Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Trading Post #9: Bob Walk the Plank

In response to the first (and so far only) trade package I sent to Matt at Bob Walk the Plank, he sent over three cards to "even things out" as a follow up to his first shipment.

Only three cards, you say? Technically, yes. But all three of these are considered "hits", few of which are found in the discount boxes I tend to prefer. Observe:

2014 Topps Update Trajectory Autographs #TA-RB Rex Brothers (AU)
Thanks to Matt, I now have an autographed card of Rockies relief pitcher Rex Brothers [insert "who are the Rex Brothers?" pun here]. My autograph collection has grown by leaps and bounds in recent months, primarily thanks to the generosity of my fellow bloggers, as well as from two Opening Day hobby boxes I purchased from Dave & Adam's a few months ago.

Fun Fact: This highlight slid under the radar last season, but in June, Brothers became the first Rockie to pitch an "immaculate inning" by striking out three batters on nine straight pitches.

Next up is a relic card of Troy Tulowitzki, who seems to spend about as much time in trade rumors as on the disabled list.

2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Relics #FRB-TT Troy Tulowitzki B (MEM)
Immortalized on a card is (allegedly) a piece of one of Tulo's bats. The authenticity of relic cards has been called into question many times before, and while jersey swatches could plausibly have been used in an actual game, these splinters have never had the look of ash or maple to me. They look a lot more like those balsa wood gliders that tended to last about twenty minutes before breaking. This relic even appears to have a seam in it.

I'd just be curious to have a botanist's expert opinion on whether this could have once been a maple tree. But maybe it's one of Tulo's balsa wood gliders, which would somehow be even better than a piece of a bat.

Or, scandalously, perhaps it's a piece of cork, which has indeed happened.

Finally, a "helmet relic" contained in what might be the thickest card I've ever beheld. This is what's known as a "manufactured relic", an item that's not explicitly game-used, but is still rather unusual relative to the typical "color photograph on white cardboard" product.

2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot #121 Jeff Baker AU SP (RC)
I have never seen anything quite like this. I've seen plenty of jersey swatches, bat fragments, even the occasional patch of leather from a glove or ball, but this is quite original! It's a rigid, smooth plastic, and it strongly reminds me of those tiny plastic baseball helmets that I used to get in gumball machines at the grocery store as a kid.

Unusually for a relic card, this has a simple numerical card number, unlike the "FRB-TT" alphabet soup of Tulo's card number above. It's clearly atypical for cards like these to be part of a base set.

Jeff Baker is a right-handed hitter, so the ear flap of this helmet is on the wrong side, but regardless, there's also an on-card autograph of the former Rockies' utility player, who was a member of the 2007 team that made it to the World Series.

Authenticity aside, relics and autographs have always been among the rarer items in packs and boxes, so that scarcity alone gives them desirability. And in exchange for a stack of Pirates cards, you can't beat them!

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