He started it! I mean, at least, I think so. I've been trading with Matt of Bob Walk the Plank for more than three years now, and at some point during that partnership one of us raised the stakes to the point that each time we send out a package we do our best to wow each other, often with high-end stuff. Since this is my blog I'm going to say that Matt fired the first shot. I may not be able to pinpoint the exact moment he ramped things up, but I have lots of examples:
- August, 2014: he sends me autographs of Miguel Cabrera and Bill Freehan
- January, 2015: another Miggy auto plus a sweet Nick Castellanos
- June, 2015: two even higher-end Castellanos autos, a Sweet Spot signature of Alan Trammell, and a low-numbered Max Scherzer signature, among others
- September, 2015: sick patches of Prince Fielder and Scherzer, and two Al Kaline autographs
- December, 2015: another high-end Castellanos autograph and a third Kaline autograph, this one numbered to just 49
- March, 2016: another Kaline autograph, plus a Ty freakin' Cobb bat relic
- December, 2016: a Justin Verlander quad jersey plus an autograph of the Tigers ace
With amazing content like that, what could I do but respond in kind? It has been and continues to be a blast trading with Matt, especially thanks to this high-end back-and-forth that fortunately hasn't resulted in bombings on either side.
So let's look at the latest heavy hitters the Mountaineer Man sent my way last month!:
Austin Jackson 2016 Panini National Treasures Game Dated Material Signatures jersey auto (#98/99)
This beauty represents the Tigers portion of the envelope, and it may just be my best Austin Jackson in that bunch yet! I do have a Triple Threads jersey/auto as well, but I think the game-datedness noses this one ahead. I looked up the box score of that June 30, 2012 game against Tampa and confirmed the back's mention of AJax's 8th inning, two-out, three-run shot that ended up being the difference in the Tigers' 6-2 victory that day. Also of note in the box score, the only Detroit participants still left on the 2017 roster are Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila.
As for the card itself, it's another fun example of a simple Panini design I like that isn't hurt by the lack of logos.
Barry Larkin 2015 Topps Five Star Golden Graphs auto (#19/50)
I'm happy to say that this amazing Barry Larkin autograph isn't the default winner of the package, if you can believe it; reserve your judgment until you see the other two cards! Five Star was pretty much a forgettable product as far as I'm concerned, but the exception would be this beautiful signature set featuring a bold gold auto on a striking black background, plus a nice photo. Larkin seals the deal with his very cool John Hancock on a huge addition to my collection. It represents my fifth Larkin autograph and 20th hit overall, giving me a nice pair of milestones to celebrate! Seriously, Larkin stuff often goes for big bucks so it doesn't get much more high-end for me than a fantastic inclusion like this.
George Sisler 2003 Topps Gallery HOF ARTifact Relics bat
George Sisler 2016 Panini Flawless Teammates Triple Relics Sapphire bat-jersey-bat (with Goslin and Rice) (#03/15)
And this pair out of f$@kin' nowhere is why the Larkin wasn't an automatic win. The Wolverines have placed three players in the Hall and Matt sent me cards of two of them in Larkin and this pair of relics of "Gorgeous" George Sisler. One is from the 2003 HOF version of one of my favorite Topps products, Gallery, and I really like how they added a bat chip and color gradient along the left border to what was already a very nice looking base card.
The other hails from the very high end Flawless product made by Panini in 2016. This super low-numbered hit features not one but three HOFers including Goslin and Rice. These three were Washington teammates for part of 1928, Sisler's only season with the old Senators, while the other two played most of their careers for that club. Tigers fans may remember Goslin playing for Detroit from 1934-37.
This was an amazing pair of out-of-the-blue high-end hits of one of the best players in my collection, not to mention the game's history, and I'm floored at Matt's generosity, not even taking into account the other two cards you already saw! I'm proud to say that thanks to Matt I now own three Sisler relics (to go along with three manu-relics), bolstering my collection of vintage stars.
I can also credit the Plankster for sending me the cards to reach another fun little milestone of 350 Michigan Baseball hits!
Matt, at this point I'm speechless, but rest assured I'm going to get to work on putting together a package that makes your jaw hit the floor, just as soon as I can find the ammo to do so. Remember: you started it!