Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Double Dose of Shlabotnik Sox & Soccer

Today seems as good a day as any to start the process of catching up with all the great folks who've sent me cards over the last month or two.  It's pouring rain out, and I actually had a free hour to scan, so here are the contents of a great PWE that I received a few weeks back from Joe Shlabotnik, proprietor of The Shlabotnik Report...

We'll start off with a nice injection of Topps Heritage cards for my Red Sox collection.  From the 2016 set, third baseman Josh Rutledge.  Josh actually signed a deal with the Giants this off-season.

From last year's release I received a trio of new-to-me Sox in the form of Rick Porcello...

...the team card, which prominently features my favorite player on the current roster, Xander Bogaerts...

...and the mistake that was Pablo Sandoval.  I believe this one and the Rutledge that I led off with are both from the High Numbers releases.  I don't typically pay much mind to the Heritage set each year, but I do enjoy slowly accumulating the Red Sox team sets from each release so these are certainly appreciated.

Joe's always good for an oddball or two in each PWE it seems, and this time around was no different as I was the recipient of this Derek Lowe MLB Showdown game card.  Never played the game, probably due to the fact that I was in my mid-20s when this was printed up, but I'll never turn down a good oddball.

I appreciate that Joe seems to be one of the few collectors I interact with who also enjoys a good soccer card.  Over the years he's contributed more cards to my random soccer binder than anyone else.  This one's from a Topps MLS release.  While I don't follow the MLS, I enjoy the occasional New England Revolution card given that they play their home games only about thirty minutes from my house.

I like this one even more.  I was aware that Topps had released a Stadium Club set for MLS, but until now had never held one in hand.  Very similar to the last Stadium Club Premier League set minus the foil.

My favorite two soccer cards of the PWE though were from Topps Attacks, which again is some type of game that I don't play.  The pair I got in this package were both players from my favorite club, Liverpool.

Even better, one of them was my very first card of Mohamed Salah, who's been the offensive star of the team this year.  He's already scored 21 goals in Premier League play this season, just two off of Harry Kane's league-leading pace.  Salah's just 25 years old, and is definitely in the mix as far as best offensive players in the world.  Very pleased to finally add a card of his to my soccer collection!

Before I even had a chance to post the contents of that last PWE, which admittedly took me some time, Joe hit me up with another one!  When I removed the three-pocket page that Joe and I use to exchange cards from the envelope and took a look, this fantastic Tim Wakefield card was staring back at me.  What a great minor league card from Tim's time with the AAA Buffalo Bisons.  I'll happily accept a minor league card of just about any MLB star, but doubly so for a guy who was a star for my favorite team and is one of the more well-known knuckle-ballers in the history of the game.

This envelope had some nice early '70s additions to my Sox collection, starting with Don Pavletich's '70 release here.  A previous owner drew what looks to me like a coffee bean in the lower right corner, but that doesn't bother me and this is a more than acceptable filler card in my eyes.  I might upgrade it someday, but then again I honestly might not.

Got a couple new Yaz cards this time around.  From 2016 Topps Update, a 3,000 Hits Club insert.  I'm on record as stating that Topps inserts have pretty much bored me across the board for years now, but this one's not awful at least.  I like the idea of an insert based on all the players to achieve a certain statistical benchmark like 3,000 hits.  As far as the execution of that idea?  Well, I don't hate it, which is about the most positive thing you'll hear me say about a recent Topps insert.

This one I like a bit better since it's got a nice vintage feel to it.  First I'd seen of these Baseball Legends inserts from Allen & Ginter.  An insert set worthy of collecting if you ask me.  Flagship could learn a thing or two from Allen & Ginter, at least in the insert department.

Side note, I'm still working on the painstaking process of transferring the electronic cataloging of my collection from Zistle (RIP) to The Trading Card Database.  At this stage of the process, with about 5,000 total baseball cards transferred over, Yastrzemski is in 9th place for baseball in terms of most cards of a given player.  Not really surprising, but I like that I can see those kinds of statistics on The Trading Card Database.

The last PWE had an MLB Showdown card, and this one did too!  I have a feeling the way this photograph is cropped would be somewhat polarizing if you asked a group of collectors to vote on it.  Personally, I kind of like the wide cropping with the ball just having come into frame heading towards Garciaparra, but I can just as easily see how some folks wouldn't care for it.

There are certain sets where Joe has single-handedly set me on the path to completing a Red Sox team set through PWEs over the years.  1975 SSPC comes to mind, as well as the mid-2000s Topps Total releases.  One card closer for the 2005 release with this one in hand!

The 1970 Don Pavletich above wasn't the only vintage Red Sox card in this envelope, as I got two more early-'70s needs in the form of a '72 Marty Pattin...

...and a '73 Rogelio Moret.  I was somewhat amazed that I had copies of neither of these, but then again once you get earlier than 1974 you really start to see some holes in my collection as far as Topps flagship sets go.  Definitely appreciate this pair!

The last card of today's post is certainly the most random.  Thanks to the TCDB I learned that this is a 1994 Bon Air Fire Engines card.  I love getting some cardboard representation of Rhode Island, the little state that I was born in and call home today, in my collection.  Hope Valley is a region of our state near where my wife and I got married, and where she works today as a teacher, so this one has a nice personal touch as well.

Joe, thanks for these great cards and apologies that it took me so long to get them posted.  You're first on my list for getting some return cardboard out the door here, hopefully as early as this week!


Chris said...

Wake! Minor league cards are awesome. Buffalo almost got an MLB expansion team around that time.

I still need the Pablo for my heritage set build. Can't bring myself to fork over 60 cents for it. What an awful signing that was. Then again, most of Dave Dombrowski's moves have been questionable at best.

Anonymous said...

No worries on the delay; I know you've got a lot going on, and it just made the post more fun for me to read, because I'd forgotten about some of the things I'd sent you.

You can "posthumously" thank Zistle for letting me know that, at one point, you still needed those vintage cards. :-)

Response to the previous comment: 25+ years later, I'm still annoyed that Buffalo got passed over for Miami.

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