Monday, January 18, 2016

Diamonds are a Girl's (and Guy's) Best Friend

So - on New Year's Eve I finally proposed to my girlfriend of a few years.  It was a long time coming and I really can't believe it took me so long to work up the nerve to do so.  Ok, well, it was mostly working up the capital that was the actual reason for the delay.

I practically fainted when I first stepped into a jeweler.

Anyway, in return for putting a sparkly, black diamond onto her finger, my FIANCEE (that's weird to write) bought me some diamonds of my own.  Rather, a big ol' box of cards the depict people playing on a diamond.

Nailed that segue!

Yea, I knew I picked the right one.  She works at the local Goodwill and is in their corporate track; the other day, when she was taking inventory of the store, she noticed an impressive stack of card boxes.  Of course, she knows I collect baseball cards this far into our relationship - I could only hide my childish tendencies for so long.

Not only did she by me a box; but, she took the time to sort through all the boxes (there were at least half a dozen) and sort all of the baseball cards, plus a handful of football selections, into one after she clocked out.

Hot damn - is that love or what?  Of course, I had to promise to pimp her generosity on my blog (yup, she knows about that too) and tell the entire internet that I have the best fiance (still weird) in the entirety of the world.  I absolutely do.

As an aside, I don't know about you all, But rarely do I find trading cards at thrift stores.  I figure it's because plenty of people don't understand how overproduced the stuff from their childhood was and that their 1990 Donruss and Mark Grace rookies aren't worth a damn; I know I've seen plenty such people walk away from my LCS looking quite disappointed.

As such, I expected this box to contain pretty much nothing but junk wax.  However, it wasn't really about the contents for me, anything cool was a bonus, it was about the thought and effort that went into this impromptu gift from my better half.

Even better, it wasn't all 1989 Topps!  Of course, there was still plenty of that sort of junk.  But, there was actually plenty of super cool stuff within that fit into my collection:

As you can see, the oddballs were out in full force.  Whoever started this collection must have eaten a lot of Hostess products because there was damn near a complete set of those goodies in there.

Additionally, there were a good amount of those Swell issues that you see on the upper left and a couple of those Classic trivia cards as well.  I normally loathe those Panini stickers; but that's because I thought that they were all mini and flimsy and difficult to store and such.  I didn't realize that the Canadian edition from 1991 was standard size and printed on cardstock until I got my hands on that Magadan... love it!

Score did caricature cards of the All-Stars for a few years and I've always adored them - they may just be base cards and they may be a little goofy, but damnit they're fun and baseball cards are supposed to be fun!  This Eck will find a nice hom in my misc. former/future Cubs box.

Score also did some more conventional designs to honor award winners in the 1993 set and these three men all have Cubs connections as well.  Believe it or not, there's still '93 Score cards that are new to my eyes.

We've also got Joe Carter having some fun with "Big Mac," a couple of special, foil-adorned Stadium parallels and the only vintage card found in the entire box.  If there's only going to be one, might as well make a pillbox Pirate.

As you can see, there were plenty of novel singles to be found in this Goodwill gift; however, my favorites were yet to come:

Minor League singles!  There were only a handful of these; but, the ones that I did get all played in the Big Leagues for the Cubs at some point in their career.  Thus, they will make for swell additions to my "Baby Bears" binder (Cubs as minor leaguers - official collection name still undecided).

It wasn't just baseball cards that found their way into my binders though:

As I mentioned earlier, my fiancee spent a good 30 min collating all of the baseball cards in the massive influx of card boxes into a singular unit.  Even so, there was still a little space to be had; therefore, a small stack of football cards filled the extra space.

As you can see, she did pretty well in her random grab.  I was able to cross 6 names off of my Bears All-Time Roster chase - three depicted in the proper uniform.  As for the other 3, Stargell played in exactly one game for Chicago and Epps played in just 8 himself - correc tme if I'm wrong, but I highly doubt they have any Bears cards.  Heyward was the senior Windy City veteran of the group, competing in a full season with the Monsters of the Midway; so, he does actually have a few for me to chase.  In the meantime, this will make a nice placeholder.

Even still, after all of this production, there was still one more suprising addition to be discovered:

 Somehow, a NASCAR card managed to sneak into the baseball and football cards.  NASCAR singles are pretty tough to come by in this neck of the woods and I've recently decided to reboot my old motorsports collection in the mold of my Cubs/Bears/Blackhawks binders - one card of every driver I can get.  Cale Yarborough might me one of the top 10 best NASCAR competitors all-time, 83 wins and 3 championship titles, yet I did not have his wonderful cowboy hat represented in my collection yet.

However, it must be noted that this card needs verification.  It may very well not be what it claims it is:

Don't worry though - I checked myself and his cowboy hat does NOT come right off. Cale checks out.

Those were the highlights (there were plenty of unassuming junky base cards that I won't bore you with) of what made it into my collection; however, that doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of enticing trade bait to be had as well:

These are samplings of what was to be had for each set represented.  If you want what's pictured of have any other needs for these oddball sets, send me a list because I just might have it.  They were all well represented in this surprising gold mine.

More oddball stuff, all up for trade; well, except for that glorious Pacific Crosetti Pilots single, that's already been sent off in a care package.

Also, does anyone know the story behind that Babe Ruth oddity on the bottom right?  It's printed on pretty thin stock and doesn't really contain any identifying information.  Curiousity is getting the better of me here.

We've also got some cool minor league off-beats to offer.  Unfortunately, those Brewer police department-issue cards have already been enclosed in that same package.  Sorry to tease and for my my lack of forethought when it came to picture taking.

Some parallels...

...and some more fun stuff.  Maybe I should just start my own binder of off-the-wall nutball stuff like Metal Universe and Topps Kids.  That sure would be fun to flip through, wouldn't it?

And there you have it, the Goodwill gift that just kept on giving.  If there was anything in the pictures above that caught your eye, please let me know; I sure wouldn't mind off-loading some clutter.

After all of this digging, sorting and cataloging, I was absolutely ecstatic that my fiancee was kind enough to take all that time after a long work day to fill a box full cards to indulge my "dorky" hobby.  The fact that it was actually stuffed with stuff I didn't know I needed was just a bonus (an exponentially more exciting bonus).  I knew I picked the right woman ;)


  1. I second that ... congrats Tony!

  2. Congratulations on the great cards! Oh yeah, and on the other thing too. ;)

  3. Your Babe Ruth card came with a Delphi collector plate that was sold thru The Bradford Exchange in 1992.

  4. A fiancee that buys you '90s baseball cards? You're living the dream, my friend. Congrats!

    (Also, if you're willing to part with the Metal Universe eyeball card, the Swell Edd Rouch, and/or the Collector's Choice Winfield, I'd be interested in those.)

  5. Congrats dude welcome to the club haha