It's funny how the blogosphere works. Sometimes a new blog pops up, and it seems like I'm in touch with the author and arranging a trade almost instantly. Other times, I enjoy a blog for years before ever making contact with its owner. The latter was the case with Joe Shlabotnik of the fantastic blog The Shlabotnik Report
I've been enjoying Joe's work (and his amazing custom card sets) for what seems like forever now, but only recently did we get around to swapping some cards. If the PWE that Joe sent along is any indication, he's certainly trying to make up for lost time!
I've yet to pick up so much as a single pack of this year's Archives set. I guess I've been more interested in the flagship set and Stadium Club. Kind folks like Joe have me well on my way to a Red Sox team set regardless, though.
The retired stars are always my favorite cards in the Archives sets, and this envelope delivered a nice tandem with Fisk and Eckersley.
I'll gladly accept any Red Sox card from any year that I don't already have, doesn't have to be a brand new set like 2015 Archives. Here's a nice one that's a couple of decades old now. I failed to notice until scanning it in that this is the Silver Signatures parallel.
Here's a set from around the turn of the century that I had no idea existed, Pacific Online. In case you're wondering (which you're probably not), yes I did go to that URL and yes, it is dead. I'm sure Pacific sold or failed to renew the bigleagues.com domain when they went under. As someone who works in IT, this one's a little more interesting than your average Nomar card.
I was very happy to see this card in the envelope. I've been working on the 2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th set for a while now, and this "Beantown's Best" Fisk was one I'd yet to track down.
How about a nice, mint, well-centered 1981 Fleer Jim Rice! I'm only missing less than a handful of Red Sox from this set, and Rice was one of them. Not that these are super rare or anything, but a solid card that felt great finally adding to my collection. Still need Fred Lynn and Eckersley if anyone's got extras...
Rounding out the Red Sox portion of the package is possibly my favorite of the bunch, this Target Red parallel of shortstop Jose Iglesias. I really, really liked this guy when he was with Boston. The knock on him was that he was fantastic defensively but couldn't really hit. The thing is, he was swatting .330 when Boston dealt him away in 2013. This was over 60 games into his season, way too large a sample size to be a fluke.
After missing all of last year due to injury, Jose is swinging the bat well again this year for Detroit. He's never going to provide a ton of power, but his .313 average is good for 13th in all of MLB. Seems he's here to stay, which I'm happy about. Definitely one of those players I'll always root for whenever he's not playing against Boston.
I introduced Joe to a soccer set that was new to him
, and he did the same for me! I had never seen these early '90s Pro Set cards, but I'm a fan. There are so few sets it seems that feature English football clubs, so I treasure any and all that I can accumulate. I'm not sure if Joe knew this, or is just a really good guesser/lucky, but Liverpool is my favorite EPL team too!
I only started really following EPL the last five years or so, so I confess that I don't know much about Peter Beardsley. Looks like I've got some research to do courtesy of this PWE...
Finally, let's switch over to hockey with a pair of 1982-83 Topps stickers. Topps didn't produce a standard hockey set in '82-83 or '83-84, so stickers are as close as you can get. I think most hockey fans will recognize HOFer Mark Howe in this photo. The other sticker that Joe sent is a little more obscure though.
Know who this guy is?
That would be Garry Howatt. Not a household name by any means. He played the bulk of his career in the '70s with the Islanders, before capping it off with a single season with Hartford and some games with the Devils in the early '80s.
Joe, this was a terrific PWE, you really hit the nail on the head with all of these cards. Hopefully there will be white envelopes going back and forth between Shoebox Legends and The Shlabotnik Report headquarters for years to come!