While I've begun to put more and more Padre cards into mailers for other Padre fans or into my prize box for my 1st graders, I still consider myself to be a "team" collector. I'm not an "every-Padre-card" kind of collector, but of all the cards I collect, the overwhelming majority of them are Padres.
Not a lot of need in my collection for guys with those "other" jerseys.
However, yesterday, I was digging through my binder of some of the cards I've collected over the past few years, and I saw some familiar faces - guys that used to be on different teams that were now playing in San Diego.
In 2012, my first year of blogging, Archives came out, and a fourth of the 200 card set was in the '71 Topps design. It was my first "mini-set" collection that I completed, and one of the finest moments in my early blogging career - more than half of those cards came from complete strangers who read my words and sent me the cards! How cool was that? Craig Kimbrel was pretty awesome for the Braves, and I was stoked to get him on the Padres, though we had to swallow the bloated contract of Melvin Upton, the lesser Upton brother. As of right now, Kid K is struggling, and though he has 11 saves, his ERA is an ugly 5.74. Here's hoping he rights the ship and can start locking it down again.
I loved the '71 design in the Archives set so much, that in 2013, when Topps Update released the "Update Minis" in the same design, I decided to snatch them up as well. These were a bit harder to track down, as they were now inserts as opposed to part of the base set, and there were some bigger names in there (Ruth, Trout, Harper). Still, very satisfying to fit these into plastic pages (even though they don't really fit well, since they're minis).
Wil Myers had a horrible year last year, so the Rays sold low on him and the Padres snatched him up. He's done very well this year, even though he's out of position (playing center field instead of a corner position, and leading off instead of hitting 3rd or 5th). He just hit the DL with wrist issues, but hopefully he's coming off it soon (although he had issues with those wrists in Tampa, so it's easy to get depressed about that).
Justin Upton has been a straight up beast, and everything the Padres could've hoped for so far in the young season. Since they've been slumping, he's been one of the lone bright spots, although the bright spot becomes a little dimmer when you take into account that he's on the last season of his contract and is more than likely playing his way out of San Diego.
Last year, I was pretty underwhelmed with the design of the Topps flagship set, as well as the Archives, but I was pleasantly surprised with the Bowman hometown parallels. I was born in Oregon, raised in California, and spent time in Illinois and Chicago, and as much as I love all those places (well, except Idaho), I really love living in Texas, so I made it my goal to get all the cards that had the Lone Star in the background.
My favorite of the bunch was Andrew Cashner's card, which also showcases a 90s throwback Padre jersey, but now, I can say that the mini-set also features a future Padre in former-big time prospect Will Middlebrooks. WMB is still trying to capture the magic of his promising rookie season, and after the Red Sox signed Pablo Sandoval from the Giants, he was suddenly very expendable. The Padres traded a backup catcher for him in a very low risk move. So far, he's still struggling to find his groove, as attested by his .226 average (though he's raised it about 30 points the past week or so). The jury still out on him, but if the Padres are to make a push, he'll need to contribute.
A little more baseball-stats-information based than my usual posts, but I just thought it was interesting that within the span of a few pages of a binder, I found so many familiar faces that I hadn't thought twice about at the time that I put them in those pages. I guess that's how baseball is, there's more Jesse Orosco/Mike Morgan types than Cal Ripken Jr./Tony Gwynn types.
With a general manager like AJ Preller, who seems more than willing to wheel and deal, I can only assume that a few more of these will pop up in the next few seasons.