Sunday, June 4, 2017

The road less traveled

Sometimes being a home owner means going to the store when you don't want to go.

I try to avoid stores, malls, plazas at all costs on Sundays. I don't know how Monday-through-Friday, 9-to-5ers do it. I detest the weekend crowds and the driving is getting worse out there. Maybe I'm more sensitive to it because I've never had a 9-to-5 job in my life and all of my shopping is done during "off-hours" on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or at 2 in the morning.

But because I had to get to the big-box hardware store I found myself in annoying Sunday shopper traffic. People forgetting what turn signals are. People practically stopping in the middle of a busy four-lane road for -- I have no idea, did they have to tweet something? -- absolutely no reason. And the crowds of people, the people around every turn, the lines. Ugh.

I figured since I was enduring this inconvenience, I might as well hit the nearby Target and its well-known card aisle. I think you know I don't care about the Archives set, but at least it would be something new to open. I could pick up a rack pack.

Well, there was no Archives. Just screaming kids throwing things, lots more people, lots more lines, and, gracious, get me out! OUUUT!!! I barely escaped alive -- literally -- because as I was driving away on the road between Target and another plaza, a genius drove out from a parking lot from my left, directly in front of me. It was astonishing. And I slammed on my breaks, coming within inches of T-boning the moron's purple car with the Texas license plate (I am not inferring, just stating facts).

"That's it," I thought. "I've got to get out of this busy."

Finding cards at Walmart was out of the question, anything going on there was no doubt worse. I stopped at Kmart, which is always empty, to check out its card section. It wasn't interesting. Maybe I'd hit the Dollar Tree, since people have found cards there recently. But that would require another plaza stop and I was almost killed in a plaza.

Finally at a quieter part of town, I pulled into Walgreen's, picked up a flash drive for a work project and cut back to the toy section, where I found a freshly stocked column of Fairfield 100-card box repacks.


I've opened plenty of these over the years enough to know that there would be something in there for my collection, That is not anything I can say about the latest card product at Target or Walmart.

And I was right. I needed a little more than half of the cards in the box.

For record-keeping purposes, this was the card showing at the front. None of the other boxes had anything better. I bought this one for comic purposes. These two guys really turned out well, right?

Every one of these Fairfield boxes are legally required to contain a pack of 2012 Triple Play. It's a necessary evil. At least I received this spectacular child likeness of Chipper Jones.

The box was heavy on Topps issues from 2012-15. Included was this Mike Trout card that I needed, despite buying a bunch of Topps in 2013. Unlike Trout's Topps Update card from two years earlier that is at insane prices these days (200 bucks!), you can nab '13 Trouty for like 60 cents.

I rid myself of 2012 and 2014 Topps every chance I get. But I admit I was a little sad to let this card go in a trade. However, you know what they say: if you love something, set it free, and it will come back to you. Welcome home Gatorade Dozier.

Pulling the late '80s All-Star glossies out of repacks is always fun. You can always count on one or two, and if you're lucky, there will be one you need, like this young Canseco.

Repacks are about the only time I make a card purchase and hope to find cards from the '90s. In most cases -- unless it's something from '90-92 or '93 Upper Deck -- I will need it. Three cards from the underrated 1993 Topps set are all new to me.

Oh, yeah, you know there was late 1980s Donruss. But Rated Rookies, gentlemen! One who made a name for himself and one forgotten once 1989 ended.

O-Pee-Chee cards are always wanted. This is so much better than pulling a current Diamondbacks card.

I also like that Fairfield works '80s Traded cards into their selections. We all have plenty of 1986 and 1988 Topps from the base set. But I missed the Traded sets from these years and I love seeing cards from the '80s that I've never seen before. More on that in a minute.

Another Fairfield strategy: load the box with team set cards. They look like 2015 flagship, but they are not. Just check the numbers on the back. All of them look like the player's respective flagship card on the front, except for the Fowler (He was an Astro in 2015 flagship).

And here is the team set card of the box if you ask me:

A Kershaw team set card! This is one of my favorite Kershaw images and it's nice to add another version of it to the collection. Greetings Kershaw card No. 514!

I've mentioned many times that you can't find Dodgers team sets where I live (and that means I never think to nab them online). There are right now in my Target Detroit Tigers team sets, which baffles me. There haven't been Tigers fans here since Magnum P.I. was on the air.

Now, my secret hope when I buy a repack is that I will get -- no, not a hit -- something vintagey. I've pulled cards from 1964 in these things.

There was nothing vintagey in this box. The oldest card was from 1981 Donruss. But the most plentiful cards in the box were, to my surprise, 1982 Donruss.

There were actually seven '82 Donruss cards. The other was Steve Yeager, of which I have plenty. But the other six -- I needed every one.

Not only did I need them, but I get very excited when I pull cards from between 1974-83 (my first collecting period) that I've never seen before, because that was the period when I memorized every last card that I came across. Too cool.

The Edwards and Stein I owned at one time and must have traded them. But the other four I brand new to me. And the Ron LeFlore is tremendous for someone who was a LeFlore fan growing up.

That brought a nice smile to my face.

And that is not something I can say often when I'm buying the very latest in a very crowded Target on a Sunday when I should be anywhere else except a store.

Yet another example of when taking the road less traveled pays off.


  1. One of the things I've really noticed (since my job requires a lot of driving) is that the roads are inundated with people who cannot drive. Just recently I had a motorcyclist pass me on the left at a high speed while I was in the process of making a left turn.
    And I love those Fairfield repacks.

  2. I love coming across those team issue Topps cards, it's a rare treat.

  3. I've driven all over this country and Texas has the worst drivers! '82 Donruss out of one of those is pretty neat. That set brings back many memories of a completely different collecting era.

  4. It's even more fun driving in a school bus..

    Nice cards though

  5. Geez... at least your driving netted you some cards. I spent all day driving my son, whose car has crapped out on him, around looking for a used Subaru. They can be tough to find in Boise. I did get to spend a couple hours in the showroom at one dealership, going through all the fun that accompanies purchasing a car. Wheeeeeee!

    1. The car market around Boise kinda sucks. I bought my most recent car in Oregon, and the one before that I bought in Colorado and had it shipped to me.

  6. I walked around Target this morning after going to the flea market. It wasn't too bad. Maybe it was early enough to beat the church crowd. I didn't see any Archives blasters either. But I did manage to finally grab some Topps Bunt. Only three weeks behind everyone else.

  7. It looks like Dave Edwards is disgusted at the sight of Roy Smalley