Thursday, February 9, 2017

The element of surprise

I was pleased to read in the comments of yesterday's post that so many collectors enjoy the "surprise" element of this hobby. Yes, it is wonderfully inefficient, some would term "a waste," and often an impediment to what I really "want". But I would never eliminate that part from my collecting ways. It is the rush, the thrill, the "what's in this pack?" aspect that connects me to the way I collected as a kid.

Sometimes I find myself shunning pack purchasing, adding random cards to my collection, because I need to be a grown-up and concentrate on what "really matters." But there are other times when I'm looking at my collection and I see holes and gaps. I like the idea of being a well-rounded collector who can pull out a card from any time period, team or card company. And I'm not going to be one if I stick only to Dodgers or specific sets.

So there's a back-and-forth argument about this in my brain (as there is with almost any topic in my life) and most times the "grown-up guy with a want list" wins.

But then there is the guy who wants to be surprised ...

A couple of weeks ago, Brian from Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary, announced he was trimming back on his collection and ready to make deals. I know for a fact Brian deals with a lot of Dodger pests ... er, collectors. So I thought it would be a cool twist to not ask for Dodgers but to ask for random cards, specifically from the time period when I wasn't collecting -- 1996-2005 -- because that's the period where I lack cards. Those cards would be a surprise to me.

Brian also mentioned he had a little bit of vintage to spare so I requested some of that, but I didn't really expect much. Everybody wants the vintage, right?

So here was what came out of the package when it arrived.

Lots of cards of players from teams I don't collect and from sets that I never opened. Since I collect Dodgers, I am used to seeing these sets with Dodgers on them only. It's a total surprise (there's that word again) to see players from other teams on 2002 Donruss Originals and 1996 Emotion.

There were lots of cards like that. Suddenly I had a couple of cards from Fleer Greats that weren't Dodgers and a couple more non-Dodgers from greats like Topps Cracker Jack. This may not have been terribly efficient, but every card was a surprise and, boy, was it ever fun.

And then ... BOOM ...


OK, it's from 1978 -- something I have a difficult time calling "vintage" and a card I have already -- but it's a classic card and I'm proud to own another version of it.

And we're just getting started here.

More and more cards that were entirely new to me even though they were issued 10, 15, 20 years ago.

 A new Sean Casey card! Cool! A Heritage card from 2003! I have almost none of those! Heck, I don't even mind that the Fleer Greats card is a Giant.

And then ... POW ...

A new VINTAGE card for my collection! Here is the design you're going to see a lot when March hits and 2017 Heritage is released. I don't think I'm ready for all that burlap.

But I'm definitely ready for 1968 Chico!

So that's how this package went. A bunch of new-to-me cards that filled the holes -- it's about time I get a Minnesota Twin David Ortiz card.

And ... WHAP ...


There were surprises all over the place.

Horizontal cards from 1995-2004.

And ... WHAM ...


Vertical cards from 1995-2005

And ... WHOOSH ...


Get the idea?

This is what I had in mind for this package. Sure, I planned it a little bit. But every card was definitely a surprise.

And then came the biggest surprise ...

Brian found me Dodgers anyways!!

There were some good ones. The very definition of "a nice surprise".

Got me an autograph, too.

OK, you can't see that at all.

That's better.

Jesmuel Valentin has been in the Phillies organization since 2014 and was suspended for a domestic violence situation. But ... uh ... the card's pretty, right?

Thanks, Brian, loved the surprise.

I will probably respond by carefully combing Brian's want lists and sending him only cards that he wants. But I'll try to find a card or two or three that he isn't expecting, because that's what this hobby is about sometimes -- the unexpected, the anticipation, the OH, WOW, WHAT IS THIS???

Surprises are pretty darn cool.

Although, I admit, they're not always the greatest.

Another card from Brian. I can do without that kind of surprise.

At least he's not a Giant.


  1. The Thrill is gone?? Brian pummeled you with an amazing display of cardboard! Just all over the place! Chico is gorgeous!

  2. This was a lot of fun to put together, too - If anyone else is in the market for a similar package, I should be able to find a nice variety of things for anyone interested. Bonus points if you want late 80s / early 90s cards, I have tons of those!

  3. That's a great package there. I often wrestle with the same dilemma you described--do I seek out cards I "need," or do I just break some wax and see what's inside? I go through phases of both. I feel like I'm accomplishing something when I'm building my collection of cards I want, but it definitely is more fun to see the surprises.

  4. There are so many years I never got to open anything from for whatever reason.

    That said when it comes to new product I like to get a few packs or a blaster or two and go for it just to see what I get..
    Otherwise, I've been picking things on COMC and through trades..

  5. Sweet (and varied!) bunch of cards there. I'll admit to a certain prejudice before saying that the '59 Tito Francona is my favorite. Hard to beat a red '59 showing the player in front of the early arriving Sunday(?) Yankee Stadium box seat customers. And doesn't the pose and angle of the pic used on the '62 Alou make the Giant look like a giant? One of the better cards in that set.

  6. 1978 is vintage now, just think when you started collecting the 1952 Topps set was about 20 or so odd years old. The 1978 card set will turn 40 next year..

  7. Nice lot of vintage. That 65T Alston is beautiful!

    1. Bonus, it is an O-Pee-Chee printed in Canada, eh?

  8. I just kept picturing an Adam West era Batman with all those "Booms" and "Pows"