Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Trading Post #58: Mark Hoyle

Nowhere in the #SuperTraders rulebook does it say you have to write a blog. Mark Hoyle, easily the most active non-blogger in this community has the Red Sox slot, and he's obviously a regular at his local post office. This is the first time Mark and I have swapped cards, and he didn't waste any time getting to the good stuff.

2007 Topps Opening Day #33 Willy Taveras
2007 Opening Day was about as different as that brand ever got from Topps base. Of course, the Filmstrip Set had black borders that year, along with silver foil. This is at least the fourth time it's shown up on Infield Fly Rule, clearly indicating my preference for its design, though I did show a 2007 Topps Chrome once before.

2016 Opening Day has hit the shelves by now, and it's become a bit of a tradition for me to pick up a blaster at my local SuperTarget. Perhaps this week I'll have a few moments to pop over. Though I already know it's almost as similar to the base set as possible, meaning I'm more after those awesome insert cards that continue to hang on in Opening Day.

1999 Topps #52 Todd Helton
Unlike 2007 OD (might as well start calling it that, since "OD" is in the card numbers for 2016), 1999 Topps is a rare bird around here. It was a pretty small set, as Topps Base got pretty tiny in the years following the strike. It seems they'd whittle it down another 80 cards every year until a giant 790-card set returned in 2001 for their 50th Anniversary.

Anyway, this Helton card shows up in trade packages and dime boxes fairly frequently, and it's a great candidate for all the collectors with mini collections. A dugout shot, baseball equipment, a hatless player, the Topps Rookie Cup, a rain delay; this card has it all. Even an inverted wheelbarrow.

Seems to me he could take about three steps to his right and stay nice and dry, as pro ballplayers tend to get fancy shmancy luxuries like roofs on the dugouts. But then this card wouldn't be a hidden gem in a fairly underwhelming set.

1995 Upper Deck #176 Marvin Freeman
Another one you don't see too often around here is 1995 Upper Deck. Which is a shame, since it's awesome! Marvin Freeman signed with the Rockies at the end of the 1993 season, long before it was known that pitchers have a pretty rough time in the Mile High City. There was definitely a Wile E. Coyote effect in 1994, as he went an impressive 10-2 in the strike-shortened season. However, things didn't go as well the next two seasons, as the realities of pre-humidor Colorado baseball started to become clear. He owns the dubious distinction of committing the first-ever balk at Coors Field, and he was out of baseball by 1996.

1995 Upper Deck #172 Charlie Hayes
A few of Charlie Hayes' 1995 cards feature this odd contraption, mostly from Upper Deck. He is wearing his own batting helmet this time, but in the weeks leading up to the strike, Hayes was struck by a pitch that broke his jaw. He was out for several games before returning with this extra-protective face mask attached to his helmet. I can't blame the guy, as a pitch to the face is pretty much the scariest possible moment in baseball, perhaps second only to a pitcher getting a ball lined off his head.

Those two types of disturbing injuries seem to be happening with greater frequency, so it's good that the sport is at least giving players new options (especially pitchers) in protective headwear.

I got hit on the left elbow with a pitch in little league, and I chose to end my baseball career shortly after that. 11-year old kids tend not to have the best control. Of all the reasons why I never made the major leagues, being afraid of a pitched ball is definitely up there. I don't hold anything against Barry Bonds for all that armor he wore.

2015 Donruss #85 Justin Morneau
Mark is pretty well known for shipping vintage cards around, but since the Rockies don't really have any of those, the inaugural era will do just fine. However, there were a few recent cards, like Justin Morneau's from 2015 Donruss. In comparison to most of the cards so far, this one is just a bit thicker than I expected. I've seen the set before, but my fellow traders are still chipping away at the team set for me. Looking at the back, you could tell from orbit that it's a Donruss card. But the retro Donruss logo in the upper left makes it a bit more interesting than their overproduction sets.

And please allow me to belabor the point that it's not truly a logoless card, as Morneau wears Franklin batting gloves (just like I wore in little league), and a Majestic jersey.

1993 Pinnacle #238 David Nied
We'll turn back the clock a bit, all the way to the first Rockie picked in the expansion draft. The happy partly cloudy weather behind Nied accurately reflects the attitude around Denver when the Rockies first began play. Threatening storm clouds started appearing circa 1997, but in early 1993, Denver was thrilled that our time zone finally had a team!

The #1 overall expansion pick didn't develop into much, but according to Pinnacle, the Marlins had their eye on him too. Pinnacle also stressed the importance of "keeping the ball low" in Colorado, something we're still working on.

1995 Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion #155 Mike Kingery
Sharp-eyed readers will recognize this card, or one just like it. The base card came over in a gigantic box from Bo, but Mark managed to find the Gold Medallion parallel, which has an embossed gold seal in the upper corner. These were a hot ticket in 1995! I remember pulling a Gold Medallion insert card of Manny Ramirez, and I still know exactly where it is.

1995 Fleer Ultra Second Year Standouts Gold Medallion #11 Manny Ramirez
Manny was just a hard-charging newbie at the time, long before he made his millions and decided to spend a large part of his career on all sorts of antics and hijinks. I have no idea whether that helped or hurt this card's one-time $8.00 Beckett Hi value, but they still go for $2 or $3 on eBay.

1994 Select #70 Joe Girardi
Finally, a bunting Joe Girardi appears on a premium card, or rather just "Joe GI" (GI Joe?) due to a problem with the gold foil. The middle section between the two photos should have the outline of his last name spelled in gold foil. There are no other signs of damage to the card, so I am guessing Pinnacle must have run into some production problems. I've never seen this happen on Score Select before, but then again I have a grand total of about five cards from this set, so I have no idea whether this is common.

It was a single team bag, but there were plenty of interesting cards in it, including a reason to pull out some buried treasure from my 1995 Ultra pages. And whether there's a blog on the other end of it or not, thanks, Mark!


  1. Hopefully there were a few that you could use. It is tougher for me to put together packages for the teams that haven't been around for long