Monday, July 1, 2013

No. 2 again

It's Canada Day today. Since I have lived near our northerly neighbors for more than half my life -- either on the Toronto side or the Montreal side -- I am somewhat aware of Canada Day. In fact, in the very definition of "somewhat aware of Canada Day" I once visited the Canadian capital on Canada Day without even knowing it was Canada Day ("good gosh, what's with all the FLAGS?").

Earlier today, I thought it would be appropriate on Canada's day to do a tribute post involving its lone major league team. So I had an idea for a post ready to go, cards pulled, etc.

And then the mail came.

Sorry, folks, that Canada Day post will have to wait until 2014.

I opened one of the two packages I received and it was quite appropriate given the goings-on up north.

It was from Brendan, who I met on Twitter. He had some 2013 Dodgers just lying around and wanted to know if I wanted them.

I answered in the affirmative as I often do with that question and received a few key 2013 offerings, starting with a green emerald of my favorite player.

There was also two Series 2 Dodgers, which are key because I haven't purchased any Series 2 since that first hanger box encounter a week or two ago.

Plus, if Hanley Ramirez continues to stay as hot as he is (he is hitting even better than Yasiel Puig right now), I am going to have to get every last parallel of this card.

But the card that helped the package hit home was this:

It's one of those sunglasses SPs. This one featuring Mr. Bison. (I seem to do pretty well finding the Matt Kemp SPs each year. It's all the other ones that I fail to chase down).

But this is the best part: Brendan sent the package from Canada. He's from Toronto.

So I received a package from Canada ON Canada Day!

Isn't that great?

Just fantastic.

Can anything top that? I don't think so. Not on Canada Day. No siree.

But maybe I'll just open up the other package for the hell of it. I mean it's just lying here. Might as well, huh?

The other package came from Matt H. I think the last time he sent a bunch of cards that were so cool that it took me months to find something to send to him.

And when I saw what was in this package, I knew that I was in for a very serious case of deja package vu.

To illustrate this package's awesomeness, I will count it down from the merely terrific to the "LORDY, is that what I think it is??????"

11. 1960s something or other Willie Davis

I know what these are. I've gotten a couple of others before. But I don't have the time to look up the exact name. They're super small, and would fly out of your hand in a mild breeze. Matt is the king of oddballs and this as odd as it gets.

10. 2010 Hong Chih Kuo all-star relic card

I'm happy with this card because the other Kuo relic I have is in pretty bad shape. One day I will come to my senses and decide that I need only one relic card of each player. This card will come in handy then.

9. 1960 Branch Rickey, Fleer Greats

I think you're getting an idea of how cool these cards are if Mr. Rickey is only No. 9.

Rickey is posing in front of a sign for the Continental Baseball League, which I'm ashamed to say I never knew about prior to receiving this card. Rickey was president of the fledgling league, which was supposed to be another Major League, but with the consent of MLB. It folded before any games were played.

8. 1981 Squirt Steve Garvey

Oh my gosh, I love oddballs from the '70s and early '80s. This is the first 1981 Squirt card I've seen (I'm more familiar with the '82s). The back of this card is the same as the Topps backs for '81, except for the card number.

7. 1979 Hostess Don Sutton

Here is Sutton "Suttoning," as he tends to do. My eyes light up every time I see a Hostess card.

By the way, I just realized that Hostess would list only limited stats on its card backs, the same practice that we trashed Donruss for in the 1980s. But then Donruss didn't come packaged with snack cakes.

6. 1961 Post Don Drysdale

Very cool that this card showed up. I have this card already, but I got a little artistic with it because of a delusional Angels fan. As entertaining as that card now is, I do like cleaner versions of cards, too. And this card is quite squeaky.

5. 1963 Post Maury Wills

I love me a playing-era Maury Wills card. Every one I perceive as rare because Topps didn't issue any of him with the Dodgers until 1970. Just a great card.

4. 2002 Upper Deck Hideo Nomo bat relic

Upper Deck was endlessly amused with pictures of Nomo batting, considering his lifetime .134 batting average. In fact in the year this card was produced, Nomo hit .063. But it's definitely an entertaining card, and I'm hoping this is a photo from one of his four career home runs.

3. 1940 Play Ball Babe Phelps

Awesome. More super-old Bums cards. This is my second Play Ball card and my first Babe Phelps card. He was an all-star catcher for the Dodgers in the late 1930s.

You can see where Phelps was apparently pinned north and south to something. Why a card that size needs two pinholes, I'll never know.

Ready for the next two?

2. 1956 Topps Sandy Koufax

(*stands at dining room table in a frozen stupor for a good five minutes while the world goes on without him*)

The question I would ask myself over and over is which '56 Dodger would be last, meaning which '56 Dodger would require the most money? I figured Koufax and Jackie Robinson would duke it out for the biggest cash prize. I never expected Koufax to arrive before the Walter Alston card.

I'm happy to say I now have Koufax's first two cards, which means all other Koufaxes are now possible (excluding those ridiculous SP'd signed things).

And so ...

What could possibly be more impressive than a 1956 Sandy Koufax?

Have I lost my mind?

Don't I know how to rank things?

Have I lost touch with Dodger history and card history?

What's wrong with me?

All right, let's see this card that you think is so wonderful that it's better than a '56 Koufax.

It better be good.

Cause I'm laughing if it's not.

Give it up ....

1. 1952 Topps Andy Pafko


When I was a little night owl, I taught myself not to expect too much in life. It's not that I was repeatedly disappointed as a child, I just figured out that when you get greedy or try to attain everything you want, the disappointment is so much greater when you inevitably fail. And, oh the health problems that follow.

In other words, be happy with what you've got. So with collecting there were/are certain cards that I want, but I never expect to get them.

1952 Andy Pafko -- the card listed in Beckett as being $5,000 in near mint shape, the card that is supposed to be impossible to find in decent condition because every last collector in 1952 put card No. 1 at the top of the stack and then used that Pafko to sandpaper baseboard -- was one of those cards I never expected to get. It's too iconic, too unattainable, too out of my very "be happy with what you've got" world.

Five years into this blog, and I'm still trying to figure out what kind of wonderful is going on.

So ... um ... what was I talking about again?

Oh, right, Canada Day.

As you can see that second package -- which was from the U.S. by the way -- was a little fancier than the first.

I can hear some Canadian readers now, "No. 2 again."

I don't mean to be disrespectful. I love Canada. I've written about my connection with the country here and here and here and here.

Of course, there is no contest with the packages. I love both packages and since I collect so much stuff, I'm an equal opportunity thanker. So thank you both to Brendan and Matt. Fantastic stuff, each of you.

That was quite a Canada Day.

I think it just became a holiday here on Night Owl Cards.


  1. That’s ‘omelettes' card #2! They’re out there, my friend!

  2. I would be happy to send over that emerald! Although, I'm pretty much tapped of all Dodger material, I'll see what else I can throw your way as well.

  3. Good lord what a package of cards.

  4. Man, the blogosphere is one awesome place. It's a place where people just send each other '56 Topps Koufaxes and '52 Topps Andy Pafkos apparently!

    Congrats on the awesome Dodger additions, Mr. Owl!

  5. Holy crap. All I got today was a Visa bill. No joke.

  6. Screw it - I can't compare to a package like that. Guess I'll just delete your mailing address from my spreadsheet.

  7. So, with my spare '56 Campy eventually headed to you, you're down to Alston, Reese and Jackie on the team set. Good going!

    Also: even as someone who just found a bunch of very solid '50s cards, the mind boggles at someone having trade bait like that.

    That really is one hell of a package of cards.

    I gotta say, though, I would've ranked Branch Rickey's card at #3, #4 if you really felt bad about it beating a Play Ball. That's a terrific card, one I hadn't *really* looked at before, and one I have to track down now. It's probably #27 on my top 25, #26 after I take care of this Puig nonsense.

  8. Amazing work assembling that particular card pack. Can only add that the Willie Davis is a "1969 Globe Imports." The Keyman site has a pretty good checklist if you want to hunt more Dodgers.

  9. When I found out about the Continental Baseball League about a year ago I became obsessed with the concept. Would make an interesting work of speculative fiction, writing about an alternate world in which it went down. I've never seen that Rickey card. Would have had to have it anyway, but now I REALLY gots to get me one.

  10. Pafko, the '81 Fleer Pete Rose of Topps cards!