Almost immediately after I mentioned our location change on the blog, Kin Kinsley (I Feel Like a Collector Again and Bean's Ballcard Blog) reached out to me, requesting my new address. You know what that means, Mr. Kinsley was looking to sign me up on all the spam mailings and chain letter lists that he could possibly find. Well, in all actuality, while he might have done both of those things as well, he also sent me a little housewarming gift. A little bit of new cardboard smell is perfect way to christen a new apartment, after all.
Boy, oh boy - did Kin ever go all out on this one:
As you can plainly see, our generous gifter lead off with quite the doozy - a 1953 black and white Bowman single, featuring "Handsom Ransom" Jackson. I can count the amount of times that I've gotten a '53 Bowman through a trade on one hand... in fact, both times it was this very same card (sadly, I cannot recall who else was so kind). I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining though, this is a wonderful card and I'm not going to complain about getting a 64 year old piece of cardboard from an iconic set as an unannounced gift. I just find it funny that, both times, it just so happened to be this very same card. Strange how the world works sometimes, isn't it?
Next up, we have another player from days long gone by in Ralph Kiner, better known for his time with the Pirates. The six-time All-Star and Hall of Famer made most of his resume in a Pittsburgh uniform, but it's important to remember, at least to me, that he also spent two years of his storied career in Chicago (1953-54). Apparently, it was also important to Renata Galasso to remember his time spent in the Windy City, as illustrated by the no-frills oddball set co-produced by her and TCMA, from 1977-84.
Personally, I think Cubbie blue suits Mr. Kiner, even if the photo is black and white.
The Cubs portion of Kin's bubble mailer closes out with a pair of more modern releases - Kris Bryant on a 2017 Topps Award Winners insert, which honors his winning the NL MVP award last season (a retail exclusive set) and "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks via 2000 Upper Deck Legends. These are a pair of awfully significant player in franchise history, both of which are new to my collection.
In regards to the latter card, this shiny beauty has a blurb on the bottom which reads, "one of the most-loved sports figures in Chicago history, "Mr. Cub" earned that honor with his demeanor and potent bat that accounted for over 500 homers." First off, that write-up couldn't possibly more true. Second of all, I love the picture that they chose, which shows off the road uniform (with the underline) in use throughout the 1950's. Third, why is the legendary shortstop hoarding so many bats?!
Like I said, that did it for the Cubs portion of Kin's mailing; however, he was far from done:
Ooooooo - we're breaking out the big guns now.
Mr. Kinsley is on record as, how shall I say, strongly disliking the Cubs. That said, some common ground that we have been able to bond over is the shine we've taken to the Chicago Blackhawks. I'm assuming that this is a double for Kin, seeing as this /225, two-color jersey swatch of short-term Hawk Steve Sullivan is a dandy. In fact, it's actually the very first hit to make it into my burgeoning Blackhawks All-Time Roster Collection. If the mailer emptied here, I would have already considered it to be an overly generous housewarming gift; of course, Kin appears to have wanted my jaw to literally hit the ground.
If that was the case, then Kinsley certainly succeeded - here we have my first AND second certified autographs to be inserted into my BATRC. Both of these bad boys hail from the 2001/2002 edition of the Be A Player Signature Series.
Steve McCarthy clearly missed the point of the translucent white box at the bottom of the card, instead making use of pretty much the whole card to ink his John Hancock. While Mr. McCarthy is not entirely new to my collection, this signed single easily boots his previous, plain entry into my Blackhawks binder. On the other hand, Reto Van Arx was a name entirely new to said binder, making his inclusion a double-whammy of awesome, even if his entirely NHL career amounted to 19 games, with a +/- rating of -4 during the 2001-02 campaign. With that in mind, let me just take a moment to give my appreciation to the current Blackhawks administration and the program that they've built.
Mr Kinsley positively kicked ass on this exceptionally generous gift, as he always does in our little exchanges - my apartment feels a little more welcoming already. Kin, I'll make sure to put together an appropriate return package in the very near future.
I might have to move a few more times if this dude is always so doting with his housewarming gifts!