Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Always an adventure

Virtually every trade package that I receive in the mail is an adventure. I prefer it that way. Predictability is for envelopes that arrive from ebay and other online sites. What a dull, cardboard world I would live in if I knew exactly what I was getting every time I opened something containing cards.

I need that thrill, that sense that I'm getting something that I like, but not knowing exactly what.

Trade envelopes are even better than sealed packs from the store because that something doesn't contain Rockies or Marlins or Mariners or those creepy teams I dislike. But they're still always an adventure because chances are that envelope houses something I've never seen before.

Just such an envelope arrived last week from Josh of Royals and Randoms. With the exception of the emerald Kenley Jansen that opened the proceedings, everything else was new to me. Emphasis on "new." Emphasis on "adventure."

Let's start slowly and then build to where I was hauling out books and wandering through random websites in a quest for answers.

This wouldn't be some people's ideas of starting slowly. But I do know exactly what this is. It's a 2013 Heritage Minors autograph card of a Dodgers starting rotation guy from earlier this year, as L.A. has been plugging holes in the starting pitching dam all season. Ross Stripling's signature reads like he's signed 8,000 of these and his signing hand is hanging on for dear life. But you know how young kids' handwriting is these days.

Donruss Elite is not anything I'd ever specifically collect. Add Panini to it and I run screaming the other way.

So, it took me just a minute to pin this down. It's from three years ago. It's actually a good theme for an insert set -- recognizing notable draft picks with the stories attached. This is something Topps should be doing with their inserts.

The best pocket schedules are the schedules that fit into nine-pocket pages. This schedule will get me to dig up all my Dodger skeds and dedicate a page or two to them.

I see football was visited by the patch plague, too. However, this is my first (and only) such patch for the Bills, and I must have one of everything. It features the old Standing Bull logo, which people older than me get the nostalgies for. It's OK. But I prefer the Charging Buffalo. Movement in football is good. Standing around is bad.

Josh sent a note along that said he believes this is a 1997 Strat-O-Matic game card of Mike Piazza. Since that's what it says on the card, I'm going with that, too.

Strat-O-Matic from the '90s is a little fancier than I remember. Pictures and colors and everything. I'm used to the cards with three columns and nothing but type.

OK, this card set off much confusion.

It is a 2013 Topps Supreme card of former Dodgers pitcher Matt Magill. Kind of exclusive, as you can see, as just 35 apparently were made.

But when I pulled it out of the envelope, I thought I had it already. Because I did recently receive a '13 Topps Supreme autograph card of Matt Magill from someone else.

Even when I put the two side-by-side, I didn't know what I was seeing:

After touring through a few sites, I discovered that there are multiple autograph cards of each player in Topps Supreme (an Asian issue product). The number of cards for each parallel varies depending on the color. The card on the left is the "orange parallel" and the card on the right is the "sepia parallel." There are apparently six different parallels of each autograph card and that doesn't include two different 1/1s.

So that's the reason why it took me so long to figure out what I had. I'm a little too sane for this set.

Let's return to something from the good ol' days, although nothing I can find around here.

This is a Unocal 76 (what used to be Union 76) pin. Pretty cool.

The 76 gas station has been issuing pins at least since the 1980s. You fill up with eight gallons of gas, you get a voucher, you order your pin and, then ... well, I don't know what you do. I never knew what to do with pins.

The pin promotion for this year just started at Dodger Stadium. In fact, I saw the advertisement for it when I was watching the Dodgers game last night. This particular pin from Josh is the first pin from the 2015 promotion.

I sound like I sure know what I'm talking about, huh? Nah, ... Lots of research. Always an adventure you know.

Last item.

It's a pack from the 1997 Donruss team sets issue.

Again, I knew nothing about this. I had to look it up in three different places to find out that Donruss issued team sets for 11 different teams in 1997. The packs contain five cards of each team. Each team set card contains photos that are different than the respective player's '97 Donruss base card. The cards also feature different color foil from the main set and a weird foil sunburst/eight-fingered tentacle hand-like thing emanating out of the left corner -- because it's the late '90s!

Let's open the pack:

Not a bad pack.

It turns out I had the Nomo card already (and probably stared at it several times wondering what the heck it was from), but all the others are new.

Now wasn't that a lot of fun?

If I sought out these things on my own, it would have taken me decades or longer to track them down.

And the adventure wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining.


  1. Sets like Heritage Minor is worth the price just to see the awesome minor league logos.

  2. I'm glad you still needed some of that! It was an adventure for me to put it together, too. :-) The autos and the Donruss pack came from a card shop in Omaha, NE. The Piazza Strat-o-Matic came from a copy of the game that my brother gave to me after his friend gave it to him. The Bills patch came from Twitter. The pin and the schedule came from local stores. The Jansen and Piazza were pulled from packs.

  3. Gotta find me one of those 2015 Dodgers pocket schedule. I'm sure it looks great displayed in a 9-pocket page.