It's tough to see in the scan, but that Soriano is from 2003 Fleer Avant. I never opened any of that product and this is the first card I've owned from it. I vaguely remember the set being one of the more high-end products of its day. I really like the matte frame on this one(think modern day GQ framed parallels, but nicer). I'm loving the Opening Day reminder of David Wells' perfect game! I know I've seen this one before, but I don't think I've owned it until now. While it's not a true RC, I was thrilled to see that Ian Desmond Star Rookie come out of one of the stacks. That's a really interesting point of view to shoot a photo. This was a strong start, but from here it only got better!
I was never the biggest Giambi fan, but I dig the curtain call shot with the Yankee Stadium fans in the background...and it's a refractor to boot! At first glance the Severino and Bird Onyx cards are your typical prospect cards missing logos in the mold of something you'd see from Panini. However, upon closer inspection, these were distributed at The National! I am a sucker for 'exclusive' cards, whether they're from The National, a stadium giveaway, or from Panini's 'holiday' promotions. I had no idea these existed, so I couldn't have even went searching for these on eBay. It's a bonus that these two guys are currently putting up decent numbers in the majors. In fact, Severino pitched a heck of a game against the Braves over the weekend!
As I was basking in National exclusive card glory, I flipped to this. For the first time in a long while, I actually did a double take. As most of you know, I've been putting together the 1968 Topps Game set over the past few months. I knocked out the other big names like Aaron, Rose, Mays, and Clemente pretty quick. The Mick was the last huge name that I needed. I searched every vendor at the last card show I attended, and there was no Mantle to be found. I bid on multiple eBay auctions and lost each one. Just as I was getting geared up to out some bids on a few more, this card peeked out of the middle of this awesome PWE. The more I looked at it, the more I was impressed with how clean a copy it was! This officially brings me down to two more cards to finish the set. I emailed Brian to thank him(over and over). It was then that he informed me that he had gotten a great deal on a set while at The National. He therefore had an extra that he was happy to send my way. Just incredible. I think my jaw is still on the floor!
I may not have made it to The National, but thanks to this generous PWE, some treasures from the biggest show of the year have made their way to my collection. A million thanks to you Brian! I hope I can someday return the favor.