I've been getting stacks and stacks of envelopes over here at Backstop HQ, but the flurry of PWE's was interrupted last week by a bulging bubble mailer from one of the good guys in the card blogosphere (not that there are any bad guys, however) - Dimebox Nick. If crafting a card package was like composing a song, Nick would be… well, whoever you think writes good songs. I was going to go with Beethoven or Mozart, but then decided to go with someone contemporary, but couldn't decide between Joe Strummer (a musical deity that seems like a little too high praise, Chris Cornell (if you were into grunge in the 90's or still like it two decades later), or one of the Sherman brothers (my kids have been on a big Merry Poppins kick lately). Anyways, he's good.
As I was digging into a few great stacks of cardboard that Nick sent over, I realized that it seemed that each of the cards he sent had a "companion" that seemed to fit together with another.
Okay, we'll start with some obvious ones. These are both from the 1970 Topps set. Not a Padres team set that I'm working on, but Preston Gomez is a keeper here because a) he was the inaugural Padres manager (well, at least in the big leagues), and b) sweet palm trees in the background. Chris Cannizzaro was the Padres Opening Day catcher for the first three years, and my affinity for catchers earns him a spot in the Miscellaneous Padres binder as well.
Another pair of cards from the same set, but this is one that I didn't have any of previously. I'm not sure what the concept of these cards is, seeing as how it says "Hometown Heroes", but neither Peavy nor Headley was raised in San Diego - both are a few states over, in Colorado (Headley) and Alabama (Peavy). Still, good looking cards, the lack of logos isn't a bother here.
Nick is always able to send over Darin Erstad cards, as he is apparently pretty easy to find in dime boxes. I'm not aware of any other Erstad collectors, unless they're just Angels team collectors. All of the cards were from the "Disney" version of the Angels uniforms. I'm not a big fan of the Padres unis right now, but they aren't as bad these.
Alright, onto some great Padres from back when I was a kid. They're even wearing matching uniforms, even though they're a few years apart. Seriously, Fred McGriff has six or seven cards from the '93 Upper Deck set. All of them are awesome. Ken Caminiti was definitely a titan of the game, at least from '96 to '98. Don't keep all the Caminiti cards that I come across, just the good ones. There are a lot of good ones.
Alright, here's a pair of Padres who have had their numbers retired by the team. Both also work/have worked for the Padres after their careers ended. Randy Jones has a BBQ stand at Petco Park and has also advised pitchers. Dave Winfield worked in the front office until leaving for a job with MLB in New York last year. Similar to how he left the Padres for a better job with the Yankees in 1981.
Here's a pair of "oddballs". In parenthesis, since they are still made by major card companies (Upper Deck and Topps), but still a little "odd" in their own right. The Brian Giles card (the first to make it into the Miscellaneous Padres binder, surprisingly enough) is also put out by Chevron, while the Darrin Jackson card is the O-Pee-Chee version. Love that '92 Topps design.
Here's a pair big leaguers back before they made it to the big leagues with the Padres. Casey Kelly was a part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade (along with Anthony Rizzo, who is now with the Cubs). He made a Trevor Hoffman-like transition from shortstop to the pitcher's mound, so that's why he's shown hitting here. I think that the mat Latos card is from his days with the Florida Bombers, a U18 team that he played for before being drafted by the Padres. Back before the tattoos, when he was still rocking the glasses. While I'm a Yonder Alonso fan, that trade with the Reds did not turn out like I was hoping, I liked him as a Padre.
Here's another pair of "prospects". I mean, Casey Kelly made his MLB debut in 2012, so he's not a "new guy", but he was injured and didn't pitch last year, so he's still a relative unknown. Jace Peterson is also young (23 yrs.), and is slowly but surely moving up the chains in the minors. He played for High A Lake Elsinore last year and hit .303 with 7 homers, 66 RBI, and 42 stolen bases. Jason Parks (@professorparks) of Baseball Prospectus rates him as the Padres #8 prospect in the minors, so… there's that.
What do these cards have in common? They were my two favorites from the package. The Jesus Guzman card is of the sapphire variety, which is numbered to 25 and very shiny. I like the Khalil Greene card even better. 2005 Topps Gallery is a freaking awesome set. I've only got this one and the Mark Loretta one (which is half the team set), but that might be one worth chasing down. Plus, it's KHALIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLL!
Here's the last pairing - one for my very small "kids on cardboard" collection. Very cool to see kids interacting with the pros. Reminds me very much of Spring Training and how interactive the players can be with the fans, more so than during the season. I'm pretty sure I'll be staying in Texas during Spring Break instead of heading out to Arizona, which is kind of a bummer since I've been able to go the last two years. Still, hopefully I'll be able to hit up some free shows during South by Southwest in Austin, so it won't be too bad.
Lastly, we have a "Sweet Swatch" of one of the most dominant pitchers in franchise history. Jake Peavy has the record for most Opening Day starts as a Padre with four ('06-'09), tying Eric Show ('84, '86, '87, and '89) and Randy Jones ('75-'77, '80). I'll ignore the "White Sox" that listed underneath his name.
Thanks Nick for the great batch of cardboard!