Just in time for the Winter

Being a Giants fan in New Jersey is kind of tough. Games start at 10pm and I frequently have to go to bed before they finish. Getting to games in New York or Philadelphia takes a ton of planning and I’d be a guest in someone else’s ballpark. Yes we vacation in California each summer but it was a major effort to get to one game.

One of the best parts of Baseball Card Twitter is seeing how local fans take care of fans in different parts of the country. It’s a very generous community and I’ve just enjoyed watching the redistribution of stuff as the long-distance fans invariably enjoy the regional things in ways that locals don’t. A cheap giveaway or promotion indicates a local being in the right place at the right time but becomes a complete “holy cow where’d you find THAT” item on the other side of the country.

My turn to benefit from the community’s generosity came up a couple weeks ago when I got a message from TheKosh asking if I’d gotten to any of the giveaways at AT&T Park this season. He’s a Giants and 49ers fan and collector from Fresno and we frequently get copied into threads together whenever someone finds something cool with a Giants logo or player on it. When I said I’d missed out on everything he asked for my address and told me to watch my mail in a few days.

Sure enough, a box arrived the same day as Marc’s bubble mailer. Inside was, to this stalwart Candlestick Fan, the most Giants of Giants Stadium Giveaways. You know you grew up going to Giants games when nothing goes together better than baseball and a fleece blanket.

It’s awesome. My kids are going to fight over this so much. I love all the logos including the prominently-placed Croix button although all those anniversary logos make me realize that when I was a kid just going to my first games, the Giants move from New York was closer in time than the current season is.

The only thing missing is a package of cold fog. But there will be plenty of cold days  in a few months and we might just have to wrap ourselves up in this and watch some DVDs of old games to help us get through winter.

Instead of cold fog, I found a couple completely-unexpected extras in the box. The first is a 1991 Upper Deck Gaylord Perry card which falls into the category of inserts I never encountered as a kid. TheKosh happened to be packing this on Perry’s birthday so he figured he’d toss in bonus of a younger Perry in a photo which is more flattering than any of the photos Topps selected in the 1960s.

The other item was this wonderful Tom Haller cut autograph which, aside from representing one of the underrated players of the 1960s, is the first graded card I’ve ever handled. The slab itself is a little beat up but the card looks nice and I’m happy that the cut appears to be from an index card instead of something interesting like a letter or photo.* It’s also interesting to me that there’s nothing on the slab actually grading the card or the signature. I guess if it’s slabbed it’s authentic?

*I both hate it and am super-sad when cancelled checks, letters, photos, etc. get chopped up and turned into cut autographs.

To tell the truth I still don’t quite get the idea of grading. I accept it as a way of authenticating old cards or confirming signatures—especially when it comes to buying. But even on something like this it doesn’t seem necessary. The most interesting thing to me about this is that the Beckett plaque has more information about Haller than the back of the card does. The card says essentially “this is authentic.” The Slab says “3-time All Star. Died 2004.”

Anyway. Super. Cool. And a huge thank you for the package. If TheKosh changes his mind about that Case’s Pork Roll Trenton Thunder BBQ Apron it’s all his.

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 njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

7 thoughts on “Just in time for the Winter”

  1. Even as an A’s fan, I can appreciate that blanket. Great design. Love the collage of logos. Don’t know much about Haller, but I enjoy picking up a slabbed card here and there. One of my favorite things to collect are rookie cards that have been signed and slabbed.

  2. Very cool blanket, as a fairly new midwestern I miss easy access to stadium give away stuff. Picked up a McCovey bobble head for this year and that’s it. Might have to scour eBay to see if there is one that won’t kill me with shipping.

    1. Oh damn this comment got buried in my spam for some reason. I’ve rescued it now. FWIW, (aside from the baseball cards) I think the SGA to get for this season is the Crab scarf.

  3. If you want to split hairs, the card isn’t graded, just encased. I believe Leaf worked out a deal with Beckett Grading to encase them like that during the production process, and then packed out those cards already slabbed in the box. So some high-rolling breaker pulled that card from a box of 2012 Leaf History of Baseball, already in the case. Sometimes Leaf (perhaps Panini too?) does weird stuff like that. I guess it appeals to some collectors to have an added layer of certification/authentication.

    1. Definitely split hairs with me on those things. I’m so out of my realm here that it’s good to be aware of the differences. And that makes a ton of sense. Still seems a bit weird for someone like Haller but I understand better now in how the encasing label is part if the intended product.

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