1988 Toys 'R' Us Rookies John Marzano.  Best of all, it has one of the loudest card backs I've ever seen:


This one is even nicer than the Toys 'R' Us card!  Mostly because I can remember opening individual Bazooka gum pieces wrapped just like the one used in this design when I was a kid.

I love that they used the logo as a watermark behind the stats as well.  I'd love to pick up some more of these, Red Sox or otherwise.

More shiny.  Grady Sizemore has probably my favorite photograph of any player in the 2014 Topps Red Sox team set.  I'd picked up the Gold Refractor version of this card, now I have the standard Refractor as well.

And a David Ortiz to go with it.

These next two cards are the glossy, non-matte 2007 Masterpieces that were included in the 2008 Upper Deck Red Sox fan packs.  David sent five of these, I needed two of them and shipped the others off.


 Another first for me, 2014 Panini Classics.  Very pleased to add yet another Xander Bogaerts RC to my collection.

Here's another numbered parallel, a Mike Napoli Blue from last year's Opening Day set, numbered to /2014 copies.

I have a bunch of the Red Hot Foil parallels from last year's update set, but did not have this one.  It's amazing how well David did in terms of percentage of new cards.  There weren't more than a handful of doubles in the entire stack.

Another new insert from 2014 Opening Day.

This Ted Williams The Greats insert was from the 2013 Topps set.  I missed out on these completely, maybe they were hobby only?  Either way, this is a classy looking card of the Splendid Splinter.

This is actually a box bottom card.  I'm a huge fan of these, in fact I've been meaning to do a post on my favorite baseball and hockey box bottom cards, but who knows if/when I'll get around to that.

This Sam Travis is extremely shiny.  It's serial numbered to /75 copies, which was enough for me to learn that it's a "Blue Mojo" refractor.  Alrighty then!  Interesting card regardless.

For today, I'll end it here with this killer Dustin Pedroia Green parallel from 2014 Topps.  I'm a total sucker for these, in fact I grabbed 3-4 of them from the dollar box recently at the local shop.  Dustin was not one of them though, so this was a great new addition.

I say that I'll end it here because amazingly this is only a fraction of what David was kind enough to send along.  I've got at least one or two more posts to go, plus this coming Sunday's Signature Sundays post will also be sponsored by David!  Thanks for an amazing package, David.  What I sent back pales in comparison, I only hope you enjoy at least a couple of the cards.  I truly appreciate your kindness and generosity!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Highly Subjective and Completely Awesome

I'm not typically one to put up "in memoriam" posts here on the blog.  I figured today it was okay to make an exception though, given that I just received this great Minnie Minoso card in the mail on Friday.  It came from Brian at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary, after I laid claim to it on a trade bait post that he had up a couple of weeks back.  On Sunday I was scanning this card, and the others Brian sent along, when I heard about Minoso passing away.  Minnie is one of my favorite old-time ballplayers, and I've talked about him before on this blog a couple of times.  I'm grateful that Brian was kind enough to send this one along for my collection.

On a more positive note, let's see a few of the other great cards that Brian included in the package, most of which were a surprise to me...

All the Topps 206 sets that came out a few years ago are sort of a blur to me, but it turns out this Kevin Youkilis Bronze is my first parallel from the 2009 edition.  For whatever reason my scanner really liked this card, look at those vibrant colors!

Brian tossed in a due of Red Sox cards that I needed for my 2014 Topps Update Series team set in the form of Edward Mujica...

...and Kelly Johnson.  Much appreciated!

Here's one that goes back a few years, from 2009 Upper Deck Spectrum.  Remember that obnoxiously loud set?  I can't help but think sets like this are a large reason why Upper Deck ultimately lost their license for MLB trading cards.  Still, a new Red Sox card is a new Red Sox card regardless.

Score!  Any package that includes a new-to-me Bogaerts rookie is automatically a winner.  I'm really excited to see what Xander, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo can bring to the club in 2015.

Here's another, even cooler, Bogaerts!  I was secretly hoping to pull one of these from my box of Stadium Club.  Alas, it wasn't meant to be, but thanks to Brian's generosity I ended up with one anyway!

Last, but certainly not least, the other card I shamelessly laid claim to on Brian's trade bait post, a 1959 Topps Ryne Duren in pretty fantastic condition.  This card is in much better shape than many of my existing '59s, and filled a nice hole in the binder for the low condition set I'm (very slowly) working away at.

Brian, thanks for an awesome trade.  I never had a "Twins guy" until now, so hopefully this will be the first of many.  I hope you enjoy and need at least a few of the cards I sent in return, and I'm looking forward to sending you plenty more as part of your upcoming break!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack

Tonight I've got my latest really old Red Sox acquisition to share with you...

If I ever get around to ranking my favorite pre-war card sets, which I doubt I'll ever do, 1914/1915 Cracker Jack would be right at the top of the list.  The cards are just beautiful.  Nothing against T206 or other tobacco sets (I love those too), but give me a Cracker Jack card over one of those any day.  As a Red Sox collector the red backgrounds on these are ideal, and I love the font used for Cracker Jack Ball Players along the tops of the cards.  To me, the coolest thing without a doubt is the fact that these things have survived for 100 years after being plucked from packages of snack food.

There were only a couple of baseball card sets issued at all in 1915, which is another reason I'm such a fan of these.  I'm fascinated by how different the world was exactly a century ago.  In the United States, women couldn't vote.  At the same time that some fortunate person pulled this card from a Cracker Jack box, Europe was engulfed in a nightmare unlike anything the world had seen to date.  The United States was just becoming a global superpower.  Charlie Chaplin was releasing films, and Harry Houdini was still plying his trade as a magician.  Babe Ruth hit is first career home run!

Hal Janvrin spent the year as he had the previous few, patrolling the infield with the Boston Red Sox.  He was your classic jack-of-all-trades utility player, playing every position but pitcher and catcher during his MLB career.  In 1915 he'd play second base, third base and shortstop for the Sox, with the bulk of the time coming at short.  He even got in an at-bat in the World Series, which the Red Sox won.  Must have been quite an experience for a then 22-year-old.

Janvrin was a member of the 1916 World Series Champion Red Sox team as well.  He saw regular playing time in that Series, and ended up with a handful of hits including three doubles, and drove in a run.  He'd go on to play with the Senators, Cardinals, and even the Brooklyn Robins before hanging up the spikes for the final time.

I'm very grateful to now have a third Red Sox card from this set.  With names like Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Connie Mack and Branch Rickey on the checklist I'm never completing the entire set.  That's a fact.  "Smoky" Joe Wood's card alone will probably prevent me from ever even completing just the Red Sox team set.  I don't come across them too often at all, but hopefully I'll stumble upon at least a few more of these where the price is right in my lifetime...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Another Mark Kaz PWE

This is getting to be a regular feature here, but it's time for the latest PWE from my buddy Mark Kaz of This Way to the Clubhouse.  As is the case with our usual back and forth envelopes, I found 9 brand new Red Sox cards inside...

I'm among the many who are digging the 2015 Topps flagship set.  Thanks to a few more Sox courtesy of this package, I'm getting close to the complete Series 1 Red Sox team set.


After this trio of base cards I believe I may be missing only Xander Bogaerts.

Mark was kind enough to include some inserts too.  I think the inserts are pretty flat to say the least, however I will happily acquire any Red Sox regardless.  Yoenis Cespedes, we hardly knew ye!

I'm guessing these Babe Ruth inserts may be Wal-Mart exclusives, because I haven't pulled one in any of my 2015 Topps purchases, which have all been from Target.

To pad out the rest of the PWE, Mark found a trio of older Red Sox cards that I was still missing for whatever reason...

John Barnes never made it to the show with Boston, but he did appear in 20 total MLB games with the Twins between 2000 and 2001.

I'm sure Mark couldn't have known this would be the case, but this '94 Stadium Club Tony Pena was actually my favorite card in this envelope.  For whatever reason I really love this set.  Brings back a lot of memories.  I'd pick up a few cheap boxes if I weren't afraid that all the cards would be stuck together and damaged.

I'll leave you with a nice blinding yellow 1991 Fleer card.  I didn't recall having seen this one in the past, and when I flipped it over I realized why.  This is actually from the 1991 Fleer Traded set.  Good thing I love any and all Red Sox cards, including obnoxious yellow ones!

Thanks as always Mark!  Got another PWE coming your way this weekend.  Tag, you're it!
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