Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Barely Treading Water in a Sea of Generosity

I'm beginning to have a real "first world problem" when it comes to operating the blog, and that is that so many generous folks are sending me cards that it's truly becoming a part-time job keeping up with everything.  Much of this is my own fault, as my habit of scanning every single new card has combined with my habit of thanking each person who sends me something in an individual post to create a two-headed monster.

I feel constantly behind, and what's worse is that the time I'm spending trying to catch up is eating into the time I'd have to actually ship return cards to everyone.  At some point in the near future here I might have to reconsider my modus operandi and start combining multiple packages into the same post, but for now I trudge on.

All of that was a very roundabout way of saying that today I present the latest excellent PWE that I received from Joe Shlabotnik of The Shlabotnik Report.  Let's dive in...

We start off the package with a trio of pitchers who spent parts of the 2000s in the rotation for the Red Sox.  First up is Bronson Arroyo from the set I'd love to see return as much as any other, Topps Total.  The most random thing I can say about Bronson is that he sat in as a guest guitarist for the song Black when I saw Pearl Jam at Fenway Park late this past summer.

Next up, John Burkett from 2002 Topps Gallery.  This is a sharp looking set, and I believe the only cards that I own from it have come from Joe.  John Burkett was only with Boston for two seasons at the tail end of his career, but I remember thinking of him as someone who pitched better than his numbers would have you believe.

Though Daisuke Matsuzaka is viewed as somewhat of a bust player in retrospect, I'll always have fond memories of the Red Sox landing him and the excitement that ensued among the fan base as a result.  As someone who was a kid fan in the '90s when guys like Hideo Nomo and Chan Ho Park were becoming huge stars it seemed like deja vu to me at the time.  This oddball comes from a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine, you can see the perforation along the left edge of the card in this scan.  A solid addition to my ever-growing subset of Dice-K cards!

For a team collector, sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than crossing a simple common off the list, as was the case here.

I wasn't sure what this one was initially, but some quick research led to the discovery that it's from a set called 2004 MLB Showdown.  As you can tell by the rounded corners and instructions for play below the photo, these were associated with some type of baseball board or dice game.  I absolutely count cards like this when it comes to my Sox collection.  Besides, this photograph of Manny haphazardly chasing a ball sort of sums up his attitude for much of the time he spent in Boston.

A nice Steven Wright from last year's Heritage High Numbers set.  There aren't a ton of cards of this guy out there so I'm grateful whenever I receive one.  Shoulder problems forced his 2016 season to come to an early end, but I'm hopeful that he can bounce back and be a key member of the rotation in 2017 here.

This perfectly '90s Score Rookie/Traded card is a nice reminder of speedster Otis Nixon's lone season in Boston.  I remember him most from his days with the Braves and Expos prior to that.  Sort of sad to see him continue to struggle with drug problems even in retirement, I hope he's able to turn his life around and get back on a better track.

Finally, to close out today's post, Joe was kind enough to send a trio of Topps buybacks to be evaluated for my franken-set project!  Let's see how they fared...

1976 Topps #491 - Terry Crowley

Terry Crowley was a bench/role type player who served as a backup catcher, outfielder, pinch-hitter and DH for a few teams over the course of his career.  He was fortunate enough to be on two World Series winners, the 1970 Orioles and the 1975 Reds.  Unfortunately though, there's another '70s card in Terry's way in the franken-set:

Red Sox backstop of the '70s Bob Montgomery stands in Terry Crowley's way.

Terry comes out on the losing end, however he'll still be cherished within my collection as I love all buyback cards whether they make the franken-set or not.  Next!

1974 Topps #429 - Dick Lange

Dick Lange was a late-season call up for the Angels in 1972, and would play three more seasons with the team after that in what would be a relatively short career at the MLB level.  1974 was his busiest season by far, as he made more starts than in his other three seasons combined.  It was also the only time he'd post a sub-4.00 ERA in any season.

This 1979 John Urrea already sits in slot 429 of the binder.  I'm not particularly attached to this one, so I'm going with the card Joe sent me:

1979 Topps #672 - Ed Halicki

The last of the buyback trio is a nice high-number courtesy of 1979 Topps.  As I've mentioned before, this portion of the binder is sparsely populated, so this one automatically makes the cut and occupies a previously empty slot.  As far as the subject, the highlight of Ed Halicki's 7-season MLB career was undoubtedly the no-hitter he tossed against the Mets in 1975.

Two out of three ain't bad when it comes to the buybacks making the cut!  Thanks for these, and for the other great cards you sent as well Joe!

Franken-set Progress:  313/792 (40%)
"Rejected" Buybacks:  94
Total Buybacks in Collection:  407


Adam Sanders said...

That's a nice early Arroyo card. I'm really hoping he has a nice showing with the Reds this spring and makes the club as either the 5th starter or the long relief guy in the bullpen.

Anonymous said...

The Manny card is from the "Strategy" cards set which I suppose would be considered an insert into 2004 MLB Showdown. The "S4" in the upper right corner is the card number. It was cheap, it featured Manny chasing a ball and I figured there was a pretty good chance you didn't already have it.

I was a little apprehensive about the buybacks and whether you'd have an empty slot by the time I got them to you. Funny thing is, I got one card and before I could even send it to you another blogger got you the same exact card... I think it even had the same stamp. It's cool, though, I have another new home in mind.

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