August 31, 2015

It's Almost Like I Was At The National

Ever since I've come back to collecting as an adult, it has been an unofficial goal of mine to make it to The National some day. Thus far, there has always been a reason I couldn't/shouldn't go from proximity to finances. This year was no different. It was just not feasible for me to trek to Chicago for a card show, even if it is the biggest card show of the year! Fortunately, I am a part of this great community and I've been able to live vicariously through all of the posts from fellow bloggers that were able to go. One of those bloggers that was able to go was one of my frequent trade partners, Brian from Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary. Recently, I found another packed PWE from him in my mailbox. As usual, it was chock full of great cardboard!

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.

August 30, 2015

Loot from the Trading Spot

A while back, John from Johnny's Trading Spot held a contest involving his series of posts about his first card show in a long while. To enter, he asked that we identify a number of Topps Rookie of the Week cards that he had snagged. The twist was that he didn't show every one in the scans he posted. He did drop some clues to help figure out the others though. It turned out that I was the closest to identifying all of the ones he dug up, so I won a 'vintage prize pack'. It's long overdue that I post this, but I suppose it's better late than never.

My first 1954 Bowman! John customized this prize pack to include vintage Yankees so it was even better than I thought it would be.

This Johnny Kucks has seen better days, but it's still a really cool card to have in my collection.

This is only my second or third card from 1959 Topps. The more of these I see in hand, the more I like this design.

I love the classic photo in front of the Yankee Stadium facade!

I don't have a 'turning two' mini collection, but this might be my favorite of the prize pack because of the awesome, vintage double play!

As far as cards go, John also included some Durham Bulls cards. This Assenmacher is, by far, my favorite of those. It was issued in 1985 by the Durham Herald Sun(the local newspaper).

As great as the cards were, the real gem of the package was a book.

This pocket encyclopedia is worn and fragile, but it is incredibly interesting to gently flip through its pages reading about baseball history, as told in 1956.

Thanks for a great contest John! I'm not sure where you found that encyclopedia, but it is a great piece of history that I am happy to have. By the way, I know that I owe you a bunch of cards. Sorry it is taking me a while to get things together, but I hope you'll find what I send is worth the wait.

August 27, 2015

No More Will We Hear the Rumble of Chocolate Thunder

I'm not sure why, but this photo seemed a fitting tribute to a true pioneer. As some of you may have already heard, Darryl Dawkins, AKA Chocolate Thunder has passed away at the age of 58. I really don't collect basketball very much anymore, but in my younger days, I sure did. I was fortunate enough to have some older friends that would help with my sports history education. From them, I learned about Dawkins' ferocious dunks. In a time where my buddies were collecting MJ, I was searching for cards of Darryl. 

This is probably one of my favorite of his cards. I like to think it shows him doing what he did best, throwing down a monster dunk(though in reality he is probably grabbing a rebound). He was a great player, a great entertainer, and most importantly, a great man. Rest in Peace, Chocolate Thunder.

August 26, 2015

Russell Wilson - NC State Alum...Kinda

Remember when Russell Wilson wore the NC State Wolfpack uniform? Most fans don't. In the time that has passed since I walked that campus, he is one of the few athletes that I could collect because he went to the same school I did. Mario Williams is currently one of the few non-Bronco NFL players that I actively acquire and it is for that exact reason. To this point, I haven't added Wilson to my list because I've been holding a grudge. It all started when he opted to transfer to Wisconsin, forsaking my beloved Wolfpack. Some time went by and I began to consider collecting his cards(and cheering for him). Then he led the dismantling of the Broncos in the Super Bowl and my grudge was renewed. Earlier this year, I began to soften once again. I had no choice but to cheer for him in the Super Bowl against the Patriots. Heck, I even thought he was going to win a second straight championship(like everyone else in the free world). Well, we all know what happened there. However, the way that he handled that loss was admirable. I was once again considering adding him to my player collections, but I needed something to kick start the collection. I had accumulated a few sporadic base cards, some random inserts, and his Bowman Chrome Rockies card from a few years back. I certainly didn't have anything I could consider to be the card that ties him into my collecting habits. Earlier this summer at The National, that all changed. Panini happened to release this gem in their National Convention exclusive set:

It's Russell, it's baseball, and he's wearing an NC State uniform. This is a great card! It's probably my favorite Panini card that I own. The fact that it is an event-specific exclusive card just helps complete the parallel that has finally pushed me over the edge into officially collecting Russell Wilson cards. As most of you know, one of my other favorite NFL players also played baseball for a team that I really like and one of my favorite cards of his came from an All-Star FanFest exclusive giveaway and shows him in the baseball team's uniform. That other player is, of course, John Elway. Anyway, there you have it. I guess I'm officially on the lookout for the Seahawks quarterback. It's probably for the better, holding grudges isn't very healthy anyway!

August 25, 2015

My Long Awaited First Trade With JBF

I've been an active reader within this community for a little while longer than I've been writing(which isn't terribly long). However, I can tell you that it never ceases to amaze me when I see some of the packages that folks out there get dropped on them by Wes, AKA JBF. I had been waiting for the right moment to try to initiate a trade, and that moment came a few weeks back. Wes had posted some trade bait so that he could load up on trade packages which could be opened while on vacation. I saw a few cards that piqued my interest and I had some stuff that fit his description of what he was looking for, so I sent a message. His package arrived while I was away, and I am just now getting it scanned and written up.

I wasn't really sure what to expect besides the cards that I asked about(they'll come later in the post), but I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of this first trade package. I won't go crazy with the scans, but there were some great additions to the Yankee collection. I remember seeing pictures of that Fleer All-Star Mattingly, but I hadn't owned it until now. I may or may not have that Bernie tucked away somewhere, but I love it. Even if it's a dupe, how can I not share one of the few cards that shows him with those glasses on? Only in the early nineties! That Vanguard Jeter is definitely new to me. It's kinda designed like a front page headline which is easy to see here. What's not easy to see is that it's printed on really thin stock which lends to the newspaper feel. It's a cool card that I had no clue even existed.

While I'm not a huge fan of the 'Hit the Dirt' Opening Day insert, I'll take this Ellsbury any day. At least the set uses some photos that we're not likely to see in most other Topps sets. Hey, have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy a good Collector's Choice card before? I know, that bit is probably getting old by now. Oh well, I do love this awesome, horizontal Collector's Choice Donnie Baseball though! Getting new(to me) cards of his will never grow old. That was only a fraction of the great Yankee cards that I was able to flip through courtesy of this padded mailer. In the interest of time, we'll move on to the cards I had asked about.

Again, I'm not a huge fan of the Goodwin Champions sets, but they do include some unique relic possibilities. In fact, this Cobi Jones is the third footballer to play for the US National Team that I've acquired in the past few weeks(the other two were courtesy of Shoebox Legends). From one football to another...

NFL week one is but a few weeks away and I have been slowly preparing by adding some new Broncos to my collection. Here's an awesome patch/auto of Cody Latimer. I'm hoping he can provide yet another productive receiving option to go with Thomas and Sanders.

I really don't know too much about this beautiful Joe D. It comes from Topps Sterling, is framed in what feels like white suede, and is numbered 19/50. That's about the extent of my knowledge. It definitely seems to be the predecessor of the Gallery of Greats insert from Series One this year.

That almost puts the wraps on a great trade with JBF. Almost.

Ah, there it is, the icing on the cake. I have grown very fond of the custom cards that some in the blogosphere have created as their 'calling cards'. In fact, one day, I'll have to rustle up the time and creativity to create my own version. Until then, I will marvel over the ones that I receive in trade packages. I had seen copies of this card posted on other blogs and was thrilled to be able to add one to my collection.

Thanks Wes, I hope you enjoy(ed) flipping through the stack I sent your way nearly as much as I loved digging through this. I look forward to swapping cardboard with you again sometime.

August 23, 2015

It's (Half)Core Four Weekend in the Bronx!

These are two of the greatest Yankees of my generation. You can hate all you want because they're Yankees or because of the PED link that one of them has, but this weekend is all about celebration as far as I'm concerned! 

Saturday was Jorge Posada Day, so we'll start there.

I can say right now that I'm going to love seeing this picture over and over(with the players in different spots) as each of these guys gets their day(or has gotten their day, like Bernie)!

Jorge was the greatest, homegrown catcher since Thurman Munson and he was nearly as good.

This is my favorite Posada rookie year card. It may be hard to tell, but it is the refractor parallel of his Bowman's Best RC. As a hobby related side note, it's pretty crazy to me that three out of the Core Four have only 2 or fewer official RC's to chase. It just goes to show that at the time they were rookies, the card companies didn't think enough of them to try to include them in every product.

Today, was Andy Pettitte Day! When all was said and done, he was one of the most dominant lefties to ever throw the ball, especially in the post-season.

I haven't seen the version of this one that includes Bernie, Mo, and DJ yet. I'm sure it exists somewhere. I thought it apropos that his was the pic I found since I'm celebrating these two in this post.

He had the best pick-off move in the game and he was the go-to guy if you needed a win. I'm fortunate that the only time that I've been able to watch a game at the new Yankee Stadium, Andy was on the mound! I'm thrilled he wore pinstripes for most of his career!

I know it's not an RC, but his is one of my favorites. Pettitte's lone RC hails from 1993 Bowman. It's not a pretty set and is fairly easy to come by. However, one of the sets to have in '93 was the first go 'round of Topps Finest(the other being the first go 'round of SP). If this was a real 1993 issue, this would be one heck of an RC! Beyond that, the search for one of the refractor versions would be super tough since the stated print run for the refractors in '93 was only 241 copies. While it's true that in today's hobby it's common to find RC parallels numbered significantly lower than that, check out the prices on 1993 Finest refractors on eBay. Those prices are still going strong, even on commons. Fortunately, I was able to pick this up only twenty years after the fact. It serves as a wonderful 'what if' reminder in my collection.

That was a lot of celebrating to do in a weekend! Two more plaques in Monument Park, two more numbers retired, and countless memories rehashed! Congrats to Jorge and Andy, two of the Core Four, I'm truly fortunate to have been able to watch them play the game.

August 22, 2015

The Time I Met Wade Boggs - A Single Card Post

In the late '90's and early 2000's, I spent a LOT of time at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park taking in games and seeking autographs.

There was a small group of guys that were at almost every game that I attended. This one guy(I think his name was Pete) that I saw all the time knew every player by looking at them and would call their name out to the rest of us so we could get our cards or other items ready. It turns out he frequented FDR Sportscards(which I have written about in the past) too. One afternoon, I was at FDR trying to get some cards of the next visiting team. Pete happened to walk in. We started chatting about some of the players and he mentioned that he had heard rumors that Wade Boggs might be in town. Boggs had recently taken a job working with the Rays in some official capacity, so it wasn't a complete shock. He told me he was going to pack some Boggs cards just in case. I hurried home and did my best to find some cards from his time on the Yankees and headed out for the ballpark. When I arrived, I took my usual place near the opponent's dugout. Pete was already camped in his normal spot. Today, he had a walkie talkie(yes, this was in the days before cell phones were in everyone's pocket) with him. I looked over at the Bulls's dugout and saw some of the other guys that were 'regulars'. A few minutes later, the walkie talkie beeped and Pete had a short chat with the guy on the other end. He quickly packed up his stuff and headed over to the home team's side. On his way by, he told me that Boggs was in the stadium. I'm not sure how the other guy knew, but is decided to follow. I didn't have any Bulls cards with me that night, so I was taking the chance that Boggs might be the only auto I walked away with that night. I stood waiting until all of the Bulls had gone by, went out to warm up, and returned to the dugout. It was only about 10 minutes before first pitch and still, no Boggs. I packed all my stuff up. Just as I was about to go find my seat, a few of the guys right at the dugout steps started bustling. At this point, there were only about four of us left waiting there. I turned around to see Wade Boggs, complete in a Durham Bulls uniform, walking up the steps from the clubhouse. Since I had already packed all my stuff up, I decided that I'd be happy with the chance to shake his hand and offer my congrats on an incredible career. He willingly signed for the other guys that were still there and turned to me, expecting to be handed another card. I offered my hand instead and if I remember correctly, tripped a bit over telling him how awesome it was that his 3000th hit was a HR. He thanked me and asked if I had anything for him to sign. I told him I had already packed my stuff up and that I didn't want to ask him to wait while I dug one out. He told me that he'd wait since I was the only other one hanging around. I quickly shuffled through the box I had with me and pulled out the first one that I saw showing him in the pinstripes.

He handed this back to me and I thanked him. He gave me a quick nod, walked over to the bench, and started a conversation with one of the other coaches. I don't think I really saw the card until I eventually wandered to my seat for the evening. I was in awe! Looking back on it, the only thing I really wish is that I had a camera with me. I searched and searched for a picture of him wearing the Bulls uni, but came up empty. I've gotten a bunch of in person autos at the ballpark, but this is the best experience I've ever had while autograph hunting.

August 20, 2015

Another Set Completed

While I was away, a PWE arrived from Jedi Jeff of 2x3 Heroes. He did some damage to my Topps Series 2 set Ned's by helping me cross off an additional 8 base cards. I might have even cracked into only needing double digits to finish that one. I guess that's not bad considering I only picked up two blasters, a few hanging boxes, and a random loose pack or two. Jeff also included some other cards, including this one:

This completed my series two First Pitch set! I know many of you have commented about not caring for this guy, but he was my second favorite series two celeb. Fluffy, Gabriel Iglesias, easily took the top spot. He's a funny guy if you haven't seen him.

I love the Cecil Fielder shot and getting a few more of these Cooperstown cards is making me consider  picking up one of the clearance blasters that are sitting on my local Target's shelf. I probably won't anytime soon since there are newer products that I want to bust(Topps Chrome anyone?). If they're still sitting on the shelf once I've gotten my fill of the new products, I might have to take a shot.

Thanks for helping fill some holes in my sets Jeff. I'll be sure to have some ChiSox packed up and sent your way in the near future!

August 19, 2015

Sting Teams With...Ric Flair? - A Single Card Post

Welcome to another in a series of single card posts. For this installment, we delve back into the world of professional wrestling. If you followed the NWA/WCW in the late '80's or early '90's, you no doubt remember some of the classic championship matches between Sting and 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair. That feud spawned several classic matches that I still love to watch to this day. What you may not remember though is that these two briefly joined forces. What? Here's the proof:

This card highlights the time when Sting was briefly a member of The Four Horsemen. I really love the career spanning, retail only Sting tribute set that has been included across several WWE products so far this year. When all is said and done, it will consist of 40 cards(10 each from 4 different products). I am fairly certain that this might be the first wrestling set(or insert set) that I try incomplete. Man, for a while there I was doing a pretty good job of minimizing the scope of my collecting habits. Oh well, I guess that's out the window! Thanks for reading!

August 18, 2015

A Nostalgia-Filled PWE

I recently received another great PWE from Jeff at Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum. He managed to remind me of cards and a few players that I hadn't though about in years.

Starting with these, Jeff hit on a modern-day set need, a retail-exclusive All-Star insert(kinda like they did back in the day), and that Upper Deck SP from Mr. Baseball. When I was younger and The Big Hurt was a huge star, I remember seeing this card in the monthly publications and wishing that it would fall out of the next pack I opened. Of course, I didn't know that the odds were against me, and I never did unwrap a copy of it. I was never a huge fan of the movie, I think it was always about wishful thinking for me...just something about seeing Frank in the Yankee pinstripes.

These Broncos of old made me think of the late 1990's when they won back to back Super Bowl titles. Not only did the players make me yearn for glory days gone by, but the designs reminded me of a (slightly)less complicated time in our hobby.

While it is nice to have more TD, seeing the Jason Elam reminded of the time he booted an NFL record tying 63-yard FG. Steve Atwater was a throwback type player in his heyday, one of my favorite Broncos that I had the good fortune to see play.

This great PWE didn't only remind me of the past. It contained only my second card of a guy who looks to be a big part of the present and future. Much like Juwan Thompson(who I posted about recently), C.J. Anderson was hugely productive in the absence of injured fellow RB's Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. 

Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane, Jeff. As always, I'm looking forward to our next trade.

August 17, 2015

Topps Game: 1971 Football Edition - A Single Card Post

As has been the case recently, I've decided to break up some of my longer posts(and keep up with the continuity of posting regularly) by writing some short, single card posts to mix it up a bit.

Yet another recent Listia win, this is a 1971 Topps Game Football OJ Simpson. I know, it's OJ and because if the allegations against him, this card will be forever tainted, but it is another great vintage oddball card. I could possibly see myself chasing this set at some point. After all, I am getting ever so close to completing the 1968 Topps Game set. You may or may not recall that my first few cards from that set came to me the same way this OJ did, from Listia wins. Who knows, this set may have what it takes to be the first football set to land on my set building list.

August 16, 2015

The Birth of Austin 3:16 - A Single Card Post

Digging out has been quite the process. I've still got a ton of stuff to scan and write about, but in the interests of being able to break up the longer, scan-heavy posts I've been doing some single card posts. Darn if their 'view' numbers aren't better than most of what I've written around here. Maybe I should consider changing this blog's format to single card posts only...

Anyway, I'm not really sure why, but I've been on a wrestling kick lately. Not modern day 'sports entertainment', but more 'classic' stuff. So, today I share this, yet another recent Listia win.

'Stone Cold' Steve Austin was one of my absolute favorite wrestlers of all time. He was the face of the WWF(back then it was not WWE) Attitude Era. This card highlights the moment two of his biggest catch phrases were born. If you listen close to the video of the promo he cut after beating Jake 'the Snake' Roberts in the King of the Ring final, you should hear the first mention of Austin 3:16 and that's the bottom line... He was gifted on the mic and you could feel the emotion in his promos. Not to mention, he provided some hilarious moments during his feud with Vince McMahon. Check out that video below. Thanks for reading!

August 15, 2015

A Legendary Trade Package

One of the many trade packages that was waiting in my mailbox when I returned home was yet another incredible padded envelope from Shoebox Legends author, Shane. In my short time being a part of this great community, Shane has become my most prolific trading partner to date. Each trade has included some really great new additions for my collection, and this one was no exception. In fact, it may top all that came before it.

Here are three great base card additions. The United We Stand subset was a really nice addition by Topps in the wake of the attacks on 9/11. I had a few of these, but this Clemens is new to me. The shiny Mussina is only my second or third card from the Pristine brand. I can't say much for the design elements, but it is chrome-y and shiny so it's 'OK' in my book. Have I mentioned how much I like Bernie Williams cards before?

This is my second card from the Sunoco Dream Team set. It's ironic that the first one I encountered was during my first trip to Baseball 17 in Myrtle Beach and this one arrived in my mailbox during the trip when I made my second visit to that shop. From here, Shane launched into another gear.

My first relic of Gardy! It may be a plain gray swatch, but I have been thinking of picking up a game used card of the first time All-Star, and now I have one.

Mo!!! The GQ design is a little lacking, but I agree with everyone else that thinks the framed relics are great. I've though that since the early 2000's when they first put framed relics in the Topps 206 set(s).

I love the Golden Moments insert design. The jersey swatch fits nicely into the design, and I am happy to have this Zimmermann.

Some of you may remember seeing these in one of Shane's posts a while back. I commented that they were great cards simply because I am a huge soccer fan and these are two of the greatest players to suit up for he US National Team. Shortly after commenting, Shane emailed me and told me he was going to include these in the next package he sent. I am not a fan of the Goodwin Champions sets, but 
I am exceptionally happy to have these in my collection.

So, five relics and some other great cards would have been plenty enough to make this a really great trade package. However, Shane really outdid himself by sending the following:

Again, I saw this one on Shane's blog. At the time he wasn't sure if he was going to keep it or send it to eBay. I commented that I'd be interested in knowing if he decided to put it up for auction. Once again, Shane emailed and told me he would be willing to trade(or sell) it to me. Here it is. A black foil parallel of Soler's RC auto. It's serial numbered 3/50.

Many thanks once again, Shane! It's always great exchanging some cardboard with you.

August 14, 2015

A Second Visit to My Not-So-Local Card Shop

A few months ago, my family and I were spending a week in Myrtle Beach and I found a pretty decent card shop on a rainy day. I didn't have much time to browse it, so I knew it would be on my agenda when we went back recently for another week. During my last trip to Baseball 17, I spent my limited time flipping through dollar boxes and glancing at the cards in the showcases. This time around, I knew that I wanted to spend a good bit of time checking out the quarter boxes.

I'll start off with vintage minis and some Hostess goodness. I only had a few of these 1975 Topps minis before flipping through those boxes so I figured for a combined fifty cents, I couldn't leave these behind. The Hostess Reuschel has some white spots and is pretty badly miscut, but it is a vintage Hostess card for only a quarter, so into the stack it went.

You know if I was gonna pick up the Reuschel in that condition that I was thrilled to see this Garvey looking as good as it does. It still has most of the dotted line and is pretty clean otherwise. From The snacks of Hostess, I'll go back to breakfast. How could I possibly leave this Kellogg's card of Cookie Rojas in a quarter box? Not only is the guy's name 'Cookie', but check out those specs! To top all, this one is crack free.

I was pleasantly surprised to find some singles from a set I've been actively working on and one that will soon be added to my needs list. In some ways, I've been working on the 2002 Topps Post set since it was available in cereal boxes 13 years ago. I vividly remember going up and down the cereal aisle trying to find boxes that had the baseball card promotion on them. I would eat one box as quick as I could so that I could go back to the store and grab another box or two. All told, I was able to cross off five more cards(though I only scanned 4) from my Wantlist on this set. I was happy to find a couple of the 1992 Fleer Performer series from Citgo/7-11. I was unaware of this set before unearthing a few lots of them on Listia. These two additions put me at set-half-done. Therefore, I'll be updating my set needs list by adding this one in the near future.

I had to pick up this 1992 UD Denny's hologram, if for not her reason than nostalgia. I remember when holograms were the peak of cardboard technology. I've wanted that Mattingly Studio Heritage Series for a while now, so I was thrilled to dig this copy out and put it in my stack. Yes, that is a football card. It's the only one I rescued from those boxes. Why? Well, that shows none other than Deion Sanders playing baseball for Florida State.

I love this El Duque 'aces' card. This Pineda 'Rated Rookie' was a total surprise to me. The posed shot does a good job hiding that would have been a lack of logos. That A&G Johnny Damon card was an awesome find. It's only the second card I have that highlights his incredible two stolen base on one pitch play in he 2009 World Sereis against the Phillies. Good stuff.

I've had really good luck finding great deals on some of the top Japanese baseball players in this shop. That streak continued during this second trip. That is an E-motion insert from Nomo's rookie year. I remember that card being incredibly hard to find in the midst of Nomo-mania. The Playball is one of the few Matsui RC's that I own. I am slowly building my collection of National Trading Card Day issues and was quite happy to see this Matsui from 2004.

I'm going to end with three really interesting oddball issue that I really had no idea existed. This Cal Ripken Movie Gallery coupon-card is great. Like the remaining two cards, there was absolutely no way that I was going to leave something like this behind. I like the 'Cal Ripken' logo on the back.

Next up is this incredible 'What If' card. Best was one of the top Minor League Baseball card companies in the late '90's/early 2000's. I didn't realize this promo existed. It's pretty awesome to see one of the most talented pitchers of that time frame in an 'alternate reality' card. It's even better that the team he is shown on is the Orlando Rays. Kerry Wood certainly had the potential to be one of the best pitcher's of all time if injuries hadn't derailed his promising career.

Last up is another promo card. This time, it's from a company that I had never heard of and it shows a great pic of Juan Marichal signing some autographs for the fans. For both this card and the Wood, they are numbered out of 5. I think I'm going to have to see if I can track down a few of the other promo cards from these respective sets because these have got me curious.

This was definitely a fun and productive trip to the card shop. I'm glad that I found this place to help me make the most of another rainy day at the beach. Man, I need to find a local shop that's this good. Thanks for reading.