Monday, May 15, 2023

2023 trade package #11: Scribbled Ink

This evening's trade package comes from buddy of the blog Paul, a Michigan transplant living in New Hampshire. Throughout the year I can pretty much count on Paul sending me a few oddly shaped packages containing stuff I've never seen or heard of, and that's exactly what happened here. This one included cards, sure, and we'll look at those first, but those of you who don't skip the rest of the post will be rewarded with some very cool collectibles!
The cards portion opens open with a pair of Cronenworths, which is a great way to start. Jake and Rich Hill are Michigan's two main alumni in MLB right now, though Hill's fellow lefty Tommy Henry's been pitching a bit for Arizona as well. And out of the trio, Cronenworth isn't a pitcher while also being a young-ish semistar, so he's made a good number of cardboard appearances. Thank you to Paul for including him here, especially that cool Refractor!

Griffey's next and he gets three additions to his collection: a Fleer/SI base issue which is a collaboration I've always enjoyed, a fold-out mini-poster from the same product, and a numbered (/299) parallel of a 2022 Topps insert celebrating big postseason moments. If you're too young to remember Ken Griffey Jr.'s winning run in the '95 ALDS against the Yankees (plus his five homers in the series), well check it out!

Fellow PC guys and co-HOF entrants Gwynn and Ripken also made appearances in this package. Mr. Padre is seen on 2022 Topps diamond-themed insert that treats him as the baseball royalty he is. Meanwhile, Junior Ripken's cameo is a 2018 Storybook Endings insert that talks about his 2001 retirement.

Paul doubled up on the ex-UM players with a basketball representative in Chris Webber. One of the most famous to play in Ann Arbor, the NBA HOFer appears on a card that almost literally screams 90s in its design (Fleer's Skybox Z-Force).
I thought it would be fun to scan the fully folded out Griffey mini poster and also include the pair of stickers Paul sent me from the fine folks who produce his bats (and I believe his son's as well?) for his adult league, the Walter Bat Company. Based on the interaction I've seen between them on Twitter they seem very communicative and easy to work with which is awesome when you're paying for someone to make something you're comfortable with. Kudos to them for great customer service!
And now we get to the first of the non-card items, and what a fantastic one it is! Apparently a company named Spectra Star sold these marbles with player images embedded in them in the early 90s. This group is "Set #2" and includes HOFers Yount, Ripken, and McGriff, certified star Fielder, and Cory Snyder, who was kind of decent in 1988.
The back gives you some stats of the players plus the flip side of the marbles, which contain team logos. Up top you can see the groupings from the other three sets, and now I kind of want at least two of the others if not the rest, as one includes Jim Abbott and Ken Griffey Jr. (plus Paul's PC guys Canseco and Ryan), and another has ex-Wolverine Chris Sabo.

I love the oddball 90s-ness of these and like the idea of keeping them in the packaging for display purposes. If I end up picking up the rest I'll make sure to show them off here, and I'll give another hat tip to Paul for introducing them to me.
Here's something I definitely didn't expect either: a book written by "Al Kaline's last bat boy," Dennis Clotworthy. It was released around 2014 and considering the number of great stories I have to imagine the author has about Kaline and his teammates from that era, this should be a very interesting read I'll be sure to check out once I'm caught up on a couple other books.
Oh, and it happens to be signed by the impeccably-named author, too! I'm a fan of the "Go Tigers!" inscription and love that he abbreviates his former title as "L.B.B." Rest assured I'll let my fellow Tigers fans know how this was once I've read it.
Last up is a 20-year-old Fleer-produced team truck. I think I was at least vaguely aware of these or something like them from the team (when discussing them with others the name White Rose came up too). While that terrible 43-119 squad led by an overmatched Alan Trammell is one I'd rather not remember, this is a very cool item that I'll be happy to display somewhere in my card room or on my living room bookshelves with similar collectibles that show off my pride in the team I continue to root for no matter what.
Here's a quick look at the bottom of the box which shows that these were apparently limited to 1500 made, making me wonder how much they were distributed regionally as opposed to nationally.
And one last shot of the top of the packaging to give you a bit more detail.

Paul, thanks for some great cards and even cooler surprise oddball stuff! I appreciate you always keeping me on my toes as I never know what you're going to send and what rabbit holes you'll send me down (seriously, those marbles are too cool!).

Looking over at my card desk I think I'm down to just two more blogger trades but that can always change quickly so maybe I'll try to get to them soon so those generous folks can get their due. Until then, go get 'em, Tigers!


  1. Ha, I just liked to that Griffey play in my post tonight. Great minds think alike :)

    Really neat stuff ehre from Paul, especially the Batboy book. I saw a lot of oddballs in the late '80s-early '90s but I can't recall any MLB marbles!

    1. Hell yeah GMTA! I don't remember the marbles either, and Paul always comes up with crazy cool stuff like this.

  2. I remember those marbles! Awesome package from Paul!

    1. Very cool that someone does because I sure didn't! Yep, Paul's a good dude and great to trade with.

  3. Those marbles are sweet! Shame they didn't produce a Gwynn for us to collect. That die-cast truck and the signed book are cool too. Lots of variety in this package from Paul.

    1. Good point, I'd love a Gwynn marble like that. Lots of variety is an understatement!

  4. I didn't realize that players couldn't do their own eye-black anymore. And I don't remember Spectra Star making MLB marbles, but I do remember (fondly) their line of Rad Rollers from the same time. I have a few sets in package still that are hanging up on the wall. I never played with them as a kid, but few things remind me of the toy aisles of yore than seeing packages of those up on pegs.

    1. "Rad Rollers" is such a '90s name for a toy that I instantly believe they exist without even looking them up.