Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Secret Santa has landed

Thanks to some glacially slow mail delivery ('tis the season), my Secret Santa package from Nick, didn't arrive until Wednesday -- which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't a big deal at all -- at times, we should all just be grateful that are mail ever gets to and from it's intended destinations.

Last week you saw some of Nick's warm-up package (that really doesn't sound right), so since this post is being finished a day later than planned, let's not waste any more time in getting to the goods:

Even if Nick hadn't already told me that the Secret Santa cards came from COMC, I would've known anyway once I saw this Pat Jarvis buyback, as it was the last card that I was contemplating whether to buy or not during the Black Friday sale. Ultimately I passed on it, only because I figured I had already bought enough during the sale (including a number of buybacks), but it must've been meant to be, because... here he is!

It seemed like for a while there, I was finding a couple of cards from TCMA's 1982 "Baseball's Greatest" sets at just about every show that I attended, and figured it wouldn't be very long before I was able to complete them, boy was I wrong. The well seems to have ran dry, as it's been at least six or seven months since I last added a card to one of the sets.

1961 Golden Press, wasn't expecting to see one of those :)

I've said it before, and I know I'm alone when I say it, but the '73 edition of Kellogg's is my favorite year of Kellogg's cards.

I don't ever come across Kellogg's 3-D cards at shows, so these were a very welcome surprise.

You can never go wrong with Hostess! Nick is knocking off set needs left and right.

I could see Toby standing above the rest of the cards in the team bag, so while it was a surprise to get a '53 Topps, it also wasn't, if that makes any sense.

Even though he did end up playing five seasons of pro ball after the knee injury that's mentioned here on the back, it was still what ultimately led to his early retirement.

Even though it was the first thing I saw (well, other than Toby sticking up) when I opened up the team bag, this 1964 Dick Stuart coin, was by far the biggest surprise to come out of the Secret Santa loot. It has been almost a year since I was able to cross one of these off the checklist.

I always assumed that the all-star section of the set was for guys who, depending on when these were released in '64, had been all-stars either the year of, or the year before. This particular coin cleared up that misconception on my part, as I didn't think Dick had been an all-star that late, turns out I was right, Dick was a two-time all-star... but that was in 1961 (back when they had two all-star games a year). So obviously, the all-star section of the set, must have been reserved for guys who were all-stars at some point in there career.

As amazing as the Secret Santa portion of the package was, Saint Nicklaus (you see what I did there), decided to add two more full team bags of  "extras"...

Once again, Nick went above and beyond with these extra's, knocking off set needs, and providing me with cards from sets that I didn't know I needed. Because just isn't possible to show everything in one post, here is just a small sampling:

These box bottom cards are really different for me, so much so, that I didn't even realize that boxes of '86 Donruss and Topps even came with cards on their respective bottoms. Very neat!

This Donruss Classics from '03 is yet another set that I didn't even know existed. I missed out on so many of these "player's of baseball's past" sets while I was away from collecting in the early 2000's.

Oh, and Luis here, is a gold parallel to boot.

This was by far the biggest surprise of the "extras". If I were able to better focus on my baseball card collecting goals better, I would work almost exclusively towards completing the Post sets, before continuing with anything else. Thanks to my lack of focus, there's a good chance that I will never complete even one of these sets, that being said, I still get excited every time I get a new (to me) needed card from one of these sets.

I've never seen these embossed 2003 Fleer Tradition Milestones before. They look really good in person.

I almost never come across these 1992 Action Packed All-Star Gallery's.

How have I never seen this one before?

I can now say that I own the famous Lance Berkman Sumo suit card!

There were a bunch of A&G mini's in the last package, but apparently Nick had at least one more lying around.

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I do sort of collect pre-production/sample cards, so this 1994 Sportflics 2000 sample is a nice addition to that collection.

More Kellogg's.

I certainly won't complain about getting another needed Hostess.

Some vintage set needs. Bill Stoneman has a bit of a wax stain, but that will require almost no effort to remove.

My first two cards from the 2004 Legendary Cuts set.

A variety of set needs.

A hodgepodge of fun stuff.

And finally, a few more odds and ends.

Nick, thank you, once again your generosity has been almost overwhelming, and while I do think that there are many people who are much more deserving of such thoughtfulness, I greatly appreciate it nonetheless. These last two packages have elicited many a ooh and aah while going through the cards, hopefully I will be able to repay you in kind throughout the coming year.

And a final thank you goes to Matt for organizing this whole Secret Santa thing. If there is another round next year, I feel like you should just toss my name in as a sender only, what with Nick sending me at least half a dozen years worth of Secret Santa gifts and all :)

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Christmas Bounty

Let me start off by saying that I sincerely hope everyone had the merriest of Christmases! Personally speaking, I had a great day, but between getting some great gifts, and going out for a bit of a hike, there really wasn't any way it couldn't have been a great day.

This is now my third year of celebrating Christmas in Tennessee, and all three years have been different weather wise. The first year it was around 65 degrees and rained heavily all day, so much so, that it caused quite a bit of flooding in the surrounding areas. Then last year it was close to 70 degrees and absolutely beautiful out. And this year now, with the wind chill factor, it was somewhere between 20-25 degrees. Ice pellets fell on Christmas Eve -- and being as cold as it was -- they stuck around all day, so technically speaking, we did have a White Christmas.

I went for a hike in the afternoon, but since I had to wear gloves, and with not wanting to constantly be taking them off, I didn't end up taking any pictures like I did last year... but it was still fun to get out and enjoy the fresh (albeit crisp) air.

My mom's birthday is on Christmas, so for as far back as I can remember, I have always tried to go all out as far as celebrating and gift giving goes. No matter how much stuff I end up getting her though, she always manages to outdo me, and as usual, this year was no exception:

Plenty of fun stuff is coming up... I promise, but first I need to get what has become a yearly tradition, that being the getting of new slippers -- and believe it or not -- it's something that I actually look forward to. For anyone wondering why, just take a look at what kind of shape last year's are in:

Yep, those are last Christmases slipper's, and yes, that is duct tape. For some reason, slippers and t-shirts just don't last very long for me. Here's a look at why the duct tape was necessary:

It's inevitable that soles are going to start coming off a couple of months before Christmas, this year though they seemed to be much worse, hence the tape, which by the way, I was just about to replace for the third time. I could obviously go buy myself some new slippers, but since I know a new pair will be waiting for me on Christmas, I just make do with what I already have until then.

Hey, it's my first accent rug! I don't know why my mom got me this, when she knows darn well that I'm not going to be able to wipe my feet on it. In all likelihood, it's going to end up being hung the wall.

Now were getting to the kind of stuff I usually get. This McFarlane X-Files Flukeman is crazy awesome!

For anyone who doesn't know, he was featured on the episode "The Host". The sculpt on this is amazing. As a dedicated package opener, this one (along with most of the other stuff that's coming up) will be opened, I just haven't got to it yet.

I should probably mention too, that the stuff being shown isn't being done so in chronological order, which is why were going back to 1996 with this Dive Claw Robin from Kenner's Legends of the Dark Knight line.

"Arena" has always been my favorite episode of Star Trek TOS, and yet somehow I missed this Playmates figure of the Gorn back in 1997.

From 2015, this is the most contemporary of the action figures. It's pretty neat, especially considering I haven't seen a lot of Scarlet Spider toys before.

A great television series, and a great toy line.

I think this is the first time that I've seen any of Kenner's The Shadow figures that didn't have a clearance sticker from either Kay-Bee of Toy R' Us on it, as these were pretty undesirable during the 90's. I remember seeing this movie in the theatre, and I (and my mom) seem to be one of the few people who genuinely enjoys it, in fact it's the only movie I can still watch of Alec Baldwin's as I've come to dispise him in the last couple of decades. I already have the Ambush Shadow out of package, so this will be one of the rare times that I actually don't open something.

Here's another item I don't remember. How? I don't know. I love me some die-cast figures, and the sticker is pretty awesome too.

Here's the rest of the set. I will definitely be buying the rest of these, hopefully sooner than later.

I actually got some cards too. I'm very familiar with both the '71 Fleer Cocoa Puffs and '72 Fleer sets, but I never knew Comic Images put out a 'Trotters set in 1992.

I also got one 2017-18 Panini Prizm rack pack. I had no intentions of collecting this year's set, but it will still be fun to open something up.

And finally, these original MOTU figures were easily the biggest surprise of the day. From left to right there's Screeech, Man-E-Faces, Kobra Khan, Leech, Sy-Klone, and Zodac. Over the last couple of month's I have been looking at the original MOTU figures on eBay, and sort of wondering if I wanted to start reacquiring all the one's I used to have (as well as the one's that I didn't have) -- the funny thing is though -- I never mentioned it to my mom, so for her to have gotten these for me is kind of strange, to say the least. Mom's intuition? Ok fate, I've received your sign, I shall commence with the MOTU collecting.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Secret Santa Aperitif

About two weeks ago I got an email from Nick, of Dime Boxes fame, letting me know that something was on it's way, given the time of year, I figured this might have something to do with Matt's Secret Santa exchange.

After seeing (and feeling the heft) the bubble mailer that arrived a few days later, my suspicions were all but confirmed... sort of.

When I opened up the package I was greeted by six or seven team bags that were stuffed to the gills, one of which had a note in it. In the note, Nick let me know that he was the unfortunate soul (I added the "unfortunate soul" part) who had drawn my name for this year's Secret Santa, but there was a catch -- which was that the stuff he had bought online might not be here in time -- so being the generous fellow that he is, Nick sent a warm-up package just in case the other stuff did end up being late.

This is what Nick refers to as a "warm-up".

This is what everything looked like after a preliminary sorting. On the rare occasion when somebody sends me something, I always show everything off here on the blog... but with at least 150 cards in this package, I just don't think it would be feasible to do so on this particular occasion (at least not in one post.

So in an attempt to keep this post at a reasonable length (it's still pretty long though), I will just be showing some of the highlights, which wasn't as easy as it sounds, given the tremendous amount of terrific items that were within this bubble mailer.

I don't know if I would say these are favorites from the package or not, as the vintage stuff you'll be seeing in a second is really great, but these are pretty high up there. This is the first time that I've seen any cards from the 1988 Conlon Baseball Immortals series 5 set in person. And it's certainly not everyday that you see/get cards featuring the likes of Johnny Tobin, Hub Pruett, Stuffy McGinnis, and Howard Ehmke.

Notice any similarities?

This is a really solid trio of 71's, and like the Kretlow and Roberts above, all were set needs.

A pair of Sawx, but these aren't just any ordinary Sawx...

... no, these are une magnifique paire de OPC Rouge Sawx!
I have been thinking about starting a collection of former Portland Beavers players, but I don't really know yet if I should. It would be such a different style of collecting for me, it's almost like I don't know even know how to start such an endeavor. If I ever do, this Vicente Romo would be a nice addition.

The want list continues to dwindle with this pair of buybacks. I think the Herbert is only my second or third 1960 buyback now. And you can't go wrong by adding Lee May to the mix either.

I believe I've only ever mentioned it an email to Nick, which was easily over a year ago, that I sort of quietly collect A&G (mostly just the minis and inserts), and I say sort of, only because I don't seem to come across them very often. Judging by how much A&G was included, I'm assuming that Nick remembered me telling him that, which is pretty amazing, considering how long ago that was.

A few more A&G minis, with a 2014 Golden Age Hindu Red Gary Carter thrown in for good measure (which is certainly appreciated as well).

There were a lot of A&G inserts in here, all of which were new to me. I wonder if Nick included an Oregon related card on purpose, or if it was just a coincidence?

It seems kind of amazing that Topps didn't get around to doing a World's Fair set until 2017.

This might be my favorite of the all the A&G insert sets.

As I said, Nick sent a lot of inserts, including a few near complete sets. Some time in the next month or two, I think I'm gonna have to finally start making a checklist.

Inserts and Minis weren't the only A&G related items, there was also this really neat 2013 Julia Mancuso framed mini-relic. Even though you can't really tell from the picture, I believe this is a piece of thick sweatshirt or something similar, as it's kind of poofy and really soft.

Since I'm not really an Olympics follower, I had no idea who Julia Mancuso is/was. Turns out she's got an Olympic gold medal to her name, as well as two silver's and a bronze. I may of not known who she is, but this is still a really neat card to receive, plus it's now the furriest relic that I own.

My first Topps Fire card. I'm still undecided as to whether I like this set or not.

And my first 2017 Diamond Kings. Now this is a set that I really like, especially after seeing the cards in person, as they look much better than the photos that I had seen online. I might have to try and get a box of these at some point.

There were at least a dozen 2005 SP Cuts in the package, so I just picked a few to show.

I only had two cards from the 2007 SP Cuts, so with these, Nick has doubled my haves. Hopefully I will be able to start having some better luck with finding these in dime boxes.

All set needs.

More set needs.

Even more set needs.

These '91 Swell are pretty swell (sorry)! And they were all needed as well.

These guys are pretty sw nifty too. I haven't seen that photo of Tris before.

This was the first time that I had heard of these contests, it would be kind of interesting to know if anyone actually won anything good.

The last three sets of pictures here are just a sampling of everything else that isn't being shown:

Nick, thank you again, this was a very generous package, which could've easily been the official Secret Santa gift. I'm fairly confident in saying that if there is a another round of the Secret Santa exchange next year, everyone will be hoping that you draw their name.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.