That's really all I can say about this trade package that I received from Stubby, a regular commenter on this and many other card-centric blogs throughout the internet.
All told, in exchange for a simple Cubs pocket schedule, I received from Stubby over 20 new players for my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection (many vintage), knocked out nearly half of my 1980-Present subset, a good 30 more notable/interesting cards and a nearly complete set of Cubs from 2014 Topps Heritage.
It was like trading Hee-Seop Choi for Derrek Lee all over again.
Not that I intentionally fleeced him; I thought that this was the only card that I'd be receiving:
For one of the faceless middle relievers that has passed through the Cubs roster over the last 30 years, I thought that this was acceptable. Stubby is from New York and Cubs schedules aren't exactly flooding the Big Apple.
For such a relatively recent Cub (2001-02), Mahay has been difficult to track down. This is because he was a scab during spring training in 1995 (as an outfielder), thus he is not a part of the player's union and has been left out of most major releases. Since the Topps Total card above is worth less than a buck, we called it even.
I knew something was up when I got a box instead of a PWE. Stubby upped the ante, he turned it up to 11, he leveled up... you get the idea.
Look at this stack of vintage Topps from the 60's and 70's:
All of these were new names to add to my aforementioned roster collection. Special bonus points to Don Bryant for being my first Seattle Pilots card; I always love a good "defunct franchise/team" card.
But, wait; there's more!
The targets here were Ron Tompkins, Earl Stephenson and Dave Lemonds. Of the three, only one played for longer than two seasons in the majors, Stephenson (4), and none of them were a Cub for longer than one.
How's that for some short-term Cubs?
Although these next two aren't actually vintage, they do depict some old-timey Cubbies:
As I've mentioned several times, the Conlon Collection is one of my favorite sets of all-time, any year of it for that matter.
For one, it spotlights players who had few or no cards issued during their career, as illustrated by Lefty here, and it feature clear, crisp photography and classy black borders (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
A mediocre pitcher for several seasons in Philly with flashes of greatness, Lefty tried to make a comeback with the Cubs in 1927 after being out of the majors for three seasons. He was sent back down to the bush leagues after two seasons and, except for 17 games with the Yankees in '31, his MLB career was over.
Babe "Blimp" Phelps looked like a failed prospect when he left Chicago in 1934 after two seasons of uninspiring numbers. But, he used us a springboard for a mid-career renaissance and had 3 All-Star seasons with Brooklyn.
Switching gears, Stubby also threw in a bunch more recent Cubs that had eluded me in my side quest to obtain a card of every Cub since 1980, besides Mr. Mahay of course.
Also, let's hope that our 2014 Topps Heritage Rookie Star turns out better than our 2012 version!
Even after all of that, there was still more fantastic cardboard pouring out of the box. Including a couple guys who I thought I'd never actually be able to obtain.
These are some of the best made custom cards that I've ever seen. The design is meticulous and well-executed, the photo selection and colorization (in the case of Gabler) is exceptional and really pops. The actual cards themselves are put together so well, that I thought that they were giveaways from some sort of special convention.
Ironically, I had only recently been lamenting the fact that Jophery Brown never had a card released in his honor. His pitching career flamed out after only 3 games in 1968, but he is notable for being a stuntman for more than 30 years afterwards. Jurassic Park, Speed, Scarface, etc... what a resume!
Surely a personality like that deserves some cardboard recognition, right?
Gabe Gabler was slightly less notable, he batted 3 times in 1958 over the course of 3 games without reaching base or taking the field defensively. With a line like that, it's no wonder he never had a card.
Thanks to Stubby and his card-crafting skills, these two will no longer be black holes in my collection.
After all of that, he still managed to top himself; this fell out of a top-loader marked "open this last"
Is this a reprint? It has to be, right? No one gives something like that away for (essentially) free.
Nope, it's absolutely the real thing and this minor league, regional release from Remar Bakery is a beauty that dates back to 1947. Who wouldn't want to have a vintage oddball like this in their collection?
Lillard didn't last very long in the Bigs, 20 games with the Cubs in 1939 and some token appearances for St. Louis the next season, but this card sure has lasted a while!
He also had the best uni-brow this side of Wally Moon. It's too bad you can't see it on this card.
There was still plenty more cool stuff to be found, but these were some definite highlights. I have to say that this is the best haul that I have ever had come in at once and I am eternally grateful to Stubby for this package; your generosity knows no bounds!
I'm now at over 60% complete on my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection and nearly done with my Cubs from 1980-Present side quest. All that I have left in that mission are:
Gene Krug - 1981
Bill Johnson - 1983-1984
Johnny Abrego - 1985
Mike Maksudian - 1994
Ramon Tatis - 1997
Steve Gajkowski - 1998-1999
Richard Barker - 1999-2000
Doug Creek - 1999
Raul Gonzalez - 2000
Mike Mahoney - 2000, 2002
Mike Fyhrie - 2001
Jeff Beliveau - 2012
Lendy Castillo - 2012
Chang Yong-Lim - 2013
And all it took was one pocket schedule.