Monday, December 21, 2009

A very merry Christmas to me ... and the greatest card package ever

Today was a great day as far as card collecting goes. I finished off my Christmas shopping and grabbed a few random card packs with my leftover scraps of cash. I ended up with a relic card and an auto card. The relic card will be going to a certain blogger, and I have a feeling the auto card will be sent to someone eventually, too.

Then, when I arrived home, there were four card packages stuffed into my mailbox. (One I'm not 100 percent sure of the source. I think I know, but if you're from sunny Hermosa Beach, please stand up).

It then occurred to me, that it doesn't matter whether I receive any cards on Christmas morning. Sure, it'd be great, but if I don't, I won't bitch, like last year. Because the number of cards I have received from across the country in the last few weeks is astounding. A number of them have come with Christmas greetings (I hope I can show some of those before the Christmas tree is out on the curb). And that means a lot.

So, in this cheery festive mood, I thought it'd be a good time to show the contents of what I call the Greatest Card Package Ever. It came a couple of weeks ago from Joe L. He had sent me an email a month or so ago saying he had some cards for me, but he needed time to get them together.

Then, a couple of weeks later, my wife walked in from getting the mail, carrying a large box as if it was a platter. I thought that appropriate because I certainly valued what was inside. When I opened it, I pulled out two long card boxes. One box was filled with cardboard, mostly Dodgers.

The second box was half-filled with Dodgers. The other half contained a stack of envelopes. Wait until you see what was in the envelopes.

Joe left Christmas greetings and I leafed through all the cards in a grateful stupor. And now I am going to show them here.

But I'm going to have to break it up in parts, as there are too many great cards. And I want to give them justice. Showing 6 cards when I received more than 500 isn't cool. Also, I pondered when to show the "hits" of the boxes. I thought about showing them last, but I think by showing them first, people will immediately get the idea of why I think this is the greatest package that I have received. So, that's what I'll do.

And this is where the envelopes come in. There were 12 envelopes, much like the 12 days of Christmas. And each had a note on it. I'm going to repeat the note before showing the contents of each envelope. Also, I'm going to show the cards nice and big -- Beardy style -- because they deserve it.

OK, feast your eyes:

Envelope #1: "The scrubs. A must for any team completionist."

Cool. The Brazoban card is cut like a "Y" at the top, and I'm going to say it stands for "Yhency." It's numbered to 100, which means it's more rare than the Mike Kinkade card. But I like the Kinkade card better. First of all, I had forgotten all about him until I got this card. When he was a Dodger prospect I hoped he would do big things for L.A. Also, it's a relic/auto combo, which is great.

Envelope #2: "Mr. Automatic -- when he was on there was no one better."

Damn right. The most dominating closer in the history of time for a three-year period. I miss the days when Gagne closed. Except for that All-Star Game disaster, you knew he would be perfect every time.

Envelope #3: "A really hard pull. That's all I can say about this card. Not much to look at, but 1 per case."

I saw one of these UD Retrospective relic cards for the first time on one of the blogs recently. It really isn't the greatest-looking card. But it's my first Manny bat card, so it's staying with me for a long time. To me, Manny is all about his bat, so it's the most appropriate relic for a Manny card.

Envelope #4: "Not my favorite Dodger. I'm kind of surprised he still starts for them."

Well, he does get injured a lot. But he's pretty darn good when he's in the lineup. I'm happy the Dodgers still have him, because nobody else appears to want to hold down the shortstop role for L.A.

Envelope #5: "My favorite Dodger position player."

I'm hoping he will only continue to improve. It's going to be hard to duplicate the season he had last year, but I think he has it in him.

Envelope #6: "Upper Deck's last good licensed baseball set?"

I am thrilled about the Billingsley jersey relic. Goodwin was pretty good. Not as good as people hoped it would be. All the football and basketball players really hurt it for me.

Envelope #7: "A Masterpiece? They used to call these that I think."

Awesome. A magenta printing plate for the 2006 Topps U&H Wilson Betemit card. This is my first printing plate of a Dodger. I don't have much of an interest in printing plates, but I appreciate their uniqueness. And I make an exception for any Dodgers anyway.

Envelope #8: "An old man. One of the best hitters of the 1980s."

Oooh, it pains me to hear Pedro Guerrero being called an "old man." He was my favorite player in the mid-1980s. And it's true, he was among the best in the majors during that time. This is a great card, one of my favorite out of the bunch.

Envelope #9: "A young man. Great rookie campaign but huge sophomore slump."

Wow. My first "by the letter" thingamajiggy. These manu-letter patch cards are both fancy and ridiculous. Like a fur coat. But I like it and have no guilt about liking it. I'll pretend that Cory Wade was captain of the Dodgers and the blue "C" really came off his uniform.

Envelope #10: "A Dandy. Well now you know who it is. But did you know he is a cancer survivor? Of course you did, you're the Night Owl, master of all things Dodger Blue."

I had forgotten about Sutton's battle with kidney cancer. I have a lot of respect for Sutton, and that makes me respect him even more.

It's a little sad that he has to share a card with Brandon Webb. Webb has a long way to go to even get into the same sentence as Sutton. The second card is great. The jumbo jersey isn't so jumbo that it throws me into hysterics.

Envelope #11: "The big payoff? Not quite, but almost."

WOW! Russell Martin sure has some great cards, doesn't he? I've said that before. He's just about the king of cards, among present-day players anyway.

That top card is crazy. If you can't make it out that well, it spells out L.A.D. in the jersey cut-outs. The tiny photo of Martin bugs me, but I can't argue with the card that much when I see it in person.

Too bad Piazza is in an A's uniform on the other card. What a fantastic card it would be with both of them in a Dodger uniform.

Envelope #12: The big payoff: Hope you don't have it. Not a huge $ hit, but I know you'll appreciate it."

Amazing. I absolutely love an autographed card of my favorite player. Joe knows what I like.

The funny thing is I had no idea what set this card came from, as I had never heard of the Topps Retired Signatures Edition. I even asked Joe what set it was.

Then, a week or so later, I received the base card Cey from the set from Mark's Ephemera! Suddenly I had both Cey cards from the set. Now that is stellar.

Crazy stuff, eh? Joe also sent a couple cards off of my Nebulous 9 list, which I'll show at some point soon. There were a couple of graded cards, too, both of which I have posted.

Two of the relics I had already. I will be sending them off to a deserving blogger. Meanwhile, I might be persuaded to trade maybe two of these cards. But there are others that you'll never get, because they're staying at the Night Owl Encampment forever.

OK, that's enough for awhile. I am still in the process of cataloging all the cards Joe sent. It will take awhile. Get ready for some Dodger goodness in the days to come as I finish off the Greatest Card Package Ever.


  1. Phew. This Joe L fella is something else!

  2. Wow. That is one nice package. I'm glad that I was a small part of the story. Very small, but a part nonetheless.

    I just wanted to use the word "nonetheless" in a comment.

  3. Absolutely amazing. Great package. That's enough for a few Christmases.

  4. good golly! what a dodger bonanza. congrats!

  5. That is the GCPE, for sure. Good karma for your good self.

    Reading about this almost makes up in cheer points for the lone trade we undertook recently, wherein we sent a *scad* of cards to someone who never sent the minis he promised in return and has now utterly disappeared. Live and learn. Thank you for a dose of Christmas Happy in celebration of this crazy community's usual generosity.

    Aren't the Goodwin relics nice in person? Moreso even than in scans.

  6. Good lord! I think maybe I know Joe L as well, and he's sent me some great cards too, but that is one hell of a package right there!

  7. Night Owl, thanks for the call out. I'm standing up :)

  8. That was really amazing. Joe must bust a lot of wax or he is freakin' Dodger magnet. At any rate, he's very generous!