I spent the past two days up in Perth at a conference (yes, teachers can go on business trips, too) and still managed to find the time to squeeze in a trip to Al's Card Shop. I was glad, when I walked in the door, to see Dave behind the counter. Dave is the brother-in-law of the store's owner, and not only is he a friendly guy, but he also always gives me a better deal on the cards I buy.
Unfortunately, there wasn't much in terms of boxes available. The promised shipments have been delayed, and I could probably get a better deal buying and shipping them over myself. So I decided to go through the binders and see what I could find for my PCs. Turns out, there was quite a bit:
I found two base cards that I needed for the 2009 Topps base set; #377 (Trevor Crowe) and #353 (Derek Jeter). But that wasn't the only #353 I found in the binder...
As soon as I saw this short-print of Cal Ripken, it went into the stack. This is now my second 2009 Topps short print, and infinitely more exciting than the first, a "CC Sabathia as a Yankee" card. Couldn't you have waited for Updates & Highlights to have made that one, Topps?
I also got the Lincecum and King Felix base cards from the 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History set. I had the Reds in the group break that Thorzul did a few months back, and was able to get a Ken Griffey relic card for my troubles. But these two cards represent my first APOH base cards for my PCs.
I like the look of this set. Once again, it reminds me of how Upper Deck could do some really good stuff if they wanted to, and I for one miss their involvement in baseball. But plenty of words have been written on the subject, so let's move on. At least, we could if the next card wasn't another 2009 Upper Deck product...
...in this case, SP Authentic. This is a "Faces of the Game" card of King Felix showing what is suspiciously like a zoomed-in version of the same picture they used in the Piece of History set. This card is numbered 35 of 59. Why 59? Did they forget that it was Topps celebrating 59 years of collecting?
Speaking of which, I can't wait to see what crazy stuff Topps comes up with for their 60th anniversary. Maybe a Stephen Strasburg Cards Your Mom Threw Out contest. Oh, wait.
I got some Ichiro cards, too. Although, I think I'm pushing the limits of what I can remember, because I picked up a couple of cards I already have. Guess they'll go in the Mariners binder, now. I also got the Ichiro and Griffey '09 SP Authentic base cards. I knew I had Lincecum and Felix already, but I wasn't sure about the other two. Turns out I did have Junior, but not Ichiro, so I'm glad I got them.
The other card there is the red parallel of 09 Spectrum, to help me with my Ichiro rainbow. I also recently acquired two more cards for that, which takes me to four. The Ichiro rainbow is the furthest along of the four. This card is numbered 126/250.
The final Ichiro card I purchased was one of three cards from the Upper Deck 20th Anniversary set. I basically bought all the cards in the binder from this set that featured one of my four players. Turns out, there were three of them, an Ichiro and two Griffeys:
The Ichiro commemorates the magical 2001 season, when the Mariners won 116 games, hosted the All-Star game, and some rookie from Japan won the Rookie of the Year and the MVP award. When I think of the Mariners of my youth, it still amazes me that they're the franchise that holds the single-season wins record. But I guess I shouldn't be that surprised because the previous record holder was the Cleveland Indians!
The two Junior cards are 533, telling us that Griffey wasted no time showing his "powerful form" by hitting 22 homers in each of his first two seasons. How quaint! As we can see from the next card, he picked things up a few years later, hitting 45 home runs in his fourth season (1993). Save the PED talk - Junior is beyond reproach, and this was before the steroid era. Heck, Barry Bonds had just joined the Giants in '93, and his head was still normal-sized.
A couple more Griffey cards - first, the 2007 SP Authentic base (which I didn't have) and a card commemorating his All-Star appearance at Safeco in 2001. Only one problem - he didn't make the NL All-Star team in 2001. It's safe to say that Junior also didn't "take a run at the home run crown" as the text on the back predicted. Ah, the pitfalls of insert sets printed before the season begins. Nice one, Upper Deck.
Finally, a self-indulgent purchase. This is a sketch card that appeared in the 2000 Upper Deck MVP set. It's another Griffey, and it was drawn by a 14-year-old named Brendon Murphy. While the back of the card said young Brendon was a Yankees fan, he at least had the good taste to admire Junior "because of his excellence on the field." But the reason I bought this card is because Brendon is from Four Oaks, N.C., about an hour away from where I grew up. I never would have thought of Four Oaks as "nearby" (it's in the country whereas I grew up smack dab in the middle of suburbia), but when you're half a world away, any place close feels like home.