Cards from Familiar Places

Alright, we’re up on a first inning Altuve homer once again – he really climbed the ladder to smack that one off the top rung – but the Rays are playing some devilish defense and that’s been spoiling all our opportunities. You might even call them Devil Rays, I know I would.

Ok, sorry. That was bad. The Small Trade Parade has been rolling here, but small trades aren’t all that’s been showing up in the mailbox. It hasn’t been all Trading Card Database swaps taking place, either. So let’s haul out a draft I started back in July featuring some cards from fellow bloggers you probably know.

This first group of cards comes from someone I mentioned in a recent post, our pal Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown. What’s so special about these Topps base cards? Well, they aren’t base cards! They’re minis! I wouldn’t blame you for missing it – I didn’t even notice until typing this post – but they’re lacking a foiled Topps logo. These were quite a surprise.

Here are a couple more surprises – a minor league card from 2000 that I didn’t even have on my list, and a Jeff Kent from 2003 Bowman. I associate Kent with moving Biggio into the outfield, a move I always resented. I probably undervalue Kent’s time with Houston.

There were a lot of surprises in this package, not the least of which was this trio of Topps Total cards from last year’s renewal of the brand. I actually bought some of the second wave and had the Miley, but I’d like to try and get a copy signed, so I’m counting all of these as needs.

There were parallels hiding in this package as well: a lovely Silver Ice Tucker rookie – Preston, not Kyle. There was a pair of Keuchels – a gold foil from 2015 Stadium Club and a pink refractor from 2016 Chrome. Finally, a rainbow foil card of Devo from last year’s flagship rounded out the bunch. Delicious!

Finally, the biggest surprise here was some ink! That Hector Gimenez is particularly nice, although it took me a few looks to realize that this is a left-right setup and not a top-bottom setup. Thurman topped out at AA and was out of organized ball after 2017, but he was part of the trade that brought Evan Gattis to Houston. Thanks for the cards, Gavin!

Perhaps you noticed the lack of foil this time, but in case you didn’t I won’t fault you. These aren’t normal base cards either, but rather from the AL Standouts blister pack, courtesy of our pal Jim, proprietor of Cards As I See Them and the excellent but long-gone GCRL blog. He actually sent another package that just arrived, but these are from late May. I promise not to take 5 months to get the newer ones up, Jim.

There were some fun former ‘Stros in the mix, including a Felipe Paulino card from the 2008 Topps Moments & Milestones set, numbered 116/150. I got to see Felipe pitch last year, in Sugar Land. He’s spent the past few seasons there, which makes me think he’s made his home in Houston and is happy to pitch in the Atlantic League for as long as they’ll have him. Willy Taveras has been doing the same thing. There was another pair of Keuchel cards I needed, both from 2016 following his 2015 Cy Young Award. He got a lot of cardboard love then. The green bordered Kenny G from 2018 Gypsy Queen was another nice addition. It’s been nice to see Giles find his stride again with Toronto, I always liked him.

The last cards from this batch featured a trio of current Astros, including another green bordered GQ Altuve card, one of those silly 1985 redux cards of Bregman, and a New Age Performer card of Springer from this year’s Heritage. All lovely additions to the newer binders. Thanks Jim!

Game update: we’re down, and Altuve threw away another ball that led to a rally. This sucks, I feel so bad for him. Brantley just smashed a solo shot, but Altuve is the only other person that has driven in a run, and it feels like everything has been hit right at a Devil Ray. I don’t have too much hope for us to pull this series out, certainly not if we’re unable to come back tonight. But we’ve got two more innings and are only down 3, so I’ll try to hold on to a smidgen of that hope for now.

Alright, you may have guessed there’s a little bit of a common theme starting off these trade packages, right? So are these typical flagship base cards?

No, of course not! These are their delightful Canadian counterparts, in all of their dual-language glory. I particularly love that the Batting and Pitching categories are translated as “At Bat” and “At The Mound.” Monticule was certainly a new one in my lexicon.

There was a slew of O-Pee-Chee glory in this little packet from Tom of Waiting ‘Til Next Year, one of my earliest trading partners. There is no logo giveaway on the 1990 and 1991 cards, so the backs are the only way to identify them. Well, almost – the “Now with Giants/Cardinals” designations on the Bass and Agosto cards are a dead giveaway for those of you familiar with the OPC issues of that era.

My favorite of the OPC pickups was the Biggio, and Tom added another outstanding Biggio to the package with this Crown Royale issue. I think we’ve all agreed that we love Pacific cards, right? I’m not sure we can be friends if you say no.

There was just a bit more non-junk junk wax in the box, with these 1990 Donruss Best of the NL cards. These are a lovely departure from the fire engine red ’90 Donruss cards we’re used to, and another entry making the case for remaking that set with team-colored borders. It works.

Tom also found a couple cards from the Oddball/Insert tab of my massive Want List, helping me carve out a couple needs for the 2015 Archetypes inserts and the Denny’s holograms. Thanks for the cards, Tom!

Woof, we really can’t catch a break. It’s gonna come down to the ninth. The pitching has been great again, and the bats just aren’t going to pull through, huh? Well, let’s forget about that and focus on this lovely little set of cards, which appears courtesy of Fuji! He sent over some legendary Astros, including a Fleer insert of Roy Oswalt that I’d never seen before. The SportsNut card of Lance killed a team set, and I’m pretty fond of that Talk of the Town insert of Lance from 2003 Upper Deck MVP. It’s a pretty nice design idea, but quite unconventional.

The other offerings that jumped out from Fuji’s envelope included another pair of Kent cards – a Total Topps insert from ’04 Total that’s really rather nice and a great Gold Medallion parallel from 2005 Ultra. There was a little more gold in there as well, with this ’08 Bowman card of then-prospect Polin Trinidad. Thanks for the cards, Fuji!

Alright, time to put down the blog and put on that rally cap. We’re up in the ninth. Let’s go Astros!

One Reply to “Cards from Familiar Places”

  1. Congratulations on your Astros taking down my beloved A’s. They have their work cut out for them, but there’s still plenty of baseball left to be played.

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