As I mentioned in my post about postage stamps, Hobby Lobby, and the Sex Pistols this past weekend, my wife and I may be in our mid-to-late 20's, but we still exchange Easter baskets with each other. After all, we both enjoy putting together gifts and we're also both giant, overgrown children - so, it's only natural that we continue this childhood tradition. What can I say?
So, come Easter Sunday, I whipped up a basket filled to the brim with rubber ducks, picture frames, Reese's products and Peeps (all of her favorite things), hid it under the sink, and made her search it out. At the same time, she had also hidden a basket of goodies with my name on it; thus, we were both on the hunt for some holiday treasures. Hopefully, she was satisfied with what I put together for her because she absolutely knocked it out of the park with what she assembled for me:
T-Shirts, Cosmic Brownies, Tootsie Rolls, new flip-flops to replace the same pair I've had since 2007, a spiffy polo for work wearing and other assorted goodies. Needless to say, I was absolutely ecstatic with the bounty that turned up inside the dresser. Of course, being the cardboard addict that I am, the first thing that I noticed in this basket full of awesome was a hanger box full of baseball cards. I guess that's just how my eyes are wired:
Kris Bryant bid me a happy Easter before I ripped into this packaging. He also wished me good luck with my pack rip - hopefully the hanger would be as bountiful as the Easter basket itself proved to be.
As my wife dug into her giant Reese's egg, I tore into this 72-card sampling of 2017 Topps Series One with Easter cheer:
Not a ton of Cubs or Cubs-related content, but there was a few cards to be had. Unfortunately, all except the Geovany Soto "Cubs of a Different Color" exhibit were doubles in my collection and, boy oh boy, does Geo look proud of himself. Although, admittedly, I don't recall offhand what cards I actually still need from this particular product. Nevertheless, Cubs are always better than no Cubs, even if they're doubles.
As for the rest of the notable cards from the hanger:
Here are the inserts which came within, of which there were a few, including the Target exclusive "Fielding Awards" (Keuchel, Arenado, Kinsler) which the pack boasts of on the front. I had to do double take on the Luis Coronel "First Pitch" single, as he's so well-dressed for the part, that I didn't realize that he wasn't an actual pitcher on an actual base card. Apparently, Mr. Coronel is a popular singer of regional Mexican music and not an MLB hurler.
Also, in the bottom right, we have the obligatory buyback - this one featuring Brewer Bill Schroeder from 1987. See, Tony L.? There ARE Brewers in Topps 2017 products. *sarcasm alert*
Speaking of 1987 Topps, I also walked away with another tribute to the wood panel set (from the 30th Anniversary checklist) this one re-imagining Don Mattingly's card from the force-fed set. As tired as I am of the tributes to this set, I cannot deny that this is a wonderful dugout shot of the mustachioed "Donnie Baseball."
This wrapped up the hanger box of 2017 Topps. If you see anything you like, just let me know - it's all up for trade.
After we wrapped our personal Easter celebration and we cleaned up the Reese's and Cosmic Brownie wrappers which were already strewn about our floor, the wife and I made our way over to my parents to celebrate the holiday with that side of the family. Apparently, I got my love of gifting from my mother, as she also prepped a pair of Easter baskets for the both of us. This was quite a lovely surprise.
Nestled among even more snack foods like pistachios, Riesen's chocolate caramels, and a large package of Twix bars, were some treats for the eyes. Apparently, my mother went so far as to actually visit my favorite LCS and pick up a few items for my collection, including this baggie full of miscellaneous former Cubs. It certainly doesn't hurt that it starts off with Ryne Sandberg - that has to be a good portend of what's to come. I guess my mothers knows me pretty well.
The baggie was full of mostly junk wax era singles, plus some cards from the mid-to-late 90's and the early aughts, my favorites of which are showcased above. One of these is not like the others... can you figure out which one?
Here we have Derrek Lee showing off his Gold Glove-winning defense ('07 Fleer Ultra), Eddie Zambrano mid-throw ('95 Score), a Carlos Marmol All-Star commemoration ('08 Topps), a rookie card of the eccentric Turk Wendell ('95 Score) and Sammy Sosa beaming at the bat rack ('96 Donruss).
Then we have Willie Smith, via a minor league ProCards single, posing for the camera. However, the AAA uniform he's sporting is not that of the Iowa Cubs, it's a Columbus Clippers get up. This is a switcheroo that this LCS proprietor makes fairly often, as the "C" of the Clippers cap looks quite similar to the iconic Cubs "C" at a quick glance. Oopsy daisy. For the record, Smith briefly reached the Majors in 1994, with the Cardinals, for eight games.
That concluded the repack baggie of past Cubs; however, that was not the end of the Easter baseball card madness. In fact, my mother went ahead and brought out the big guns for this basket case. As a special holiday treat, she also selected a pair of vintage Hall of Famers from the glass display case in the front of the store (a selection of cards from which this cheapskate almost never picks from). She choose well, going with a pair of familial favorites going back to my grandfather, to put an exclamation point on this Easter holiday:
Hot damn - a 1970 Kellogg's Ernie Banks and a 1968 Topps TSN All-Star Ron Santo! My jaw was literally agape when I saw these, tucked away next to the Twix bars and stored safely in top-loaders. In fact, the Kellogg's card of Mr. Cub is my very first vintage Banks, as playing day cards of the franchise icon hold an imposing premium in the Chicago market. The same can be said for vintage Santos as well, even when they come in burlap.
It's a good thing I found these last, as there's no way that these could have been followed up.
In short, I had one heckuva Easter and ended up with a surprising amount of cardboard, in addition to my traditional junk food. The only thing that could have made the holiday better was if I also got a bag of licorice jelly beans. The rest of the world might hate them, but they are by far my favorite pieces of Easter candy. That said, the oddball Banks and the All-Star Santo are pretty swell consolation prizes. My wife and my mother are pretty awesome.
Did anyone else find any baseball cards in their Easter baskets on Sunday?