Not too terribly long ago – right before everything ground to a halt, I believe – I sent a little package over to our good pal Greg at Night Owl Cards. I still remember when I was yet a babe in the card blogging world, lurking and watching with amazement at all the great blogs and great cards they were posting, and the trading that happened amongst them. Greg, of course, has been our most consistent card blogger for what feels like all of time at this point. Perhaps all of the internet. Who can say? All I know is that when I was new in this game, I lusted for that first time a package from Watertown graced my mailbox.
That first trade was years ago now, and I think we’re probably each other’s default when it comes to setting aside spare Dodgers and Astros which we pull – although for Greg, I’m fairly certain he wants those Astros out of the house as quickly as possible at this point.
He let me know around that time there was a little something he’d pulled that was waiting for me as well. These probably sat in his house a bit longer than he may have liked, but given the whole pandemic thing, well, there was no need to rush to the post office. That these arrived as soon as they did was actually surprising to me.
The 2020 Heritage card of Jose Altuve, which I no longer needed for the team binder at this point, was too nice of a card to toss aside. I’m keeping the double, because it is just too pretty for the trade stack, what with the excellent photo selection. It even reminds me a little of the old ’71-style customs I made back when I was new to customs. Heck, just for kicks here’s one of those, a card I made to celebrate George Springer’s first career home run, if I recall correctly.
A good chunk of the mailer was a smattering of fellers from the 2003 Topps Total set. The Berkman is the team checklist card, which has the exact same front as his actual card in the set. I had a few of these, but Total was so expansive and most of the dupes are actually pretty good TTM, so the extras went in my “write these guys someday” box.
Greg also found me some shiny things. In case you can’t tell from the scan, these are Metallic parallels from 2019 Holiday, a set that is ludicrous, but what the heck, man, if they’re Astros they’re absolutely welcome here. Especially shiny ones!
There were also some inserts from this year’s Flagship, including a little bit of a surprise with this Roy Oswalt from the Decade’s Best set. I hadn’t looked at the checklist, and while I knew there was a Bagwell (there are actually two) on it, the Oswalt came as a total surprise, albeit certainly a worthy selection. There was also one more shiny thing lurking in the package, and that was a chrome version of Gerrit Cole’s Turkey Red insert, which looks very nice. I liked the “old” Turkey Red sets and inserts – they were a fun thing Topps did before going full bore* with the Ginter and GQ sets, and their lack of a perennial appearance adds to their charm. Still, these inserts feel a bit flat this time around. I think it has to do with the finish, the cardstock, and probably a little too much contrast. This Cole avoids that.
* yes, that’s a double entendre
Finally, we’ve arrived at the whopper in this package. Greg had casually tipped me off to this card coming my way. Still, I was blown away when I saw it. I had completely forgotten about it, and I certainly didn’t expect to see it. As I said up top, he probably couldn’t wait to get it out of his house. At least he knows an Astros fan to whom he can send it that will really appreciate it.
Thank you so much for the cards, Greg. I’m not one to typically keep cards out on the display shelf (most of what sits there is usually outgoing trade material), but Jose has been hanging out with me as I continue the job hunt. He’s not much for conversation, but he’s got a delightful presence.