The wife and I had a big night planned this past Saturday in order to properly celebrate her day of birth - dinner at her favorite restaurant, a night out on the Northside of the city, a burlesque show and good times to be had by all. However, as fun as that all sounds, the anticipation was killing her Saturday afternoon and she was feeling antsy. Since antsy is pretty much my constant state of being as well and we had plenty of time before we had to get on the road, we both decided to make a quick trip to the local Savers thrift shop to kill some time.
Thrift shops and secondhand stores are our favorite places to go when we're bored - after all, you can't do much damage to your wallet (unless you're REALLY trying) at such an establishment.
I have to say, this restlessness turned out to be a good thing for both of us. First of all, her birthday celebrations were only enhanced by what seemed like nearly an entire wall of nothing but rubber ducks:
For those that may have missed that post, my wife collects these funny little quackers with the same fervor that I do baseball cards. Therefore, this back wall, where Savers bags up all their miscellaneous toys in plastic wrap, was an absolute gold mine for her ever-growing flock of duckies.
I must admit, the collector in me quite enjoys finding new birds of a feather for her as well - I mean, look at those things, they're just plain fun. I'm especially partial to the chromium water fowl, who doubles as a "magic 8-ball."
However, bath toys were not the only item that caught our eyes at this particular display. No, no - clearly someone on staff knew that the "Burb Herd" was making a visit to their store, because they brought out the "Burbs bait." Along with the bags of rubber ducks, there was an assortment of saran-wrapped, trading card goodness hanging from this wall of pure awesomeness:
Of course, I couldn't help but grab a little sample for myself - even though Savers tends to overprice their goods, more so than the local Goodwills. In fact, I almost put them right back on the rack and walked away, but my better half thought I was being silly, so she snatched them out of my hands and made her way to the cashier's line in the middle of my waffling. Bless her soul. For five bucks a pop, I suppose it's still a worthwhile gamble to grab a pair of the dozen or so bags of baseball and football cards that were accompanying my wife's new favorite birdies.
It may have been her birthday celebration, but what could a little gift for myself hurt? Clearly she had no objection.
At that point, neither one of us could wait to get home to rip into our new bounties. So, we cruised our way back to the homestead so that we'd have a little bit of time to savor our new collection additions before it was time to get ready for our downtown shenanigans.
The cello-wrapped repack on the right was chock full of nothing but Topps Attax game cards, a set from which I had absolutely zero cards before this weekend. Thus, this was a more than welcome sight, even if one of the Cubs included was the ever-douchey Matt Garza. Still, a new Cubs card is a new Cubs card and I have always had a thing for game cards like Attax, MLB Showdown, Hot Button Baseball, etc. In fact, I have an entire post dedicated to that subject.
Luckily the soul-patched, Matt Clement-wannabe wasn't the only Cub to be found lying in wait, ready to "attack:"
Along with Garza, we have former top prospect Tyler Colvin, hot and cold slugger Alfonso Soriano and the shiny, foil parallel of number 17. It's pretty tough to see in the scan, but there's definitely a striking difference between the base and the foil cards in Attax. Also, the foil parallels, while pretty, don't seem to be particularly rare, nor do they do anything to boost the player's desirability in the game itself.
They still look cool though; so, there's that.
Beyond the uniformed Cubs, this custom repack contained a fair amount of future and former Cubs within it's plastic-y confines:
The three cards at the top of this scan are also foil parallels (I pulled their bases, as well). I've chosen to highlight mostly significant pieces from the Cubs of 2015-16, plus franchise-favorite Derrek Lee. However, there were more than a few once-upon-a-time Cubs from further in the past, as well. All in all, my oddball intrigue was significantly piqued by this "Attax Repax." Bag one was definitely worth the price of admission.
Furthermore, if anyone out there happens to be working on a team set (or complete set) of this once off, mostly-forgotten, game set. I have plenty of dupes and cards which otherwise do not interest me to go around. Let me know.
That stack is just the traders
Would repack number two be just as fun, intriguing and productive towards my collection? I mean, there's only one way to find out right? Time to rip into that plastic wrap and find out just what hides within.
While repack number one was exclusively cards from Topps Attax, repack number two contained much, much more variety:
For instance, we have short-term Cubs Austin Jackson making his second appearance in this post, this time on a lovely, minor league, TriStar Obak single, commemorating his time with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Long-time readers of this blog know that I have a thing for bush league cards of evenutal MLB Cubs; thus, this colorful oddball will make a swell addition to my Nothing Major binder.
Accompanying Austin, we have the oldest card in the pack, a well-weathered/loved "Kong" Kingman from 1976. This card may have seen better days, but it's hard not to crack a smile when pulling honest-to-goodness vintage from an unexpected source.
Back to that Nothing Major concept, here's a pair of "cool" Dairy Queen Team USA oddities from 1992. Honestly, before this pack-ripping experience, I had no idea that Topps and the eatery behind Dilly Bars had partnered up to honor USA baseball. I always enjoy a baseball card learning experience!
Both Barberie and Steenstra eventually graduated to the Big Leagues and worked their way over to the Windy City for a brief time, but didn't do much of note in a Cubs uniform. Nevertheless, if minor league cards are desirable, cards that go back to even before a player's professional days are even more fascinating in my eyes. These will be joining that Austin Jackson in the same binder.
Oh, look - more game cards. While pack A was entirely made up of Topps Attax, pack B had a smattering of Wizard of the Coast's MLB Showdown, the original baseball card game of my generation.
While the company behind the ever-popular Pokemon cards tried to extend their influence into baseball, the product didn't generate nearly as much interest and eventually faded away. That said, it's cards are among my favorite oddballs, with their (mostly) clean photography and deep, varied player selection. I don't have too many cards featuring Todd Hollandsworth from his time as an extra outfielder with the Cubs, after all.
Those were definitely the highlights of the repack for me - there was a good amount of other less exciting base cards that fit into my Cubs collections, but nothing else that I would call "blog-worthy." But, there was still plenty of trade bait that I though might be worth sharing on my little corner of the internet:
X gon' give it to ya, in the form of die-cut parallels from Upper Deck's bizarre and mostly superfluous X brand. I don't know what the whole x-theme had to do with baseball, but it sure did provide us with some interesting die-cuts - DMX and Deadpool references not withstanding.
Also among the traders:
There were some oddballs, parallels and singles from rarely seen sets nestled along with the X's. I have to say, my favorites out of these puppies are the Wonder Bread Canseco and the Topps T205 Doc Hoblitzell - on the latter set, if anyone has the Cubs' Dave Shean from that checklist up for trade, please feel free to contact me!
By the by, that Kevin Mailloux from Bowman Platinum on the bottom right is an x-fractor, as if segment of the post needed anymore x-themed content. It's rather difficult to tell from this scan, but it's quite lovely in person.
The rest of repack number two was made up of unassuming base cards from the past fifteen or so years. Notably, the accumulation was completely devoid of the ubiquitous junk wax that normally populates such a thing - so, that was pretty nifty. Also, just a reminder, if anything in those last two scans catches your attention, it's yours if you let me know.
With that, we've reached the conclusion of my Savers experience.
In summation, I was able to add several new oddballs and minor-leaguers to my binders without breaking the bank, some decent trade bait to my stacks of enticement, and, most importantly, I was able to find some bonus birthday gifts for my wife at the very same time. I'd say that's not bad for an impulsive trip, born out of pure, antsy boredom, to the local thrift store.
Of course, the ducks will soon be completely taking over our living area, but shelf space ain't all it's "quacked" up to be anyway...
...On that cringe-inducing note, I'll just see myself out.