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I must be in the front row

Once, I used to get envious of collectors and their card shows, one popping up every month or sometimes nearly every week. "Oh, ho, hum, it's time to go to another card show."

I guess I'm still a tiny bit envious, but I channel it a little better because I know that when certain collectors have so many card shows to go to, sometimes that means more cards for me!

This happens time-and-again with bloggers situated in card show heaven. Folks like Dime Box Nick and Commish Bob. And there's another one who keeps blessing me with card show goodies -- Johnny from Johnny's Trading Spot.

He plopped several stacks of cards on me recently and then sent a PWE, too, and then, today, another PWE showed up.

Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle.

I've finally sifted through the cards, what I need and what I don't and have some needed items for you to see now. Johnny even completed a set for me, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Right now I want to get to this Front Row Roy Campanella card.

I'm familiar with those awful early '90s Front Row draft pick cards that I never know where to put in my collection. And I know I've come across the Campy card before, but probably dismissed it because the unlicensed '90s stuff tends to bore me if it's not attached to a food product.

A quick review turns up a Front Row Ken Griffey Jr. promotional set, as well as a Frank Thomas set (jumping on the hot young stars train, I see you Front Row). The best part is five-card sets of all-time greats that were issued between 1992-95.

Johnny sent me the Campy one (I still need to get the Pee Wee Reese one). Each all-time greats five-card set came "factory sealed" in a team bag.

And each set appears with a Certificate of Authenticity because in the '90s we thought we had to protect common base cards from counterfeit scammers.

Here are the five unlicensed Campy cards in the set:

There you are. Kind of fun, even without the license. I notice that Front Row was able to use the red uniform numbers, which Panini is not allowed to do currently.

There are also autograph versions of the set, too, for those of you who like that kind of thing.

These were not the only unlicensed Dodger cards that Johnny sent me that I needed.

Who remembers the Platinum Series Baseball board game from 2015?

I certainly don't.

I don't even remember anyone showing these on the blogs and we bloggers tend to track down every card set or pseudo card set to show at least once.

These cards aren't too bad on their own. You can tell by the rounded corners -- the universal sign that these are meant to be played as a game -- that they aren't your traditional trading card collectibles.

That's a whole bunch of numbers, meant to be used in the game. Don't ask me any more than that. I didn't even know it existed until these cards showed up.

Still not done with the unlicensed needs:

A fine-looking Sport Kings card from Sage Collectibles issued a couple years ago. I had the mini Drysdale, this is the full size.

Doesn't look like a Dodger card at all, but it's all about "L.A.'s top pitching prospect" on the back, making it a Dodger card. L.A. really needs Urias in the rotation this year.

Unlicensed Buehler and Joc. You're going to see more of Buehler and Joc on more meaningful -- and not coincidentally, licensed -- cards.

But before I get to those, let's get some cards out of the way that I never have anything to say about, other that I needed them:

Foil and Bowman. Sometimes foil ON TOP of Bowman. The best you can hope for is it turns out like the Buehler card here, which isn't too bad.

I have to admit that this is pretty great though. I'm excited to see Lux for a whole season this year.

Johnny also sent some cards that filled holes in sets from years ago, most of which I barely pay attention to and therefore am most grateful when someone sends me a needed card so I don't have to lift a finger to tend to that set.

2004 Donruss Elite. Yeah, I never would have gotten to this. Lo Duca looks like he's working on an unlicensed card.

2003 Fleer Focus. Fleer used weird colors many times, nothing odder than its minor obsession with olive green (Pacific had this issue, too). No wonder I ignored Focus.

2000 Upper Deck Ionix, but a Blue Jays card, except for that sneaky "traded to Dodgers" line -- try to find it with everything else going on with this card -- that makes it a Dodger card. Thanks, Johnny for ensuring that I don't discover I need this card 14 years from now.

Some cards -- no matter how dull the set, and 2006 Fleer is a DULL SET, -- smack you in the face when you see them with a loud "YOU DON'T HAVE THIS CARD." This is one of those cards.

I didn't know that Fred Merkle, famous for his World Series bonehead base-running move with the Giants, played for the Dodgers. It turns out he played two whole games with Brooklyn in 1917, and I am so glad a card was made for that occasion.

It's glossy, you guys. I have to do a better job of pursuing the 1980s Dodger Tiffany cards.

In 2015, Heritage produced a series of these 1951-themed cards in both red back and blue back form. I'm pretty sure I put these out of my brain because I didn't want to pursue red backs and blue backs for a modern set. But now I have to fight the urge to add the blue back right now.

Something much more modern. A 2019 Gallery card. I've decided I don't like these at all. I haven't gone on a good rant for awhile. I think you'll see one on Gallery though -- soon.

Fancy, thick -- stretching out those page pockets -- Inception. Nice-looking card, and a nice lead-in to my favorite part of Johnny's three-envelope mailings.

Wooo! The Holiday set cards!

This is one of the metallic snowflake parallels.

So is this one.

I still need most of the regular Dodgers from this set so I can complete both the set and the team set, so I'll either jump on COMC to get those soon, unless someone wants to be super nice and send those right out.

Johnny needn't though, as he already did so when he shipped this Buehler Holiday variation card special when I requested it. I still love the variations in this set and this one is pretty fun with the snowman scarf (it's either snowmen or skulls). This is my first Dodger variation from the set.

Today in the mail, I received this card from Johnny, which is the last card I needed to finish off the 2019 Topps Holiday set. Yay.

Holiday festivities may be over, but I can't wait to get a color-coordinated binder for this set in the next couple of days and page in the whole thing.

Thanks everyone for sending me fun cards and set completers and stuff I didn't even know I wanted.

Thanks for going to those card shows.

While I count the months to my next one.


Zippy Zappy said…
I'm not sure I'm gonna do the odes to Dodgers prospects this year so in case I don't, Diego Cartaya is one of my favorite prospects in all of baseball right now.
Base Card Hero said…
For some reason the unlicensed cards from the 90's look a lot better than what Panini releases now. Maybe it's the photograps? The effot put into the design?
I do have plenty of the Holiday cards, so lmk which Dodgers you need for the team set.
Yeah, here's the thing about "Certificates of Authenticity" that are provided by the same vendor issuing the item:

If you question the authenticity of something someone is selling you, why would you not also question a "certificate of authenticity" provided by the same source?

If they can counterfeit the original item, they can certainly make up a lame-ass certificate.

Commishbob said…
For reasons I can't explain I'm partial to cards that show flags or backgrounds to indicate the player's home country. That Urias card has more 'stuff' than 'player' but I dig the Mexican flag on it.

I also can't explain why unlicensed cards of old-time players don't bug me but cards of modern guys in generic/blanked unis do. Bottom line-that little Campy set is pretty neat.
night owl said…
Johnny's Trading Spot ~

I need an extra Verdugo, Pederson, Bellinger, Beaty, Ryu, Smith, Seager, Buehler
gregory said…
The title of this post made me want a Miller Lite for some reason ;-)
Brett Alan said…
A couple of notes: Like the original 1951 sets, the Heritage red backs and blues backs actually have completely different checklists, so you don't have to worry about the blue back Greinke; it doesn't exist. There ARE, however, blue backs of Kershaw and Adrián González.

Merkle was on the Dodgers for part of 1916, too, so he actually played 25 games for them. So he doesn't knock Jim Thome off Nick's Short Term Stops team! Pretty awesome that there's a Conlon card of his stop there, though.
Fuji said…
Those Sport Kings might just be my favorite non-licensed cards of the decade. It's up there with 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes.
night owl said…
Brett Alan ~

The Greinke is actually the mini version, which come with red backs, blue backs, green backs, black backs and who knows what else.

I must've misread the Merkle stats on baseball-reference. Their presentation of stats for players who played for more than one team in one year tend to throw me off.
Old Cards said…
Agree with Jim from Downingtown on "Certificates of Authenticity".
RunForeKelloggs said…
I was thinking totally differently after reading the Front Row title. I forgot that they produced cards. I got my high school alumni magazine yesterday and there was a story about game 1 of the 1959 World Series that I thought you'd like.

An alum from my school called in sick and had a front row outfield set. He then caught a homer hit by Ted Kluszewski. The newletter even included a great photo of him about to catch the ball. He arrived at school the next day to a not so happy dean who gave him a Saturday JUG - detention to public school kids.
BaseSetCalling said…
I like Buehler's cards cuz he has such a great 'Pticher Face' - he looks very optimistic. This Pitch is a Strike and you can't do anything about that, Batter! Cya!

Makes me want to watch him pitch, but a West Coast team, arg. That's why I have baseball cards.
Nick Vossbrink said…
I have a Front Row set of Monte Irvin. It's s nice one especially for gueys whose vintage cards can be tough.

And I'm a bit surprised to see you didn't comment on that plaid uniform Merkle is wearing.

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