A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Friday, June 14, 2013

Some Dude's Garage

Has anyone ever looked on craigslist for baseball cards?  I have a handful of times (that’s how I found out about the annual show in my neck of the woods), but I’ve never seen anything worth checking out.  Lots of stuff that’s just garbage or way overpriced.

However, a few weeks ago, I went to our town’s “city wide” garage sale.  I just wanted to make it a quick trip, see if there were any cards, and get out.  There weren’t any, but I mentioned the lack of cards to a guy there and he said that he knew a guy a few streets away from me that had an ad on craigslist.  Since I had some time, I checked it out (thanks iPhone) and made the call.

Wow, the dude had a bunch of stuff.

It was extremely unorganized, and the ad had a picture of a foot locker that was filled to the brim with boxes of cards.  It looked pretty daunting, and would probably take all day to sort through, but I had a little time on my hands, so I made my way to the stranger’s house.

What had really piqued my interest was a box from the 1991 Fleer factory set that I had seen in the picture, but upon further inspection, I found that it was full of random cards, no longer containing the wonderful yellow cardboard that I had hoped to unconver.

Still, there was some great 90s wonderfulness to be found.

In the first box I dug through, I found a lot of star players (as would be the norm in most of the boxes), but not many that fit into my collection.  Here are three that did fit in.  I like the finish on ’96 Fleer, a full 180 degree turnaround from ’95 Fleer.  You don’t see a lot of multiplayer cards featuring the same guy on different teams, but that’s what makes this Joe Carter card awesome.  And I don’t pass up cards of Greg Vaughn.  I just don’t.

After digging through a few more boxes and coming up dry, I figured I wanted to get on with my day and find some big chunks of cards that I could snap up to fill up my “take” box.  I found a box set of 1990 Topps Pro Debut that fit the bill nicely.  I hadn’t seen any of these before, but here are some that fill some Player Collection needs.  Can’t go wrong with rookie cards of Steve Finley and Andy Benes.  Gene Harris became a Padre down the road, and I love those powder-blue Expos uniforms.

The Jim Abbott card was probably the best “find” from the box, but how can I not add great baseball names like Goose Gozzo and Kevin Mmahat to my binders.  Seriously, that Mmahat card looks like a typo.

I mentioned that I’m looking to put together the 1991 Fleer set.  As of right now, the closest I’ve come to “set building” has been putting together 1992 Pinnacle Series 1, their inaugural release.  But I’m way close on ’91 Fleer, especially after a trade that I’ll be posting tomorrow.  Anyways, what’s great about ’91 Fleer is that the cards are so bright that they’re easy to see if you’re digging through boxes, even if they’re on their side.  I scooped up a big chunk and waited until I got home to see if I needed them.  Turns out that I already had most of ‘em, but here’s a few that got me closer to the set.  Can’t have too many Biggio cards from his catching days.

Did you know that not all ’91 Fleer cards had the bright yellow border?  Well, the factory set included some inserts that were white bordered, like the Dave Stewart card above, as well as a set commemorating each game from the 1990 World Series.  Very cool to find these, this is about as “hard to find” as 1991 Fleer gets.

At this point, I was satisfied with my handful of Player Collection pickups, the 1990 Pro Debut box, and my handful of ’91 Fleer.   But my box was still less than half full, and the guy, my daughter, and I were all getting restless.  Then I found a group that would fill the rest of the box.

Minor league cards!!!  There were a whole bunch of these in a box, so I took a big stack and filled up the rest of my “take” box.  There wasn’t a whole lot of good stuff in there, but it was fun finding some players that made it and looking at weird names, both from the players and the teams they played for.

Seriously, though, I’ve never heard of Brad Erdman, but how awesome is that catcher shot?

In case you were wondering, Erdman was drafted by the Cubs out of Cochise Community College in Arizona, but never made it to the show.

Here are a trio of Padre farmhands who I’d never heard of.  I mean, I’m pretty sure I’d remember names like “Pepper” Anthony, Tookie Spann, and Darius Gash.  Would’ve made for a pretty awesome lineup card.

Here are some other guys that I thought were good finds.  Nigel Wilson was a Blue Jays prospect who is most known for being the first pick of the Florida Marlins in the Expansion Draft.  Can’t win ‘em all, as Florida knows by now.  Curtis Pride was the first deaf baseball player that I had ever heard of, and I will always remember Cliff Floyd as the target of a heckler at Jack Murphy Stadium.  “Hey Floyd!  You Ain’t Pink!” 

Well, my box was full now, and I was ready to split.  That’s when the guy showed me a filing cabinet full of even more cards, telling me that if I ever wanted to stop by he had some cool stuff that I hadn’t searched through like…

These guys, from the 1989 Franklin Caramel set.  I had never heard of these before, and it’s been hard to find a lot of info on ‘em, but they’re pretty cool in my book.  The Griffey Jr. at the top of the post is from the same set.  I think there are two series of these, since I’ve seen some similar looking ones online that aren’t included in the same twelve card set.  Abbott, Henderson, and Clark are all good in my book.  He showed them to me, and I asked if he could toss them in, and he obliged.

Okay, there was one last thing that I snagged from him (props if you’ve made it down this far, reading the whole thing – if you’re just looking at the pictures at this point, I don’t blame ya).

He had a bunch of Pinnacle Inside cans.  I had one sent to me by another blogger a while back, but I hadn’t opened it because, well, Tony Gwynn was on the outside, I didn’t know if I wanted to open it and maybe ruin it.  Well, I grabbed two of these on my way out, so now I wasn’t afraid to bust them open.  There wasn’t a whole lot to see (although a few cards will make their way into some trade packages, but I did get…

a Steve Finley card that I didn’t have before.  Can’t beat that!  A good looking one as well.  Not sure how crazy I am about the idea of cards coming out of a tin can, but they don’t make cards like Pinnacle did anymore (I guess it’s up to personal preference if that’s a good thing or a bad thing).

Overall, not a bad way to spend a half hour and a few bucks.  It’d be fun to sort through all that stuff, but ain’t nobody got time for that, I’m good with what I got here.  I'm not sure why that Finley card is so weird looking, but I'm tired of trying to make it look normal.


  1. Always good to hear of garage sale success stories!

    Those '89 Franklin Caramel cards are awesome, especially the Abbott.

  2. Speaking of that 91 Fleer trade - I found a guy on Craig's list giving away cards. I get down there and he unloads about 20,000 cards on me. Free. It was all junk wax 91-93 era, and had been picked through, but as a set collector, I had fun sorting them and trying to get sets... and ending up with gobs of extras to try and unload on anyone who mentions they want to complete a set.

  3. Great success! Looks like you had a fun time.

    The mysterious package I received in today's mail that has lotsa cool minor league cards and '89 Topps MLB Debut Mets now makes sense :)

  4. Yes...garage sales have yielded me some good finds. There is a lot of junk, but I've been semi-lucky in turning up some treasures.

    Did he offer to sell you the whole trunk? What kind of price did he put on that?

    1. Didn't offer to sell everything - he was selling a box for 10 bucks - and there were 30 boxes of cards in the whole thing, plus a bunch of other stuff in the filing cabinet. I also told him off the bat that I wasn't looking to flip them for a profit (after talking with him, this seemed to be his original intention when he first bought them) and I was kind of a cheapskate, so he wasn't expecting much from me.