For the past couple of weeks I've been making a concerted effort to catch up on trade posts and thanking all of the wonderful folks that have sent me stuff. Since I'm nearly caught up on that front, today's post is all about some cards I picked out for myself at the last card show I made it to on Black Friday.
Only one vendor had a large number of dime boxes out, and his table was jammed all day. I'm not a crowd person, so I stayed clear of him, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a smaller dime box hidden away at the table of the vendor I affectionately refer to as the "dollar box grandma".
Of course I picked up some of her legendary dollar cards as well, which I'll get to another time, but in my mind some of these dime box pulls were just as good. Like the Ramiro Mendoza die-cut above. I was a huge Norwich Navigators fan back in the day, but there aren't a whole lot of Navigators cards out there. I was so excited when I found this one thumbing through the stack that I actually let out an audible "No way!".
That excitement was compounded by the fact that the next two cards after it were also Navigators from the same release. These are especially great to me because they're from the inaugural season of the Navigators franchise, which is the time I was following the team most closely. Nick Delvecchio was one of the best hitters in Norwich's lineup that summer, crushing 19 HR and 74 RBI in just 125 games.
Another forgotten name from the past for me, Scott Romano was the club's third baseman more often than not in that summer of '95. This trio of cards was maybe the most satisfying 30 cents I've ever spent on cardboard. I'm not kidding in the least when I say that I gladly would have driven the 30 minutes to the show and paid the $2 entry fee just to grab these three out of the dime box. At this point, everything else was gravy.
There ended up being plenty of gravy. Some more dime box goods...
Here's another obscure one from the same set that probably doesn't mean much to most folks, but got a chuckle out of me. My reason for buying this one? Well, during that inaugural Navigators season of 1995, I bought a Beloit Snappers fitted hat in the pro shop. I knew nothing at all about the team, but loved the logo (my hat had just the turtle at bat, without the team name next to it). I loved that hat, and wore it religiously for a few years until I lost it one day sticking my head out of the car on a highway while in high school. Seeing the logo again on this card brought me back, was worth spending the dime just for that memory.
Kind of a depressing one here, my apologies in advance. I picked out this Hideki Irabu because of his ties to the Navigators (he pitched two games for them in '97 after being the latest high price "can't miss" Japanese star signed to an MLB contract). He ended up being a major bust, which led to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner calling him a "fat pussy toad" (no, I am not kidding). At the time, that quote was kind of funny, but after Hideki struggled with personal demons and eventually committed suicide at age 42 it took on a different tone.
Alright, I promise that is the depressing low point of this post, let's move on to some more positive 10-cent cardboard...
From the same Bowman's Best set as the Irabu I grabbed this Ruben Rivera. A cousin of the great Mariano Rivera, Ruben was possibly the most highly-touted prospect to play on that same 1995 Norwich Navigators team I just referenced. While he never went on to become the superstar that some projected he'd be, he nonetheless carved out a respectable 9-year MLB career.
Some day I plan to do a small "career retrospective" collection, and corresponding post, on Johnny Damon. For a dime, this one should come in handy whenever I get around to it.
I'll grab cards that catch my eye for nearly any reason, especially at discount prices. Couldn't pass up this Stadium Club rookie of fellow Rhode Island native Rocco Baldelli. I don't collect the Rays, and have no plans on assembling the 2001 Stadium Club set, but how could I leave a rookie card of a guy who grew up just a couple towns over from where I live behind in a dime box?
Last card from that SP Top Prospects set. Picked this one up for the sole reason that I always enjoyed Todd Walker as a player. Given how many of the cards from this set I picked out, and looking over all the other interesting ones on the checklist now, I'm wondering if I shouldn't just grab this entire set at some point.
Since I was on a minor league kick at this point, I tossed this Baseball America Tools of the Trade insert into my pile as well. Not even sure why, really.
There weren't a lot of Red Sox cards to be found in this particular dime box, so Carl Pavano here was it for me.
A black-bordered parallel mini of a hockey player on a baseball card? Sure, why not. I will probably end up trading this one away at some point.
This one is already part of a PWE that I'm assembling for Captain Canuck. Hopefully he doesn't have a copy already.
That does it for the dime box finds from this show, at least the ones I'm keeping for myself. A host of others have either already been sent out in PWEs, or will be shortly.
As I said previously, this particular show was all about the "cheapies" for me. I didn't really find any significant, expensive cards. In fact, I think the most I paid for any one card that day was $4. The bulk of what I took home set me back either $1, or like this Hank Aaron, $.50 per card.
Let's look at a few more from the 50 cent bins to close out today's post. An unlicensed auto of Julio Lugo! At $1 I probably would have left this behind, but for half that I figured that mustache alone was worth the price of admission.
There were actually a bunch of autos from this same Team Best set. Rick Asadorian was the lone Red Sox card in that group.
Kelly Shoppach's first Bowman card, in refractor form.
I've gotten a few of these embossed SPx Finite cards before, so I wasn't entirely sure whether I already had this Spectrum parallel of Nomah, numbered to a ridiculous /1750. Turns out I needed it, fifty cents well spent!
I've talked about these Select Fire on Ice rookies before, they're the perfect combination of gaudy and shiny. Pretty much picked this one up just because I love the name Radko Gudas.
How about a couple of infamous Gold parallels of two of the biggest stars in NHL history?
I'm sure these two could have come my way for less coin eventually, but it's hard to really squabble over spending a dollar on a couple cards. Besides, that Canadian flag background on the Gretzky is great.
Here's one I'd never even seen before. These Red Lighters refractors were inserts in the 1998-99 Finest set. Not a bad design for a die-cut, with the goal light along the top of the card. I'd certainly pick up more of these if I found others for this cheap.
I purchased this Artist Proof parallel of Luc Robitaille with my friend Marc B in mind, and thankfully he did not yet have a copy of this one-per-box insert. This one is en route in a PWE, and in fact may have already arrived in Marc's mailbox.
I knew I had a copy of Jose Iglesias' Pro Debut card from 2011, but this one from the Update set looked new to me. Since I'll never be busting any packs of this stuff thanks to a certain Mike Trout card putting prices through the roof, I figured it made sense to grab this one.
Something about seeing a classic player like Willie Mays on a Bowman Chrome card just drew me to this one.
As a fan of acetate, I truly enjoy the Tek releases, especially from the past couple seasons.
Added a couple more from last year's set with Taveras and Canseco. I never get tired of these and will basically pick up any design or player that I don't already have if the price is right.
A few more hockey cards here to finish out the post. This Hart Contenders card of Steven Stamkos looks impressive, I really like the all-black background. Steven has been off to a slow start this year, but there's enough season left that I think he'll turn it around and assume his standard place near the top of the regular season points rankings.
This die-cut Roy stood out to me immediately. I doubt I'll ever end up with all of these, but I knew I didn't have this one and Patrick's cards tend to demand a pretty penny on the secondary market. There was a Gretzky die-cut in the same bin, which I left behind since I already have a copy. Kind of wish I had grabbed that one to send out in a trade package. Who knows, maybe it will still be there next time.
We'll finish things off here with a couple of gloriously shiny Nordiques. I'd never even heard of this Youth Explosion insert set from '94-95 Select before. Aside from the Whalers, if there were one defunct NHL franchise I'd like to see return it would be the Nordiques.
Final card for today, a big name from my favorite parallel set of the '90s, Pinnacle Rink Collection. I simply never get tired of these gorgeous dufex cards. Maybe when I retire and have all kinds of time on my hands I'll shoot for a complete set. Until then, I'm content to pick up the stars.
A pretty decent little lot there for about ten bucks. I've got at least a couple posts more worth of cards from the show, if I can only find the time to scan them...
Minor league cards are one of my weaknesses; I too would have fell prey to the charms of those dime box finds!
Love minor league cards and that Red Lighters insert. I'd trade for the Stamkos' if your interested. I've got some hockey set aside for you.
That was a pretty decent show. There were a few more dealers than usual... I had a good show myself. Looks like you cleaned up
I wouldn't have left that Rocco card behind, either!
Cards hit the box today. That Sakic is sweet. I may have a few of those lying around somewhere. Those card show "oh wow" moments are the best.
I like the Mays. Not sure I've seen that photo before.
Baldelli was such a fun guy to watch play. Felt bad for him after all the injuries, but I guess it came to light that he had some weird muscular disorder that was causing them.
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