Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Trading Post #27: Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary

Brian, of the Twins-focused blog Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary, started trading with me recently. I found a ton of cards for him, including Twins, but the majority of what I sent him (and what I have in reserve) was intended for his mini-collections. He collects cards with commemorative patches in the picture (more on that later), as well as sunglasses. There was a lot to be found, unlike some other mini-collections that are few and far between, like Daniel's all-dirt backgrounds.

Brian's sent me a lot of stuff recently. This post will focus on his first shipment. He sent one more as a trade, as well as the Rockies cards from the group break he did not long ago. He knows I like shiny stuff, and he did a great job in finding plenty for me to like.

2006 Bowman Heritage Chrome #77 Garrett Atkins
Bowman Heritage base cards might be the least shiny cards produced in the last decade. These are true cardboard; the card backs are brown with red and dark blue printing. Yet somehow, Bowman managed to make chrome parallels on that type of card stock, and these are conspicuously shiny for that reason alone. The 1949 Bowman design doesn't give you a whole lot of information on the front of the card; but it's got a very pure and classic look.

A 2012 Chrome Refractor offers something a bit more familiar, yet not really all that different from the surrounding five years of card designs.

2012 Topps Chrome Refractors #155 Drew Pomeranz (RC)
In addition to this rainbow-finish refractor, Brian also threw in the base Chrome card. The back notes that this is a refractor, which is always nice to know for certain. Topps seems to waffle back and forth about actually labeling a refractor card as such. Some years don't have that note, and you have to rely on a good light source to tell the difference.

Pomeranz pitched for the Rockies for three years, amassing a disappointing 4-14 record. He's pitching for Oakland now, and broke the .500 mark in the 2014 season. So it goes for Rockies pitchers. Pomeranz came over from Cleveland in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, who was one of the very few Rockies pitchers that had a successful career at Coors Field.

Regardless of his record, a shiny card is a shiny card.

1993 Upper Deck Diamond Gallery #23 David Nied
Although David Nied, the first Rockie selected in the expansion draft, was hyped as a star pitching prospect, like many others, he never really panned out.

I collected plenty of 1993 Upper Deck as a child, although I am still running across insert cards from that set for the first time. Research shows this particular card is from the 36-card "Diamond Gallery" set, which was sold separately as a boxed set with a print run of 123,600. For 1993, that's downright scarce. I'm surprised that the hologram image of Nied on the right comes across so well on the scan. It's a stunning card.

Not all the cards from Brian were shiny, but most were still on the uncommon side.

2007 Upper Deck First Edition #16 Alvin Colina (RC)
I must admit that I have never heard of Alvin Colina. He was a catcher who only appeared in two Major League games, which explains that. The one upside of a two-game MLB career is that your Rookie Card also has your full career statistics, or what Nick would call a "sunset card". More interestingly, this is a Coors Field card, showing Colina during pre-game with some American Servicemen and Servicewomen standing on the warning track in front of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field.

I've written before that I adore almost all the insert cards from Topps Opening Day, including Superstar Celebrations.

2012 Topps Opening Day Superstar Celebrations #SC-8 Troy Tulowitzki
The one drawback to these is that it's a little unclear whose card it actually is. Tulowitzki is the only one with his face toward the camera, and it is indeed his card. Iannetta and Chacin aren't quite "Superstar" caliber, but Carlos Gonzalez' photobomb steals the show a little bit. Perhaps this set is Topps' way of giving some of the lesser players who aren't quite worthy of an insert card an appearance outside the base set.

This particular card is from an Interleague game against the White Sox, in which Tulo scored the winning run. Interleague play hasn't been friendly to the Rockies. Since games started in 1997 they have a .475 winning percentage. That's higher than I expected to find when I looked it up, but there are a few AL teams that always give them fits, like the Angels, Yankees, and White Sox.

With the Astros moving to the AL West, Interleague play has become quite prevalent. With 15 teams in each league, there's always at least one active AL/NL series. But this last card is from 1999, when it was in its infancy.

1999 Topps Stars One Star #76 Vinny Castilla
This is from Castilla's glory days as a Blake Street Bomber. He actually had three stints as a Rockie, returning to the team in 2004, and wrapping up his career in Denver in 2006. He's still active with the team in a coaching role. I had great seats to see him in one of his final games, sitting just a couple rows behind the visitor's dugout when the Washington Nationals visited on Sept 9th, 2006.

I do enjoy Topps Stars cards; as they are one of many, many sets I barely knew of in their heyday, only finding examples many years after they were printed. Even better, the back of this card is more interesting than the front.

1999 Topps Stars One Star #76 Vinny Castilla (Reverse)
Castilla is apparently an avid bubble-gum user, and we get a great look at a commemorative patch on his right sleeve. That is from 1998, the year the Rockies hosted the All-Star Game. I don't often show card backs, but given that Brian appreciates commemorative patches, I figured it would be a nice way to thank him for this great stack of cards!

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