Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny summer afternoon, something that's been rare in these parts over the past couple of weeks. So, it was perfect weather to just leisurely stroll around the neighborhood.
But, I can't really walk around without having some place to go; thus, I ended up at the local Dollar Tree. It's a perfect way to satisfy my capitalistic urges without making a real dent on my bank account. Thus, my walk ended with a two bags of candy, a bottle of sweet tea and a small repack of baseball cards.
Because I'm an adult, dammit!
20 cards for a dollar? I'll take that deal. Although most of it was junk wax - there were still some cards worth collecting in this plastic pouch, including the one showing through on the back that called me to the pack.
Ok, so Jonny boy probably isn't actually calling out to me; but, a new Lester for my player collection is a good way to start. How can I say no to such enthusiasm?
As much as I love the celebratory shot on the front, it was something on the back of this 2012 Bowman that really caught my attention:
Seems pretty normal, right?
This year, so much has been made of Jon Lester and his inability to throw to first base - largely because the Chicago was looking for flaws to make his contract seem like a mistake already, but also because he only even made one pickoff attempt from 2013-14, has a couple errors in just a few tries this season & Billy Hamilton has stolen everything off of Lester except his wallet.
Jon Lester is the Steve Blass of pickoff moves.
As I've said before, I adore the blue borders found on 2003 Topps. It's probably because I'm a Cubs fan and the color scheme works so well with Cubs jerseys; that said, they sure don't look too bad with the Dodgers' either.
Grudzy was traded to the Cubs a couple months before this card went to press, in one of the greatest steals in franchise history. The Cubs were able to give the enormously disappointing Todd Hundley the boot and pick up both Mark AND Eric Karros - two key pieces to their playoff run that season.
Being as the 2003 Cubs are one of my favorite teams of all time and the first squad that really caught my attention all summer, a new Grudzielanek is always acceptable. Not to mention, it gives me an excuse to embed this broadcasting nugget:
The rest of the pouch contained a few more future/former Cubs for their respective player collections:
It's always a bit jarring to see Mad Dog in a Tigers uniform, so bonus points for being a Short-Term Stop card and a sunset issue for the former batting champion. The Cubs trading away Madlock for an aged Bobby Murcer, Steve Ontiveros and a minor leaguer is the exact opposite of the Gruzy/Karros trade.
I love thee 1994 Leaf set - there's some great photography, a colorful but unobtrusive design and I have a soft spot for color-coded borders. As for the guy on the card, Mike Perez, he spent some un-noteworthy time in the Cubs bullpen in 1995-96.
Another bullpen Cub, Kent Mercker was a part of the squad that choked away a playoff spot in 2004, which still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Even worse, Kent was the guy who actually called the broadcast booth during a game to cuss out Steve Stone for being too critical of the team. *Facepalm*
One a better note, the lifetime Tiger and should-be-HOFer Trammell served as the Cubs bench coach under the reign of Lou Piniella. So, into the coaches binder this one goes.
A Derrick May rookie card!!! I suppose I should get this slabbed right away so I can pay off all of my student loans down the road!!!!
On a serious note, here's hoping I'm not being this sarcastic and mocking Kris Bryant rookie cards in 23 years.
That was it for cards for my collection; but, there was still some other cool stuff to be found within:
With dinosaurs being all the rage right now, courtesy of the money-making steamroller that is Jurassic World (stupid unnecessary sequels and Hollywood's unwillingness to try new things...but that's a rant for another day), this bizarre card seemed to be a timely pull.
Metal Universe is a set that's known for it's bizarre (and sometimes downright dumbfounding) backdrops/features and this example is certainly no exception to that rule.
Who the hell knows why poor Devon White is sliding into a dinosaur's mouth or, for that matter, what that has to do with a "metal universe"; even Devon looks rather confused on the back of the card. But, I'll be damned if it doesn't look pretty cool.
This may just be another piece of worthless junk wax; but, I really appreciate how the slope of the design lines up perfectly with the lean of Len's batting stance. Everything is working together in harmony on this card.
Hong-Chih Kuo might have spent his entire 7 year MLB career with the Dodgers, but he was kinda, sorta, almost a Cub. In June of 2012, he signed a minor league deal with Chicago and hung around in the organization for about a month without making a single appearance at any level before being shown the door.
I've been thinking about starting another mini-collection of players who have been under contract with the Cubs without ever appearing on the big league roster; so, maybe I'll make use of this yet.
Didja know that these two super-stars were once property of the Cubs organization?
To conclude, I would say that was pretty good value for $1 impulse purchase. I wish that all of the re-packs I've bought in my life could have that excellent of a ratio for card for my collection and money spent.
Now, after this success, I wonder how many times I'll be going back there to try and replicate my luck, only to walk away disappointed.
At least it's just a buck!