In a bit of a twist, Greg Zakwin of the blog Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle and I were assigned as each other's Secret Santas in the Bob Walk the Plank gift exchange organized by Matthew Scott. I received a big stack of cardboard in the mail from Greg, touching on many of my collecting interests.
As with most very large trade packages, I just scanned many of the highlights from the bunch. It's Christmas Eve as I write this, and there are family events to participate in. There are some big names here, but I think my favorite card of this bunch is actually the 1975 SSPC card of Roger Craig. He is pictured on the front as a coach for the Astros, but on the back he is listed in his new position as a coach with the Padres. As a player, he was on three World Series-winning teams and also lost the first game in Mets history. I've been meaning to pick up some more of those SSPC cards, but as with many of my hobby aspirations, I haven't really got around to it yet.
Other sports were well-represented in the package, as well as non-sports, like NASCAR (lol!). Von Miller is the cornerstone of the Denver Broncos right now, a team that is clinging to playoff hopes at the moment. I think that to get in, they have to win tough games against Kansas City and Oakland and hope that Miami loses to New England next week and that Pittsburgh beats Baltimore this week. Basically, the defending Super Bowl champions need to take care of business, and they need some help elsewhere to get into the postseason tournament.
It's always nice when I get some Yao Ming cardboard in my hands. He was a great player, but his career happened when I was out of collecting, so I have very little of his cardboard. There were plenty of Rockets from several eras in the package. How charmed was Robert Horry's career? He has seven NBA Championships with three teams, more rings than greats like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Shaquille O'Neal.
Here's some horizontal cards, with some Broncos wearing college uniforms and a Max Scherzer/Bartolo Colon sighting. I still haven't been able to decide on a favorite card of 2016 for P-Town Tom's contest yet, but I think Colon's Topps NOW Home Run card is in the running.
These are cards for TV shows that are very popular, but that I have never watched. I pretty much checked out of watching television a decade or so ago. I will watch a movie from time to time, and I watch sports occasionally, but I can't remember the last TV series I watched for more than an episode or two. Ron Swanson, however, has been the subject of enough memes that I have a pretty good handle on the character. I think he is the official mascot of Greg's blog. Archer is something I'm only vaguely aware of, mostly due to reading about Greg's pursuit of the set and its sketch cards.
This is a terrible picture, but this is a 1967 Coke cap of Harmon Killebrew. It looks better in person. Killebrew was from a town not far from the town I spent my teen years in, and is probably one of the few positive things that have ever come out of that place.
This Rashad Evans card hails from 2010 Topps UFC, and is the Onyx parallel numbered # 067 / 188. Evans had a pretty good run to start his UFC career, but appears to be on the downside of things now, losing 4 of his last 6 fights.
Jay Cutler spent a couple of seasons as the Broncos' starter at quarterback. He had plenty of talent, but attitude questions and injuries (and interceptions) have made him a polarizing figure in Denver and then in Chicago. His trade to the Bears led to the Kyle Orton era in Denver, which eventually led to Tebowmania, which was a bright spot after many years of less-than-exciting football. I am pretty sure that this is my first Jay Cutler relic. It comes from 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces.
This card could cause a lot of contention in my household. For some reason my eldest son decided that he hates the Broncos and loves the Bengals. Seeing both teams together on one card could totally blow his mind. Terrell Davis helped the Broncos win a couple of Super Bowls and racked up plenty of awards in an injury-shortened career. His inclusion in this TD Threats relic set is somewhat questionable, as the main stat highlighted is the number of touchdowns each player scored in 2001. Corey Dillon scored 13 TD's, while T.D. scored 0 TD's in an injury-plagued year. But this is a cool card in spite of that, as it is pretty rare for me to make an addition to my Denver Broncos collection.
This is probably my favorite card of the package, as I don't think I had a Clyde Drexler relic in my collection yet, and he played a role in helping the Rockets win their 1995 Championship, reuniting with his college teammate Hakeem Olajuwon. The relic is contained in that basketball die-cut window, and this is just a good-looking Championship Material relic card from 2009-10 Topps Basketball.
This was a fun package to open, and I was very happy to add some cards to player collections that I often neglect, especially the relic cards for players I didn't have relics for. I'm glad that I decided to participate in the Secret Santa project. It was fun to shop for my person, and it was fun to receive a surprise package in the mail. Thank you to Greg Zakwin for the cards and Matthew Scott for organizing the exchange!