Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hallucinating Pluto (Cards from Jeff)

Sports card bloggers have a pretty cool little network going on.  I'm certainly not--nor do I count myself--among the middle-of-the-order guys when it comes to blogging about baseball cards.  If the hobby blogosphere were the solar system, I'd perhaps be Pluto.  And that might be generous.  But, hey, I'm okay with that!  This is just for fun and I'm not looking for any awards.

What's my point?  Well, you don't have to be Saturn to get discovered.  Such was the case a couple weeks ago when a gentleman named Jeff contacted me via email about a potential trade.  It turns out he found my blog via one of the big planets in the blog galaxy--none other than my buddy Shane over at Shoebox Legends.

Anyhow, long story short, Jeff was generous enough to hook me up with nearly 100 cards for my Mets collection!  There were big stars like Piazza, Beltran and Seaver, as well as guys that only a Mets fan or collector would get excited for, such as Jay Payton, Steve Trachsel and Alex Ochoa.

Here's a broad sampling of the great Mets cardboard that Jeff sent along.  Let's begin with the big names.

This is one groovy insert, Kevin Arnold.  I bet Paul and Winnie will be way jealous of this one!

The two most potent home run hitting catchers of all-time on one card.  Can you beat that?

A red Turkey Red parallel rounds out the Piazza portion of the post.

The Mets have had some pretty good southpaws throughout their colorful history...

The only man to throw a no-hitter in a New York Mets uinform.  This is a black Walmart parallel of Johan.

Speaking of parallels, this is the Electric Diamond parallel of Johnny Franco's '94 Upper Deck base card.

Mike Hampton's stay in the Big Apple lasted all of one season, but he sure gave Mets fans more than a few fond memories during that time.

If you know me, you know I'm a Jeff Kent guy.  I was lukewarm on him when he was in Flushing, but I appreciate the hell out of the man's career accomplishments.  And his cards, too!

Kent is, in my mind, a no-brainer HOFer and should have made it on the first ballot.

Here are some more great names from this annals of Mets history...

George. Thomas. Seaver.  He is the alpha and omega of Mets super-stardom.  It's always an honor to get a new card of his.

Carlos Beltran was a great Met.  If I'm talking to a fellow fan and, right out of the box, he/she brings up the strikeout versus Wainwright that ended the '06 NLCS, I discontinue the conversation immediately.

Another guy who put up some unbelievable seasons in Queens.  Jose Reyes will always be a fan favorite in Flushing.

A couple of essentials from '94 Topps.  Not sure how I didn't have that Doc already!

Fonzie is probably in my top-three of favorite Mets all-time.  This is a nice-looking Topps Gallery card of the former All-Star second baseman.

This next round of cards represents players who maybe only I (or a similarly afflicted Mets fan) might appreicate...

Jay Payton was the center fielder on the Mets' 2000 NL pennant-winning team.  He had some nice moments for the club, but overall never achieved the promise that carried him through the minor leagues.

Another guy who just never panned out.  He had a nice smile and a great looking swing, though.  That must count for something, right?

This guy was a workhorse.  Trachsel gave you innings and effort, even if it took about seven hours to complete six innings of one of his starts.

Timo Perez was the ultimate supernova.  He exploded onto the scene just in time to help the Mets to the World Series in 2000 and then kinda fizzled thereafter.

Alex Ochoa was the previously "untouchable" prospect the Mets pried away from Baltimore in the Bobby Bonilla trade.  The only thing I can say about him is that he hit for the cycle on my birthday in 1996.

Another member of the 2000 NL champions, Darryl Hamilton suddenly and tragically died last week.  He was just 50.

After getting denied by Barry Larkin in July of 2000, the Mets settled on Baltimore's Mike Bordick at the trading deadline to sure-up their shortstop situation.  He homered in his first game as a Met, but was otherwise uninspiring both in the field and at the plate.

Yeah, I know, it's Tim Bogar.  But, c'mon; it's Tim Bogar!

I love both of these photo choices from 1995 Collector's Choice:

Orsulak sitting on one of the folding chairs that you bring out from the garage when you're hosting poker night with your pals.

Harnisch leaning against the side of an oil tanker to sign a quick autograph.

One of my favorite 'cup of coffee' Mets was Jason Tyner.  He played in 13 games for the 2000 Mets before being traded to Tampa Bay later that same season.

This is a Bowman Heritage mini of Brian Bannister who pitched in eight games for the club in 2006 before being dealt to K.C. in the offseason.

Aside from hitting three home runs for the 2001 team, the most noteworthy part of Alex Escobar's Mets affiliation was his inclusion in the Roberto Alomar trade in December of '01.

And, we'll finish things out with four cards that would be cool irrespective of the player featured on them...

These, of course, are "State and Hometown" parallels last year's Bowman release.  For my money, these are among the best and most interesting inserts and/or parallels Bowman--or Topps, for that matter--puts out.

Jeff, I can't thank you enough for this huge lot of cards of my beloved Mets!  They have certainly found a good home with me here in the Kuiper belt of blogging...


Monday, June 29, 2015

Covering All the Bases (Cards from Nick)

The Prince of the Dime Boxes delivered in a big way recently, as I was the recipient of a whopper of a PWE from Nick.

The usual potpourri of cardboard greatness was present in this over-stuffed envelope.  For starters, several of the Mets on my Zistle want list were satisfied with this mailing, including Howard Johnson's card from 1992 Topps Kids.  I can't say for certain what I'm drawn to about these things, but they're fun and harmless and I guess I don't need a reason, really.

When I think of Nick in terms of player collections, the three names that immediately come to mind are Vlad Guerrero, Ichiro and John Olerud.  He's provided me with so many great overflow cards of these guys over the years.  This one--from '99 TSC--is a beaut.

Bowman is Back, perhaps, but the Mets are still waiting for Travis d'Arnaud to return from his latest DL stint.  I guy just has the worst luck with injuries.  He fits right in with the Mets, I guess.  Anyhow, great card here.

Let's stick with shiny cards of current Mets and take a look at this blue sapphire parallel of Jeurys Familia from 2014 Bowman Platinum.  Familia has been a godsend at the back end of the N.Y. bullpen this season and absolutely deserves an All-Star invitation.

The Tugger from 2003 Archives.  A reprint of perhaps one of his finest cards.

From the Legends of New York set that Upper Deck put out in 2001.  This one celebrates Tom Terrific fanning 19 Padres--including 10 in a row--in April of 1970.  It was a two-hitter for Mr. Seaver.

These next two are the type of cards that make mailings from Nick so fun and distinctive...

A pair of vintage O-Pee-Chee cards from 1979--my first OPC entries from that particular year.  I always look for older O-Pee-Chee cards in my dime box hunts but never manage to uncover any.  Then again, I guess I wouldn't be as excited to get 'em like this if they were growing on trees.

How about some minis?  Yeah, we got some of those, too!

Mr. Piazza, from Bazooka 2003.

And then a three spot of minis from 2013 Topps...

Some big-time pitching prowess right there.  Also quite a dichotomy in style between Matt Harvey and R.A. Dickey.  The hard-throwing Harvey has the fans of New York in the palm of his hands presently, but Dickey's masterful knuckleball produced one of the finest seasons a Mets pitcher has ever crafted.

Thus ends the Mets portion of the trade post.  But, let the good times roll on!

I mentioned this guy's name earlier and, true to form, Nick came through with a pair of Vlads missing from my collection.

A Bazooka mini from 2003 and...

...an "International Pride" insert from 2002 Fleer Premium.

How about a couple of new Gabes for my ongoing collection of ballplayers who share a first name with my little boy:

Man, Topps Finest from this era had the absolute best inserts!  Topps does their best (sometimes), but can't come close to matching the 'awesome factor' nearly two decades gone.

Gabe White went 12-9 with a 4.00 ERA and five saves over two seasons with the Rockies (2000-01).

Last but not least, a couple of grand slams from the realms of the horizontal card.

Had this Blanco on my Zistle wish list, too, and it's a surefire addition to the Horizontal Heroes frankenset.

As is this one.

Good Lord!  One of the quirkiest and coolest cards you're ever gonna see.  Some people have a plastic Jesus on their dashboards; Omar Vizquel has Gold Gloves on his.  Just a tremendous and unique card--as good as it gets!

As usual, Nick, you covered all the bases of my collection perfectly.  Most appreciated, my friend!  A return PWE will be coming your way in the near future.