09 July 2015

Contested Shots 6: Better Winning through Losing Pt. 1

Recently the blogger P-town Tom over at the Waiting 'til Next Year blog held a contest. The premise was pretty simple; everyone who commented on the contest post and/or promoted the contest on their own blog earned entry into the contest, with various Bowman lots as the prizes. Then the list of entrants would be randomized and the person at the top of the list and the person at the bottom of the list would win.

When the drawing went down I found myself at the bottom of the heap; good for a whole stack of cards from the various permutations of the 2014 Bowman set. So by 'losing' the randomization I became a winner! A few days passed and a large, heavy box arrived in the mail. I about choked when I saw the shipping cost on the printed label. Apparently cards are heavy. Inside the box were these 3 boxes of cards plus a snap case full of other player collection cards:

The snap case included several cards featuring heralded but snake-bitten pitcher Kerry Wood, who wore the number 34, a number worn by many of my favorite athletes. Although my first trading cards were baseball cards, throughout most of my early collecting days (approximately 1992-2000) I was focused on basketball and non-sports cards and from 2001-2013 I was pretty much removed from the hobby entirely, so many of these sets are unfamiliar to me or only familiar to me because basketball and baseball designs sometimes mirrored each other. It's interesting to me to see all of the card designs I missed the first time they came around.

Here are some Astros / Mariners representatives from additional sets that I missed the first time they came around. Nice wrist tape, Biggio! I am thinking that Billy Wagner should register in my brain as an Astro, but I only remember him as a member of the Mets. Maybe I wasn't as heavily into fantasy baseball early on in his career, or maybe my memory only goes back so far. I remember Jack Cust as an Athletic mostly because that was when his power was moderately useful in fantasy baseball if you could stomach the strikeouts. Usually what happened is he would have a hot streak and I would add him to my roster just before he went into a slump. Then I would drop him after he single-handedly brought my team's batting average down a few points and he would promptly hit a few home runs while sitting there on the waiver wire.

And a few more cards featuring Astros of different eras.

The bulk of the boxes were made up of various 2014 Bowman offerings. One box held about 82% of the Bowman / Bowman Prospects / Bowman Chrome Prospects set, and the other boxes held a whole pile of everything else. I grabbed a few of the bigger names to show off here, including Kris Bryant and Byron Buxton. Lance McCullers has been pitching pretty well for the Astros lately, part of the much-heralded youth movement on the roster. He's started 10 games and has a 4-2 record so far. Michael Feliz pitched one inning for the Astros this year and is currently playing in AA.

I think these guys came from the Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects set, and so they feature even younger dudes than the regular Bowman cards. I picked a few guys from the stack because I either recognized their names or because they played for teams I follow. Outside of that I don't know much about these guys.

One of the packs P-town Tom used as padding in the boxes was a rack pack of 1990 Fleer baseball, containing 45 cards in three stacks of 15 cards apiece. The Nolan Ryan was visible in one of the packs, so I had to open the whole thing to see what was inside. These are the big names, and also Oddibe McDowell. I recognize him because of a feature on Deadspin. His county didn't have a secure website for residents' water bills, so Deadpsin latched onto that and tracked his water usage and billing for most of 2011 and part of 2012. After that the county instituted a newer, more secure system for billing, and the feature came to an end.

Here are some other notables from the pack. Mark Davis won a Cy Young Award and then his performance fell off a cliff. Joe Girardi played ball for a while, but is probably better known for his managing career. Paul Assenmacher has one of the great baseball names because his last name starts with a potty word. Dennis Rasmussen is notable to me because he is one of the few professional athletes with the same surname as me.

There was a whole lot of stuff in that box of cards, and it was a lot of fun to open and sort through. Even the junk wax packs held a surprising number of decent cards for me to comment on. I really appreciate this prize, even if I did win it for coming in last in the randomizer. In the next installment of this series I will show off my prize for finishing in last place in a contest of skill and luck, which is maybe even worse than just being randomized into last place.


  1. Turns out "if ya ain't first, you're last!" Isnt such a bad thing

    1. It's turned out all right for me lately.

      "Oh hell, son, I was high that day. That doesn't make any sense at all, you can be second, third, fourth...hell, you can even be fifth."