Merry Christmas From A Not-So-Secret Santa

A few weeks back, I got an extremely surprising email out of the blue from our fellow blogger Tom of The Angels, In Order. He was checking to see if one of the cards in that “Ten Most Wanted List” was indeed still a card that I needed. And it wasn’t just any card – Tom was reaching out about one of the big ticket items up there…

No, I’m not going to do that thing where I keep you in suspense all post and stick it down at the bottom, because this was just too awesome.

This, my friends, is a 1936 Goudey card featuring Wilbur “Bill” Brubaker. Astute readers of the blog and my fellow trade partners have probably figured out why this seemingly random card is so cool to me, as Bill shares my last name. Not only that, but he played for Pittsburgh, the city where my father grew up.
This email from Tom was truly unexpected – I don’t think I’ve sent him anything in the past year, and while I’ve been building a little stack for him, we haven’t been in communication in regards to a trade at all. But there was a simple explanation. You see, Tom thought he had drawn my name in this year’s Secret Santa blogstravaganza, a call which I missed due to, well, being too caught up in work to read everyone’s blogs in November. He’d already gone out and gotten me this superb piece of vintage cardboard by the time he’d realized his error. Don’t worry, Tom got a package off to his real target, Tony of Off Hiatus, and it was great as well. I’m more than happy to benefit from the initial oversight, though – this was one of those things I figured I’d hunt down eventually, but just threw on my list “in case.” Now, it’s the oldest card in my collection, and my first card of the first Brubaker to play in the majors.

For the record, the only other Brubaker to make it to the show was Bruce, a pitcher who made brief appearances with the Dodgers and Brewers in 1967 and 1970. There have been a few more in the minors – Ray “Keith” Brubaker being the most notable among them.

There was a nice assortment of Astros tucked into the envelope as well to round out the package.

Here we have some Ken Caminiti goodness from 1993. The back of the Awesome Action card from Triple Play declares, “one of the prettiest plays a third baseman can make is the diving backhand stop on a line drive headed down the line.” Cami could definitely handle the hot corner. That Upper Deck Fun Pack capped off my needs for that set. 

Then there were a pair of tallboys, so to speak. The Post “Super Sugar Crisp” Baseball Bonanza card is quite large, and came completed with it’s scratch off and rules sections still attached. What a neat oddball! The Orlando Miller is an insert from Fleer’s 1994 Extra Bases set, known for its bookmark-like quality. I don’t think I even had that one on my want list!

A pair of HOF second basemen were found in the package as well. That’s a All-Rookie Cup insert from 2017 Topps on the left, while the Biggio was packaged with what I thought were the last cards I needed from the ’93 Fleer team set. That is, until I went to log them in TCDB and discovered two of those blasted “Signed By” cards that had previously been listed under other teams. They’re #399 Greg Swindell and #500 Doug Drabek, if you’re wondering.

We’ll round out the package with a pair of new cards featuring the Astros latest great to man second, El Gigante himself. This was a damn good year for Astros baseball, but I was particularly ecstatic to see Altuve get his just rewards once the MVP vote was announced. This guy is just too much fun to watch, and I hope that the Astros give him all the money to keep him here for a long time, Scott Boras be damned.

Tom, thank you for the amazing Christmas gift, even if you weren’t supposed to be my Secret Santa. I owe you big time!

 – Marc “Bru”

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