Friday, January 4, 2019

New Year, New Stuff (From Joe Shlabotnik)

OK, so technically this padded envelope from Joe S came near the end of 2018 but I really didn't get to process it until January 1. So I'm calling this my first 2019 trade package. Joe had peeked over at my 1976 and 1975 Topps wantlists and the cards he sent put a healthy dent in said lists.

First of all, let's talk about the '76 Traded cards. When I bought the starter lot that launched me into the chase for the '76 set I didn't give those extra 44 cards much thought. I've seen them through the years but in 1976 I wasn't actively collecting anything (except maybe hangovers, overdraft notices, and failed relationships). It wasn't until Joe asked me which ones I had that I looked closer and figured "44 cards, why not?"

Back to the envelope...Joe filled part of the Traded set void and along with those he included base set needs for 1976 and 1975 which is another current project. I only scanned some representative examples. I was anxious to get them all into the binders. Damn, mid-70s Topps cards sure were colorful!

And sometimes fantastic. Like this one:

Between the wonderful 'fro, the terrible airbrush job and the punny 'headline' this baby is one remarkable piece of cardboard!

Red, pink, orange, green, blue. Rick Waits' card touches all the color bases.

This Jim Sundberg card was a dupe but it was also an upgrade! When I made my frequent trips to Arlington to see the Rangers (and usually the Orioles) two things were sure to happen... Jim Sundberg would be the catcher and huge dark storm clouds would pass over or near Arlington Stadium. Never failed.

I put this Luis Tiant card in the post because I like it.

It wouldn't be a Shlabotnik gift pack if it didn't contain off-the-beaten-track Orioles cards, both old and new. Like this Leaf Eddie Murray.

Or this Chrome Brian Roberts which my scanner choked on. Funny thing about Roberts. His career fits very neatly into my time away from baseball. I'm still amazed that the Orioles had a guy that once led the league in stolen bases.

Here's an Eric Davis card with one of those peel-y plastic sheets on it. I look at pulling them off as being akin to removing the label from mattresses. You know it's OK but something lurks in the back of your mind whispering 'Nooooo!'

Joe dropped a few Texans on me as well. One reason I'm hurrying through these is that I'm busy doing stuff I'd normally be taking care of tomorrow when I'll be at the Texans-Colts playoff game.

Keshawn Martin will go into my fantasy player binder since my old one of him uses a training camp pic with him wearing "00". I hate those.

Modern Brooks Robinson cards. I wonder what Hall of Famer has the most cards in modern sets. Ruth? Jackie Robinson? Mantle? I'm sure Brooksie is fairly high on the list.

I scanned this Rodrigo Lopez because I like the Fleer logo. I'm normally in favor of simple card designs but the auto under the name doesn't work.

Insert Ripken above. Jaunty cap angle Ripken below.

This Fleer set might be the only 1990s set I'd ever consider putting in a binder. It's very Stadium Club-ish. Joe included most of the Orioles team set in the envelope. If nothing else I might just finish that. Here's Moose.

Tony Tarasco looking badass.

When I did my Spring Training tour a few years ago Tarasco was coaching with the Nationals. My goal was to get him to sign a ball with an inscription reading "I had it all the way!". (Bonus points for getting the reference) When I was able to meet him after one of the games in Viera he had a lot of family and friends around so I settled for just a quick hello and a signed ball.

Raffy Palmeiro. I always think of my first visit to Camden Yards when I see him on an Orioles card. His suspension was big news since it occurred the day prior to my arrival. Sweet card though.

Finally, Joe included this Manny Machado Commemorative Players Weekend patch. It's thick and weighty. I dig the caps the Orioles wore for that season's Players' Weekend. Do these come inserted in regular packs? I've never gotten a 'thick' card like this from a pack that I recall. I suppose that's not surprising given how few packs I buy.

I know what the logo represents but whenever I see it I think of this:

Did I read this morning that Machado has a big offer from the White Sox? He's turned into a villain now but I'm still hoping he signs with an AL team so I can get to the ballpark and see him once or twice a year. Villian status be damned.

Anyway, that's just a portion of the cards I got from Joe. It's like the second or third one he's sent without a return from me. I need to do something about that. Oh, and I failed to mention earlier... his blog is among the best of the best. I mean that. I doubt anyone reading this is unaware but here is the link to The Shlabotnik Report. Did I spell that right? ;-)


  1. Welcome to the first two sets I ever collected (75 and 76). I love them so much. I get jealous of people just starting to complete them. ... I have very few dupes but I can dig up a couple.

  2. A. Whenever I see that Gamble on a blog, I can't help but stare at it for like 10 to 15 seconds. It's so awesome.

    B. That 75T Tiant isn't too shabby either. Great action shot... and a very good job of photo cropping.

    C. Brian Roberts led the league in stolen bases? Didn't the guy also smash 50 home runs in a season too? Talk about speed and power.

  3. The Oscar Gamble card is an all-time classic. The 75s are really nice, too. I'm still never sure what to do about the protective coating on '90s Finest cards. I've peeled a few but I can't bring myself to do it again unless it's already starting to curl. And that is a badass Tarasco. I'm still pissed he wasn't allowed to catch that ball. We don't want instant replay in baseball, we need it.

  4. To show how much I've distanced myself from the NFL after the Steelers' "We'll be fine, we'll be fine... oh, we're not fine" performance in 2018, I didn't even realize the Texans were in the playoffs. Sorry about how the game turned out.

    As for the cards...

    When I was looking through my 1976 doubles I ran across the Oscar Gamble, and that's what prompted me to ask if you were collecting the traded set. Ya GOTTA have the Gamble! (and I'm picturing Karl Ehrhardt, the Mets' "Sign Man" from the 1960's and 1970's, holding a "Ya Gotta Have The Gamble!" sign).

    I was hoping the 1996 Fleer cards were new to you. They are from a team set which was issued in packs, and the cards are glossy versions of the O's cards from Fleer Tradition and Update.

    The Manny Manupatch came from a Topps Series 1 blaster... these cards came one to a blaster, packed in it's own wrapper. It sat on my desk for months and I finally decided that you'd appreciate it far more than I would.

    Glad you enjoyed the cards!