Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017 trade package #16: the Griffey Box

I think this trade post may be the first of its kind for me on this here blog:  today's cards arrived in a box started by one collector, had cards added and removed by others, and was sent to me in a larger package by another collector.
Image result for tropic thunder i'm a dude
Coming along for the ride in the large box I just posted from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown, it's the Griffey Box!
Also known as the Griffey Generosity Project, this box was conceived by T.J., the Junior Junkie late last year.  In one of the great "Aha! moments of card collecting and blogging, T.J. stuffed a fairly large box full of his numerous dupes of his #1 (and #2 and...) player collection--apparently 500 cards--and sent it out into the wild, with the intention that its recipient would take some cards, add some new ones, and keep it moving around the country.  The idea is both simple and brilliant and I think it's great.

Not only am I getting some cards that came from the Junior Junkie, but I'm likely also picking up a few from the first three logged benefactors of the box:

I had a blast going through the whole box and flipping through cards of one of my all-time favorite players.  As you might expect, a good chunk of the box is heavy on junk wax (and dupes thereof), though I'm happy to say there's a ton of great interesting stuff as well.  For my part, I was able to fill in a lot of holes from 1991-97, especially the first four years of that run.

Since I didn't have a lot to replace those with, being almost completely out of extra Griffeys, I stuck mostly to cards with lots of dupes so I wouldn't feel so selfish.  I did manage to pretty much make up for the instances where I took the only copy of a card, so while the box saw a net loss, I was at least able to to keep it roughly as diverse if nothing else.

My other contribution, since I couldn't add much in the way of cards, was a bit of maintenance on the box itself.  Most of the cards were already in penny sleeves but I made sure that anything that wasn't went into one of those for more protection.  Also, in the process of flipping through the stacks and figuring out what I needed, I sorted everything by year, set, and insert, so hopefully my time and effort are in the spirit of the box if not the ratio of what I took to what I put back in.

With Gavin's help I've identified the box's next destination, though I'll be keeping it a surprise for that person since it was so much fun for me when I had no idea it was heading my way.  I know this person as a good trader and a fellow Griffey collector so I have no concerns about them appreciating the project and keeping it going successfully.

Ok, enough wall of text, let's check out some Griffeys!
Everything in this scan hails from 1991 except for card #8, which is actually from '92 Stadium Club Dome.  Oops.  I wasn't really collecting at this point in my young life so it was great looking over the designs from the year and adding a bunch of them to my collection.  The first two hail from '91 Donruss--and I'll never understand why cards like the second were green while the rest were blue.  The '91 Leaf hails from the two year period of Leaf designs I didn't care for before getting back on track in '93.  The next four are all part of Score's flagship set from that year, and they're all subsets, not even his "regular" card.  That's something I remember a lot of from the late 90s with players of Ken's popularity.  Last up is a headshot from the first year of one of my favorite products, Studio.

This group starts with three more '91s:  the premiere of Ultra and a pair from Upper Deck's Final Edition update product, both celebrating Griffey at that year's All-Star Game.  From '92 there's another pair of Donruss cards (on another design I kind of liked) plus a couple more base entries out of Fleer, and even a Fleer-Branded Citgo oddball issue.  Last up is another product debut--Pinnacle--and this card interested me because the uniform colors in the picture keep making me think of the Dodgers more than the M's.
As we keep going, the designs get even more diverse and interesting.  We close out 1992 with a the second year of Ultra, and a nice improvement over the debut, plus another family card, this time from Upper Deck.  1993 is represented by just two cards, Leaf and Stadium Club, but both look great, especially the second of my four Stadium Club additions.  The 1994 contingent starts with Donruss and Leaf--more designs I like--and a pair of Score issues, including a subset card highlighting Junior bashing homers in a record-tying eight straight games.  '94 Stadium Club's label-maker set and a great action photo close out this scan.
With this group of six we finish off the year of '94 with Studio and Upper Deck.  The former is a little strange with its locker room backgrounds, but I've always enjoyed how vibrant the colors look on that design.  And UD opted for a traditionally excellent photo of an acrobatic catch at the wall.  We go right back to the Upper Deck well for my only 1995 pickup with another fantastic photo.  Batting practice?  Home Run Derby?  Looks great either way.  Then we move on to 1996 with another Donruss design I like (awkwardly-placed foil box aside) and two entries from another typically simple and likable Score effort. 
And here we have the last of the vertically-oriented cards.  First up is a funny photo on the always fun '96 Upper Deck design; I really should pick up that set someday.  In stark contrast to that is yet another simple Score release I didn't have, though I did already own the Premium Stock version.  Joining it is one other '97 release, a subset card from that year's Upper Deck flagship set.  If you're counting, I added new UD cards from 1991-97 except for '93, not bad!  

Two relatively newer cards finish things up here.  First is Junior's Class 2 version from 2001 Topps Gold Label--that's real Gold Label, thick card stock and all, not the crap Topps tried to pass off recently.  The other is one of Griffey's two appearances in the 2007 UD Masterpieces base set, which is perfect since I just added the other recently.  These are examples of "only copies" I grabbed because I simply couldn't let them go!
We're getting towards the end of the stack with these great horizontal cards, most of which hail from Upper Deck, oddly enough.  #1 is Ken's base from Stadium Club's auspicious debut in '91, and I'm a fan of the photo of a young Junior hanging by the bat rack, not to mention the brand overall.  From the following year's UD flagship I grabbed this cool base featuring a fun multi-exposure photo, a feature several brands have used over the years with varying degrees of success.

Going oddball for a minute, I grabbed all three of the Looney Tunes-themed '92 UD Comic Ball cards of Griffey in the box.  This trio also happens to include Griffey Sr. and better yet (for me), another PC guy, Jim Abbott!  Speaking of Abbott and Comic Ball, I was happy to find one more card featuring the pitcher in a solo appearance:

Definitely a nice bonus for me!

Back to the rest of the cards from above, the next two cards came from '94 Upper Deck, and both are subsets:  "The Future Is Now" and "Home Field Advantage".  They each have a cool special feature, the former's foil and the latter's focus on Griffey's (original) home field.  Those are joined by one last "sideways" (or "right way" if you prefer) example.  This '96 Summit card features a great photo from Seattle's 1995 ALDS game 5 win over the Yankees and the celebration that ensued after Griffey's winning run--the play that spawned a video game title!

That's all the "licensed" cards I grabbed, but there was some bonus content to select from as well.  As I've mentioned, Gavin was the last person to have this box in his hands, and in the spirit of keeping it interesting, he tossed in multiple copies of some of his best custom work to-date:
The Simpsons-inspired cards (and their magnet equivalents I already had) are my favorites, but the framed-like art piece and minis are very cool as well.  And since Gavin went to all the trouble, here's the backs for your viewing pleasure:
"Griffey Box Exclusive"?  F*#k yeah!  Should you be a lucky future recipient of this box, you may have the option of adding these to your collection as well.

I don't know that there's much else I can say that I didn't already, but I'll try.  This amazing, brilliant, and generous idea added 46 new Griffeys to my collection (631, but still second to Ripken's 674), and I had a blast sorting through and poring over this huge box.

Many thanks to:
  • T.J. for starting the project and putting enough effort into it to make it fun and successful.  You get the "100% awesome" tag today, and I promise I'll try to find at least a few new cards of KGJ for you in the future since it's the least I can do
  • SCC and @RyanSawyer for all the cards they contributed, including any that I grabbed
  • Gavin for his own additions, including the customs, plus selecting me as a box bro
I promise to send the box out to its next target soon, though I may take a little more time to see if I can finagle a few more cards to add so I don't feel like such a freeloader.

So what does everyone think?  Does anybody else have so many extras of one of their PCs that they'd like to do something similar?


  1. I loved this idea by Junior Junkie and it was fun being able to donate cards to the box as well that were my dupes and needed a good home. I think some landed to you :)