Surprise mailday from Bru

It’s always fun to check the mail and find a surprise bubble mailer. Last weekend one such mailer arrived from Marc (@marcbrubaker) and it was stuffed with all kinds of Giants goodness.

First off. Junk wax! Especially Fleer. Especially 1991 Fleer which I’m sure Marc was glad to clear out of his house. Whatever ones of these I already have will go into piles for my kids. They’ve got their own binders for cards now and each of them has a section for just Giants cards as well.

It warms my heart to see that they’ve chosen to do this. I certainly didn’t push it on them although it’s clear they‘re following my lead. At the same time, it’s also kind of heartbreaking that it’s much easier for them to assemble pages of the junk wax guys I followed than it is for them to acquire pages of current players.

Of special note in this batch. Atlee! A great Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell card that I’m a bit sad to see labeled as “The Dynamic Duo” instead of “The Pacific Sock Exchange,”* And a fun Rod Beck card.

*Note to myself, see if I can find the Pacific Sock Exchange poster that we used to have.

It seems weird to cut off “more recent needs” at 1994 but that’a an accurate reflection of how my collecting just stopped on August 12 that year. I found a couple boxes of unpaged 1994 cards last summer* and yeah I gave up on everything after the strike.

*I used to accumulate everything in boxes and then binder and page everything at the end of the year once I knew I’d stop buying packs.

It’s also nice to see so many members of the World Series teams in this batch. I wasn’t collecting cards those years so I’m only now catching up on cards of all those guys.

Topps Big should technically be part of the previous photo discussion but either way it deserves special mention. 1988 and 1989 in particular are two of my favorite sets and I love how they update the classic 1956 design to a peak 1980s/90s look.

The Cecil Fielder Iooss collection card meanwhile fills in a hole in that subset. As a photography guy I’m especially interested in cards which as as much about the photographer as the player depicted. The Iooss subset in particular is a great collection of photos by one of the giants in the profession and I’m happy to add another to my collection.

Marc also included a bunch of Stanford guys.* The Stadium Club Al Osuna card is part of a set I’ve never even seen before so that’s very cool. And I had completely forgotten all about Pete Stanicek so I didn’t have any cards of him in my Stanford binder.

*Marc’s an Astros collector so I suspect that most of these are duplicates from his main collection.

I had marked him as complete when I first put this project together because I have his 1988 and 1989 Topps cards in my childhood sets which still reside at my parents’ house. In other instances like this I’ve tried to get a non-Topps card to hold his place in the Stanford binder so I’m very glad Marc was able to fix my small mistake.

The last four cards in the envelope were initially a mystery to me. Marc suggested that I could figure out what the theme is by studying them and I believe the answer is Mexican-born players who first played in the Liga Mexicana before signing with a Major League team. Due to my interest in Spanish-language cards* I can see how this would be an extension of that interest—especially as it relates to cards issued for the Liga Mexicana or any of the other baseball leagues in Latin Ameerica.

*I’ve been writing a series of posts on SABR about Spanish-language cards released in the United States. The first post is an introduction and should have pingbacks in the comments to my subsequent posts on the site. Or you can just search for “barajitas.”

Thankfully for my wallet, my interests so far lie only with cards issued in the United States unless there’s something distinctly interesting about the foreign cards. The Venezuelan Topps cards with their translated versions of the flagship Topps designs are one such case—as are, to a certain extent, the dual-language O-Pee-Chee releases. The 1970s Calbee cards fit my photography interests. 1971 O-Pee-Chee meanwhile is especially noteworthy for the design change on the backs.

Regarding player-origen cards. I haven’t gone down that rabbit hole yet either. I have to admit that I have considered doing cards for players from Hawai‘i. And I’ve also been tempted to do an Asian-American project. But both of those are just ideas that have occurred to me and are not even close to being proper projects at this time.

But yes. Lots of fun stuff to look through and a wonderful way to recover from a week of snow days. Thanks Marc!

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

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