Big Time

It took much longer than it ever should have, but Community Gum has now reached the 500 post milestone.

It’s a momentous occasion that’s sure to go down in the annals of card bloggery as “another blog post.”  Try not to get too teary-eyed.

Yes, 500 posts.  If this were the Hall of Fame, our comparables would probably still place us in Neifi Perez territory, but we’re working on it.  We’re just waiting for our R.A. Dickey like resurgence is all.

So, we’re not exactly “Big Time” in terms of sheer numbers, but that’s not the only measure of success.  We have quality on our side.  Or at least some of you think.  I’d like to thank everyone that does, and decides to stick around during the dry spells and tumbleweed eras we randomly go through.  I’d also like to thank the people that like us enough to send us random cards out of the blue with no expectation for a return package.

I’ve talked about a couple in the past, and I have a couple more to get to later on but for this epic 500th extravaganza there’s only one freebie package I could fathom discussing.

One loyal reader named Jeremy sent over a Big Time batch of free stuff.  And when I say Big Time, I mean capital letter Big Time.  A lot of it was Stadium Club cards for Andy’s obsession – like seven 500 ct boxes worth – but then there were a couple boxes in there for me.

Yup, all free and all for me

What you see here is my portion of the takeaway.  In these boxes is nothing but Greg Maddux cardboard heaven.  Okay there was one Steve Avery that snuck in, but other than that, all Mad Dog all the time.

Sorted by decade

Let’s just say this very heavy (and need I remind you, free – despite our repeated offers to at least pay for postage) care package came through a few months ago.  It’s taken some time to sort everything and properly catalog it in my inefficient but effective system.  This is the start.  What you see above is simply sorted by decade.  The left 4 stacks are all 1990s, the back 2 on the right are the 2000s and the small stack in the front right is the 1980s stuff.  Astounding, isn’t it?  You can already see from the few fully-visible cards that there’s some good stuff in these boxes.  A lot of good stuff.

Big Time good stuff.  Many many posts worth of good stuff.  Here’s the breakdown because I’m a nerd like that with my spreadsheets.

Greg Maddux Collection Stats Before:
Unique cards owned 513 of 6231 (8.233%)
459 Good to Go
54 could be upgraded down the line

Greg Maddux Collection Stats After:
Unique cards owned 952 of 6231 (15.278%) (+7.045%)
789 Good to Go (+330)
163 could be upgraded (+109)

439 new cards added to my collection.  Yup, nearly doubled my collection in one day.
1692 total Maddux cards received
1253 doubles

I even went so far as to mark down how many of each card I got, so maybe I’ll play a guessing game in the future for which year has the most cards in the group, or which card did I get the most of and how many.  I’ll figure something out.  For now I want to start showing these things off.  I’m going to go chronologically for my own sanity.  I have 60 master scans (up to 9 cards each) to eventually post, so it’s best to be methodical about it.

Today’s installment of “Jeremy Overload”:  1987 through 1992.  (After that, each year adds enough that they can easily be at least one post on their own until about 2004.)

Wooosh! We're off!

How about an XRC to lead the way?  Who would have thought that a 5.52 ERA in 6 games the year before would eventually translate into one of the greatest pitching careers baseball has seen?  Don’t write off your prospects too soon now.

Followed up by a 5.61 ERA?? What was Scout Doug Mapson thinking? Fire the bum!

Why would I show the back of a 1988 Topps card?  Well, to show off how bright and shiny it is of course.  If I wasn’t a total anal retentive nut, I might have missed this mixed in with the other 12 1988 Topps cards. By simply checking the backs I was able to quickly spot my first Topps Tiffany card.

From bum to All-Star and never turning back

While he didn’t play in the 1988 game, his selection was much deserved.  15 wins, 2.14 ERA by mid-season deserved.  I’m not sure the general public deserved a separate Donruss All-Stars set, but here it is, so I’ll take it.

Look at those slick computer graphics on the side

In 1989, I probably would have been just as excited about Upper Deck as I was about finding the Topps Tiffany.  Maybe more so since they got so damned expensive so fast. Finally, after only 23 years it’s mine.

The undershirt of a pitcher cannot be what color? The answer is below.

If you look at some of the pop cultury things that are going on these days (and I don’t pay attention to much of it), it wouldn’t be completely out of line to say that the fashion of the early 1990s is starting to come back.  I’m seeing an awful lot of neon in people’s clothing and sunglasses on the streets.  Think about it.  By the way, the answer is “white.”

Greg Maddux - Circatgho Ncubs

Sportflics got lazy in 1990.  There are only 2 images here instead of the customary three.  To make matters worse is the nasty looking border has a cycle of about 10 steps.  Not cool, Zeus.

Primary colors don't always play nice together

The Mini Leader cards have always felt cheap to me.  It’s tough to accept it as a legitimate set.  Even as a kid, I wondered why bother when you could have full size cards that honestly look better.  Maybe I’m crazy.  What do you guys think, is this an improvement or a more disgusting take on 1990 Topps?

Leaf - Lip Smackin' Good (tm)

I loved Leaf.  Who didn’t back then?  Us kids were suckers for some sorta silvery gray borders and art deco design concepts.  Who wouldn’t want a border around a framed picture, right?  I do.  I still do.  It’s still cool, dammit.

More of a modern look this time.

Looking at the backs of this and the 1991 card above tells me that Leaf completely recycled the write-up.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see that a lot between the sets.  One thing’s for sure “Greg has emerged as the ace of the Cubs’ staff.”

Oops, I guess I cropped it a little too much

1992 was the beginning of the end.  Parallels everywhere.  The sad part is that I ate that crap up.  What may be even sadder is that while I despise parallels now and think it takes a lot of fun and attainability away from collecting, I still really like the older parallels.  My childhood mind has grandfathered them in.  Black Gold?  Don’t mind if I do!  What’s that? It’s going to create a landslide that I’ll eventually drown in?  That’s just silly talk.  It’s a single card.

Greg has emerged as the ace of the Cubs' staff

While it looks like it belongs in a cereal box pack, these Score cards actually were found in Jumbo packs.  Exclusives based on pack type. Another collecting horror that I succumbed to.  I was a dumb kid.

Greg has emerged from bed to take this picture

Hey, I thought they couldn’t wear white!  Hmmm, I guess that doesn’t apply to spring training jerseys.  I have to say that the BARS charts on the Stadium Club cards are pretty impressive.  Without a site like baseball-reference, they’re able to list a breakdown of pitch type based on count and RH vs LH.  Although the Professor looks confused.

Where's my jacket?

I’m glad this was in there, because I missed the deadline to send away for my Members Only cards a long time ago.  And I forgot to sign up for the club.  And I didn’t have the money for the club.  And I probably didn’t know there was an actual club to begin with.

A Winner is me!

Winner!  Remember what I said about parallels earlier?  Topps Gold was my greatest vice.  That etched name was the coolest.  Of course having the multiple levels of parallels didn’t help things at all.  I think that’s when it first hit me that I probably couldn’t collect everything I wanted to.

One last pitch before Superman banishes you

Triple Play was known for being a kid-focused set and having some really interesting, fun pictures that you wouldn’t find in “professional” sets.  I mean just look at Maddux’s eyes!  They’re so crazy with the eyebrows raised and everything.  And he’s sticking his butt out! So wacky.  The 90s were too much!

Phew!  I’m exhausted, and this is only a fraction over 3% of the cards I’m adding to my binders.  I have a lot of work ahead of me.  Probably enough to last me another 500 posts.  I can’t thank Jeremy enough for the amazing generosity.  Also, I can’t thank all of you enough for reading and keeping us going this long!

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