In an effort to keep up with posting a trade-a-day everyday until I am caught up, here we go…I am tempted to write about Chris Carpenter who AMAZING last night, but I have to stick to my priorities… I’ve said that I don’t pick favorite trades, but I do have a short list of favorite trading partners. This guy is definitely on it. He started as a reader, and the first 5 or 6 packages he sent me didn’t get posted because I don’t always post “reader” trades. I’m not being an elitist, but when I get behind in trade posting, it was always easy to bump the poor “reader” and favor the blogger. The “reader” can’t reciprocate the trade posting either. Anyway, this former reader turned blogger has sent me 100s of (Devil) Rays cards, 50-100 Ginter cards, Heritage cards and my first (believe it or not) jersey relic of Scott Kazmir (card shown at top of post) and first relic of Dioner Navarro. The guy just has a knack for pulling Rays cards, kind of like me pulling packs full of NL Central teams on a regular basis. Actually, thinking about now, I have posted some of the cards he sent, but not all. I referred to him previously as Texas Brian, but now since he has evolved into a blogger (like a caterpillar into a butterfly?) I can call him Brian from Play at the Plate (very cool title). He is a Rangers fan, a cool guy to chat with, a rabid card collector and a super-mega-generous trader. He came into the blog-o-sphere via the Night Owl, so thanks Owl! I am toying with an idea about a post or a poll regarding the first card blog we read, the blog that sucked us in and made us want to be a part of this. I’ve said before that Cardboard Junkie was the original blog I read, but that was a gateway blog for me and before long I was up late at night reading Dinged Corners, Night Owl and White Sox Cards and now I am a cardboard junkie myself. It’s a weird feeling when you realize that you might be $50.00 short on the mortgage and you can’t figure it out and you glance over at the gigantic pile of cards and all of the wrappers on the floor and you still can’t figure out why you’re short.
Back on topic… This is a trade post from Brian/PATP. This package came as a surprise; it even had a note in it that said “A surprise from Texas”. It was a surprise; I was surprised that he had any Rays cards left after the 100’s he had already sent me. Where do you keep on finding all this great stuff Brian? I will say this is the smallest shipment I have received from Texas, so he must be getting low…
It started off with a couple Allen & Ginter cards that I needed because of my Ginter autograph quest. I didn’t have a dupe of a few cards, but I wanted to send them out to try my luck so they came right out of the binder. One was Carlos Pena, who is still the American League homerun leader. I am really glad to have this card back in the binder. I am not really holding my breath on getting the TTM back, but I had to try. Pena is one of the current Rays All Stars that I do not have an autographed card of, the other being Evan Longoria. Anyway, he sent a few others, but none as cool as the Pena.
He went old school with this batch of cards and included some 1998 cards that I didn’t have and had never even seen before. I was a big fan of Pacific way back when, but I don’t remember their Omega product. This 3-panel card of Miguel Cairo, Dan Carlson and Rolando Arrojo is an instant favorite.
This 1998 Bowman, card #342 of Kerry Robinson is (I think) the only Devil Ray that I was missing, but I didn’t realize he made the set, either. The D-Rays took Robinson in the expansion draft from the Cards organization and at the end of 1998 he got the call up. He played left field in 2 games and was hitless in 3 at bats. That appearance means that he has to be included in my auto quest-anybody holding any Kerry Robinson autos? Anyway, after the D-Rays cut him loose, he found his way back to the Cards and was part of their playoff teams in 2001 and 2002. He never panned out as the Willie McGee type player he was supposed to be, but he did play in the Bigs for 7 seasons with 196 hits and 36 steals.
Another 1998 card shows Wade Boggs from the Upper Deck 10th Anniversary Team insert set. The card is number X15 and this set included 1st, 2nd and 3rd places for each position based on the ten years that Upper Deck had been in business. For third base, the 3rd team spot was taken by Matt Williams, Wade Boggs made 2nd and their first team All-Anniversary third baseman was a guy who had only been playing for 3 years, it was Chipper Jones.
Here is a 3 card lot of some more of my new D-Rays including Felix Martinez and two guys that I just got autographed cards of-Brent Abernathy and Jason Tyner.
This next card may be the only hockey card I ever post on this blog. Brian included it for laughs in a previous package, but I can’t resist posting this card of former Lightning goal keep Nikolai Khabibulin. I do actually know how to pronounce his name and I even know a tiny bit about hockey. In the early aughts I worked for a short-time on a call-in sports radio show. Here is an example of my hockey talk-“next up we have Steve in New Port Richey. He wants to talk Lightning hockey, what’s on your mind Steve?”
“Uh, yeah, thanks for taking my call. I think the Lightning need to trade Habby, maybe get a goalie like Wah (Roy) and maybe we can win the cup.”
“Excellent insight Steve, next time I speak with Lightning management I will bring that up.”
It was horrible! Hockey calls were the worst with people proposing ridiculous trades, but we also had Bucs fans suggesting we trade Reidel Anthony for Marvin Harrison or Trent Dilfer for Drew Bledsoe. I do miss those days, though. The station didn’t last long and even when we were on the air, I don’t think our signal made it out of our parking lot. We got callers simply because people wanted to talk and got tired of waiting to call-in on real shows. I don’t think any of my callers actually heard my broadcast, ever. Good times. Thanks for that bonus card Brian!
Back to the good stuff! Actually not. This card is another blast from my weird past. I did a pretty lengthy post a while back about my time as a volunteer photographer for the now defunct Royal Rookies. I saw one of my cards on the Texas Rangers Cards blog yesterday, a card of Hank Blalock. I never got to see the finished product on any of these and it drives me nuts that they selected such horrible photos for the cards. I swear I can take good pictures! The airbrushed out logos make me laugh, too. Seth McClung’s shirt does actually say Tampa Bay Devil Rays and there is a Ray on his cap. Seeing these cards make me angry for a couple of reasons. 1. I never got paid what they owed me. 2. They picked the worst pictures ever. 3. I never knew that they didn’t have MLB licensing. Still, the laughs I get out of seeing those outweigh the bad, it always a shocker for me to see one of these. It amazes me also how many guys from this set actually made it to the big leagues; McClung is still playing with the Brewers in their bullpen. Seriously though, I do want to get my hands on more of these ugly cards. If anyone has any, especially the Orioles or White Sox from this awful set, please send them my way!
Enough whining and reminiscing and back to the trade… I saved the best for last. I have learned that Brian ALWAYS includes a surprise big hit concealed somewhere in the package and this one was no different. Hidden between base cards I found a 2007 Upper Deck Series 2 Star Signings Autographed card, #SS-SA of Juan Salas. Juan spent nearly 10 years in the Rays system; he played in the All Star Futures Game in 2006 and spent parts of the 2006-2008 seasons with the (Devil) Rays. He was busted on using performance enhancing drugs at one point, I recall, but they must not have been the good ones. In parts of 3 seasons he pitched in 47 games, all in relief, striking out 42 batters with a 4.44 ERA. He was traded to Cleveland and later released. I really have no idea where Salas is right now. I am thrilled with this card, though. I have had great luck increasing the Rays autograph collection thanks to my fellow bloggers. Thanks for another awesome trade Brian. Congrats on your first post and your new blog. Brian will graciously accept any and all Rangers cards and he will probably send you something good in return. It seemed for a while that the Rays and the Rangers had a little rivalry starting with both teams chasing the Red Sox for the wild card, but both teams imploded and will be paying for their tickets to the playoffs. Bring on spring training 2010 where we are all undefeated! Thanks again for the trade! Una cosa mas... I wanted to dedicate a full post to it, but lack of time and all... Be sure to check out Sarah/McCann Can Triple's blog A Rookie (baseball) Card Collector. She is starting a Secret Santa project for all of us card bloggers. I think this is a great idea and I am looking forward to it already. Please read her post! Go Rays! Troll out.