Monday, January 12, 2015

The Trading Post #16: Nomo's Sushi Platter

Three trade packages arrived in my mailbox on Christmas Eve. My girlfriend and I had fun opening these up after some family time at my Mom's. The first was from The Angels, In Order, which I posted about this weekend. The second of these was from Spiegel83 at the Dodger blog Nomo's Sushi Platter. Though he hasn't posted in over a year, he's still been active in comments, and clearly in trading, as you'll see below.

Speaking of sushi, I'm a little overdue for some.

But let's get to the cards, starting with the 2003 release of Stadium Club, the final year of consistent annual releases since the brand's inception in 1991. Of course, 2015 will continue a new streak for Stadium Club, and I hope it keeps going for many more years.

2003 Stadium Club Royal Gold #94 Larry Walker
This is my third card from the Royal Gold parallel set, printed with gold foil (what else?) on extra-thick card stock. I showed my two others in a previous post, but this is the first vertical card, and as is typical of Stadium Club, it has quite an interesting photo. The ball hasn't even reached Walker's glove yet, but he's already well into the motion of firing the ball back toward the infield, perhaps to gun down a runner at home, something Walker was well-known for.

Here's another Larry Walker card from this package, and it's from the same UD set as the Preston Wilson card that I got from The Lost Collector.

2004 UD Diamond All-Star Silver Honors #29 Larry Walker
This one, however, is a "Silver Honors" parallel, which comes with silver foil rather than copper, as well as a seal on the lower left side of the card. A "Gold Honors" parallel also exists, which is serial numbered to 50. Spiegel83 also included the base cards of Helton and Walker, so I have a decent little stack of Rockies from a set that was unknown to me before these trade packages!

Speaking of Helton, there was a base card of his from 2004 Upper Deck.

2004 Upper Deck #338 Todd Helton
These always reminded me a bit of 1994 Upper Deck; but what I enjoy most about this set is the tiny image of the home stadium in the lower right, this one showing the right-center field stands at Coors Field, where The Rooftop was built during the 2013-2014 off-season. The vertical cards from this set have a photo of the clock tower outside the home plate entrance. The 2010 Upper Deck team card features that same area of the stadium.

Not only did I receive some good shots in and of Coors Field, but there were lots and lots of shiny cards in this shipment as well.

2004 UD Reflections #350 Luis A. Gonzalez (RC)
Upper Deck was churning out products like crazy in the early 2000s; this is from a 390-card 2004 set. That doesn't sound like a lot compared to the typical base set, but for a fancy shiny set, it's huge, although all the relics and autograph cards weren't considered separate.

Please don't get the impression that I'm some super-expert on all these obscure sets. I look this all up on Beckett like the rest of you.

2013 Topps Tribute WBC #12 Jhoulys Chacin
I had to look this one up too, as flashy as this card is. Topps made an unlicensed (!) set through their Topps Tribute brand to commemorate the World Baseball Classic. I always appreciate when a blogger includes a card like this - one has to know the players and the league to know that Chacin in a Venezuela uniform is still appropriate for a Rockies fan.

In the years leading up to Y2K, there was a lot of "millennium" branding being thrown around in virtually all consumer product segments. Candies, baseball cards, computers, you name it.

1997 Stadium Club Millennium #M15 Brian Hunter
I don't remember that Brian Hunter was ever a Rockie; although he did apparently spend part of the 2000 season in Denver. I doubt that Spiegel83 knew that either; I'm sure he threw this one in for the shininess. And not only is it shiny, but the surface of the card is raised, almost like a relief map. You can even tell there are wrinkles in the uniform!

There were a couple other cards with these raised surfaces as well, both Rockies, and both from Upper Deck's Ovation brand.

2002 UD Ovation #60 Todd Helton
2006 UD Ovation #70 Garrett Atkins
On Helton's card, only the Rockies logo in the background is raised. But on Atkins' card, the player, the baseball seam, and the whole card surface above the foil each have different surfaces. If you flip either of these cards over (and the Hunter), you can see the imprint on the back (though with less definition).

It wasn't all Rockies though, nor even former Rockies like that Brian Hunter card. Given that I am only loosely into targeting Rockies for my collection, cards from other teams are also welcome.

Especially when they're serial numbered.

2014 Topps Update Gold #US234 Felix Hernandez /2014
That's a pretty recent card of King Felix, from 2014 Update. I've yet to buy a pack of the stuff, but I've already been sent numerous Rockies from it, as well as other inserts and parallels like you see both above and below.

2014 Topps Update The Future Is Now #FN-JA1 Jose Abreu
Jose Abreu was voted the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year, the fourth Cuban to win the award. The players that appear in "The Future is Now" insert set each have three sequential cards, and I can add this to my collection, along with a couple of Yu Darvish cards I got a few months ago from Alex at Chavez Ravining.

Abreu's name came up in an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show, the one where he visited baseball-crazed Cuba. In it, Bourdain encounters a park full of government-sanctioned "professional baseball fans," many of whom have more expertise on the game and its prospects than us American fans with $130 to burn on an MLB.TV subscription.

This episode originally aired a day before the 2011 All Star Game, and the crowd of baseball experts also predicted that Yoenis Cespedes could easily be an MLB star. Judging by Cespedes' performance in the two most recent Home Run Derbys, it's clear that they know their baseball down in Cuba. Though they've developed quite a unique culture under Castro, I'm pleased to see the United States finally taking steps to developing better diplomatic and economic relations with the island nation.

As quoted in that clip, "baseball transcends politics".

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