I recently completed my first trade with Ethan over at Playing With My Cards. I told him that I felt bad for him, being a new Dodger fan and blogger in a world full of Dodger bloggers, and I sent him over a few of the boys in blue that I figured Night Owl or GCRL already had (or would be getting eventually).
When he responded to me, he mentioned that he wanted to send me as many random cards as I could handle. I mentioned a few "fringe" collections I had going on (i.e. non-Padres), but set my expectations low. I don't collect "random" cards! Every card has a specific place and a specific purpose! There's nothing random about it!
Well, even if my expectations had been higher, Ethan would've exceeded them, both in volume and quality. Starting off with the muse behind my other blog, Henry Cotto. His card from the '91 Fleer set was the first card I remember getting, and now I can say that I have his Fleer card from the following year. I know so little about Henry Cotto, yet I still love seeing his cards. This was already getting off to a great start.
But first, I'll start with the not random cards - The Player Collection/Padre cards.
Well, I'll get my two favorite cards out of the way first. Getting additions to my Andy Benes and Fred McGriff PC's is becoming more and more difficult to do. The Fred McGriff collection is nearing the century mark, which is awesome. I knew that Benes led the league in strikeouts one year, but I think this is the first card I have that commemorates it.
Here is another smattering of Padre cards. I've read that Jack Clark had a problem with Tony Gwynn when he played for the Padres, and anybody who has a problem with Tony has a problem with me, so I've blocked him from the Miscellaneous Padres binder so far. Still, I'm a sucker for those airbrushed Cap'n Crunch cards - he's finally in. Bipper turning two is always a pleasant sight, and Ray McDavid's sky blue background looks very relaxing. You might not be able to see Kevin Kouzmanoff due to his camouflage uniform, but he's there, right next to Mr. Alliteration, Wally Whitehurst.
Ethan features some pretty cool mini-collections on his blog, and while it might not be the most original, one of my mini-collections is Padres catchers in gear. These were two good looking additions to the Sweetness binder. I don't remember anything about Phil Clark from when I was a kid, but his cards always had his position listed as C-OF. Can't imagine there's many of those nowadays.
Speaking of mini-collections, Ethan has inspired me to begin another one! I call this one the "Orange Line" collection. The Orange Line, for me, is one of two things: the L-Train line that I'd take a lot when I was living in Chicago, or it's the top of the wall at good old Jack Murphy Stadium. Here are the first three inductees into the Orange Line mini-collection. I'm excited to dig through some old junk wax to find more additions. Thanks Ethan!
Alright, now we're slowly digging down into the randomness. Here are some minor league cards, all featuring teams that were Padres affiliates. Oscar Azocar is the most notable guy here, as he's the only one that I've heard of (he's also had some pretty interesting baseball cards as a major leaguer). I'm surprised that Ethan parted with the card of Jared Baker, since it seems like it would slot in pretty well with his "Grips" mini-collection.
I had mentioned to Ethan that one of my favorite all time sets is 1992 Pinnacle, and that I already had completed Series 1. He sent me some cool base cards from Series II, which almost gets me itching to start working on that series. I'll leave that be for now, but these two were welcome additions. If you're a fan of catchers cards, chances are you have more than a few Carlton Fisk cards. Mark Davis is not only looking sharp in the powder blue of Kansas City, but he's also a former Cy Young winner and Padre. Not too shabby.
Seeing these three awesome pieces of cardboard reminded me how much Pinnacle ruled in '92. I challenge anyone to find three inserts that are as awesome as these three in the same set. I don't think it can be done. I'm not even going to add any more words to this paragraph, just take an extra few seconds and check out these babies. I'll wait.
I also mentioned that I was a big fan of David Nied. Well, of Nied's cards, at least. I'm still convinced that there will come a time that I will win a sports trivia contest for knowing the first player picked in the '92 Expansion Draft. He also sent a card of the second pick, Nigel Wilson. Way to go, scouting departments, you picked a couple of winners there.
I also told him that I have a very small handful of Stan Belinda cards, as he was the first player that I found out had my same birthday. Pretty much all I knew about him was that we shared a birthday and that he pitched for the Pirates, but thanks to these, I see that he also spent time in the American League, with Kansas City and Boston. These were all new to the collection.
Brian Harper is a mini-collection guy for me as well, as long as he's rocking the catchers gear. Mark Parent has some great Padres cards, but I didn't have any other cards of him as a Tiger. This one looks great, and is even a play at the plate. 1993 Upper Deck is right up there with '92 Pinnacle in terms of greatness, and it's photography like this card of Casey Candaele is why.
Miguel Ojeda, like Parent, is also a former Padre catcher, and is shown here in another play at the plate. Even better than that, it features one of my favorite Padres, Khaliiiiiiiiiiiiillllll Greene! Right next to it is the smallest card of the bunch, a sticker of Braves great Dale Murphy. Very cool.
The last card is also my first card - of Johnny Bench. How it is that the title of this blog is "Backstop Cards" and I only now am getting a card of one of the greatest backstops of all time is beyond me. While it's not quite as "action packed" as the subheading might indicate, this is a stellar card of an all time great
Tip of the cap to you, Ethan. Definitely the most varied package of cards I've gotten since this blog has been started (well, at least of cards that made it into binders). Inspired randomness.