Monday, November 14, 2016

Goodwill Goodie Bags

Very rarely do I walk into a thrift store and find anything worth laying down my hard-earned money... at least when it comes to baseball cards, anyway.  Far too often, when the local re-sellers even have any in stock, it's large amounts of 1989 Topps and 1990 Donruss crammed into water-stained boxes that haven't been opened since 1994, which smell musty and dusty.  On top of that, the vendors usually have no idea what they're dealing with and price these large amounts of cards for a price that I wouldn't pay for a new blaster.

Of course, there are always exceptions.

Every now and then, I'm lucky enough to come across a stash of cards or sports memorabilia that actually piques my interest.  I've found Nippon League T-Shirts, semi-rare SGA sets and super-cheap autographed baseballs, among the other non-descript souvenirs.  This past Saturday, I came across another potentially interesting purchase:

Here we have some hastily-fashioned re-packs  from the local Goodwill - someone (or someone's mother) clearly donated a good amount of cards from their childhood.  At two bucks a pop, I decided to take the dive on these three Goodwill goodie bags for a few reasons.

  1. Pack one was filled with cards tucked in top-loaders - someone clearly thought these were worth protecting.
  2. Pack two featured a few unfamiliar basketball oddballs on top - I don't often buy basketball cards, but oddballs always pique my interest.
  3. Pack three was stuffed to the gills with thick, brown cardboard - aka vintage cards.  Definitely worth the gamble.

I was itchin' to "rip some wax" anyway and these re-packs seemed much more intriguing than Update or any other current release... cheaper too.  Thus, I snapped them up without much hesitation and headed home to set these cards free from their cellophane prison.

Pack One:

Okay - so, I just inherited some poor 90's kid's junk wax Carlton Fisk collection.  I'm sure this child thought they were going to be able to finance their college experience with these base cards of the sure-fire Hall of Famer; but, we all know how that story ends.  Oh well.  At least I got a bunch of top-loaders out of the deal - that alone makes the financial transaction worth it.

Not to mention, there was one compelling Carlton card contained within:

Here we have a single from the team-issued, 1992 SGA set sponsored by Kodak, which was given away to Comiskey Park patrons at some point that summer.  As I said, I love oddball cards and this certainly fits under that umbrella.  Fisk will probably be stashed in a PWE at some point, but it still made for a nice change of pace.

Speaking of which:

Randomly, the last card in pack one was this TCMA oddity featuring Roger Maris from their "The 1960's" set.  That was completely unexpected.  The homerun king framed with a shot of the terraced roof at old Yankee Stadium?  That's a recipe for a nice card, right there.

Moving one, here's pack two:

 First off, the cards that inspired the purchase to begin with.

As I mentioned earlier, I tend to let Bulls cards filter their way to me through trades; however, these over-sized novelties struck my fancy.  At the very least, I had to find out more about them.

Sponsored by NutraSweet, the full-set was distributed to United Center attendees before a contest from the 1989-90 season, with 10,000 sets produced.  At any rate, the most coveted card is obviously Michael Jordan and it is by far the most valuable.  Of course, the Jordan was not included in the re-pack, though it did include nearly all of the other cards, including my very first card of Scottie Pippen!

While the NutraSweet version of "Air Jordan" may have been held back by the donor, they missed the 1992-93 Fleer Ultra NBA Jam Session edition of "His Airness."

While this subset of Ultra that ranked the league's best dunkers isn't nearly as "off the beaten path," any time I can add a new Jordan card to my collection is a good time.  Not to mention, it alos provided me my first card of Horace Grant as a Bull.

The rest of pack #2 was made up of mostly baseball from the early 90's... specifically 1993..  My favorite find in which was this early in his Cubs career Sammy Sosa.  Coincidentally, Slammin' Sammy was celebrating his 48th birthday that same night... and now I feel old.

The rest of the baseball portion of the pack was almost entirely Donruss & Triple Play from the same year, as modeled by former Cubs reliever Bob Scanlan and almost-Cub outfielder Marquis Grissom.  In regards to the latter, that is the most glorious follow through on a pop-up in the history of baseball cards.

There were a couple of slightly more interesting cards, as well, including that shiny Topps Gold Tom Candiotti (good thing I know a few Dodger collectors) and Dave Hollins from the "Round Trippers" subset in '93 Fleer.  Whoever donated these cards was a VERY active collector in 1993.

That wraps up pack two, where the NutraSweet Bulls were the definitive highlight.

Now, let's wrap things up by ripping into that vintage-centric pack three:

As you can see from the future/former Cubs players above, a wide swatch of Topps cards from the seventies were crammed into this ball of cellophane.   In addition to what you see above, there were even a few '72's and '73's to go along with them.  In short, this pack was a vintage gold mine - definitely not a stash I would expect to find on the shelves of my local thrift shop!

As an added bonus, while there were no George Brett or Robin Yount rookies included in the old-school stack, there was one semi-iconic card of the decade to be uncovered and close with a bang:

The infamous Herb Washington - the only exclusive pinch-running specialist in baseball history and, thus, the only man to be designated as such on their baseball card.  This is easily one of my favorite non-Cubs cards of all-time.

As a longtime competitor in track & field, I've always been fascinated by the sprinting star's career in Major League Baseball and I'm overjoyed to finally have this notable card in my possession.  What a nice surprise!

 105 appearances without a single at-bat, but only 31 stolen bases

Thus concludes my Goodwill re-pack ripping experience and, overall, I'd say I'm quite satisfied.  I don't regret dropping the money and that's usually all I can ask for from such purchases.

All in all, I was lucky enough to find some sweet Bulls oddballs which provided a nice boost to my Bulls All-Time Roster Collection, some other intriguing baseball oddities and a hefty pile of seventies treasures, including my coveted track star turned baseball player.  This ripping experience put the "good" in Goodwill.

Though. as satisfied as I am with these finds, I am still curious as to what the best surprises have been uncovered at local re-sellers.  Blogosphere - what have been some of your favorite discoveries at such locations?

It just goes to show you, one man's trash is another man's treasure... except for 1990 Donruss, the only thing that set is good for is kindling.


  1. At least those packs were interesting. We have a couple Goodwill Stores in my town, but I haven't checked for cards.

  2. Great find on the Bulls oddballs! Regionals are so hard to track down. That set is totally missing from my collection.

  3. My Goodwill never has cards. Only thrift store cards I've ever found were at a place quite deep into the suburbs. That vintage pack was a definite score! The Herb Washington is one of my all-time favorite baseball cards.

  4. Congratulations on the Washington! As a fan of the Athletics, great photography, and the 1975 Topps set... this card is one of my personal faves.

    P.S. Thanks for sharing that video. Unique version of Thrift Shop. They have some really cool videos.