Trading with new people is great. There's usually a centerpiece to a trade and more things fall into place as it gets finalized. I always enjoy seeing how things get packed and shipped, if there are any notes or special/oddball cards thrown in, etc. It's all great.
Then there are "just because" packages that come from other collectors that you've established a "understanding" with. My buddy Mark from This Way To The Clubhouse is one of those guys.
His most recent package took a long, winding road to my house, since I apparently forgot to tell him about the recent address change. It was definitely worth the wait.
I usually try to end with the best card of the lot, but I love this card so much that I wanted to make it the headliner. The Topps Black Gold subset from 1993 is probably my favorite insert that they've ever done. I pulled a Fred McGriff when I was a kid, and it has been one of my favorite cards since then (and was even included in my first ever blog post).
I almost bought this online a week or so ago, and I'm now glad that I saved my dollars. Once I get the Gary Sheffield from this set, I'll have the whole Padres "Black Gold" set. Nine year-old me would be so psyched. 28 year old me would be pretty stoked as well.
Speaking of Mr. Sheffield, here he is from the 1993 Leaf Set. Love this set, and the All-Star Game patches that most of the team is sporting in it. Aki Otsuka was a fan favorite in his time in America's Finest City. This is my first card of his where he's not sharing it with someone else (I have Topps Total card of him and Darrell May). Gotta love Aki, the dude could seriously wield a bat.
A package bookended by Mr. Padre. I'm unfamiliar with a lot of stuff that Fleer did after the mid-90s, but this 2006 Fleer card is great. Looks like a vintage shot of Anthony Gwynn at... spring training? Some sort of practice field? Wherever it is, it's pretty cool.
Another great exchange in the books! Thanks Mark. Got a stash of Mets around here somewhere, if I can ever get out of work before 4:00, I'll get them out to you. Lately, I've been leaving school around 6:00. Mrs. All The Way To The Backstop is not stoked about that.
Ok, just in case you missed the awesome Aki Otsuka link from above, here it is again. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Satisfaction is guaranteed, or your 30 seconds of wasted time will be mailed back to you.