Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Trading Post #17: The Junior Junkie

Continuing with more of "The Trading Post" theme, the third of three trade packages that arrived on Christmas Eve was from The Junior Junkie, complete with little Mariners logos hand-drawn on the box. I've already covered the first two, from The Angels, In Order, and Nomo's Sushi Platter.

Remember how I said that my girlfriend and I opened all three on Christmas Eve? Well, I didn't quite give you the whole story on that.

1996 Collector's Choice #130 Bret Saberhagen
My girlfriend had a childhood friend who had a "thing" for Bret Saberhagen. Right around the same time that the baseball card bubble was at its highest, she started buying packs here and there to see if she could pull a Saberhagen card for her friend. She didn't ever find one, and eventually stopped looking that carefully. Unopened packs started to end up in the back of the proverbial shoebox, long forgotten.

Forgotten, that is, until stocking-stuffer season rolled around. She asked her mother if any of those old cards were still tucked away. Sure enough, her mother found six unopened packs (1991 Score, 1990 Fleer, 1989 Donruss, etc...) and a few other loose cards, all of which ended up in my stocking on Christmas morning.

I wouldn't be able to leave packs unopened that long any more than I could not finish my chips with a lunch sandwich.

Anyway, on Christmas Day, the morning after a few Saberhagen cards fell out of The Junior Junkie's trade package like the one above, take a look at what I finally liberated from the second pack I opened:

1990 Fleer #116 Bret Saberhagen
After all those years.

Of course, now they're just starting to show up everywhere.

1995 Collector's Choice #441 Mike Kingery
Just like the 125th Anniversary patch, which I've pointed out in numerous recent posts. Here it is on center fielder Mike Kingery diving back to first base.

I wonder if these commemorative patches are starting to turn into a mini-collection. This next card from Ellis Burks caught my eye because of one.

1996 Fleer Tiffany #361 Ellis Burks
That's the Rockies 1995 patch, commemorating the opening of Coors Field. The arch part of the logo replaces the "Colorado" lettering with green-colored girders matching the stadium's architecture. Saberhagen is wearing one too, at the top of this post.

There was plenty of great photography to be found, and it wasn't just in Coors Field.

2008 Topps #607 Ryan Spilborghs
Outfielder Ryan Spilborghs did a good job in the Rockies outfield, and he's now a commentator for the team on the Root Sports cable channel. I even snapped a picture of him when the Cubs were in town in 2007. But this one is from Turner Field in Atlanta. That #44 banner on the outfield wall (right-center, to be specific) is of the Home Run King, Hank Aaron.

Let's take a look at one more arm patch. It's small in this image, but very important.

2008 Upper Deck First Edition #350 Garrett Atkins
Yes, that's the 2007 World Series patch! Garrett Atkins is shown here facing Red Sox relief pitcher Hideki Okajima in either Game 3 or 4.

I was really hoping to pinpoint the date of this card. Trouble is, Atkins faced Okajima in both games, so I can't be sure. Atkins hit a home run off of Okajima in Game 4, so it's likely that this is that shot. However, I was really hoping that I could point to Game 3, because that's the game I was lucky enough to get a ticket to!

Yes, I've been to 50% of all World Series games that have taken place in Denver. Unfortunately, the Rockies were swept that year, but the appearance itself was pretty special!

2012 Topps Opening Day Fantasy Squad #FS-7 Troy Tulowitzki
Tulowitzki was a participant in the 2007 World Series, but this card is a bit newer. It's an insert card from a brand that does a pretty darn good job with insert sets, Topps Opening Day. There's a nice amount of green on this one, and foil too (only the "Fantasy Squad" lettering), but nothing that distracts from readability. There's even a little bit of the "surfboard" design element that was the major theme of 2012 Topps. In fact, it looks a bit like the McLaren logo, for those of you who follow Formula 1 or supercars.

When you're sent this many Rockies cards, you're sure to get plenty of photos from Coors Field, like this one of my favorite Rockies player, Nolan Arenado:

2013 Bowman Chrome #24 Nolan Arenado (RC)
It's not that shiny for a "Chrome" card, which is a little disappointing, design-wise. It also has a bit of that gravity-defying curl, though nowhere near as bad as 2010 Topps Chrome. Arenado appears with the left-field wall over his shoulder, clearly earning that Gold Glove while covering third base.

Last but not least (last but most?) is my first card from the 2014 Finest set, and it's a beauty.

2014 Finest #30 Carlos Gonzalez
The colors really pop on this design, as do the bright accents on the right. The vertical nameplate isn't my favorite, but the subtle concentric lines around the border give it an interesting frame. And I don't know if it's just me, but I see a lot of this design in the upcoming 2015 Topps base set, which I can't wait to see in person.

I have to thank The Junior Junkie for my first taste of 2014 Finest; as well as the whole small flat-rate box full of Rockies!

And Bret Saberhagen.

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