This was my expression a week or so ago when I hauled in from the porch an incredibly heavy package, opened it up, and saw six USPS priority boxes inside.
The return address on the outside said the package was from Johnny's Trading Spot, and I was quite sure that I had done nothing to cause John to send a monster box my way.
But you know how this goes -- that is if you're lucky enough to have received monster boxes -- the daunting nature of such a package is quickly erased by -- OH, BOY, SIX BOXES OF CARDS!
That's what I felt like. And I started to get to work.
John pointed me in the right direction with a few notes. The one I saw first referred to the middle two boxes, which he said are "the real ones for you."
Who are the other ones for?
I figured I better start opening.
I chose one that made some sort of reference to Braves. I was pretty sure I read it wrong. Braves? There's no one who wants Braves in this house -- he's got to mean "Brooklyn" or something.
Nope, the note was right. They were all Braves. Anybody want a 1990 John Smoltz card?
There were four stacks in the box and every one a Braves card from the '90s. So many cards I'd never seen before. Soooo many cards I didn't want to see. I could hear that awful tomahawk chant, otherwise known as the soundtrack to the '90s, going through my head as I looked at card after card of David Justice and Greg McMichael and Ryan Klesko ... ugh, make it stop.
Why would he send this to me? Why? Wh --- and then I realized.
Not only was John clearing house of surplus Braves, but he's heard me whine on the blog about how I'm always running out of Braves cards because there are so many Braves bloggers. He was being my supplier!
OK, this is so much better. I don't know where I'm going to put all these Braves in the meantime -- some dark corner in the attic, I guess -- but they'll come in handy.
I moved on to the other box that John called "filler."
Four stacks of cards from 1993. Glorious randomness from Topps, Stadium Club, Leaf. Plenty of doubles in the group, but this is trade fodder here! I'm a Supertrader! I NEEEED this stuff.
Plus '93 Stadium Club is awesome. I saw a few cards in there I'll keep myself.
Off to the third priority box:
Four stacks of 1996 Pinnacle.
Johnny went directly to the gaping chasm in my collection. I didn't collect or purchase a single piece of cardboard in '96 and the cards from that year are still foreign to me. I continue to think the gold pyramid in '96 Pinnacle is very strange, but it's not as intrusive as I thought while looking at the photos, which are pretty nice.
Again, mostly trade fodder, but some cool cards I'll work into the collection.
Box No. 4. We're still on filler:
Another '96 set that escaped my clutches -- Score.
This set has been so elusive for me that I still need Dodgers to complete the team set. John's monster box helped me get within one Dodger of finishing it off.
Again, '96 Score is a better set than I thought, and I'll keep a few. But I've already shipped off some to a couple of traders. Thanks, John, for the boost.
So, by now, you're wondering, "weren't there any Dodgers in this thing?"
OK, so I'm the only one who was wondering. But you're going to see a bunch now.
Those were the two priority boxes that were for me. Busting through with Dodgers.
Sure, there were quite a few cards that I have already -- I've been at this for awhile. But there was a good chunk of cards that I didn't have, too.
If you're going to bomb me with cards -- and you can't afford vintage -- then stuff from the '90s and the turn of the century is as effective as anything. It's guaranteed there will be something in there that I need. It'll take me forever to figure it out -- because '90s checklists are the biggest rabbit hole in collecting history -- but eventually I'll get it, like I did the guys above.
Here are the Score Dodgers I mentioned earlier. All new to my collection. Extra credit to Score for getting us all to pretend that Mike Blowers is wearing a Dodgers uniform.
This card has been in my Top 10 "Got To Upgrade" cards for years. I finally have an acceptable '96 Pinnacle Greg Gagne card. P.S.: He has a lot of weird cards.
Has anyone been able to decipher 1996 Finest? All I know is this card was not in the binder.
I am enjoying this immensely. The writing travels over the Cardinals fielder because he's a Cardinal! He doesn't matter!
Now onto a few cards that I especially appreciate:
A few months ago, I discovered that my Dodgers Topps Big sets were not only not complete, but severely lacking. The 1989 set in particular, of which these two cards are from, is only half done. (P.S.: please note the ventriloquist's dummy dressed in an Expos uniform in the dugout of the Woodson card).
You never knew I could be appreciative of anything in 1993 Fleer.
But as soon as I saw this card I knew it was the first time I was viewing it. I went to the Dodger binders, and sure enough there is no '93 Fleer Todd Benzinger there. I could have gone to my grave thinking falsely that I owned a '93 Fleer Todd Benzinger card.
That is a tragedy averted.
There were so many other goodies stored in those priority boxes ...
Shiny cards of Fat Andruw ...
Vintage Dodgers because John didn't see them on the want list (pssst, John, that means I have them. I'm too lazy to list "completed!" for everything I complete) ...
Cards I had to take with the camera because they scan like crap ...
40Man cards that make me think I'll actually complete the uncompletable set ...
Cards torn off the box because someone hid all the scissors from the psycho who tears cards off the box ...
Gold and purple cards of a guy who is still cruising along in A ball, but at least I own a dozen of his cards...
The real reason for John sending the package and really the only thing I expected to get.
These cards are from the 1974 TCMA set commemorating the 1890 Brooklyn Bridegrooms, the precursor to the Dodgers and Brooklyn's first championship team. There are 16 cards in the set and they measure 3 1/2-by-3 3/4s, meaning storing will be an issue.
But I don't care. The cards are super thick and a great piece of history. Although TCMA calls this a reprint set, they were actually copied from a scorecard/yearbook issued by the team that year. So I don't consider it a card set reprint.
Above are four of the stars of that team. Their formal names are used so the colorful nicknames of the day aren't mentioned. For example, Thomas Burns is best-known as "Oyster" Burns.
Those are the backs, with splendid, old-timey writing. I enjoy how Burns is mentioned as "bluff but goodhearted" and "popular on and off the field." Meanwhile, more recent biographies of him say he was a "loudmouth" with an "irritating personality."
As you can see, that was a lot to go through, just as it was probably a lot to read through.
I hope I made it interesting. Because it sure was interesting to look at it all.
I'll be categorizing and filing for months now.
I just hope that during the lengthy process I don't go from ...
... this ...
... to this ...
... to this.