I Finally Cracked

A few posts back, in my trade recap of the cards that Fuji sent me, I mentioned that despite having been in this circle for five years now I had finally completed my first trades with two of its longstanding members. The other blogosphere legend I connected with was none other than Julie of A Cracked Bat. She’d reached out some months earlier about wanting to send me some Astros, and I hastily agreed. Last month I finally got a box of cards out to her as a thank you – plenty of Tigers and some of the ‘Stros I know she collects.
The package came with a little note that caught me off guard at first. I’d forgotten about her lucky strike of cheap complete/near-complete sets at a card show. I won’t make you strain your eyes – the interesting part reads “Cats are no better than dogs. Mine apparently enjoy plastic wrap… so one card is missing a corner.”
I chuckled a bit as I pulled out the first team bag, which was littered with tiny pierce marks that I know all too well, as my cat loves to chew on plastic as well. It’s a thing, apparently.

So, this Wilfredo Rodriguez with a lopped corner was the victim. I have a copy of this one already, so it worked out. I’m going to hang onto this guy for kicks, though.

One of the sets Julie busted was 2000 Skybox. I never saw much of this one originally, but I remember buying the Skybox Dominion packs in droves. Bags and Biggio were the two big highlights I needed here.

Speaking of Biggio, Julie added plenty of his cards to the collection. I do think the Dugout Axcess was another set or partial set she busted, and I recall seeing the 2001 Fleer Futures among the list. 

Like I said, there were several new Biggio cards here. The mid-aughts Ovation is a nice one, and draws back to the ’98 design with the giant baseball in the background. The Panini Cooperstown is an Induction insert, and damn, how can you not love that one?

We’ll wrap up the Killer B’s portion with this mid-aughts duo. Nice cards, and it’s always nice to add to the ranks of these collections. The haul certainly did not stop here, however.

First, we have some crazy 1996 designs. I loved these Circa sets, although in retrospect this is just about as busy as ’95 Fleer. The Abreu is a wild insert from Stadium Club which I’d never seen before.
Julie also hooked me up in the ’90s parallel universe. The Gold Press Proof is not individually numbered, but the back denotes that it is from the initial print run of 500. The Pinnacle is one of the gorgeous Museum Collection parallels. I hadn’t noticed until last year that the gold portion below the image contains the names of several Houston-area notables, including Astroworld. I never had much ’97 Pinnacle.
BEAUTIES. The ’98 Ultra set is one of my favorites, and these lustrous Gold Medallion parallels are just top notch. These came close to being my favorite cards in the package. We’ve still got a good ways to go, however.
A nice Pence refractor and a new Keuchel prism refractor. How they get away with dubbing them prism refractors is beyond me. These are both very fun additions.

Before I move on to the next spectacular portion, there was also this duo of alt-Flagship cards. The Gerrit Cole is a rainbow foil parallel from Update, and the Keuchel is from the AL Standouts blister pack – something I would almost certainly not buy, so I really appreciate when I can pick them up in trades.
Ok, deep breath. It’s about to get nuts up in here.

Julie sent me a bunch of 2015 Topps. Why is that exciting? Well, perhaps you can tell by the fact that these are scanned in rows of four…

Not eight, and not sixteen of them…

Julie sent me TWENTY of the 2015 Topps Mini Astros. By the looks of it, the only ones I’m missing now are guys that she collects, which is certainly understandable. I don’t think I’ve ever picked up more than a couple of these at a time, so this was really exciting!
Lastly, there was one super awesome and shiny card of now-Pirate Big Joe Musgrove.
No, not this 2017 Donruss Optic pink parallel, although it’s pretty nice as well. I was referring to this:

More like Joe Mojo! That’s a thick-as-heck, gold framed autograph from 2017 Gold Label! Holy cow, I was not expecting this! I’ve gotta say, it’s really neat as well. If you’ve ever held any of the framed cards, you’ll know what I mean.
Thanks for the swap, Julie! I’m glad I finally cracked open a trade with you.

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