Friday, December 16, 2016

The Trading Post #82: Cardboard Clubhouse

Since the inception of Infield Fly Rule, Adam from Cardboard Clubhouse has been one of my most frequent trading partners. He was part of my giant outgoing mailday on Monday, and many of my trading partners and #Supertraders should be seeing something from me, if it hasn't arrived already. I turned on the Broncos game last Sunday and nearly emptied out my trade box, packaging up a dozen or so PWEs and at least that many bubble mailers.

It's that time of year, and while I haven't gone for any of Topps' snowflake cards this year, hopefully I did manage to spread a little cheer around the Cardsphere. I've also been on the receiving end of a few packages recently, including a Christmas card from Adam that included a small stack of Rockies cards. Once I managed to de-glitter them, there were some nice surprises inside.

1993 Topps #551 Eric Young
It's set to hit subzero temperatures in the Denver area this weekend, and the snow is already falling, so Eric Young with a giant cactus behind him is a welcome sight. 1993 Topps, the second factory set I ever purchased, marked the first appearance of Rockies and Marlins in Topps base. Even then, they didn't show up until Series 2, but the league expansion did help the set balloon to an enormous 825 cards that year. That was still before any action shots could be used, so there are just a bunch of posed images. But there are a few interesting backdrops. Jerald Clark has a lovely seaside photo, and Jim Tatum has another desert landscape behind him. Marlins cards look similar, but much more tropical.

And very much above zero.

2008 Upper Deck Diamond Collection #DC-12 Manny Corpas
The Rockies had about fifteen seasons under their belt by the time Upper Deck was nearing the end of its baseball product. I seem to run across a lot of these Diamond Collection inserts. I'm not sure how common they are, but they're one of those sets that just seem to gravitate toward me.

Manny Corpas was a serviceable closer for the Rockies, racking up 34 saves throughout his career. He hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2013, but I can't help imagining that he'd still be an asset to the bullpen. The Rockies did just sign reliever Mike Dunn to a three-year contract, so the front office is clearly taking steps to address that weakness.

Still not sure about that whole Ian Desmond thing, though. They really have no option but to stick him at first base, a position he's never played. The outfield is pretty much stacked, but they only let you play three at a time. Between CarGo, Blackmon, potentially Desmond, and prospects Dahl and Tapia, they really need to convert some of that into pitching, as hard as it would be to see some of them go. It's almost like the Rockies are banking on the NL adopting the DH.

Last season Dickerson was traded for Jake McGee, so at least there have been some moves in that direction. But both players were a bit of a disappointment last season.

2012 Topps #460 Thomas Field (RC)
Between Tulowitzki and Trevor Story, the Rockies have been completely set on shortstop for quite some time. Except when Tulowitzki and Story were injured. Still, that didn't leave much room for Thomas Field, one of the few players to pass through Denver that I've never heard of, even though he got a Topps base card in 2012. He appeared in a mere 18 games for the Rockies, and in a few games for the Angels and Rangers the past few seasons. He seems like one of those players that tops out at Triple-A. But he did just sign with the Twins organization, so there's still hope.

1995 Fleer Ultra #376 David Nied
David Nied shows up a lot around here, and though he didn't become a household name like many of his teammates, he still was a rather familiar face of the early Rockies. Though it was pricey, I managed to buy a few packs of 1995 Fleer Ultra after the strike ended. Compared to the craziness of 1995 Fleer, Ultra gave us a foil-heavy but very clean set. This set has managed to grow on me quite a bit since I started this blog, but the two different foil colors still bug me a little.

1998 SkyBox Dugout Axcess #141 Vinny Castilla TRIV
This is one of those sets I had no idea existed until I started blogging and making trades. The Skybox division of Fleer definitely tried hitting the lower end of the market, something that Topps has been neglecting for some time. Dugout Axcess is a set I've seen before, but not this subset. Apparently there's a parallel of this card numbered to just 50 copies, which is surprising for such a low-end set.

Anyone care to take a guess at the answer to this Trivia question? There are some hints about an "improbable event" at "hitter-friendly" Coors Field in late 1996.

Yes, that was the only no-hitter ever pitched in Coors Field, thrown by the Dodgers' Hideo Nomo. The Rockies have been no-hit three times, twice by the Dodgers.

There are lots of other trivia questions on the back of this card, like what's Ken Griffey, Jr.'s given first name? What happened to Ivan Rodriguez on June 20th, 1991 besides his MLB debut? And there's an out-of-date question about the career home runs leader.

Junior's real first name is George, as was his dad's. Pudge happened to have his (first) wedding day the same day as his call up. And Hank Aaron was still the Home Run King in 1998, but Barry Bonds was well on his way to taking the crown.

1994 Stadium Club Team Finest #4 Andres Galarraga
Finally, this was the shiniest card in the envelope. Topps was still making these odd team sets under the Stadium Club brand in 1994, with an entirely different design from the regular Stadium Club cards. They did the same in 1993, the first of just two years this concept existed.

Adam, in fact, sent me an Eight Men Out card from 1993's Team Stadium Club set, so he probably found about as many of these cards as I used to. But this one's from 1994, and it has a Topps Finest finish on it, one of a 12-card partial parallel set, which I'm about halfway to completing now. Chrome wouldn't exist for another couple years, but Finest had already established itself, as did the curl that would forever plague beautiful cards like this. It was still such a new technology that Topps had to list the U.S. patent numbers on the back of the card.

I didn't know that a Rockie was honored with a card in this small set way back in 1994. And surprisingly, I don't have the base version. This card looks so familiar, but it's brand new to me. Maybe it's just the design. As much as I've collected since I was a kid, the sets I knew from 1993 and 1994 will forever be etched in my memory much more clearly than others. Recent Topps base sets I do pretty well with, but I can't match the set to the year for at least half of the 1960s and 1970s. And for Bowman, I might as well throw darts.

It's a little off-center, which has to be pretty blatant on a full bleed card to even notice. But I know exactly where this one will go in my binders, and it's a design I could basically draw from memory if I needed to.

Glad I could swap some holiday cheer with a longtime trading partner, and if your shipment just went through my local post office, I hope you enjoy yours.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you liked the cards. I'll keep an eye out for the mail you sent.