One thing that boggles my mind repeatedly in my various blog readings across our hobby is how readily available cards are in other parts of the country.
I often lament my lack of a decent card shop and the relative lateness at which new product arrives in my area. There are many sets that I never see in person because of where I live.
But I thought I was doing pretty good as far as card shows. No, there isn't one a week or one a month like there is in several places, but the few that I do get to go to are good-sized shows with a large variety of cards. You'd have to be awfully picky not to find something you like at shows like that.
Still, even with all that bounty before me, there is one thing I've never seen at those shows in more than five years of going.
Once in awhile I'll discover one in a discount box. But I can count those times on the paw of a three-toed sloth. And I have never, ever, ever seen a box or a binder full or even half full or a sixth full of '75 minis.
Enter the Junior Junkie. The guy is obsessed with Ken Griffey Jr., like most baseball fans of a certain age. I call them the "backwards-cap-wearing people." With all of those Griffey cards to chase -- if you didn't know, there are a LOT -- I wouldn't think he had time to go to a card show. But he did, and there he saw something I never thought would exist.
Here, I'll let him tell you:
"One of the vendors had a huge box of them."
I'll repeat it for you. Because I know you didn't hear it right.
One of the vendors had a huge box of them.
I'll just let that marinate for a little bit.
One of the vendors had a huge box of them.
A huge box.
Of '75 minis.
Just casually sitting there.
Like it was nothing.
Like it wouldn't start a riot of collectors swarming his table. Really, there should have been police tape around that thing. I hope there was, and the Junior Junkie was invited to step ever so carefully under it as one of the chosen few.
But then the Junior Junkie added something else.
"This guy has a lot. And the condition is fantastic. I see him once a month."
Why, why, WHY, do I live in this godforsaken hole of a place where it snows 3 inches on the first day of spring and you can't find a blasted hobby pack of Heritage for 60 miles? Why?
But I shouldn't dwell on that. I should focus on the fact that I know people who live in card heaven and they send me cards! Really, I would be destitute if it was any other way.
JJ sent me 23 very key '75 minis and they arrived on that glorious day with two other '75 mini packages. Let's have a peek at a few of them:
Lots of legendary figures on that page. My favorites are Koosman, J.R. Richard and Gary Matthews as those were all cards I pulled in '75, and 9-year-old me would've been blown away by mini-sized versions.
More great stuff, from basically the first 100 cards in the set (I don't have every card in the set down by number, but I can tell you about where in the set that each card falls).
By now, you're probably sick of 1975 minis (I read my blog stats -- I know these things), so I'll move on to some other cards that the Junior Junkie sent.
He packed a huge assortment of Dodgers in a box, stuffed Mardi Gras beads in it for padding (nice touch, but the shirt stays on), and basically dared me to find something that I needed in there.
But I was up to the task because it became rather apparent that he looked at my want list.
Nobody sends me an Attax card of Casey Blake out of the blue withput looking at my want list first. Unless they're some sort of cardboard outlaw.
By the way, the Junior Junkie just wrote an amusing piece on games that masquerade as cards. Check out his blog if you haven't. It's one of the better new ones I've seen.
Oh dear, more game stuff, and it's Kevin Brown, too. He finds a way to worm his way into every package.
My first look at one of those 1970 booklets from Topps. This one apparently belonged to Connie. My guess is some boy got the Bob Gibson one, his brother got the Ernie Banks one, and they gave little sister Connie the Bill Singer. "Here, Connie, this one is yours. I'll write your name on it for you so you know it's yours."
Stupid condescending older brothers. Don't worry, Connie, I'll make sure no one else touches your Bill Singer booklet.
Here is some Broder 1989 Orel Hershiser card that is totally new to me. I'm guessing that if it's totally new to a certain Hershiser collector, he will be weighing in in the comments in 5 ... 4 .... 3 .... 2 ... 1 ...
Hey, look! A real, legitimate card! No games, no booklets, no mini sizes, no unlicensed monkey business. You didn't think I'd ever get there.
But this is the Mark Ellis card I really wanted. Ever since I cried over my discovery that I was missing this card from the set, I've braced for the deluge of Mark Ellis cards. So far, this is the first and only. But one is plenty, and JJ is to be commended for being the first. Probably why he got invited past the police tape to look at '75 minis.
Remember when these cards were a thing and I was thinking Topps was reading my blog and designing and marketing cards just to my interests? Oh those were heady, egotistical times.
It's been a long time since I've received any of these cards that I've needed. Here are two that fit the bill.
Totally random. But the only mini insert set from A&G that really interested me. But not interested enough to have any more from the set than this single one.
Every year Topps has me collecting cards of someone I know isn't going to do squat for the Dodgers in the coming year. Tim Fedorwicz last year. Ivan DeJesus Jr in 2011. Carlos Monasterios in 2010. Give it up Topps. I know none of these people are going to be stars.
A pair of Roberto Kelly needs. The card on the left is very interesting as I've never seen that inset technique in Collector's Choice before (not that I am up on Collector's Choice at all).
This was just one of several cards I received of mixed team names and uniforms, which are very key to a team collector like me.
Here is Mike Blowers wearing a Mariners uniform and cap, but listed as a Dodger.
And here is Kaz Ishii as a Dodger but listed as a Met, and Danys Baez as a Devil Ray but listed as a Dodger.
They are all one in the Dodger binders.
This also will be going in the Dodger binder as I am lacking a 1958 Don Zimmer.
Zim did finish out his career with the Senators and did play 33 games at catcher in his final season in 1965, so the scrawler isn't as deranged as he seems. I respect accuracy, and blue pen is preferable to red, which just reminds me of my teachers.
One last card and then I'll let you go do whatever boring activity you wanted to do.
It's a super-sweet autographed card of Dee Gordon from this year's Topps.
I like how Gordon's signature pays tribute to his deceased mom, whose last name was "Strange." I discovered the story about Gordon a couple of years ago when I was so enamored with him.
I'm not as enamored with him anymore. I still hope he becomes something great, but I've reached the point where maybe the Dodgers should just turn him into another Herb Washington and let him do nothing but pinch-run. Hell, the new ownership group has plenty of money to do stuff like that.
Anyway, it's very cool to have this card and it's very, very, very cool to have almost two-thirds of the 1975 Topps minis set now.
Thanks to a fantastic mailday on March 11, 2013.
Oh, and one more thing:
It's been building up for three posts.