Sunday, February 4, 2018

2018 trade package #2: Arpsmith's Sportscard Obsession

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago I took a special interest when Arpsmith's Sportscard Obsession posted about his huge collection purchase, and after a bit of back and forth we came to a nice deal where I got four complete sets for a bit of Paypal.  Adam did an outstanding job of getting those packed up and shipped safely to me, and while he was at it he took advantage of the large flat rate box to send some Tigers and stuff my way as well.  Fortunately I was able to respond to his generosity with a large return package going back to the Giants collector.

Like I said, this box was huge and there was a lot for me to enjoy even without the sets (which I'll show off in one or more future posts), so you won't see everything here, but I'll at least show off my favorite stuff:
We'll kick things off with HOF manager Sparky Anderson, who doesn't show up in as many trade packages as you might think even though he was around during the 70s and 80s when skippers got a nice number of cardboard appearances.  He's followed by pitcher Jeremy Bonderman, a guy I wish got to play for better Tigers teams when he was healthy.  Then a couple Topps cards highlight a few of Detroit's recent bigger bats:  free agent J.D. Martinez plus Miguel Cabrera on one, and soon-to-be RF Nick Castellanos on the other.  Last up is MLBPA head Tony Clark, who has a lot of work to do to help his constituents this off-season.
This next scan hits multiple eras, starting with original HOFer Ty Cobb on a very cool UD insert, then a pair representing former 90s/00s Tiger/Red Juan Encarnacion.  1B/DH and '84 champ Darrell Evans takes us back to the 80s with cards from Topps/Quaker Oats and Score, then we go back a few years and fan favorite pitcher Mark Fidrych on an Archives reprint.  Then it's back to the future with the start of a nice little Cecil Fielder run, including Leaf Black Gold, a.k.a. "the way the base set should have looked".
Fielder and former teammate Travis Fryman are back-to-back in my Tigers box and in this scan as well.  Together they formed a very good half of an infield for a few years in the 90s, claiming a bunch of All-Star appearances between them.  I love that Adam found cool UD holograms of both!
The top row here finishes up the run of Fryman stuff from the end of this Tigers career.  That gives way to a beautiful Hank Greenberg base from one of Fleer's best Greats of the Game designs (read:  any of them).  Then we have five cards of Mike Henneman, one of the top closers in team history whose franchise saves record was eventually broken by Todd Jones.  I went back to look at his stats and was surprised by the number of wins (and decisions in general, I suppose) he earned:  49 in his first five seasons alone against 80 saves in the same span.  Bullpens sure are different now!
One more Henneman starts this scan and gives way to another great Tigers bullpen ace, Guillermo Hernandez (another Topps Archives example).  Fellow '84 champs and outfielders Larry Herndon and Chet Lemon can also be seen here, with the latter's Stadium Club being a nice highlight.  In between are former do-everything player Brandon Inge and Mr. Tiger, Al Kaline.  I love seeing Kaline in any trade package, especially when he appears on an awesome card like the Greats of the Game insert you see right down the middle.  Indifferent DH Victor Martinez closes out this scan.
Brand new 2018 Hall-of-Famer Jack Morris was the second largest beneficiary of this package with 13 cards/stickers, nine of which you can see here.  Since I'm fairly likely to have a large percentage of his 80s and junk wax-era base I really appreciated the variety you see here.  There's boxed sets, oddball, stickers from Fleer and Topps, and more!  Without looking there's a high probability that everything here is new to me except the '89 Bowman base since I own the complete set.  Wow!
Another quartet of Jack Morris starts this scan, and I believe the first two are new while the others are doubles from Topps Archives and Fan Favorites sets I really enjoyed.  Catcher Matt Nokes, Morris' teammate and a favorite of mine as a kid, follows with three cards himself.  Originally drafted by the Giants, Nokes was a Rookie of the Year contender in 1987 with a .289 AVG and 32 HR (a career high).  For some reason he lost the voting that year to some kid named McGwire.  Nokes took over for the next guy, Lance Parrish, who was behind the plate for the previous decade in Motown.  A perennial All-Star in Detroit, he was worth almost 40 bWAR and was a big contributor to the '84 champs.  I'll also note that that '82 Topps base was in such nice shape I first thought it must be a reprint or something!
Parrish starts off this scan then gives way to another of my fan favorite Tigers in Tony Phillips, who we'll see again in a bit.  Once again, RIP to the multi-talented Phillips who died two years ago on the 17th of this month.  Next to him is Rick Porcello, the streaky former Tiger now on the hill for the Red Sox, making a cameo.  After a couple cool issues of HOF C Pudge Rodriguez comes a trio of Pat Sheridan, a Michigan native I rooted for during his four years in Detroit.  Kudos to Adam for his keen eye on the Panini sticker which is actually listed under the White Sox in the checklist.  Sheridan is followed by reliable innings-eater Frank Tanana.
A bunch of cards of Mickey Tettleton is nice.  A bunch of Mickey Tettletons including a mid-90s Sportflix card?  A+!  I love that four of these six include the catchers gear even though Mickey was more known for his bat (and awesome stance in the batter's box!).  Pitcher Justin Thompson, who regrettably went to Texas in the regrettable trade for Juan Gonzalez, appears on a late 90s pair (which I appear to have reversed chronologically while scanning for some reason).  Last up is Justin Upton, one of the many Justins to have found himself leaving Motown during or after last season.
Here's a group of guys I separated because I don't have enough to give them their own place in the Tigers box, at least not yet in some cases.  I'll always remember Davis as a Red, and I'm sure most would agree with me.  Kapler's tenure as a manager should be interesting and I'm rooting for him to succeed.  Maybin joined Justin Verlander in winning a ring with last year's surprising Astros.  Norris is still young enough that his talent could pay dividends for the Tigers.  And Pena was sometimes a bright spot on some bad, bad Tigers teams.
And some vintage-y guys.  Pitcher John Hiller ('79 Topps) and OF Jerry Morales ('80) are the more recent ones.  Norm Cash's card hails from a 1985 Topps/Circle-K boxed set celebrating sluggers.  The Heilmann is from one of those comfortingly familiar 80s TCMA sets, and that reminds me that I should see how many I have.  Lastly, Horton and Northrup appear in a set that's familiar to me at least, a Dominos issue recalling the '68 champs.
Then there's some oddly-shaped stuff.  Pettis is a '90 Topps Mini League Leaders (#4 in steals in the AL) and Phillips makes another appearance on a '94 Fleer Extra bases extra long card.  Topps Chipz makes its first appearance in this post courtesy of former Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler, whose tenure in Detroit I much appreciated.  And finally, some stickers, including a Fleer Cloth version from the late 60s/early 70s!
One of the larger items was this '98 Zenith 5x7 of OF Bobby Higginson.  For those of you who weren't collecting around this time, these could be torn (or carefully cut) open to reveal a standard sized card inside.  We'll get to that in a second, but first, here's the back:
The pocket-type area for the card was right in the center, and you could carefully slice the back open to pop it out.  I didn't do the greatest job but I wasn't that worried since Higginson was kind of a jackass anyway:
Another example of fun cardboard innovation in the 90s!  The cut I made went through the front a bit but it still looks fine, and my reward is a Dante Bichette card, which I'll be happy to send to whomever would like my Rockies stuff.
Another big item (and big deal) that came out of the box was this '86 Donruss box bottom that includes both PC guy Kirk Gibson plus the previously seen Guillermo Hernandez (plus a card version of the Hank Aaron puzzle and Angel Doug DeCinces).  I already had the Gibby by itself but it's not in the greatest shape whereas the one in this panel looks pretty good.  Plus I love having the whole thing to go with the single piece.  Awesome!
And here's a few more Gibsons from the 80s.
The Higginson wasn't the only '98 Zenith 5x7 Adam gifted to me--I was excited to land this Barry Larkin as well!  I'm going to leave this one intact, at least for now, though I may pop one open at some point if I can find a second one.
I mentioned earlier that new HOFer Jack Morris appeared on the second most cards in this package, and #1 was this guy, fellow 2018 inductee Alan Trammell, with 14.  I just showed off my huge Tram haul from Sportlots so a number of these are dupes now, but Adam killed it with the selection with cards from 1982-2004 (including Sportflics!).
One of the items that was definitely new to me is the sticker you see in the upper-right.  While it may look just like the 1983 Topps version I already had, it's actually the O-Pee-Chee version.  Score!  (I mean, OPC!)
You just can't have one without the other, so even though I have one more player to get to, Tram's partner up-the-middle Lou Whitaker comes next.  There were 10 cards of him in this package so one was going to be singled out in its own scan.  Naturally I went with the excellent "turning two" photo on the Stadium Club card.

Last up is blog namesake guy Justin Verlander on more examples of Topps Chipz--three many of them, to be exact.  The first two are the base and Silver versions from 2013 while the other was produced in 2015.  And yes, I'm happy to say that I do have an example from the year in-between, so I won't have to chase one of those down to overcome any OCDness.

Adam, thanks for the enormous amount of stuff you sent me in what was a fantastic first trade.  It's always a great experience flipping through that much stuff and then getting to show it off.

Speaking of that, I've teased the fact that I purchased four sets from Adam's collection, which I'll show off soon, but for now here's a sneak peek:
(cat with picture for scale, did not come with package)


  1. Loved Zenith Dare to Tear! Way ahead of its time. Lots of great stuff in this package. Cecil looks like the Hulk on that Pinnacle Naturals card.

    1. Dare to Tear was unrivaled in quality until the Baseball Card Breakdown rip cards! And yep, they didn't call him "Big Daddy" for nothin'!