A huge box from the Pacific Northwest

For about a month we were all moved in to our new house. Then school started and the POD we shipped across the country with all the stuff that’s been eating up room at our parents’ houses for the past couple decades arrived and I’ve been swamped sorting and getting up to speed in the new routine.

All of which means I’ve been behind a bit in the photography and in the keeping on top of trade posts. And I’m way behind in museum writeups from last summer as well. I will get to all of those soon enough but first the trade posts since I like to acknowledge those as soon as I possibly can.

Last week I got a box from Tim Jenkins. I was expecting a box. I was not expecting this large of one. Tim had said he was sending a bunch of cards—most of would be earmarked for the boys—but I was woefully unprepared for what constituted a bunch. I think Tim’s card room must have exploded and is trying to establish beachheads in other collections around the country.

Anyway I’ll start at the top and work down.

Right on top of the box when I opened it was a big padded envelope which I almost tossed as packaging but was optimistic smart enough to look inside just in case. Inside a was hiding a large Stanford pennant. It’s one of the old-style floppy felt ones. Not sure where I’ll hang it up yet but there’s defintely a place for it in the house somewhere.

Under that were a pair of kids shirseys which look like they were stadium giveaways at some point or another. These are fun—especially on the East Coast where all of us West Coast fans have to band together for support since none of our teams get covered out here.

It was especially nice to get the King Felix jersey in time for his last game with the Mariners. My eldest briefly considered wearing it that day too.

There was also a large toploader filled with a selection of oversized stuff. Two 8×10s, one from a 1990 photo pack, the other a 1997 Donruss Studio Portrait. The 1990 Mitchell is a lot of fun. I have the 1989 pack of four—Kevin Mitchell, Will Clark, Robby Thompson,* and Rick Reuschel—but never got any others. It’s great to see that other years exist and to add them to the collection.

*Robby signed his in Philadelphia.

The Bonds portrait meanwhile functions as a proper card and makes me wonder were that limit is of when these things stop counting as cards. In many ways these 8×10s feel too large. In many other ways they function exactly as the original trading cards functioned where they’re recognizable images that are intended to be traded or pasted into albums.

Moving into the non-card realm is a photograph of Willie Mays at the 1956 Hall of Fame Game. This is a cool image capturing the grace of Mays’s follow-through as well as the intimate setting of the game. This is no MLB stadium but is instead a basic grandstand without even a proper dugout.

It’s also an interesting comparison with the previous two cards. Where those two feel like baseball cards, this photo does not. And it’s not the card stock part but rather the nature of the image itself. It’s not a Baseball Card™ image even though it would work fine in Stadium Club or a 1970s Calbee set.

Anyway to another oversize item, this time an 5½×8½ card of Barry Zito from the Hutch Awards. I gather that Tim attends these each year. Looks like a very nice cause and the list of honorees includes a number of good guys. This is kind of an awful size for collecting since it’s too small for a single-pocket page and too large for two-pockets but it’s still a nice piece.

Tim also included a card from this year’s awards since Stephen Piscotty is part of my Stanford collection.Thankfully the Piscotty card is the regular-size of 2½×3½ inches although the design feels like it’s intended to be a bit larger. It’s a great addition to the Stanford Album though. I’ll take whatever oddballs I can find for that.

Before we get to the cards proper, there’s a bit of assorted ephemera to get through. The postcard looks like it’s from the early 1960s (still about the stadium being new plus there’s no hint of expansion, artificial turf, or the 49ers) and is very cool. I’m a sucker for old postcards but I like them to be of places I not only know but have strong ties to. Candlestick definitely fits that bill.

The pocket schedules are from the 1990s plus 2007. I especially like the 1997 one because it shows the view I had from my seats in Upper Reserve Section  8. There’s a reason I’v been taking my kids to games from this same viewpoint.

The last item here is an oversize Kevin Frandsen card of unknown origin. Tim’s sent me a couple others of these but they were freebies from an Ebay seller so none of us has any idea where they came from.

Last bit of ephemera are a handful of pins and buttons. Perry and McCovey are from Chevon stations in the early 1990s. I have a few of them as well. Clark Trillo and Davis are Fun Food Buttons from 1984/85 and are a cool little release that’s fun to have even while I wonder how to store them.

I love the 1989 Division Champion button. I don’t remember seeing these but the thing about winning the pennant is that no one cares about winning the division. I have a few 1989 World Series pins but none of them are the A’s World Champion ones. I’m just glad that the 2002 World Series pin doesn’t commemorate the Angels the same way. That loss still hurts despite the success that arrived eight years later.

To the cards, starting off with the Pilots. Because of course. I’m slowly collecting these because of both the single year thing and Ball Four. Tim meanwhile is the expert on all things Pilots on Twitter so having a few Pilots in the package is sort of obligatory.

And finally to the cards proper, starting off with a bunch of well-loved vintage Giants which Tim pulled out of packs 50 years ago. Most of these will make their way into my kids’ collections. I’ve already started them off with their first batch.

It amazes me that they have cards which are almost 60 years old. I wasn’t even collecting cards at my youngest’s age and at my eldest’s age my oldest card was from 1979. This worked back to 1972 and eventually, 1960 so they’re way way way ahead of me in this department. At least they’re properly thankful about it and have shown me their oldest cards a couple times (a day) since I gave it them their stacks.*

*At the same time they’re now talking about how they don’t have any “real” New York Giants cards and yeah I had to remind them that I didn’t get my first New York Giants card until I was 39 years old.

Some more well-loved vintage which shows off how the 1969 Giants cards were not too awful given the photography shenanigans of the 1969 set. Only Monbouquette is a “typical” 1969 card. The rest, even if from older photo sessions, look pretty nice.

I snagged the Bolin for my own collection since I only have the white-letter version but the rest of these are marked for delivery to the boys.

Continuing into the 70s with the well-loved vintage and two great Tito Fuentes cards. My eldest wants a Tito headband card but I suspect he’ll like these ones too. Both boys really like the 1972 design because it’s so colorful. I remember being the same when I was their age.

More 1970s for their collections. The Marichal isn’t technically a Giants card but I’m going to slide it into my album anyway. The rest of the 1974s are pretty great. The Maddox is a big hit and they appreciate how classic this design looks.

Flashing forward 15 years to the first half of the 1990s. Most of these I have. Most of them the boys do not. But the Minor League cards are fun and a decent number of the Leafs were cards I never snagged too.

More 1990s. Metal Universe is a trip but I’m kind of liking these ones with their Bay Area landscapes. The boys aren’t as impressed with the uncoated Fleer cards as I am though.

To the early 2000s cards—many of which I didn’t have. So many sets, so hard to keep on top of all if them. I can’t imagine what it was like at the time. Now at least 15 years later I can at least pick and choose what I like and do research about what I want to pursue.

So like 2003 Fleer I dig not only because it’s nice to see the 1963 design get used in a full-size set but also because Fleer updated the position icon so it’s not merely a copy.

And finally a few more-recent Giants cards. Not much to say about these except that that Playoff Prestige Santiago card doesn’t have any obvious information saying it was manufactured by Donruss and that kind of weirded me out.

Also I feel like the Turkey Red cards are something Topps kept trying to make a thing and they never took off. It’s interesting to me how some of the retro looks have become hugely popular and others just have not.

Moving on to some odds and ends. Eight 7-Eleven coins from both the East and Central regions. Very much my jam. I only have the Atlee Hammaker from this year too so these are very much appreciated.

The DiMaggio Upper Deck insert is from the 2000s but it reminds me of the ones from my youth. I always enjoy DIY traded cards like this one of Jesus Alou and I love being that have another Free Agent Draft playing card.

Three Stanford guys for the album. I don’t explicitly collect Woods but he’ll always have a place in the album. I kind of love the Lonborg with its canted horizon that places him upright in the frame. And the McCarty Pacific is one of my favorite Pacific designs in that it just doesn’t look like any other cards that have been made.

At the bottom of the box were a bunch of boxes of cards. One held assorted commons from various sets. A few were of extremely fun kid-appropriate sets like Pacific Legends, Panini Cooperstown, and Panini Golden Age which feature players from the past and have backs with wonderful short biographies.

The stacks of 1990 Fleer and 1991 Donruss which yielded a couple cards for my set builds. The Score oddballs are cards I never encountered as a child. And there was a decent stack of 1989 Topps Traded.

Another box held a 60-percent complete 1991 Leaf set. It was even collated. I’m not sure how I’m going to divide this up. Maybe it’ll become a project for the both of them to work on. I liked 1990 Leaf. I also like 1992 Leaf. This one’s always a bit of an afterthought. I kind of like the photo-corners look but I can see why it’s not to everyone’s taste.

the last box held a ton of 2004 Total. Uncollated. I still haven’t sorted this aside from pulling out Stanford guys for my collection and guys who might be coaches in the Eastern League (Paul Abbott and Micheal Tejera) next season.

I also sorted out the inserts, parallels, Hall of Famers, and Giants to make dividing these up a bit easier. This sets’s way to huge to collect and has way too many obscure players to just divide things up thoughtlessly. At least with stars and shiny stuff the kids should be somewhat happy with the fairness.

Whew. That was a lot of stuff. Thanks Tim! It already looks like it will be generating many happy days for the kids over the next months.

Tim Jenkins Mailday

In a similar vein to Mark Hoyle, Tim Jenkins is another collector from the generation before me who helpfully offered to send me some 1978 duplicates for my set build. Tim’s a prolific blogger over at SABR, is extremely helpful in terms of just being aware of sets and weird card-related items, and his personal collection is intimidatingly impressive.

Tim’s mailday was indeed 1978-focused. Lou Piniella needs a better-fitting cap. I like that Fregosi card even if the two-tone pinstripes on the 1970s Pirates uniforms weird me out. In any case they’re not as bad as those White Sox uniforms with the floppy collars, circus lettering on the jerseys, and futuristic lettering on the caps.

I also just noticed that Larry Hisle is missing the stitches on his ball. As a Rick Reuschel fan it always amuses me to come across a card of his brother. And the Elias Sosa card is a nice shot of Candlestick.

Tim’s mailday resulted in my first two complete pages too. It’s always fun to turn the corner on a set project and reach the point where any new acquisitions have a decent chance of completing a page.

The fist page got completed by Chris Knapp and is pretty pedestrian. A nice spring training shot of Dave May. A nice Candlestick shot of Jerry Turner. Larry Milbourne’s photo features the 1977 Mariners first-year road jerseys which got changed in 1978. Rick Dempsey is probably the best card here and I like how it looks like he’s about to swing the bat at his position.

The second page—completed by Buzz Capra—is mainly notable for the Rod Carew card. The position-indicator baseball is so generic that it’s the reason why for a long time, I found the 1978 set to be boring. The cards with the All Star shield show how awesome the rest of the design is and as I’ve looked at the set more and more I’ve found myself just appreciating other aspects of the design as well—in particular, the photography is frequently nice and the custom lettering is very well done.

Tim also sent a bunch of 1986 Topps cards. This was a set from which I accumulated a number of cards when I was a kid and have also decided to try and build. It’s one of Topps’s most-distinct designs and very much reminds me of my first year in the hobby in 1987 when packs of 1986 were still readily available.*

*One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in the current incarnation of the hobby is how products are all designed to sell out in a few weeks rather than be ever-present on shelves.

Robin Yount and Keith Hernandez are big names here. I also appreciate the Hernandez Record Breaker with his helmet levitating off his head. The most interesting card to me though is the Valenzuela Turn Back the Clock card since it features a 1981 Topps card that never existed. His flagship card was a multi-player rookie card and his Traded card featured a different pose.

Tim threw in some additional unexpected bonus items as well. There was a handful of well-loved vintage Topps. 1963 is a set I really like in its peak-60s nature. 1967 is classic. The 1968 Topps game is always fun. And 1972 In Actions are a fun reminder of how far we’ve come with sports and baseball card photography.

A bunch of more-recent oddballs and things. I always had a soft spot for those oversized 1989 Bowmans even though the Bowman logo is goofy and the red border a bit much. But I like the big photo and having just the signature without ay player name.* I’m just trying to remember if the printing always looked like it had been left out in the sun a tad too long.

*As someone who generally dislikes signatures on the fronts of cards this is one of the few sets which I like in spite of myself.

The 1981 Drake’s Jack Clark is one I do not have. Being a West Coast kid I never encountered Drake’s Cakes. Heck, when Wreck-it Ralph made a Devil Dogs joke I just thought that was something they’d made up. The Ted Williams sets are likewise something I never encountered as a kid. I love the McCovey Post food-issue card (bring back food issues!) and the Panini Cooperstown cards are a lot of fun. Yes, Cepeda is technically a Cardinal on the checklist but he’ll always be a Giant to me.

Saving the best for last. The two black and white cards are something about which Tim knows nothing. This does not happen.* It’s kind of cool that such a thing can still happen nowadays since everything appears to be documented online now. That one of those cards is Dan Ortmeier suggests that these have to be from 2005–2008** but other than that I’ve been able to turn up nothing online.

*We’re just talking about cards here folks.

**I’m making the assumption that no one would make an Ortmeier card unless he was currently playing for the team.

Which brings us to the Alan Gallagher. At first glance this looks like another well-loved vintage card. That “200” though means that this is no mere baseball card but is instead a part of Tim’s childhood game of Free Agent Draft. I loved reading about the creativity in rolling his own board game like this and I’m quite flattered to be entrusted with part of Tim’s childhood. It’s one thing to give away cards you pulled from packs way back then. It’s quite another to dispose of something you made.

Chain letter

A cautionary tale about what can happen if you start trading cards with unsavory characters you’ve met on the internet…

One week later…

Serves me right for making the suggestion. Although it is appropriate to send him to Princeton. I’ll have to find someone in Texas to mail this to next.

Oh, and Mark also sent me a bunch of 1979 Topps Giants cards. I didn’t photograph those since I suspect they were mainly an excuse to send me this ghastly piece of cardboard. But old Giants cards are always welcome!