Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Trading Post #52: A Cracked Bat

It's been barely a week since my last post about a trade from A Cracked Bat. That post was for a couple Eight Men Out cards that came along with the great Michigan-themed Christmas card I saw on a few other blogs out there. Clearly Julie has been up to her usual practice of spreading holiday cheer around the Cardsphere.

But I mentioned then that I was doing her trade posts out of order. That's because I received another stack from her around Thanksgiving, and there were quite a few more cards in it.

1997 Pinnacle #105 Rey Ordonez
When I put together my larger trade packages, I like to take the time to look for player cameos and the occasional alternate team logos that appear in backgrounds. I'll even check those tiny rookie card pictures on the backs of 1991-1993 Stadium Club. Some appreciate it, others don't. But Julie clearly knows I like player cameos. Why else would she include one of Dante Bichette?

Yes, that Pinnacle card isn't Bichette's at all. It's Rey Ordonez', a shortstop who spent most of his career with the Mets. This doesn't look like a double play card; rather it's probably a stolen base attempt.

Pinnacle went pretty overboard with gold foil, as did pretty much everyone in the late '90s, but they did do an interesting thing with this set. The area in the gold foil has various...nouns related to the team's home city. On this card alone, I can make out Sinatra, LaGuardia Airport, Statue of Liberty, Shea Stadium, Nolan Ryan, and Big Apple, along with cut-off segments of what I assume are Miracle Mets, David Letterman, and World Trade Center. It's a bit like the city skylines you'll find on the back of 1993 Leaf.

And I really need to get a magnifying glass.

1995 Pinnacle #336 Dante Bichette
1995 Pinnacle was about as bold with the gold foil as '97, going with the always-trusty baseball stitch design. But this shot of Bichette (actually his card this time) shows the luxury suites at Mile High Stadium better than I've ever seen on a card.

I saw three Rockies games at Mile High Stadium, along with two or three Denver Zephyrs games when I was a wee lad, although never a Broncos game. I don't remember much about those minor-league games, other than a fan in the stands leading a chant, "Gimme a Z! Gimme an E!" and so on for another letter or two until he realized he misspelled an admittedly difficult team name. Only a couple years later, Major League Baseball would arrive in Denver with a more chant-friendly team name.

1994 Collector's Choice Silver Signature #62 Daryl Boston
Daryl Boston was one of the faces of that inaugural team, certainly appearing in Mile High Stadium on this 1994 Collector's Choice card. I have that complete base set, but only a few dozen of these Silver Signature parallels. Like Topps Gold, they came one-per-pack, so they're fairly plentiful. There was also a Gold Signature parallel, one-per-box if I recall correctly. I never pulled one from a pack, but I've run into a few in dime boxes in recent years.

2015 Immaculate Collection #86 Nolan Arenado /99
Gold foil is still a thing twenty years later, but cards this thick were not. Immaculate Collection (isn't that a Madonna album?) looks to be a competitor to Topps Triple Threads or Museum Collection, and it has the price tag to match. At least when you buy it new. I don't know how well it sells, but I suppose autograph and relic collectors don't care as much about official MLB logos as us lower-end fans do.

One minor critique I have about this card is that the serial number is in silver foil, not gold. It's a little jarring to see silver among those thin gold lines. But that's just nitpicking. I really like this card! The purple areas remind me of 1995 Select; as they have a similar marble look, though it's much fainter here.

1996 Metal Universe Platinum #155 Vinny Castilla
And now we move from the elegance of Immaculate Collection to the incomprehensible weirdness of 1996 Metal Universe. Yes, that is a giant bee imprinted in the foil.

My girlfriend was quite baffled by this card. She kept asking,"Why is there a bee on this card? Why would they put a bee on a baseball card?"

Which is a fair question.

All I could come up with was, "it was the '90s."

According to BaseballCardPedia, Fleer was a subsidiary of Marvel at the time, and they were going for a sort of comic book theme, but it just comes out looking like the goofiest thing imaginable. And this set was so crazy, it was featured on a post from SB Nation's awesome Sports Cards For Insane People series. Others found in that series are the wacky art of Fleer Pro-Visions, the Mad Libs-esque 1995 Emotion set, and the racially insensitive Topps Big, which would cause a firestorm of epic proportions on social media if it were released today.

2015 Topps Chrome Prism Refractor #58 Justin Morneau
And all that makes this extra-shiny Chrome card seem positively tame. This doesn't have an obvious colored border, so based on all the tiny facets on the foil, I'm guessing this is the Prism Refractor. It took a few trips through this stack to notice the special finish, and only then it was under bright light.

2015 Topps Chrome Pink Refractor #11 Carlos Gonzalez
This one is easy, obviously the Pink Refractor. No serial number on either of these, but after the base version I got in Brad's pre-move giveaway, I'm already on my way to a CarGo rainbow without even buying a pack.

2015 Stadium Club Gold #175 Drew Stubbs
I purchased a box or two of 2014 Stadium Club, but only a pack and some assorted trades of 2015 Stadium Club, despite it being equally awesome. But Julie went and found a gold parallel of Drew Stubbs' Powerade shower, likely after his walkoff home run on August 17th, 2014, one of two walkoff hits Stubbs had that year, both of which the back of this card alludes to.

2014 Stadium Club Members Only #31 Todd Helton
Finally, a card I didn't think I'd ever own - A 2014 Stadium Club Members Only parallel! Julie put a note on the back of this penny sleeve saying she found it in a dime box, and that it only had a tiny ding in the corner. No problems there, as this is one of my favorite cards from one of my favorite sets. Members Only parallels aren't serial numbered, though they're estimated to be quite rare. They're a one-per-case parallel, which likely equates to less than ten copies printed based on the print run. 2015 Members Only cards were announced to have a print run of 7, so 2014 was probably about the same.

There was so much thought put into this trade package. Some awesome ones I never knew existed, some others that sent me down memory lane, a Mets card that sort of wasn't, and one that I never expected to see in my collection.

I'll give them a good home.


  1. A very generous Thanksgiving gift, I might have to arrange a swap with her! That Bichette Pinnacle card with the luxury suites makes Mile High look more like a Nascar superspeedway than a ballpark.

    1. She's a great trader, you totally ought to reach out to her!

  2. So great you found newbies here! Already working on the next stack for you. It's somewhat endless... Thanks for your trade partnership. It's almost too much fun. Almost.