Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Trading Post #15: The Angels, In Order

It's everywhere.

Clearly, I have been seeing a lot of 1995 cards recently, because the 125th Anniversary patch that MLB players wore on their right sleeves throughout the strike-shortened season of 1994 keeps popping up.

1995 Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion #153 Joe Girardi
A trade package from The Angels, In Order that arrived on Christmas Eve contained the above card, part of five full team bags stuffed with Rockies cards (and a few other teams). The above Fleer Ultra is a "Gold Medallion" card, one of the many gold-themed one-per-pack parallel sets that existed in the early-to-mid 1990s, along with Topps Gold, Score Gold Rush, and Donruss Special Edition.

In fact, this one is really quite similar to my "Wallet Card", a 1994 Topps Gold Joe Girardi. In that card, Girardi also has his mask off but the rest of his catcher's gear on, and it, too, is a gold parallel.

Not that gold foil was all that hard to find circa 1995. In fact, it was pretty much the de facto standard. It was even more everywhere than that patch I keep pointing out.

I wrote in my previous trade post about the matte finish 1996 and 1997 Fleer sets, and as luck would have it, one of these appeared:

1997 Fleer #312 Quinton McCracken
I like this design a little more than the 1996 set I showed yesterday; though the designs are quite similar. I probably prefer the way the last name is printed so large and in outlined letters. That doesn't look like the best bunt that's been executed in baseball history, but it makes for an interesting card nonetheless.

2000 Upper Deck Gold Reserve #263 Neifi Perez
Neifi Perez in the on-deck circle is the beneficiary of more gold foil, appearing on a Gold Reserve parallel of 2000 Upper Deck. UD sold this as a main set rather than inserting them into base packs, so you could get all the gold you want without having to deal with the normal base cards, which had copper foil that year.

I am not sure what that "14" is that's scrawled on the side of the batting helmet. At first, I assumed that Perez grabbed Andres Galarraga's helmet, as The Big Cat wore that number for the Rockies, but he was a righty, so the ear flap would be on the wrong side of this helmet. Plus, you can just barely make out the numeral 5 on the back of the helmet, matching Perez's uniform number. Just a notation for the equipment manager, I suppose.

Speaking of Andres Galarraga and his #14 batting helmet (note the ear flap), check out this thick card that, yes, contains gold foil:

1995 Emotion #125 Andres Galarraga
This is my first card from 1995 Emotion, a Fleer/Skybox product. Apparently, there is a large word on every card that in some way describes the player. I browsed through eBay and found all sorts of stuff, like "Pillar", "Captain", "Prepared", "Sprint", "Delivering", and "Cool". Ken Griffey, Jr.'s card is just "Junior". Filling out some Mad Libs with a box of these cards would be hilarious, I'm sure.

Galarraga may indeed have been an "Observing" player, as I'm sure almost all professional athletes are. Come to think of it, wasn't he more on the "Participating" side? I was the fan. I was the observer.

Anyway, this is a pretty "Cool" shot of him "Looking" (sorry, I'll stop) through a pretty high end camera with a monster telephoto lens attached. That's a Canon EOS-1 that shoots film (compared to the digital EOS-1D, which is widely used by today's sports photographers), as digital photography was still in its infancy in 1995. That huge lens has Canon's trademark red ring, signifying that it is a "L" lens, Canon's top-of-the line product.

As an aside, did you ever wonder why those huge lenses are white, instead of black to match the camera? It's not really a brand thing (that's what the red ring is for), but it's for heat management, according to Canon. A black lens would absorb rather than reflect heat, which would cause it to expand, potentially causing image distortion or problems focusing. This isn't significant in smaller lenses, which is why they're still black.

The more you know.

Moving along, there was a near-complete Rockies team set from arguably the best set of the overproduction era, 1993 Upper Deck.

1993 Upper Deck #720 Willie Blair
Here's pitcher Willie Blair covering first base in Mile High Stadium, with Rockies legend Andres Galarraga "Observing" (I lied) the play nearby. Notice how UD subtly featured Blair on this card? Blair's head is in front of the Upper Deck logo at the top, but Galarraga's head is behind it. Very clever. It's little details like that, not to mention awesome photography, that make this set a classic.

What other collectibles do you remember in 1993? It was a tad too early for beanie babies (of which my sister had a nice collection), and Magic: The Gathering was just barely getting off the ground.

1993 Ted Williams POG Cards #11 Florida Marlins / Colorado Rockies
Remember pogs?

By 1993, I was already firmly entrenched in the world of baseball cards, but by the time I hit 5th grade (1994-1995), many of the other kids had dived headfirst into the world of pogs. Lots of games took place during lunch and recess (vaguely resembling tiddlywinks), and I remember a few kids that had elaborate "slammers" and colorful plastic tubes filled with the cardboard discs.

I owned one. And it was shiny.

My only pog.
You can't tell from the scan, but it has a refractor finish. I got this at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., probably during a field trip or a family visit. It's a pretty interesting place. The building was designed by Chinese architect I.M. Pei, who also did the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Louvre Pyramid. They have quite an assortment of supercomputers behind a big glass wall, lots of weather-related science exhibits, and even an early Cray-1 supercomputer on display in the lower lobby.

Back to cards, this seems like a good time to move on to the section with green cards.

2008 Upper Deck First Edition Starquest #SQ-7 Matt Holliday
The above card of Matt Holliday (who also wore #5, just like Neifi Perez), is my second card from the 2008 StarQuest insert set. This was from the year after the Rockies made their first (and only, so far) appearance in the World Series, so the back of this card mentions quite a bit about his home runs during the 2007 postseason.

Also from 2008 is a Helton card from the Baseball Heroes set, commemorating his NL batting title in 2000.

2008 Upper Deck Heroes Emerald #59 Todd Helton /499
This set came in a lot of colors. It isn't just Topps that goes overboard with the number of colored parallels; UD was guilty of it too. I have this one in black, and a few others from the base set which is sort of a sand color, but the Emerald is quite nice. And it's serial numbered, so bonus points there.

As I mentioned earlier, this trade package mostly contained Rockies, but there were three or four cards from other teams.

2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond Rookie Edition #64 Jose Vidro
Given that the Expos haven't existed since 2004, it's pretty rare to see an Expos card in the wild these days. This is from yet another Upper Deck set, Black Diamond. This black, gold, and red 2000 Rookie Edition release ranks pretty high on my list of favorite Upper Deck designs.

Now, I'm definitely not the world's biggest Barry Bonds fan, although I do believe that he should be in the Hall of Fame, despite his use of steroids.

1995 Fleer Lumber Company #3 Barry Bonds
So why show it? Well, I am a set collector, so I do go for any card of a set I like. And I am pretty darn close to completing all the insert sets from 1995 Fleer. I only have a few left to go, but this one was on my "Eight Men Out" tab, the eight cards highest on my want list.

That Bonds card marks the first one I can cross off that list through trading! The Angels, In Order earned a spot in Infield Fly Rule history with this trade.

But he didn't stop there.

2011 Topps Town #TT-48 Troy Tulowitzki
This was the last card I needed to complete my set of the 50-card 2011 Topps Town, and it was indeed an Eight Men Out card. I truly appreciate this blogger taking the time to check my highest-priority wants and fill not just one, but two needs!

That, I'd say, is a successful trade.


  1. great post - and a generous helping of Rockies from Angels In Order!

  2. Good stuff going both ways. If interested I have another blog all about the 1995 Emotion set
    Thanks again for the trade, working on another stack already.