Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Card collectors still send Christmas cards

I remember when I lived in my first apartment back in the early 1990s -- when my wife and I were figuring out how the hell two people of the opposite sex could possibly live together in negative square footage -- we would get buried in Christmas cards.

There was this wonderful archway between the living room and kitchen (the apartment did have its charms) and we filled that archway with all the cards we received. The cards traveled up one side, over the top, and down the other side. No space left over.

As the years went on, the number of Christmas cards received dwindled, until here we are in 2015. We get a handful of cards from close relatives and a few older people who don't do the internet. They all fit into a six-inch Christmas tin. The archway is bare.

I can chalk this up to two things: either people have gotten away from cards, letters and paper products in general, preferring to send greetings from a hot spot at Starbucks, or nobody likes us anymore.

I prefer to go with the first reason.

But you card collectors have taken me back in time. Over the last couple of weeks, I've received several Christmas cards in the mail from fellow collectors. I suppose it makes sense. We're supposed to be backward people who actually collect cardboard cards we can hold in our hands, why wouldn't we still seek out those very unvirtual Christmas cards that you can touch and feel? We're so dated.

And best of all, the majority of these Christmas cards have real life cards inside, too!

Shall we take a look?

We shall. Your Christmas shopping can wait. You're behind anyway.

I will start with Angus, who has been distributing Christmas greetings all over the card world from his blog Dawg Day Cards. This is a beautiful card. It is a photo of the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario.

A few friends and I took a tour of Ottawa back in the 1990s and I'm sure I at least walked past this building.

Let's open up the card:

Donruss ACTION All-Stars. The Fernando is from 1983 and the Pedro is from 1985. The '85 Action All-Stars looks fantastic and this card is new to the collection. Outside of me needing some pages for 3 1/2-by-5 inch cards, too, I like everything about this card.

Angus hails from Canada where O-Pee-Chee cards grow on trees. Really! A little bird types in the "Now with ..." updates on each card.

Canada really is a magical land.

I've often wondered how OPC decided where to place the "Now with..." on the card. The Strawberry placement seems like a standard, proper spot. The Ojeda placement is quirky and very OPC, so never mind what I said about Strawberry.

Angus obviously wants me to put Mets in my Dodger binders. That's OK. This is one of the few great-looking 1990 Topps cards. I'll be happy to add this.

But this is my favorite of the OPC cards in the card. This is so Canadian you can smell the poutine.

Thanks for the cards, Angus. I just looked for any Browns cards that might reside in the house. I found exactly two. They're headed your way at some point. Brace yourself.

More Christmas greetings.

This card is from Captain Canuck of Waxaholic. The Captain is also from Canada. In fact, three of the four Christmas cards I'm showing here are from Canada.

This means something. I don't know what, but I'll figure it out.

Anyway, let's open up the card:

CC went the prospect route. Wise move, because everyone knows that team collectors forget about Bowman a month after it comes out.

I have no idea what shape my Bowman want lists are in, but I did just look and I do need the Chrome Windle (who, by the way, is now a Phillie).

Same deal with Chris Anderson here. I needed the Chromey version. Anderson made it to Triple A last season. Nothing to write to mom about with his 10-plus ERA, but at least he's there.

There is no Chrome here, just good old fashion rookie card logos that mean nothing. I need the Ryu card in this pairing. Earlier, I freaked myself out by spotting a different-looking 2013 Bowman Ryu in my binder and thinking this one was some sort of short-print. It's not. In fact, I'm sure two different Ryus make perfect sense in some sort of Bowman Logic way. I'll just focus on being happy I have a card I didn't have before.

Last card from the Captain. It's a former Nebulous 9 need. My 1991 Leaf Dodgers set is finally complete! Another overproduction era team set removed from the list! Merry Christmas to me!

Thanks, CC. Hope you enjoyed the contest prize winnings I sent your way.

This happy holidays penguin card is from Max of Starting Nine. It's very nice of the card makers to think of Ron Cey during the holidays.

In fact, the first card I pulled from the card was this Ron Cey! The Penguin from a penguin card! I am not making this up.

OK, actually I did make that up. It was maybe the 18th card in the stack. Let me have my fun.

Max stayed with the O-Pee-Chee theme and sent this great item.

I have wanted this card for a long time. Yes, I realize this card was made just last year. It's felt like a long time to me. Any card of Pedro Martinez in a Dodger uniform that is not in my clutches is like a long-lost love.

This is an Otis Nixon Minted In Cooperstown parallel. This gives me an excellent opportunity to shoehorn in my reaction to Topps' announcement of levels of buyback rarity, which will appear in the 2016 set. Apparently different stamps will signify different degrees of rarity of each buyback.

I beg of you, do not collect these. If you do, you are not collecting cards. You are collecting different foil stamps. You are collecting the foil stamping process. This takes Topps almost no effort to produce, comparatively speaking. Do not reward Topps for no effort.

This is the back of the Tom Lasorda card in 1987 Topps.

And this is the front that came with it. I have no idea what to do with this.

Those are all various needs. I won't bore you with the why and how much. Just know that I'm very very happy.

Now for the really good stuff.

Good gosh, you don't know how much I've stared at the black-bordered version of this mini that I've had in my binders for quite some time, wondering why, oh, why am I still missing the base card version. There was actual wailing involved. I believe there's still a sackcloth in the closet.

Glorious. Max caught me wondering what Hargrove looked like in a Padres uniform because Topps was unable to capture him as a Padre for the 52 games he spent with San Diego in 1979.

But Hostess was! Sure, it's a complete paint job. But, look, Hargrove is an artistically rendered Padre! Check out the crayon scrawled uniform!

Speaking of players slumming as Padres. This is a terrific-looking relic card. And, yes, I saved it for last because I'm sooooooooooo 2002.

It's the Garv on a great design from 2011. I really like these 60 Years insert cards. There are so many awful looking relic cards, it's nice when someone gets it right.

So all of those Christmas cards really put me in the spirit. In fact, that first card at the top of the post -- which is from another Canadian collector, John, who I know from Twitter -- arrived without any cards inside.

John just sent Christmas wishes, just like the old days! That's awesome.

It makes me want to put all of these up in the archway.


  1. I didn't realize that OPC had gone back to using the Topps logo in the early 90s. I suppose that 40th anniversary logo in '91 would have been tough to deal with otherwise, but it makes the cards much less distinctive.

    1. Yeah the 90 OPC was only distinguishable from the back

  2. I love it when those surprise cards show up to remind me player X was once a Dodger - like ol' Otis Nixon there.

  3. I hadn't seen that Topps announcement about buybacks next year. Going to make chasing Virdon buybacks harder I'm afraid.

  4. I wish I had made the Ron Cey - Penguin Christmas card connection before I sent the pile, otherwise, I would have put him right on top or maybe slipped him inside. I must not have had my coffee yet.

    As for the Lasorda card, why not draw a picture of him and make your own custom '87 Tommy card? That is something I'd love to see.