First up, an unopened retail(I think Dollar Tree) 2014 MLS pack. Inexplicably, this is the first MLS pack of any vintage that I've ever cracked. Truth be told, it's probably because I enjoy most varieties of International footy way better than MLS matches. One of these days I have to give the homegrown league more of a fair shake.
Here they are, my first ever MLS cards. I dig the design of these. As for the players, I was a touch underwhelmed since I didn't recognize any of these guys except the vague recollection of Will Johnson on Canada's National Team. I did however pull a Seattle Sounders player which is significant because they are probably my favorite MLS club(mostly because Clint Dempsey is on he roster). Good stuff. If I could find these packs at my local retail establishment, I'd pick up a few more for sure. Maybe I'll finally break down and snag a blaster or hobby box one of these days. Moving right along...
The envelope was packed, but let's get right to the heavy hitters. I happened to unwrap quite a bit of ink in this particular bubble mailer. Floro is currently a Durham Bulls guy in his second go 'round at the Triple-A level. I think they're trying to reinvent him. Most of last season he was a starter, but this year he's been strictly out of the 'pen. I'm pretty sure it's because of the embarrassment of riches the Rays have in the starting pitching category and the multiple guys waiting in line for a turn to crack the big league rotation(ahem...Blake Snell anyone?). It's been said by others before, but these Inception autos are just plain beautiful.
...and there's a Yankee! I'm no Hensley super collector, as evidenced by the fact that this is only like my 6th or 7th card of him and my first auto, but I sure am pulling for him to fully recover from his second Tommy John surgery in as many years. If there's any silver lining for him, it's that he has youth on his side. He's just 21, but losing the past two seasons of development may be too much to overcome. Either way, this is a sweet looking sig!
Hey, two more Yankee(former Yankee) prospect autos! Joseph is currently in the Baltimore system at Double-A Bowie and Zink last pitched in the Yanks' organization in 2009 and apparently finished his career in the Independent Frontier League back in 2011. I love the sparkly, shiny Gardy! The three across the bottom are throwbacks. When I was a kid, watching some really bad Yankee teams, Hensley 'Bam Bam' Meulens was one of my favorite players on the squad. I really wish he could have carved out a better career for himself. Oscar Gamble is just Oscar Gamble. 'Nuff said, even if he's not sporting the 'fro here. back to '93 Ultra for a Bob Wickman RC. I liked him too, and of course, he became quite a decent closer after his time in Pinstripes was over. He's still the holder of the Indians' career saves record, was a two time All-Star, and the AL saves leader in 2005. Oh well, at least the Yankees won the '96 WS with Wetteland as the closer and then decided to use some guy named Rivera in that role. I think that turned out pretty well for them. Anyway, I threw in some base cards, so that must be the end of the highlights from this particular trade package, right? WRONG! There was one more heavy hitter lurking within:
YIKES!!! This is my first Sweet Spot Signatures card. I must say that I didn't really see what all the fuss was about before I held this in my hand. I had seen these around, read a lot about them, and just didn't get it. For me, I guess I just had to hold it and stare for a few minutes to let it sink in. This is an awesome card! Yes, the signature leaves a bit to be desired, but this is from a time in Crawford's career when he was quite the commodity. He couldn't be bothered to actually sign his entire name! Joking aside, I dig everything about this card. It's super thick to accommodate the giant piece of leather along with the stitches, it's got a 'sweet spot' auto like the name implies, and it pictures a guy hat I really enjoyed watching while he was in Durham. So, when I look at this incredible specimen of cardboard awesomeness, I'll choose to remember his short, but incredible time spent in Durham back in 2002. Well, that wraps up another great trade package from Mr. Shoebox Legends. Thanks Shane! I've got some BoSox almost ready to be packaged up and sent your way. Thanks for reading.