Dennis and I had never traded before and I felt weird claiming a stack of cards, being a total stranger and all. However, Dennis was feeling the spirit of the season and was more than willing to offer up a stack of 50 or so Chicago Bears singles that had caught my fancy.
As an added bonus, Dennis also threw is some special surprises, as well. But, we'll get to those later. First, the Bears portion of this Christmas package:
These represent my first cards of either Brandon Meriweather or Eddie Goldman in a Bears uniform. Previously, both were depicted in the jerseys of their alma mater in my Bears All-Time Roster Collection binder. These make for an excellent pair of upgrades.
Next up, we have former Bears receiver hauling in a couple of catches, including an impressive one-handed grab during training camp. Catching never was the problem with Brandon, though.
I'm a sucker for shiny and this Topps Platinum single really caught my eye - I'd never owned anything from this set before. Thus, the rainbow-foiled version of Mr. Marshall will also be sliding into my Bears binder.
Kevin Butler was the kicker for the 1985 Bears and, as such, will always get spotlighted on this blog when he, or any other Bear from that squad, shows up in a trade package. In terms of beloved teams, I don't know that there's a stronger infatuation than that which Chicago has with Ditka's men.
Also, found within Dennis' Bears lot was a good amount of visually appealing Matt Forte cards, including this 2013 Rookies and Stars card from Panini. Rookie Jordan Howard has been doing his best to make we Chicagoans forget about Forte, but it's still bizarre to think of the running back as a New York Jet...
This Brian Urlacher rookie was on top of the stack in Dennis' original post and it certainly helped sway me into claiming the lot. Back when the future HOF'er actually had hair... well, he has hair again now, thanks to some restoration procedure, which is weird to see in and of it's self... anyway, long story short, it's a bit jarring to see the center with follicles.
Julius Peppers might not have worked out too well in Chicago, but this Panini sticker is still more than welcome in my collection. I have bought exactly one pack of sticker product in my entire collecting life, so anytime these show up they are essentially guaranteed to be new to me.
That about sums up the Bears lot, definitely some good, useful stuff for my Bears hoard. That said, it was the bonuses that Dennis threw in with the gridiron gang that entirely stole the show from Urlacher and Co.:
Here's a pair of team-issued photo cards from the early 90's - I'm not sure exactly what year this was, but the team used a similar design throughout the late 80's/early 90's.
If I've made one thing clear on this blog, it's that I love oddballs. The collecting landscape would be quite dull if it were made up of just Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, etc. Oddballs of one of my childhood favorites, like Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, are icing on an already delicious cake.
While these glossy, over-sized cards were used by players to fill autograph requests throughout the year, these two did not come with the John Hancocks of the players pictured. That doesn't matter though, this package still contained plenty of signed star power!
Awww sweet, a IP auto of should-be-Hall of Famer Rafael Palmeiro. The wood grain borders of '87 Topps, the colorful "Future Stars" banner and the short-term stop of Raffy all combine to create one of my favorite cards of the 80's and now I have my own, signed copy!
This was a sight to behold when it fell out of the padded mailer and, it alone would have made for an excellent gift. Instead, Dennis decided to completely blow me out of the water with another "Ultra" inclusion:
Joe Girardi might be a Yankee manager first in many a person's mind; however, he'll always be a beloved back-up backstop for the Cubs in my North side-obsessed brain.
1991 Fleer Ultra is already a sleek, "less is more" type set with excellent photography. This expertly framed play at the plate has kicked up a faint cloud of dust, which creates the perfect backdrop for a Joe's penmanship. Seriously, it's almost like the card was designed with that purpose. That Expo base runner might be out at the plate, but this bonus is a score!
Thank you Dennis, you really knocked it out of the park with this package. Fifty new Bears cards, two Cubs oddballs and two new autographs for my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection binder - out of that bounty, only the Bears cards were expected. Simply amazing! I'll be sure to return the favor ASAP.
Dennis certainly knows how to make an introduction.