There have been many, many, many Tony's in my life. I, myself, am the last (yea, it's been decreed by my significant other) of four consecutive Tony Burbs in a row; my great grandfather, grandfather, father and I all share that same first name. Meanwhile, my best friend growing up had a brother by the name of Tony, who was also a junior - thus, two more Tony's. As if that wasn't enough, I have a cousin who ALSO bears that same first name, albeit spelled "Toni."
Boy oh boy, were family gatherings a blast - I think running into a room and yelling "hey, Tony!" just to see how many people looked up qualified as a party game.
Now, courtesy of the blogging network, I now have another Tony that I have to somehow keep straight in my head. I'm talking, of course, about everyone's favorite Milwaukee Brewer fan, Tony L. - the proprietor of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards.
Courtesy of his running Meet the Brewers series of posts, I've learned more about the early days of my team's division rival than I thought I'd ever know. Not to mention, the research he's poured into his musical trade roundups has kept me up to date with all the listening habits of our blogosphere brethren. Additionally, a few months back, I also became aware of an absolutely massive haul of inherited cardboard that came his way.
Boxes upon boxes and binders upon binders were gifted to the lucky cardboard collector (that's all of our dreams, right?), including many off the beaten path oddities, much of which was offered up for trade. I, for one, inquired on some Dover Reprint cards and Conlon Collection singles:
This perforated Eddie Miksis re-do of his 1952 Bowman card represented the only Cubs card that fit into my CATCR binder (as a "Cubgrade" to a Dodger card); that said, I was exceptionally grateful for his efforts in helping me find something in that cardboard mass that was useful to me. That's pretty awesome, right there.
Accompanying Mr. Miksis in the bubble mailer when it arrived on my doorstep a few days ago, were these Conlon singles that fit into a different section of my collection.
None of these men ever played a game in a Cubs uniform; however, while I speak mostly of my collection of every Cubs PLAYER on this blog, I do also try to accumulate one card of everyone who has also managed and/or coached for the club as well. Basically, I'm looking for any and all uniformed, on the field personnel.
All four of these men were once part of the Northside coaching staff - Tony was able to do some serious damage on my need list here!
Now, I'm not going to lie, it's been a little while since this trade was conceived - I know it was before the MLB season began. That said, he had a massive mountain to sort through, an actual personal life to live and I'm not about to rush someone who is doing me a massive favor. Patience is a virtue, after all.
In the interim, we communicated back and forth. During that time, Munenori Kawasaki earned a call-up to the Major Leagues and made his Cubs debut; therefore, I needed to track down a card of the Japanese fan favorite for my CATRC. Tony stepped right in to save the day and offered up this gem:
Seriously, how can anyone look at that photograph and not immediately smile? That, right there, is an all-time classic baseball card!
Now, as you can plainly see, Tony had already gone well out of his way to help me out here and offered up some excellent cardboard in the process. All that considered, just as he was packaging up the goods to send my way, he offered to include a couple of bonus items:
Since it's highly unlikely that Ramirez will ever have a Cubs card issued (despite appearing in 69 games as a late-inning option) and he wasn't around the Brew Crew long enough for Tony to develop an attachment, the latter was kind enough to throw this in my package. I don't see this ink moving out of my CATRC binder... ever, probably.
Speaking of things that will never leave my binders, the second bonus item that Tony included absolutely, positively blew me away!:
I wish I could finish up this post using nothing but gasping face emojis because words cannot possibly describe how generous and frickin' amazing it was to find this in that mailer! You are far too kind, Tony!
This super-vintage gem is far too fascinating to sum up here, so it will be getting it's own spotlight post here in the next few days. For now, suffice it to say that Tony's grandmother, the Linda to which Guy Bush inscribed this postcard-sized photo, is thought to have contemporaneously obtained the John Hancock, in person during the early 30's.
Good golly, Miss Molly!
They say good things come to those who wait and that has certainly proven to be true with this package - one Cubgrade, four new coaches and two autographs, one of which is of a pre-WWII star. I don't exactly recall what I sent your way previously, but I hope it measured up to at least half as good as this mailing!
We Tony's have to look out for each other - it's part of the name.