See, We’re Still A Normal Blog

Don’t let the whole retail shop thing throw you off too much, we’re still a typical blog at heart.  I know we haven’t posted in a few days since the big announcement, but posts will go on as scheduled.  The next time you read my words after this will be a returning feature, then I’ll pose an industry question to you all.  Anything to keep people interested and engaged, right?

To prove how much of a normal blog we are, here’s everyone’s favorite subject: trade posts (Hey, I gotta catch up sometime, right?)!  Actually, this isn’t so much a trade post as it is a freebies received post.  Brian at Play at the Plate has been one our biggest supporters since the beginning.  He was my first blogging trade and I’m very happy to say we’ve exchanged packages a few times since then.  In fact, there have been two other mailers from him since this one.  This partly arose because of my budding Frank Thomas and Tony Gwynn collections, I think.  It’s tough to remember the exact chain of events.  All I know is that it was a while ago.  Perhaps I should do a 6 pack of trades like he did.  Maybe I just need to get my ass in gear and write more frequently!

Are you excited about the All-Star Game?

Since we’re looking at an All-Star card, I suppose I should quickly mention the Cubs’ representative this year.  Starlin Castro made the team as a bench player, and I think that’s the right call.  If there can be only one Cub to make it, and let’s face it the record doesn’t lend itself to more than that, he has been our most consistent and best player this season.  I’m still watching him with guarded optimism, because he is young and his defense needs seasoning (I don’t care what the Gypsy Queen Sticky Fingers insert says, the man makes a ton of errors), but he may pull through as a consistent All-Star for us.  The other deserving candidate this year is Sean Marshall.  He’s put together a very nice first half as the 7th/8th inning set-up guy.  Hopefully he’s on the short list if someone has to drop out.

Enough about 2011.  We’re here to talk about 1994.  Tony Gwynn does the now unthinkable by playing the entire All-Star game.  When was the last time a player got 5 ABs in one?  I could see it happening in front of the home crowd, but this was in Pittsburgh.  Well, Tony went 2-5 with 2 RBIs and scored the winning run in the 10th.  He still didn’t win the MVP – that went to teammate Fred McGriff.  Tony won the front of the card at least.

Forget Topps Total, bring back Gallery

I’m slowly piecing together every Maddux Gallery card thanks to the blogging world.  You can tell why this stuff was popular.  I love inserts much more than I do parallels, especially when they’re done well.  This would have been a toughy to mess up.  You’re working with some iconic material as your core, after all.  It’s cards like this that make me wonder if Topps should have left the Heritage side of things in the insert world instead of going full set.  According to Tropic Thunder, you never go full set. Or something like that.

But I don't wanna pitch batting practice!

Certainly not the most common picture you’ll see on a baseball card.  My guess is this was taken during spring training sometime.  Looks like fun, doesn’t it?  A big bucket of balls.  Jersey already half-covered in sweat.  Ornery teammates off in the distance needing a good talkin’ to.  Foil serial number near the bottom.  Wait…foil serial number?  How cool is that?  It turns out there are two versions of this card, both numbered to the same 1125.  One is retail and one is hobby.  I can’t tell you how glad I am that the internet exists and that checkoutmycards scans everything.  Otherwise, I’d still be staring at my spreadsheet wondering which row to highlight.  Instead of turning my brain to jello, I quickly found this most resembles a hobby version and marked accordingly.

Hey, remember the '80s?

I could go either way with this insert.  On the one hand, the right hand, I wish more effort was put into the design.  A shadow effect on top of white does not a creative card make.  On the other hand, the left, I love the shaded green texture.  It’s reminiscent of the ’89 and ’90 UD sets, which I’m sure is what they were going for with this whole thing.  Plus, it has that added extra bonus of being another serial numbered card.  Hell, who am I kidding?  Any 21st century card that shows the Professor in a Cubs uniform has to be good.

That's some crazy gold foil going on

It took me a second to notice that something is slightly off about this card.  No, it’s not that Frank Thomas isn’t pictured swinging for the fences.  Take a look at what’s in his hands.  What exactly is that supposed to be?  Does he have a kendo match later?  Did a teammate switch his actual bat with a pool cue?  Perhaps the Blackhawks let him borrow a hockey stick.  Whatever it is, a beaver got a hold of it and big boy here don’t look to happy about that.

Look at all the people choosing in the background

Another great example of an insert well done.  Any time you can add some fancy looking shiny to a card, you’ll get my attention.  I’m cheap and easy to please like that.  Where you may see foil overload (especially in person), I see shimmering cool on cardboard.  Red foil is seldom used these days, but I’m not sure why.  You can clearly see how awesome it makes things.  This is the same year as the UD card above.  As you can tell, they made the entire set with the foil lover in mind.

The bottom's not messed up. I just scanned it inside the toploader, so you're seeing some tape residue.

I saved the best for last.  I wish the scan gave a better representation of how amazing this card is.  All that space that looks white is refractoring foil board.  I wanted the scan to take up your entire screen because it is larger than life.  Not literally, of course, although it is larger than your average card.  This die cut bad boy is box topper size so it deserves a big image size.  Those of you following the blog will recognize this look.  Those of you more familiar with Pacific/Crown Royale than I will also recognize it.  But I’m referring to the Mike Richards Razor’s Choice insert we found in our Crown Royale hockey box.  I foolishly thought that was the shape of an actual hockey award.  Now I know different and better.  Regardless, it’s still incredibly bad ass.  I can’t say I would have ever expected something like this to A) be in my collection so soon and B) come from the blogging world.  You guys are just full of surprises, aren’t you?

Once again, I have to thank Brain for the amazing package.  I owe you big time.  Maybe now that I’m sure we’ll be getting all kinds of sweet card store cash, I’ll be able to pick something good up at the next card show I hit.

3 comments to See, We’re Still A Normal Blog

  • Play at the Plate

    I’m always glad to help. On that UD Frank Thomas card, I always imagined he swung the bat so hard, it sheared the rest of the wood off and that’s all he had left. Sort of like a swinging tornado.

  • That’s a (big) piece of rebar, like what they use for reinforcing concrete foundations and such. My dad’s a carpenter and I remember him telling me that while we were watching a game once.

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