We're back to pop music references for post titles, Neon Angel was the title of Cherie Curie's (The Runaways) autobiography. This is how my mind works; although, sometimes it doesn't work at all.
A few weeks ago, Tom of the excellent blog Angels in Order contacted me about arranging a trade. This is something I'm always up for and I whipped up a set of my best Angels and sent them on their way. Then, I completely forgot about it.
So, when I found a padded mailer in the mail box the other day, it was like a surprise Christmas! Cards you aren't expecting are the best kind of cards, right? Nevermind that I'm absent-minded.
Anyway, this was my first swap with Tom and when I saw this card on top of his stack, I knew it wouldn't be the last:
Shiny and colorful, what more could one ask for? Adrian Cardenas only played one season (2012) with the Cubs and retired after discovering he no longer felt any passion towards the game. At the time, a lot was made of it.
This orange refractor is easily better than the base chrome version I had in my CATRC and, thus, in it goes.
That wasn't the only card that found its way into that binder though:
I've long seen these Toys R Us Stadium Club cards pop up on blog after blog; but, I had never even once seen them in person. As a lover of oddballs with a nostalgic attachment to day after Christmas trips to Toys R Us to spend gift money, I badly wanted to get my hands on some.
Now, I can cease my lust. These two beauties easily replace the cards that had represented the above players before.
Also, my lasting memory of Jim Bullinger is that after I pulled his card from a pack way back when I was a kid, I was so excited to get a Cubs card that I ran to tell my grandfather. His only response was a muttered, "I hate Jim Bullinger." I guess Jim had a particularly rough outing that day.
This may just your run of the mill, junk wax era base card, but it's one that I still needed. This is the only mainstream baseball card that Jim Essian got as Cubs manager. His tenure was rather forgettable as the interim replacement for Popeye, so it's understandable.
Therefore, we have a nice Cubgrade for the manager's section of my CATRC.
These were the only cards that weaseled their way into my main collection; however, that doesn't mean there wasn't a trove of other interesting pieces.
At first, I thought the two cards above were duplicates; after all, they are damn near identical. It wasn't until I set the bottom one on the table that I realized I was quite wrong.
When it hit the table, it made an audible clang. As it turns out, the foil image of Sammy Sosa is actually a coin that's been embedded into the card, a fitting idea for a set titled Pinnacle Mint.
Now, I knew these sorts of "relics' were floating around on the market today; but, I had no idea that they had roots back in the mid to late 90's. Who knew?
I'm a sucker for black bordered cards and the marble texturing of the background really makes these cards pop in my eyes. Also, it's really nice to see Gabby Hartnett on a modern card, as the HOFer seems to be oft-passed over for modern cards by Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, and *ahem* Fergie Jenkins.
These two Mark Grace oddballs are a welcome sight as well. That's my first Starline card on the right and this Post set was the very first set that I collected when I was a kid. Nostalgia strikes again!
Furthermore, oddballs are the spice of the card-collecting life. One can only look at Topps products for so long without getting bored.
Which is why I hope against all hope that, someday, Panini can get an MLB license. However, I seriously doubt that will happen anytime soon.
I've always had an affinity for Triple Play though. Many collectors seem to hate it because it's gimmicky and, granted, there are a lot of nightmare-inducing cards in the checklists. That said, I enjoy it because it's different, and it's goofy/fun. Card collecting isn't a serious business after all.... well, at least it shouldn't be.
Here we have a couple of oddballs from the various box sets put out by Fleer in the late 80s/early 90s that shine the spotlight on Cubs, one franchise icon and one flash in the pan.
I'm curious as to how Jerome Walton was included in a set called "League Leaders;" the card bears no mention of him leading the league in anything. I know he set the franchise record for consecutive hits in 1989; does it have something to do with that?
Furthermore, today it was reported by Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun Times that Ryno was in town yesterday for a private lunch meeting with Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein. Is a reunion in the works after the unceremonious end to his Phillies tenure? Finger crossed!
These Cover Glory inserts from 1999 Upper Deck Collector's Choice have long been of interest to me, as are any cards that commemorate specific moments or events. I picked up a copy of the Sammy Sosa card at a local garage sale many moons ago and I thought he was the only Cub included in the set.
Thank you Tom, for saving me from ignorance and sending me this card that shines the spotlight on the greatest game pitched in Cubs history!
Here we have a couple of Cubs cards that aren't completely Cubs cards.
If you notice, there's an Orioles logo at the bottom of the Flair Sammy Sosa and, though the Soriano card actually includes a Cubs logo, he's clearly pictured in a Nationals jersey. These cards are phonies!
Not that that really bothers me in anyway, that's just where my mind wandered off to as I was typing. Again, when my brain works, it works in bizarre ways.
There was also a healthy smattering of faux-vintage, including these 2009 Upper Deck Goudey nods. Also, that Woody on the right is another phony; he's listed as an Indian. Gasp!
Plus, a nice smorgasbord of Topps Heritage releases; it's like a sampler platter of appetizers at your local eatery... and I love sampler platters!
Prospects! And since they're Cubs prospects from the previous decade, that means they're failed prospects!
Even though they never ascended to the Majors, these cards will find a spot in another collection of mine, my aptly titled Failed Prospect Collection, guys who the Cubs drafted that never cracked the roster. They'll fit in quite nicely with Ryan Harvey, Bobby Brownlie, Matt Creighton, Mark Pawelek, Hayden Simpson... OK, this is getting depressing.
Also, I had never heard of Ferenc Jongejan in my life. I never knew the Cubs had a Dutch prospect - you learn something new everyday.
Here are some Bowman prospects who did, in fact, crack the Major League roster, with varying degrees of success.
Randy Wells had a brief, but serviceable tenure in the back end of the Cubs rotation, Matt Szczur is currently racking up crazy frequent flyer miles going back and forth between Chicago and Iowa this season, Eric Patterson managed to be the least successful Patterson brother and let's not talk about the D.J. LeMahieu trade, OK?
There ends the best of the bunch and what a bunch it was! Thank you very much Tom for the generous trade package. I can only hope you got as much enjoyment out of my Angels as I did out of your Cubs. Let's do this again sometime, eh?