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The birthday that almost wasn't

More than two months ago I "celebrated" a birthday. "Celebrated" is in quotes because you don't really celebrate birthdays at my age. You mark them grudgingly and take solace that it should be a 24-hour time block free of irritation.

But beyond that, I wasn't in the mood for celebrating because I knew by that time that the cash I usually receive for my birthday, that I would normally spend on cards, would have to be saved for the possibility that it would be spent on bills.

Oh, that's ugly.

So, yes, there was cake and ice cream and people and presents and a night out and songs and all that. But what's a birthday without being able to buy cards? That's not really a birthday to me.

If I was younger I would've thrown a tantrum and shut myself in my room the whole day. But those days are long gone and I grimly accepted my fate. I held on to that birthday money for two months. Some days I was just a pen stroke or keyboard stroke away from blowing it on something frivolous, like keeping the lights on. Some days I was hopeful I could purchase cards as was my god-given birthday rite.

It went back and forth like that until a couple weeks ago. Only then I was certain that I could actually spend a gift to myself on myself. (Another reminder to Topps: don't release Allen & Ginter in August ever again).

So I did. And just last week the best birthday present I received this year arrived from Check Out My Cards two months later.

Was it worth the wait? Well, you be the judge.

My original plan was to buy a couple of big cash cards. I was bracing myself for that because normally I can handle only one big-cash card at a time. The guilt of multiple pricey cards at once is too much.

But I didn't go through with that -- again -- because as usual my collecting eyes are bigger than my stomach. I want TOO MUCH of EVERYTHING.

I like a wide variety of stuff and I really love variety. So I did the variety thing the best way I know how.

Because there's so much variety, I will break it down in various categories for easy digestion.


Not a lot on this list this time. Just two items.

A bat card of my favorite Penguin. I've stared at this card for a long time and it's about time I grabbed it. It's the only relic card I bought.

One of those Fleer Sports Illustrated Covers insert cards from 1999. In a perfect world, I would obtain all of these. But my budget allows only Dodgers and this is my favorite one of the ones that are available. We need more cards of Jimmy Wynn in Dodger blue.


I have no respectable card shop. No resources to bust multiple boxes. These are the kinds of cards you miss when you can't do that.

I suppose this one isn't so hard to find, being an insert from this year's Archives. But the inserts in this set are fairly popular and I'm not exactly buying packs of this stuff.

This is one of those Day-Glo Orange parallels from Archives that were issued at card shops. Another "only the cool kids get them" card. But I'm a Day-Glo Orange kind of guy (still pissed that the Buccaneers' creamsicle uniforms are no more). I require a card like this.

And I'll just repeat what three dozen people already have: I swear to you that the border of this card is bright, glowing orange. I don't know why scanners are so jealous of these borders and turn them into some faded beige color. Get some confidence, scanner.

I have yet to pull a pink or camouflage parallel out of packs this year. And I doubt it will happen. So I found one key card in camouflage to throw in the collection. Some day I'll grab something pink, too.


There are cards that you don't necessarily want, but that want list is driving you crazy, so put the thing out of its misery.

The often sought-after 1989 Bill Brennan Score Rising Stars card. I often get the feeling someone on the other side of the computer screen is laughing at me when I purchase cards like this. But the team collector knows no shame.

The last two 2008 Timeline Dodgers that I needed of two long forgotten Dodger relievers. It's always amusing which cards are the most elusive.

You saw this yesterday. Goodness, that experience was annoying.


Oddballs will probably be a part of any future card order for the rest of my card collecting career.

This thing is terribly ugly in its unlicensed glory. But a card connected to a frozen pizza is just something I've got to have.

I've still never been to a Sonic. But at least I have one of its cards. This airbrushing is almost eerie if you look at it from 1970s standards.

The 1986 Burger KIng cards aren't the greatest-designed cards ever. They fold out, too, but I don't dare open it.

Besides, the back pretty much sums up the greatness of this card:

The Croissan'wich was a BIG deal in 1986.

I was actually looking for Kellogg's Dodgers but didn't find any that made me happy. But then it dawned on me: "Mass-Produced Snack Cakes!"

They're better than cereal anyway.

I was almost out of cash by this point, but a Hostess Reggie in a batting helmet from 1979 is more than satisfactory.

One of those cards that you stumble across looking for something else that YOU. JUST. GOT. TO. HAVE.


It's going to happen. You're scrolling through cards innocently when something shiny passes your field of vision. Before you know it, your search has been narrowed down to REFRACTORS ONLY, BITCH and it's just insanity from there.

One of these days I will go on a Baseball Heroes color parallel binge in which all I purchase are these brilliantly colored parallels of the insanely dull Baseball Heroes base set.

Both Kemp cards I obtained were super shiny and colorful. I expect a similar postseason from Mr. Kemp.

Somewhere in my shopping trip, I realized that I owned almost no red refractors. One of my favorite closers ever rectified that issue.

This one is even better. It looks like a baseball card that they would make in Candyland. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.


You knew I'd get to this eventually. I usually start out a card purchase with vintage in mind and then veer off from there. I could have done even more damage here if I stayed focused. But I think this is pretty good for someone who gets distracted easily.

In my continuing quest for all the 1976 SSPC Dodgers, I purchased Garvey here and the Hough at the top of the post. I should really just order the entire team set online, but my brain keeps telling me "you've come so far to quit now!"

Here is another set that should have been a primary focus of my shopping trip, but I only thought about it after almost all the money was gone.

There's a certain Blue theme to these '75 minis.

It's time I start cracking down on 1960s Dodgers. That means sets between 1960-66. For some of these, all that's left are the high numbers. I focused on a couple from 1964. And, no, the off-centeredness doesn't affect me in the least.

There are approximately 436 Dodgers in the 1960 Topps set. It's easy to lose sight of cards like these. So instead of searching out regular old base Dodgers from 1960, I grabbed this one.

And this one. Floating head coaches! Weeee! Got to love the Pete Reiser.

Making a pretty good dent in the '59s. Here's one of Zim that I needed.

And this is one of the few non-pricey Dodgers left from 1957. Love this card.

Lastly, there was this card.

I feel a little bad about this, not because I've shown it already, but because as soon as I knew that there was birthday money to be had, I had planned on buying three or four vintage Koufax cards in one shot.

I came away with just the one. It's really a great one -- possibly his best -- but I still have quite a few to go.

There are still a few birthday cards that are coming in. I also wandered over to ebay to nab a few incidentals. Mostly from 1956. Yup, more variety.

But I can't change who I am. I like a lot of cards. I love variety and it makes shopping with birthday cash a real hoot.

So, anyway, I don't know about you, but I think that's definitely worth the two-month wait.

And the lights are still on.


Really nice birthday gift ! Well worth the wait.
carlsonjok said…
Holy moly! I never knew about that 1971 Downing "traded" card. That is glorious!
night owl said…
It's actually a '71 O-Pee-Chee
petethan said…
Looks like you managed an excellent balance between quantity and quality. The one Koufax was enough to take care of the latter.
Fuji said…
Very nice COMC purchases. I might have to copy you and buy myself a 65T Koufax for my birthday. Also love the oddballs... especially that 1986 BK Fernando.
Now those are birthday presents! Gotta go with the Hostess Reggie as my favorite of the bunch.
arpsmith said…
You know how I feel about Dodgers but I have to say that was a nice variety you picked up with the birthday stash. I just scored a pretty good deal on a pretty old card off your want list that I plan on sending your way after I get it in had. I was a little scared as I scrolled through the post and am glad it never showed up.
Nick said…
Looks like an excellent birthday haul there! Love the red refractors. Glad to say that I own a '65 Koufax, although mine has A LOT more wear and tear than yours.
The nice thing about a package like that is you get to celebrate all over again. Glad you got to spend the cash on yourself.
Anthony Hughes said…
Mr Night Owl, very nice selection of cards. Seeing the SSPC ones makes me wish someone could still make cards like that, simple cards without a half dozen TMs and (C)s and so on.

PS. regarding Sonic, you are not missing much. The drive in concept sounds great, but eating in your car is not nearly as fun as it sounds. The slushes are great on a hot day, though, and where else can you get tater tots!
Ana Lu said…
Our birthday usually is more important to our family and friends than to ourselfs. Let it be. So am I too late to wiah you a great day? I wish you have much more 'cards days'. That's a nice name to call to b-day ;-)

I have a couple of those UD Baseball Heroes cards and have many doubts about their colours..