Monday, September 26, 2016

A Shlabotnik Pick-Me-Up

As was the case with probably all sports fans in general, I was saddened and shocked to hear of the passing of young star pitcher Jose Fernandez yesterday morning.  I didn't post anything here because I really didn't know what to say, or what I could add to the countless other tributes that were popping up throughout the day.

So, I'll keep it simple and just say that he was always one of my favorite non-Red Sox players to watch.  Because of that, I'd picked up more than a few cards of his over the years, but this Stadium Club card from last year probably best captures the joyous personality he was known for.  A sad day for all of baseball indeed.

I figured a good way to get me over the funk that Jose's passing put me in was to open up the latest PWE from friend of the blog Joe Shlabotnik, which arrived in the mail on Saturday and had sat untouched on my card desk.

Joe and I have gotten into a regular back-and-forth PWE routine that seems to be working out very well for the both of us, and this latest batch elevated things to a new level as far as I'm concerned.  Right out of the gate I found this fantastic Baseball Immortals card of "Old Hoss" Radbourn!  Miraculously this is my very first card of the HOFer who was playing baseball in Boston before the name Red Sox existed.

Radbourn (whose last name is spelled with a trailing 'e' on this card for some reason) was a star pitcher in the 1880s and 1890s, and is especially interesting to me as a New Englander since he played for both the Boston Beaneaters and the Providence Grays.  Living just outside of Providence and working downtown, I've been debating about starting a small collection of guys who played for the Grays, and this is certainly an excellent start.

What would a PWE from Joe be without a new 2003 Donruss Team Heroes Red Sox card?  I've got 11 of these now, with the majority (if not all) of them coming in Joe's PWEs.  This must have been a fairly large release too as a quick check of Zistle shows I'm still short of halfway to a team set.

The envelope just kept getting better, and as proof positive of that fact here's a great insert from 2000 Topps Gallery (wow that was bad, I almost feel dirty having stooped that low for a pun).  I had never in my life encountered one of these, but given my love of all things acetate it was an immediate hit as Pablo Ozuna's half of the card is actually clear.  I don't understand the comparison between Nomar and Pablo, but I don't care either!

Another great addition here from Joe's seemingly endless stash of '70s O-Pee-Chee.  Maybe it's because I've already completed all of the Topps sets from the latter half of the decade, but a '70s O-Pee-Chee card gets me much more excited than a Topps version does nowadays.

How about some Topps Total?  This delivery contained a pair of cards from the 2005 release, featuring a young Kevin Youkilis...

...and a dual rookie card of John Halama and Lenny DiNardo.  This is my first card of John Halama, period, and my first Red Sox card of Lenny DiNardo.  Knocking two names off of the all-time Red Sox list with a single card, doesn't get much better than that for a team collector like myself!

Here's a nice Bowman Chrome Prospect card of Carlos Asuaje, who I saw was called up recently with San Diego.  Hopefully this kid has a nice career, but not so nice that he makes Boston regret trading him away.

Another hallmark of a Shlabotnik PWE; 1976 SSPC!  I was psyched to get one of the bigger stars on the team this time around in hurler Luis Tiant.  A really great card, even if Luis looks "less than excited" getting photographed here.

Let's jump forward a few decades and close this out with some baseball inserts.  I never pulled any of these World Series Heroes inserts from 2014 Topps Update myself, but I've now gotten both Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz through trade.  I'm generally not a big fan of the inserts in the Topps flagship product, but I have to say that I like this one better than most.  The addition of some fall foliage in the design is a nice touch.

A cool card here, featuring a young Koji Uehara.  This World Future Stars insert, featuring players from the World Baseball Classic, is from the 2006 Upper Deck Future Stars release.  Makes me miss Upper Deck baseball cards.

Last baseball card of the PWE, a more recent insert from 2016 Topps.  The timing on this one is perfect as I just did a post on 200-hit seasons in Red Sox history where I discussed the same streak that's mentioned on this card.

Last, but certainly not least, there was a single hockey card to be found this time around, a nice reminder that the 2016-17 NHL season is rapidly approaching!  An interesting Bruins player to get a card of too, as Mikko Makela played in all of 11 games for Boston during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season.

This is also one of those rare cardboard cases where I enjoy the back of the card more than the front.  They may not have fit much on here in the way of stats, but you have to appreciate the effort from Fleer in including three separate photos on the back of the card (none of which match the one on the front).

Joe, your envelope put a much needed positive spin on an otherwise depressing weekend in sports, thank you!  I should be able to return fire sometime before the weekend here...


Tony Burbs said...

The Old Hoss is quite the entertaining Twitter follower as well - pretty ironic for a guy who died before electricity was even an everyday amenity. Nice stuff!

Tim B. said...

Glad you wrote this Shane. I posted similar sentiments about that SC card in a #mycardmonday post on a FB group I belong to.

Hackenbush said...

The Tiant card made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed these... I have to admit, a lot of these cards came to me through sheer dumb luck. I pulled that acetate Nomar from a pack just a few weeks ago... As soon as I saw it, I knew it would have to go in the next PWE.

Brace yourself... I'm nearly out of Red Sox Team Heroes, SSPC's and 79 OPC's! =:-O

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