As it stands, this Cubs team continues to be the most exciting and likable bunch in my lifetime and they claimed another little piece of my heart last night. Bring on the Cardinals!
I feel much more confident when it comes to a 5-game series with St. Louis than 27 outs of doom with the Pirates; but, regardless of the outcome of that set, I'll always think of this season quite fondly (hopefully as the starting point of a Blackhawks like dynasty). If it all ends there, I think I'll be content.
Plus, I'll always have my baseball cards to get me through and it's trade packages like the one that Dimebox Nick sent me that keep me going.
I knew this was going to be a good PWE when I saw that stamp. While I knew it's contents appealed to my baseball sensibilities, it was a nice touch to add a little nod to my love of classic music as well.
But, what about the cards?
In exchange for some Sportsflix singles and some other odds and ends that I knew he would appreciate, Nick lead off with a need from Topps' most recent release:
"Old Graybeard's" first card as a Cub came in the new edition of Heritage High Number, so now I can officially "Cubgrade" him in my CATRC. I posted about my first pack of the product a few nights ago and mentioned how this was really the only card I was searching for from the set.
When anyone asks me why I bother with blogging, it's times like this one that I cite. Not only did Nick immediately chime in and offer up his extra copy, but two other people also made it known they were willing to part with one as well. How's that for generosity?
This was the only card I knew that I was getting; but, it was not the only card that immediately found it's way into my binders either:
While many people might just see a nondescript reliever from days past, I see another "Cubgrade!" This Pacific single (which we all know how hard it can be to track down certain Pacifics) is my first of Heredia as a Cub and thus it bounced this previous entry from my CATRC binder:
While I do like the shiny "Gold Medallion" cards from '97 Fleer, I like the Cubs much, much more. Still, this card will now find a home in my "Cubs of a Different Color Collection."
Nick didn't stop the "Cubgrading" party here though:
There was some well-loved, vintagey goodness to be found as well. As a very much low-end collector, wear and tear doesn't bother me any. In fact, I feel that such "imperfections" add character. So, the fact that a kid back in the 60's decided to hand-write an update to his Collum card to indicate his move to the Twins is all-good with me.
As such, another card got bumped in favor of Nick's generosity:
It's from an iconic set too. This immediately becomes one of the nicer cards in my "Cubs of a Different Color" set. Who doesn't love old-school Bowman?
While not new name or "Cubgrades," there were yet a couple of more cards that feel out of this envelope that presented upgrades to my CATRC binder too:
As you can see, Nick was very giving with the vintage. Don't go rushing to Baseball-Reference, there were no players in baseball history named Mike Drabowsky. On the left, we have Moe mislabeled as Mike by someone at Topps who was too busy/lazy to fact check in 1958. I already had this card; but, Nick's is a significant conditional upgrade.
On the right, we have the "Diamond Anniversary/Factory Set" parallel of Cash's 2011 Topps card. I'm not sorry that we flipped him for Rizzo, just like I'm not sorry that I flipped his plain, boring Opening Day card for this shinier version.
To sum everything up so far, while Nick had already added significant boosts to my CATRC and COADC binders, he STILL managed to hit another, slowly-building collection of mine:
Ever since I was little, I've been fascinated by minor league cards; something about the unfamiliar and goofy team names and the allure of seeing Major Leaguers before they hit the big time. So, a couple of weeks ago, I finally decided to separate out my MiLB cards and create a binder of Cubs players in their days riding buses. I call it my "Baby Bear" collection.
Even though Mr. Dubois here never lived up to his billing as a top prospect, he still made the show and thus winds up in the aforementioned "Baby Bear" set. Even if he made me look stupid when I bet my friend he would successfully fill the void left by Sammy Sosa in right field.
Furthermore, minor league singles can be a pain the rear end to track down at a reasonable deal; so, this was another generous inclusion by Nick,
The rest of the envelope (and at this point, everything else was gravy) went to stocking my various Cubs player collections:
Some real nice stuff in there. I'm particularly fond of the Cracker Jack Kerry Wood and the "Making Their Mark" insert of Anthony Rizzo. I don't think there's any doubt anymore that "The Riz" has made his mark on this team.
Nick - a huge thank you goes out to you for this mailing. While I would have been more than happy with just the Ross, you managed to stoke several different aspects of my collections with just one stamp. I can only hope that you got half as much enjoyment out of my envelope.
A great trade package and an historic win for the Cubs franchise - my heart is happy; here's hoping that my ticker can last through a playoff series with the Redbirds... I have my doubts!