Tuesday, February 19, 2013

President's Day Box Bonanza

The goofy title of this post might lead one to infer that I ran to h.h gregg or one of the other annoying media and electronics giants yesterday and threw my money at some zit-faced 19-year-old salesperson before wheeling a 50-inch LED screen to my car.

Not exactly.  I try to avoid such places on federal holidays.  But, if you got a great deal on a Samsung yesterday, God bless ya!

Instead, I visited my dusty 'n dim local card store to snag a perfect vacation day diversion: a 400-count box of random baseball cards.  I bought one of these a month or so ago and enjoyed the yield so much, I figured I'd try my hand at another.  Besides, I've been buying nothing but 2013 Topps of late and needed a brief respite from the sleek packaging and uber-gloss.

So, for five big ones, I had a great time sorting through all the goods, marveling at some of the odd items and fantastic finds that I encountered.

The Edgardo Alfonzo card leading off this post is perhaps my favorite of the lot.  The scan doesn't make it obvious, but the embossing on this card is shiny blue.  [Ed. Note: Never mind you that I said I was tired of gloss and sheen!]  The inscription at the bottom reads, "UD Exclusives" and, as you can see, the serial numbering is 023/150.  A great pull of one of my favorite players!

I love this card for its sleekness and apparent rarity, but also because the cartoonish Chevron car appears to be chasing Fonzie.  All things considered, this card makes my guaranteed relic or autograph card (another perk of these 400-count boxes) seem pretty lame.

Nothing personal against Furcal or the jersey cards found in 2012 Topps Update, but a beautiful base card like the Alfonzo puts most jersey cards to shame.

There's so much from this box that's scan-worthy, but I don't want to go too crazy.

Here are some of my favorite Mets finds:

By a wide margin, I'd have to say the Carl Everett Ultra card is the absolute best of the bunch.  Because it's the "Gold Medallion" edition, the background has been rendered hazy.  Thus, the dugout prankster's arm is somewhat obscured and we're left with what looks like a floating white-gloved hand.

But, don't worry, I have a pretty good idea who the culprit is.

Moving right along, and while we're apparently on the subject of food icons, how about some nice Jimmy Dean trading cards?

Nothing beats baseball cards straight out of a package of breakfast sausages, am I right?  Pretty good player assortment here, too.

What's a repack box without some Diamond Kings?  I got a pretty decent run of '87s.

Talk about a dichotomy of moods, check out the puss on Eric Davis when placed next to Mr. Giggles, aka Dale Murphy.  I'm not sure how to describe Von Hayes' face other than a mixture of "all business" and "unparalleled fear."

From Diamond Kings to playing cards with diamond suits, this box had a bit of everything.

The Kruk card apparently comes from a Phillies team deck.  I'm sure the complete 52-card collection holds the Guinness record for most mullets contained in a playing deck.

These next two cards feature some amazing photography.

Victor Diaz was no small man.  Full marks to Johnny Estrada for standing his ground, at the very least.  Who knows what the call was when the dust settled, but this is a ferociously great card regardless.

I may be mistaken, but I think this Lowrie card was prominently featured on Dime Boxes not so long ago.  It's kinda funny that a copy has now found its way to me.  I'm quite happy it has, because this is a tremendous action shot with a pretty clear outcome.

Finding your favorite players in these sort of boxes is always a treat.  It's even better when you come across multiple cards of a certain player.  Earlier I showed you a sausage card of this guy, but here are a couple more from the great Will Clark.

Will the Thrill may just have been the focus of my very first player collection, dating back to my earliest collecting days.  And I continue to enjoy getting his cardboard.  I used to plead with my buddies to trade me their Clarks back then, only to receive scorn from my dad later on when I'd proudly show him my newest Thrills. See, to my father, it was an alien concept to acquire more than a couple cards of the same player.  These days, we don't talk baseball cards very often, but if we did he'd probably roll his eyes at the numbers within some of my player collections.  Oh well, what do you expect from that Baby Boomer generation, right?

Another thing I really enjoy about card collecting is obtaining cards of players wearing uniforms that you wouldn't mentally connect to that player, at least not immediately.

Nomo as a Red Sock?  Bo (and his bicep) as an Angel?  It just doesn't seem right, does it?

Ditto for Steve Carlton as a member of the White Sox.  But, that's what makes a certain baseball card memorable.  It's cards such as these that provide the fun wrinkles in this hobby.  They keep we the collectors on our toes.

Sometimes a strange uniform isn't the only thing that makes us do a double-take at a certain card.  Take this Vlad Guerrero card, for example.  Pretty normal at first glance.  I definitely love these All-Star Game embossed cards that Upper Deck included as part of its base set in 2002.  But, here's a question: What the heck is Vlad doing in the infield??  This is a player who, prior to his DH days, was renowned for his cannon arm in right field. Yet, here he is taking grounders.  Go figure.  Nonetheless, a very cool addition to my Guerrero collection.

Locked and loaded.  That's the category in which I place cards with photos such as these.  Boggs, one of the best pure hitters who ever lived, and Wally Joyner, a slugger who never could eclipse the remarkable success of his first couple big league seasons.  I happen to love the Fleer boxed mini-sets from the '80s, such as Exciting Stars.  They were cheap and gave you all the stars you craved.  Just the stars; no utility infielders or journeymen relievers that cluttered the regular wax packs.

As for 1988 Score, I have a love/hate thing going on with that set.  For certain players and certain teams, I love the crazy, haphazardly colorful borders.  With this Wally Joyner card, I think it works nicely.  But I think it misses the mark more often than not.

I'll finish up with the obligatory Dodger card -- otherwise I'll alienate 3/4 of the blog universe!  I've never come across one of these Trade Card doohickies before, have you?  It's from 1995 Upper Deck.  If you jumped in your time machine and went back 18 years, you could exchange this Orel card -- along with $2 check or money order -- for nine Upper Deck cards featuring "the hottest players on their new teams."  In this case, cards 451-459.

What a neat concept!  Using an insert card as a means to amass cards for an update/traded series.  Say what you will about Upper Deck, but they were mighty innovative.

Well, for the second time in as many occasions, I surely got my money's worth with one of these boxes.  Lots of fun stuff and a great assortment of years and brands.  Star cards, oddballs, and all those lovable commons that we can't live without.

One of these days, I think I might buy two of three of these boxes and conduct my very first TWTTC "box break."  I'm not really sure if this would interest anyone out there, but I suspect maybe a few of you might be into something like that.  I mean, each team nets about a dozen cards per box.  So, if we did three boxes, you're talking nearly 40 cards of random goodness.  And that's not even mentioning the three "hits."

Anyways, just something to think about for down the road.

Until then...



  1. The Hamburger Helper hand made me LOL. Nice job.

    The 1995 Upper Deck Update was an awesome idea and I believe could work today with more rookies and less veterans. If I am not mistaken that set was about 10% rookies and Andy Pettitte was the only one that really did anything. I'd like to see maybe a 75-25 split.

  2. I'd like to show your dad my box of Clarks. I have a whole 3200 count box dedicated to him. It's got a dupe or two in there.

  3. I think I peed my pants when I saw the Bo Jackson card. He looks like he's coming for me.

  4. These boxes sound like a lot of fun!

    Lots of good stuff in that one. Love that Carl Everett card. I'd never seen that Vlad before, either. Not sure why he'd be taking grounders in the infield.

    And, for what it's worth, this is the post where Mr. Lowrie made an appearance.


  5. Excellent box. I wish my LCS included a relic card in every box.

    I'm happy to see so much Will CLark love out there. He and I went to the same High School, Jesuit High School in New Orleans. He even came and spoke at an assembly once. My cousin who went to the same school a grade below me and who was an even bigger fan, took a picture with him and got him to sign stuff. Nice guy. Lord know what I was doing at the time. I recently started putting together a little collection of his stuff, but 3200? Yowza. Trade.....?

  6. $5? Are you kidding me. I wish retail repacks were like this.

    Any chance I could talk you out of the Furcal card?