I got an email at the beginning of the year from Kerry at Cards on Cards. He's a swell guy, if you don't already know of him, which I would imagine most of you do. Anyways, the email he sent me had these six words in the header:
I have cards to send you!
Now, I'm not always as good as I should be at returning emails - trust me, it's usually nothing personal… usually - but you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm going to make sure that an email titled like that gets a response. A few days later, a few bricks of cards were waiting for me when I got home. Great stuff as usual from Kerry.
We'll start off with a pair of cards for mini-collections - Ben Davis will be added to the "Padres Catchers in Gear" collection, while the black bordered Leaf card of Mike Maddux will go into the "Orange Line" collection. I'm not really a fan of the '92 Leaf set, but the black parallels are pretty cool looking.
Here's one of the more picturesque shots that came in the mailer. Another addition to the "Orange Line" collection, this time a '94 Fleer card of former Cy Young winner Mark Davis.
These were some firsts for me. I previously had no cards of either Michael Ekstrom or Colt Morton. Ekstrom was a Padres draft pick in 2004 and was born where I was born - Portland, OR. He made his MLB debut in September of '08, pitching two scoreless innings and striking out a guy named Manny Ramirez. In 20 games between '08 and '09, however, he would have an ERA of 6.75. Ouch. He'd also pitch for the Rays and Rockies, and his last game in the majors was in August of 2012.
Morton is a life time Padre. He played one game for them in 2007 and nine games in 2008. He was able to scratch out a hit in sixteen at bats. He was later traded to the Mariners, but hasn't made it back to the bigs. Wikipedia says that he's currently playing for the Sugarland Skeeters in the Independent League.
I remember reading about people "coming around" on the idea of somebody being a Hall of Famer (a la Bert Blyleven), and it never made sense to me. Look at the numbers, watch the tape, and decide. However, I've made a Blyleven-esque decision when it comes to Melvin Nieves. Formerly the bane of my existence as a Padres fan (he was the "big prospect" we got in the Fred McGriff trade who was flat out terrible), I have now come to grips with the place in Padres history held by Mr. Nieves. Whereas before, his cards went right into the trash, I now allow them (not all are winners, but these ones make it, I like the design of '94 Stadium Club and '96 Fleer too much).
I had doubles of this card, and even showed it a few days ago, but I'll give Greg Maddux some more love. Dude was amazing.
Speaking of amazing, here's my only card with Early Wynn on it. I know next to nothing about Wynn, but I wonder what Wynn fans think about him being compared to Jake Peavy. One is already enshrined in Cooperstown, while the other has had a great career, but has been derailed by injuries. Wynn had exactly 300 W's and pitched until he was 43 (he missed the '45 season due to military service), while Jake has 132 wins at the age of 32. I guess if he pitched for eleven more years, he'd have a chance to make it to 300, but I'm not sure I see that happening. Regardless, this is a good looking card.
Getting new Gwynn cards is getting harder to do, as I've surpassed the 400 card mark, but Kerry came through with this and a new Steve Garvey from Drake's Big Hitters. Love me some oddballs, plus those awesome '84 brown and gold unis.
I am not really a big Ryan Klesko fan, but he's got some pretty interesting cards out there. Between the goofy sideburns and shots like this, he has a lot more cards in the Miscellaneous Padres binder than I thought. Seriously though, is he trying to catch the bat with his glove? How is this happening?
Unlike the Klesko above, this David Wells card is from the regular '05 Upper Deck set. I feel like I've never seen these cards before. For a set that I have either never seen or have completely forgotten about, it's a decent enough design, though maybe just a tad more space is taken up by the nameplate than is really necessary. Wells looks like some type of sand monster in those uniforms. Maybe it's fitting that there is a beer ad in the background behind him?
Here's a trio of fan favorites who aren't what you might call "well known" Padres. Joyner is the most famous of the bunch, though I feel that most of his time in San Diego has probably been forgotten. Love that guy. Kouzmanoff is a guy I liked, though more for the fun of yelling "KOOOUUUUZZZ!" at the game than anything. It always sounded like a chorus of boos, but I hope he knows it wasn't. Aki Otsuka had a birthday yesterday, and he is a lot older than I thought he would be. Click on that link to watch one of the best Padre related commercials of all time. I'll wait.
Kyle Blanks is the opposite of Ryan Klesko, in that I feel like I should have a bunch of his cards, but in reality, there are still lots out there that I don't have. This one was new to me. Gary Pettis has nothing to do with Kyle Blanks, other than that they played the same position. I have zero recollection of Pettis ever being a Padre, and wouldn't believe it were it not for the photographic proof provided by baseball cards. Turns out that he played 30 games and hit .200 for the Friars in '92, before he was released. He signed with Detroit and finished the season with them, which would be his last in the bigs.
Another two guys that have nothing in common, other than that they were both pitchers and I love 'em both. I am always surprised by the flexibility that Hoffman has. I am almost positive that I have never been able to touch my knee to my chest like Hoffman was able to. Having a Player Collection of a guy like Andy Benes, who was good but never great, has been interesting, since there are very few inserts or fancy cards to chase down. As such, it's oddball-ish cards like this that are what I'm left to chase down. This is my 73rd Benes card (all with the Padres). COMC.com has 115 listed of him as a Padre (from '89 to '95), so… I guess there's a few more out there.
When people (mostly family members) ask how my blog's going, I'm not really sure what to say. I mean, I always say that it's going well and that I enjoy doing it, but it seems like they think I should be getting something more out of it. To put it bluntly, if nothing else, it's been great to get more cards than I ever thought I'd own. Thank to Kerry and everybody else who sends their unwanted Padre cards down to Texas. It's always greatly appreciated.