For almost as long as I've been blogging, I've been following the wonderful Oriole-centric blog known as The Five Tool Collector, featuring the musings of the world's biggest Billy Pierce fan, CommishBob. For a little over three years now, I've subscribed to his posts about Pierce oddballs and Baltimore Colts ephemera without ever making contact with the man behind the keyboard, beyond a comment here and there. What can I say - I'm a bit of a wallflower. Thankfully, not everyone on the blogosphere is as reserved as I am.
A couple of weeks ago, the Commish reached out to me on Twitter and let me know he had something that he wanted to send my way. I'm never going to turn down free cards, especially from such an established blogger; however, this mailing had a very clandestine aura around it. Without divulging exactly what he was sending, the Commish informed me that the first part would actually be for my wife. Hmmm...
This flock of ducks flew into town a little bit quicker than part two. I don't have his note in front of me right now, but, as I recall, this mini, key chain water fowls were part of a charity function at the school where the Commish works when he's not waxing nostalgic about baseball cards. If you've been paying attention to this blog, you know that my wife collects rubber ducks with the ferocity that I do Cubs trading cards. Thus, these duckies were an awesome, unexpected gift that made her quite giddy.
I should take this opportunity to mention that this is the SECOND envelope in recent weeks that's included something for my wife as well. I forgot to properly thank him in my trade wrap-up post last week, but Adam from Cardboard Clubhouse also threw something in for my better half;
this post. Batman is certainly one of her favorite superheroes of all-time (however, Wonder Woman ultimately wears the tiara for that honor); plus, we both agree that Lego Batman was the best movie of the year, so far. We're childish - okay?
To bring this all back together, the wife just so happened to have the perfect place to store her new mini-figure and bat-gadget:
On the back of her Joker rubber duck. Yes, that is a thing. It all comes back to rubber ducks with her. Adam, thank you for including that Lego set in with your latest round of cardboard - it was greatly appreciated and my wife is tickled pink that people keep mailing her stuff with my cards.
At this point, I'm starting to wonder if my blog is being slowly taken over by the lady...
Anyway, back to the Commish's mailings. While part one was exclusively for my lovely wife, part two was promised to be exclusively for me. Rubber ducks are cool and all, but I definitely prefer my cardboard rectangles. The Commish certainly did not disappoint on that front. On Monday, the second bubble mailer arrived on doorstep and it started off with a bang:
Normally, Chapman would be brought in to close, but he's going to lead off the baseball content in this post.
This shiny, chrome parallel from the latest version of Topps Heritage looks quite nice in hand, even considering my distaste for Aroldis as a person. Interestingly enough, while Chappy appears as a Cub in this flashy parallel, his base card features him in his new-again Yankee pinstripes. You might be wondering to yourself, how does that happen? Well J Meeks from My Cardboard Habit actually has a nice write-up with an answer on his blog and you should check it out when you get a chance.
Accompanying the mercenary Cub was a further sampling of Heritage:
I haven't bought much Heritage this time around, even though I'm one of the seemingly few who like the "burlap" design. Thus, I'm thrilled to have so many singles popping up in trades over the past few weeks.
I already had that League Leaders card on top of this column (thanks, Stealing Home!); but, now with two, I can include one each in my Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lesters PC's. Plus, as you might have guessed, anything with World Series folk-hero Kyle Schwarber or reigning MVP Kris Bryant on it might as well be gold in Chicago; so, any time they roll into my mailbox, my wallet feels a little bit safer.
Speaking of recent products that I haven't opened much of in 2017...
I've opened two packs of Opening Day since it was released - the price point is phenomenal, but the parallel/repeat nature of the base set really dulls the enthusiasm. At least the inserts show some creativity.
The Incredible Eats set is certainly unique and showcases signature concessions from various ballparks. For the Cubs and Wrigley Field, we get hot dogs & onions, which I don't recall actually being a thing; I was just discussing this matter with JediJeff from 2x3 Heroes a few days ago. Of course, I am boring and usually eat my hot dogs plain or with a touch of mustard, so I may be the wrong person to ponder. That said. wouldn't a Chicago style hotdog been a more apt choice?
Continuing on the "fairly new products that Tony hasn't done much with so far" vein:
This is the very first '17 Topps Sticker to make it's way into my hands. If we could just blend the Sticker set with Opening Day (original design, bargain basement price point), we'd have one heckuva product. As it stands, the mini stickers do look quite nice, on their own. In fact, they almost seem more like a Flagship base design than Flagship.
I especially like that Rizz is doing his best Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli impression here, with the finger guns a blazin'. Eyyyyyyyyyy!
And now, for some more singles from relatively recent releases:
Here we have Rizzo again with his fellow co-founder of the Bryzzo Souvenir Company - they put the ding in dinger.
If you haven't seen these advertisement spots yet, you simply must take a couple of minutes out of your day to watch them:
#ThisSeason on Baseball: The #Bryzzo Souvenir Company is getting bigger and better. pic.twitter.com/WzwUhB1ScB— MLB (@MLB) March 31, 2017
A couple more recent cards, featuring heroes of the young season, so far. Jake the Snake hurled six strong innings in the Cubs' first win of the 2017 campaign and appears on a Bunt single from late last year (and my favorite product in '16). Meanwhile, Willson Contreras smashed a three-run homer in the ninth inning to tie their season opener against the Cards, although that game was eventually lost. Appropriately enough, this Heritage Now & Then insert highlights his first ever MLB home run, which just so happened to occur in his first at-bat, on the first pitch.
Here's hoping these guys create a few more highlights in the games to come.
Wrapping up the baseball portion of the package, we go backwards in time a couple of decades, to the early 1990's. 1991 Donruss might be one of those ubiquitous junk wax era sets, but I'm fairly sure that I didn't have the Ryne Sandberg from that collation yet. Along with Ryno, the Commish also included a Stadium Club Shawn Boskie from 1992. Look at all that crisp, green grass; Stadium Club has always been an aesthetically pleasing set.
That was of the baseball content found within the Commish's second bubble mailer; however, that was not the last of the cards to be found. He was also able to add a few new names off to a pair of my other sporting collections:
The Commish graciously upgraded the Paul Gillis slot in my Blackhawks All-Time Roster Collection from a Nordiques artifact to a proper Blackhawks card. I tell ya, Paul looks absolutely thrilled about this development on the updated card, doesn't he?
Paul only played 15, unproductive games across two partial seasons with the Chicago ice hockey brigade; so, I'm actually kind of surprised that he shows up on a O-Pee-Chee card in an Indianhead sweater, at all. I love surprises!
Now, it's time that we transition from the ice to the hardwood:
I have not been pursuing my Bulls roster collection nearly as passionately as my Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, or even my NASCAR collations. I'm going to blame that on the fact that Da Bulls have been so painfully underwhelming over the past few years. That said, I'm still more than happy to add new names to that binder when they come my way, especially when they're member of those legendary teams of the 1990's
Randy Brown was a key component off the bench for the second three-peat and, while he only played one year in the Windy City, Corey Williams earned a ring (coming off of the bench, as well) in 1993. Those teams were absolutely stacked!
With that, we have finally come to the end of CommishBob's two mailings - there many ducks to bring a smile to my wife's face, several new Cubs cards, a new addition to my Blackhawks All-Time Roster Collection, and two new additions to the Bulls All-Time Roster Collection. Bob sure knows how to make an introduction, huh?
I know you said not to worry about sending anything back, but I don't know if I can let such good deeds go unrewarded. Although, if , before that happens, this blog makes a full shift over from sports cards to rubber ducks in the near future, just assume that my wife has completed her hostile take over of my blog.
We shall see.