Monday, December 19, 2016

A Christmas package spectacular

All right, you guys know how to put me in my place. If you're not pointing out errors in my copy or lecturing me in the comments (let's hope that never happens again), you're topping me in Christmas spirit.

I was pretty happy that I had knocked down the last of my Christmas gifts for loved ones almost a full two weeks before the big holiday. But in order to do that, I put any card packages on hold until after the 25th. I often do that because I simply don't have the time.

But other people have figured out how to do it. Oh, have they ever. Because for like the third or fourth year in a row, my desk is buried in Christmas cheer card packages. There are so many that my usual painstaking ritual of securing a single post for each package isn't going to fly. At the rate the cards are coming in, I'll catch up by Opening Day.

So I'm going to show a bunch of them (but not all) here now. Sorry to lump everyone together, but at the very least readers will get the idea of how fantastic this community is. To set aside some time in their very busy holiday season to send out some cards to a fellow collector is quite thoughtful. One day I hope to join you. Maybe when I stop writing three blogs.

Here now are a bunch of Christmas cards from some very together people.

1. Checking It Twice

Out of all the packages I am showing here, this was the smallest and the least surprising. In fact, I requested these cards.

Chris from Nachos Grande opened a box of 1997 Fleer Sports Illustrated and spilled the contents on his blog for several weeks. I like this set a lot, although I admit it's mostly because of the SI cover inserts. The base cards are OK. Chris mentioned he had some extras and I took that opportunity to ask for any Dodgers.

He sent me two off my want list. Sadly, as soon as I saw the Karros card, I cursed my want list, because I should have erased card #113 a long time ago. I know it well, because it's sitting in a binder. Oh well. The Piazza, however, I do need. It's amazing how many Piazza cards I need given how many I have. People want to complain about steroids in the '90s. What about the overflow of star cards in the '90s? This is something that directly affects me!

Enjoy the semester break, Chris.

2. 2000 Miles

Another PWE came my way from Trevor of Bump and Run Cards complete with a verse from O Little Town of Bethlehem. You guys really got things down.

Trevor hails from Utah, which is a long way from me (therefore the Pretenders song). I believe it is the only person from that state who has sent me cards. Several years ago, I compiled a trade map that I updated regularly whenever I traded with someone from a new state. I haven't shown that map in four years. But I believe the only states left are Hawaii, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi and Maine.

Among the selection of cards from Trevor is one of the Duke Snider cards in 2010 National Chicle. I've considered trying to complete this set a few times. I've never gotten serious about it because although some cards like this one look spectacular, the whole set is very uneven. And there's difficult-to-find cards and other weirdness that dissuades us set collectors.

Here's a 2016 Chrome card off my want list. Trayce Thompson's launching the ball out of the mist. Let's hope if it's a home run, he can find his way back to home plate. Looks pretty foggy there.

Back to Duke. This is my favorite card from the envelope. Heck, it might be my favorite card in the whole post (stupid night owl, you should've saved this card for last!).

This oddball forced me to do a little internet sleuthing. It didn't take me long, though, to figure out that this is from a 1984 set from something called Sports Design Products. The 24-card set, of which Snider is No. 24, was painted by Doug West, a noted sports artist. According to this write-up, the set contained nothing but Hall of Famers and also includes Jackie Robinson, Don Drysdale and Roy Campanella.

They're great-looking cards.

Merry Christmas to you, Trevor.

3. Colorado Christmas

I just received this package from Adam of Infield Fly Rule the other day. It included the usual assortment of Dodgers, and then some more off-the-beaten path cards that may not be Dodger cards but certainly have a Dodger flavor.

On the Walt Weiss card you can see Raul Mondesi sliding in with spikes high.


Here are two cards of former Dodger Pedro Martinez, featuring starkly different haircuts.

Adam thought it would be no big deal if he paired these two cards up with this card:

You know, because they have no connection whatsoever. Dodger fans have no idea why you would put a Pedro Martinez card together with a Delino DeShields card. That's just so random. Don't you think it's so random, Fred Claire?

OK, that's enough of that. Adam sent me two cards of Legend of Cardboard Alex Cole. Those goggles will make anyone forget terrible trades.

I have a couple players in mind for future Legend of Cardboard posts. I'm being held up by the fact I'm still trying to acquire some appropriate cards. But I'll get there.

This won't be going in my Dodger binder, but what the heck is going on here? Did Darren Holmes just cut in front of all those Dodger fans in line to talk to Ramon Martinez? I know you were a former Dodger, Darren, but not cool.

Happy Holidays to you, Adam.

4. 12 Days of Christmas

There are no 2010 Buffalo Bills cards in the next package from my Twitter friend Chris. But after viewing that bit of horror, do you care? Do you care about this post or Christmas or life in general?

Probably not.

I'll try to give you reason to press on. The above cards are from the 1978 Topps set. I've said many times that as a kid I collected cards from the 1977 set and the 1979 set, but ignored the '78 set. That is why to this day I am obsessed with the '77 set and kind of interested in the '79 set, but have no attachment to 1978.

It also explains why I've missed these '78 backs until now.

Those are some outstanding cartoons. Athletes were such well-rounded people back then.

Chris also sent me the Kiss card that you saw at the top of the post. Gene Simmons is Jewish so I'm not sure how he feels about leading off a Christmas spectacular (he looks rather stunned by it actually). But the card was too cool to bury in this post.

As for baseball cards, Chris found a few want list needs.

Closing in on my 200th Eric Gagne card with that one.

But in even bigger news, Chris is taking some 2012 Topps off my hands! I am so happy about this. Maybe I can sneak some 1992 Score in there, too (just kidding!).

This IS a merry Christmas. Thanks, Chris.

5. The Man With All The Toys

The last package I'm featuring here today is from All Trade Bait All The Time. Oscar is from sunny Southern California, so I'm sure he's familiar with Beach Boys Christmas music. I thought of that song when I pulled this card.

I instantly remembered the Christmases I spent in toy stores. They weren't fun. You think they're going to be fun and then you get in the store. They're crowded with people and some of those people are kids and they're doing all kinds of things that humans shouldn't be doing if they had any manners. And you're trying to fend them off while wishing you had paid attention to that toy commercial at 8 in the morning instead of dozing because you worked until 2 a.m. the night before because your kid has found whatever was being advertised at 8 in the morning to be the most necessary basic need in their entire existence and ... damn, what was that now?

Yeah, I don't miss that.

Also, for whatever reason I've always thought that the player pictured on the above card was Chris Gwynn. I don't know why Toys R Us would be featuring Chris Gwynn on a card of rookie future stars, but you can't explain my barely observant brain sometimes.

Let's get back to some other cards that Oscar sent.

This card is from 2001 Topps Fusion, which automatically means I confused it for an actual Topps Finest card because Topps Fusion is the DEVIL.

Here is another set I want to collect. It is from the 1983 Topps Glossy set, which I believe is the first Topps Glossy send-in set. These were absolutely fascinating in '83. I revere this set above all other glossy sets.

I requested this mini from Stealing Home for my frankenmini binder. Michele Steele finds a spot in the binder by booting Chase Utley. Now, unless you're a Mets fan, you're wondering why in the world would an ESPN reporter boot Chutley. The answer is, I have more than one Chutley mini in my binder. I'm trying to restrict the binder to one person, one card. This is a step in the right direction.

Last card of the entire Spectacular. It is a wild red parallel from 1999 Pacific Paramount. Very cool. And very festive. The scan does begin to convey the festivity of this item, so I took a picture in hopes to show you better.

That's a little better, I guess.

If the Christmas tree standing eight feet from me was all my own, this card would be hanging from the tree right now. But there are other people in the house. One of whom is at HGTV level with her decorating ability. The card will stay far from the tree.

So this is all for now. THIS BY NO MEANS IS THE END OF THE CHRISTMAS CARD PACKAGES. The cards from Baseball Card Breakdown have just arrived and there have been threats of other packages on the way.

Meanwhile, I have been scared to death of getting even within a block of the post office the last two weeks.

I hope to have the kind of Christmas spirit you guys have someday.


  1. And a Happy New Year to you, Night Owl.

  2. You may still have a secret santa package out there

  3. I can take your 1992 Score dupes as well. Believe it or not I have at least 200 cards left to finish that set. Tell Gene not to freak out Hanukkah starts Saturday.

  4. You give us gifts all year long, Sir Night Owl, with your awesome writing, card-showing and saying things about cards that we didn't even know we felt until you mentioned them. Merry Christmas, buddy!