Friday, December 23, 2016

The Trading Post #83: All Trade Bait, All The Time

Even after 82 posts under The Trading Post theme, I am still making connections with new bloggers. All Trade Bait, All The Time is the latest to be added to the list. I claimed a card from a stack he offered up, thus earning a spot in his "Operation PWE". The card arrived a few weeks ago, along with a handful of other Rockies.

1997 Upper Deck #182 Larry Walker GI
I've actually opened some packs of 1997 Upper Deck, a product I found on sale at Dave & Adam's a couple years ago. I always liked the copper-heavy set, and the frequent use of actual dates on the card front. This subset, however, always confused me a bit. They definitely have the look of inserts, but are just part of the main checklist. They seem to be quite plentiful, making me wonder if some of them were double-printed. And the write-up on the back, in this case talking about Canada and its contribution to Major League Baseball, is only a partial paragraph, continued on card 183. I do have card 183 already, so I was able to see the final word of Walker's write-up, which is "season", before leading into the next player's write up.

It's a little bit like those articles where you have to click to a second page to see the final eight words. But it's nice and shiny, and I can't stay mad at a shiny card for long.

1997 Pacific #291 Larry Walker
Keeping the international theme going, Walker appears on another shiny card from Pacific, which means that this card is primarily written in Spanish, with English as a secondary language. Two-run homer translates into "cuadrangular de 2 carreras".

I grew up with Pacific cards much more than the Canadian O-Pee-Chee brand, whose cards contained both French and English. Especially living in Colorado, I've had way more exposure to Spanish as a foreign language. I even took four years of it in middle and high school. I can't speak it worth a darn, but I can usually get the general gist of a written paragraph.

I guess this card really isn't all that shiny other than the gold foil. Pacific loved their gold foil, and the vertical name on the left seems to have influenced 1999 Fleer Tradition.

1995 Score Hall of Gold #HG63 Ellis Burks
To go along with the Dante Bichette Hall of Gold card that Brian sent me a while ago, I now have Ellis Burks' card from the same set. This insert set was large enough that numerous Rockies made it in, and while there's a bit of fragility around the edges, the gold stripe through the middle of the card breaks up this action shot well. He's sporting some great flip-down shades on the back, which also mentions that he was the NL Player of the Month in 1994.

This didn't happen until later, but Burks became the first Rockie to enter the 30-30 club. In fact, three Rockies hit that milestone in two seasons, but it hasn't happened at Coors Field since.

2003 Upper Deck #545 Dontrelle Willis
A Marlin or two made their way into this envelope, with Dontrelle Willis showing off his high leg kick. He was an exciting pitcher to watch, and he was decent at the plate, too. This Upper Deck card is from his first season, in which he won the NL Rookie of the Year. He followed that up with an even better 2005 season, finishing with a 22-10 record. But the wheels started to come off after that, as his next two seasons in Florida were rather mediocre. He was traded to Detroit after that (along with Miguel Cabrera for a slew of prospects), but never regained his former glory.

He wasn't a complete bust by any stretch, but he did peak rather early. He'd probably still be on the hill now if his career took a different trajectory.

2016 Topps Allen & Ginter #32 Falcon 9 Rocket
And now we come to the main event, the card I originally requested. It's a great inanimate object from the always-entertaining Allen & Ginter set. The Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX's crown jewel, has had numerous successful launches (and a few failures), but it was just about a year ago that they finally managed to safely land the first stage after a launch. This card does not make mention of that historic feat, but it will go well with some of my other space cards.

Elon Musk knows that reusability is the key to bringing down the astronomical (pun intended) cost of space travel. The Space Shuttle certainly had that concept down, and the solid rocket boosters (the side ones) were reused as well as the shuttle itself, but it ended up being a rather dangerous vehicle, and was never launched with anywhere near the frequency originally intended. It took several tries, but SpaceX is now consistently able to actively guide the first stage back home safely, saving millions of dollars. They've even landed them out at sea.

One fun fact that Musk likes to point out is that the average airline ticket would be about $1.5 million if they had to build a new plane for every flight. Again, I wish the card mentioned something about this, but I'm glad to have it in my collection.

And I got to add a few Rockies along with it.

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