As it turns out, I somehow managed to make the list - now I can only hope that the big man in red feels the same way - and, boy oh boy, was this present a doosy.
Gavin's began to dip into the world of custom cards lately and one of them made their way into my hands:
As you can see, the dude is an absolute natural - this instantly becomes my favorite Bryant card in my collection. It looks and feels exactly like a real 1989 Upper Deck card and gives off the vibe of that legendary Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie from the same checklist.
If Bryant can have a career anything like Griffey's (except maybe a little healthier), I think Chicago will be dancing in the streets.
Gavin doesn't just settle for a perfectly replicated front though, we get an almost carbon copy back with a full write-up and stats to go with it. He even went the extra, extra mile and included his own hologram (holostar?) on the bottom.
This is a Baseball Card Breakdown original - ain't no counterfeits here.
That Gavin - he is one crafty dude, check out the other exclusive collectible he enclosed:
Okay, this one made me laugh out loud when I saw it. My girlfriend and I were just lamenting the fact that we didn't have enough homemade, meaningful ornaments on our tree. Jolly ol' Hoyt will definitely help to fill that void nicely.
I thought about putting this 8/12 hand-numbered conversation piece on my Cubs tree, since it's baseball-related and all. However, I felt it deserved a spot on the main attraction, right in front too. Plus, if you'll notice, he has the opportunity to look up Marilyn Monroe's skirt to the upper left - I can't blame him.
A LaMarry Christmas to all!
Even after all of that, Gavin wasn't done crafting yet. No, he crafted together an excellent stack of more traditional cardboard to fit into my collection as well.
Just the other day, I was reading all about Gavin's staggered break of a box of Topps Gold Label. I was thinking to myself, "gosh self, those are pretty to look at." Every base card is a refractor, the card stock is nice and sturdy, there's a couple of nice pictures and the design is pretty nifty. "I wish I had me some of those."
I suppose Santa Gavin really is always watching.
Another box of product that he broke recently was 2010 Topps Pro Debut. Minor League products always make for an interesting dig, especially when you get to see eventual Major Leaguers when they were just another face in the crowd.
Here are a couple of guys who were able to climb to the top of the latter. Justin Bour was a revelation for the Marlins this past year, emerging as a legitimate power threat at first base. It's too bad the Cubs lost him to MiLB free agency before he could make it to Chi-Town; although, I think that Rizzo guy is decent...
Coleman was a third-generation major leaguer (both his father and grandfather were Joe) who just couldn't quite put it all together. He's still trying though, as I see he just signed a minors deal with the Mariners yesterday. Good luck to ya Casey!
Casey will slot nicely into my Cubs as minor leaguers collection (the Baby Bear binder); meanwhile, the Bour will find a home in a binder full of Major Leaguers who were once property of the Cubs organization, but never played in a big league game for them (the Coulda Been a Cub binder).
Here's a couple of more singles from that box; however, these guys were never able to crack through to the Majors. Su-Min Jung never ever came close - the Korean import pitched parts of 4 seasons in the bushes, but he never made it any higher than A level ball. Still he's had more success in the sport than I ever will.
David Cales made it much closer, getting all the way to AAA Iowa (as you can see above). However, he is of particular interest because he grew up in Chicago and played his college ball at my school's arch-nemesis (St. Xavier University). Hey, that's pretty cool discovery for a random minor-league card.
Since neither of these two made the ultimate ascent, they will be stored in my failed prospects collection, for which I have yet to come up with a clever nickname.
However it was this card that was the true gem on the envelope. Donnie Roach pitched all of one game for the Cubs and it was a stinker (4ER in 3.1 innings in a loss against St. Louis last year); nevertheless, I needed a card of him for my CATRC.
The problem was that Roach only has two nationally produced baseball cards and both are in Pro Debut, a product which none of my local haunts stock. In fact, last time I asked, the proprietor wanted to know why I always wanted such weird stuff. Well then...
So, I thought I was eventually going to have to overpay for this single online; but, then Gavin swooped in and save the day (on his one horse open sleigh). Plus, it even depicts Roach on the Orem Owlz, who have, quite possibly, the coolest cap in the majors:
Tell me that's not badass.
It should also be mentioned that Orem is an affiliate of the San Diego NL ballclub, the team to which Gavin is loyal; thank you Santa Gavin for selflessly gifting me with a Padres card.
This surprise and expertly crafted package was definitely the highlight of my week. I tend to be a little bit of a Scrooge around the holidays - I'm way too cynical for my own good - but this little beacon of Christmas spirit really picked up my mood. I'll have to return the favor soon.
The blogging community is such an amazing group of people, isn't it?