Thursday, June 25, 2020

Swapping Boxes with the Dime Box King

A few weeks back, as part of a massive home reorganization project, I found myself in the awkward predicament of having to offload more than 75% of my trading card collection.  While this may sound like an absolute disaster to most of you who read baseball card blogs, I saw this as an opportunity.  In all honesty, outside of my various Chicago-based team roster collections, most of my "collection" could be more accurately described as "accumulation."  Boxes of doubles, trade bait, and stuff that I didn't know what to do with were piled up in my closet and simply had to go.  This "spring cleaning" simply provided the impetus I needed to finally get up off of my lazy butt and do something about it.

Of course, I didn't have the time or desire to go about trying to sell this stuff and I sure as hell wasn't going to trash the cards either.  Luckily, I knew someone local who would be more than happy to take all of this free cardboard off of my hands:  Dime Box Nick.

The proprietor of one of the blogosphere's foremost destinations, Nick and I live in suburbs adjacent to the Windy City and are only about an hour apart from each other.  I knew that he would provide a good home for my unappreciated and under-utilized cardboard receptacles, so I reached out and before the day was over, agreed to meet halfway.  Honestly, it was a huge relief to get those piles of boxes out of the house and know they were going to someone who would appreciate them.

Of course, anyone who has dealt with the Dime Box King knows that Nick is one of the nicest people on the internet.  While he was doing me a huge favor by taking this stock off of my hands, the guy couldn't help but give me more cards, despite my assurances that he didn't need to do any such thing.  What a gentleman!

The whole purpose of our meeting might have been for me to offload unwanted cards; however, I had no fear that the small box Nick gifted me with would disrupt my progress.  After all, Nick knows my interests and any trade package coming from his neck of the woods is perfectly tailored to the recipient's wants and needs.

In fact, you might say that this was a "whale" of a trade!

All in all, Nick's 200-count box was crammed with a variety of cards that I could never turn away.  The corrugated container housed a little bit of everything, just as one would expect from the king of Dime Boxes:


To begin with, there was a hefty sampling of recent products that both quarantining and frustrated disinterest in the sport of baseball had kept me from acquiring.

I suppose Topps has anointed blue-chipper Nico Hoerner as the designated Cubs rookie of 2020, as he seems to have appeared in just about every checklist.  Much better choice than last year's selection of some third-string catcher who's name I've already forgotten and never even made the club.  Although, you could at least change the picture selection up, guys!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, while the latest and greatest products were well-repped, there was also plenty of vintage goodies to be found, as well.

Including a handful of everyone's favorite Canadian oddballs: O-Pee-Chee!  You can't tell from the Manny Trillo above because I forgot to take a picture of the bilingual backs; but, trust me, this card and several more from the box hail from the Great White North.

Moving on from vintage to faux-vintage, reprints are a common staple of any Dime Box Nick mailing and even though this transaction was made in person, it was no exception.  That's fine by me since I love Dover reprints since they showcase cards of which I could never hope to acquire the real deal, like a Zimmerman Cracker Jack.  Cracker Jack cards might just be my favorite pre-war pasteboards.

On the other hand, I already have the full set of the Topps' 1994 re-release of their 1954 checklist (made under the Archives banner).  However, you may notice that this Jim Willis is actually a gold parallel - something that was definitely not part of the original release - of which I had absolutely none of before Nick fixed that for me.

Oddballs are always a welcome sight.  Nick must know that they are my favorite "genre" of baseball card because he included some damn good ones.  The TCMA tribute to the 1907 World Series Champion Cubs is my first acquisition from that set that is NOT permanently mounted to a kitschy frame, which is a plus.  Additionally, I must not have ever seen a 1993 Classic single, as that Alex Arias is completely new to me.  Love me a good blue-bordered set, for what should be obvious reasons.

Additionally, we have two pieces from the 2000 team-issued set and stadium giveaways always make for interesting oddities... especially for their checklist depth.  Where else would one find Cubs cards of middling reliever, Felix Heredia, or short-term stopper, Damon Buford, in blue pinstripes?  Rare sights, indeed!

Ooooooooo shiny!

I'm like a child playing with his parents car keys - I can't help but be mesmerized by shiny objects.  That Zeile, in specific, will definitely be taking Todd's spot in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection.

Plus, there was some other popular Dime Box fodder in the form of  forgotten sets from the turn of the century.  Well, I guess Total is better remembered now that the product has been resuscitated as an online exclusive.  Nevertheless, I always get a little bit excited when I see my all-time favorite Topps' product pop up in trade packages.

Finally, there was one card that completely stole the show, even among all these exceptional inclusions:

This card made me audibly gasp when I first saw it fall out of the box.  Hot damn!

This TCMA oddball features a glorious staged, spring training shot with glorious vintage baseball socks, a pinstripe Cubs hat, and the rarely ever seen 1957 Chicago road uniforms, but that's not why I had such a visceral reaction.  That said, all those features certainly contribute major bonus points.  Anyway, the main reason that this single from the 1979 "The 1950's" set made my eyes pop out of my skull was that it is the first card I've acquired which features the player in question in a Cubs uniform.  Thus, I now get to make a "Cubgrade" in my cherished CATRC binder.

Chuck Tanner might be better remembered for his managerial exploits, especially with the "We Are Family" Pirates; however, before Sister Sledge had even recorded their famous hit record, Tanner spent two seasons as a Chicago Cub.  In 1957-58, Tanner came off the Wrigley bench as a spare outfielder, slashing a productive .280/.333/.420 across 168 contests.

Tanner appeared as a Cub in both corresponding Topps sets in Cubbie Blue.  That being stated, those relatively blase cards don't hold a candle to this photographic masterpiece.  Furthermore, the 1987 Topps managerial card which previously held Tanner's spot in my CATRC is more like kindling when compared to this beauty.

Thanks Nick, you really knocked it out of the park with the Chuck Tanner card and, truly, with the whole package.  I didn't even show off a third of the phenomenal ephemera that he passed on to me.  Honestly, I could have showcased every single card from the box, but then I'd end up with carpal tunnel from all the typing.  While the entire goal of this meet up was to offload cards, what Nick gifted me with was all high quality cardboard and exactly the kind of stuff I was creating more space for.

I hope that Nick has had (or is still) having fun sorting through all of the cards that I dumped on him because I certainly did going through his half of the exchange!

Also, before I go, in case you were curious, this is how much I had to get rid of:


  1. Congrats on getting dump a ton of cards onto someone. It's always stressful but when it's finally over with it's the best kind of relief.

  2. It's a great feeling being able to get rid of a huge quantity of cards. When Cubs come back, then it's even better. Congrats!

  3. Those Fox Sports Net cards are pretty nifty. I never knew they existed.

  4. I'm in the same boat. I've gotta unload 40k to 50k cards that are sitting in my garage. I can't even drive my other card until I do.