Last night, I had the pleasure of watching the Cubs edge out the Dodgers 2-1 during a beautiful, early summer-type evening/night at Wrigley Field. Jon Lester allowed a homer to Kike Hernandez (and you thought Dallas Kuechel was a dangerous name) on the second pitch of the game, but only allowed another four hits on his way to twirling a complete game gem and Kris Bryant smacked a two-run shot into the centerfield shrubbery in the third.
All and all, between the unicorn perfect weather and the subsequent 2-1 series lead, I couldn't have asked for a better night.
How appropriate then was it that the excellent evening was kicked off with a trade package from the blogosphere's preeminent Dodger collector, the one and only Night Owl? I'm sure he didn't find last night's contest nearly as enjoyable though.
That's okay - his Dodgers managed to snap Jake Arrieta's team winning streak at 23 in game two of the series, forever tying him with the Braves' Kris Medlen for the longest in MLB history. Medlen might be a somewhat pedestrian name, but the others near the top include Spahn, Clemens and Grove.
This swell, canvas-y mini from this year's edition of Diamond Kings represents my first look at anything from that product; I have to say, DK is probably the best product Panini has in it's holster.
Night Owl continues to crow with these 2015 offerings, seeing as how Clayton Richard was a big part of the reason that the Dodgers broke up Jake the Snake's rendezvous with history. While the game was still knotted up at 0 when Jake the Snake left in the eighth, Mr. Richard, the lefty-specialist, came in and promptly allowed three straight hits and 2 runs to lefty batters.
Meanwhile, David Ross didn't actually have anything to do with that contest, but it seemed appropriate to pair him with his fellow '15 Topps single. Any card of the resurgent Grampa Rossy is more than welcome in my collection.
Night Owl was done poking after that though. Here are a couple of former Cubs who were playing elsewhere, far away from the Cubs/Dodgers series.
This Archives card of Starlin from a couple of years ago reminds me that this year's version just hit the shelves, but I'm still not caught up. Castro started off scalding hot for the Yankees after the off-season swap for Adam Warren, but has since cooled off. On the other hand, the improbably comeback of Rich Hill just keeps building momentum in Oakland. It's fitting then that he shows up here on a shiny 2008 Chrome card, since, if he keeps his current pace up, he feels like a cinch to win a shiny Comeback Player of the Year trophy.
Ah - this particular "tale of the game" is about MVP winners from last place teams. That A-Rod guy did it for the Rangers in 2003; however, the star of this card is obviously Andre "The Hawk" Dawson. Awesome Dawson signed a blank contract to play on the natural grass of Wrigley and proceeded to go ballistic on the National League, putting up 49 and 137 RBI for the lowly Cubs.
I'd say that performance earns a commemorative card, wouldn't you?
Staying in the 80's, but moving to period-authentic cardboard, we have a couple of Fleer singles from the era of Thriller and new wave.
At a garage sale several years ago, I bought a box of cards that contained not one, but two full sets of '87 Fleer - as such, I have more of that set than I could ever actually want. However, that Jody Davis is just a tiny bit different; as you can see by the shine on the bottom right of the picture, that's actually the glossy version of "the catcher without fear."
Steve Henderson and his pajamas clearly approve.
The eighties was also the era of exclusive box sets, be it at specific retail establishments (like this 1987 Fleer Limited Edition set found only at McCrory's, which was apparently a real place) or from the Topps factory (like this 1989 Topps Major League Debut, which mimics the design which would be used on the next season's version of Flagship).
I think we can all agree that a set based around rookie debuts in the Majors would be a nice concept to revisit. Additionally, I wouldn't mind a revival of the retail-only oddballs either (perhaps the Marketplace promo will open that floodgate?).
Almost everything seen so far was new to me and all were definitely welcome additions to my trading card hoard, but nothing was terribly unexpected. However, it was here that the bubble-mailer made a drastic left turn:
Is that a racing card? From Night Owl? The man who once told me that the card gods were trying to spare me from spending my hard-earned money on NASCAR cards?
As it turns out, Buddy Ingersoll was a drag racer on the NHRA circuit; so, unfortunately, he doesn't fit into my all-time NASCAR driver collection. But, let it be known, I truly do appreciate the thought and the gesture and I'll gladly add it to my miscellaneous racers collection. I'm just curious as to how a motorsports card ended up in Night Owl's extensive collection.
Ingersoll in action - image courtesy of vistacruiser67 of ClassRacer.com
With that, we've reached the end of Night Owl's generous bubble mailer. There was plenty of good to be found and a big thank you goes out to you!
We'll also be reaching the end of this Dodgers/Cubs series this afternoon, with LA looking to salvage a split. Obviously, I'm hoping for the Cubbies to take home another series win. Hopefully, the Trolley Dodgers don't give Night Owl another reason to crow; although, if his "crowing" continues to be Arrieta minis, I think I can live with that.