Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Catching Up: A PWE from Mark Hoyle

In the past few weeks, my blogging has slacked off to next to nothing. There are a lot of reasons for that. The first reason is one that I mentioned just before the end of the year -- that I got busy with organization. The second reason was Christmas and New Year's and all that.  

The third reason is perhaps the most personal though. I have been in the process of transitioning from large law firm life -- with its corporate, wait-for-work atmosphere based around a few rainmakers bringing in large clients and cases for which the clients are willing to pay, say, $600 an hour for a lawyer who has practiced 15 years and upwards of $900 an hour for the senior people -- to small firm life. Small firm life for me is now reality -- I'm part of a five-attorney firm now, and I'm in the process of trying to build a practice of my own. It's a tough move to make in many ways, and it's taken a lot of my mental energy to deal with all the changes.

Now that I've started though, it's back to being more of a day-to-day job. It's moved from worrying about the unknown to focusing on making this move pay off for me emotionally, financially, and personally. So, it means that I'm now finally able to get back to writing on my blog at night sometimes. I may not write as frequently, but I will keep writing. Also, I'm going to kick start the 1982 Topps blog again as well.

To get things going again here, I have to catch up on some envelopes and packages that I received last month. This first PWE came from vintage collector extraordinaire, Mark Hoyle. Mark sent me a mix of Milwaukee Brewers and Braves with the 1960s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s all represented.

These first two cards are our 2010s representatives and, in many respects, they represent the good and bad of modern collecting. The good: bringing back classic designs from yesteryear. The bad: incessant parallels. I do not know who is telling Topps that the hobby needs more parallels, but whoever it is probably ran Press Pass.

Sorry. Low blow to Press Pass.

Moving back to the beginning of the 2000s, we have this Fleer Impact from the year 2000. Having not collected through the late 1990s and early 2000s but, now, having created a checklist through 1998 and a wantlist through 1995 (and I've organized everything through 1998 as well), I sort of wish I had collected then. Yes, there were too many card issuers with a lot of sets. But, even so, the variety and diversity in collecting must have been a lot of fun at times -- even if it was in some respects just as frustrating as collecting today.

The older I get, the more I start missing the 1990s in many respects. I did not have the same responsibilities then -- I was in school for 7 years then with a year off living at home in between. It was a fun time for me -- being in my 20s and, by the end of the decade, having some money to have fun in a great city of Atlanta. These cards show off the focus of collecting then as well -- the cards either were psychadelic 1995 Fleer, or they were full bleed photos with foil. Yeah, they start to look alike at times, but at least the companies used different photos on their various products.

When I got back into collecting, I think it was because I was nostalgic for the early 1980s -- pre-1984 in particular. Things went wrong in the middle of the 1980s though. Topps started with parallels in 1984, issuing both the uncut-sheet set with Nestle logos on them and the first of the Topps Tiffany sets. The bubble in baseball cards and speculating on rookies began in earnest with the 1984 Donruss sets. All that led to increased buying of cards, increased production runs, and, soon, in 1986, the weird Sportsflics cards. I mean, I get that some folks like the multi-photo stuff on these (and the Slurpee discs that came out around that time as well), but I am not a fan. I needed this card, though.

The piece de résistance of the envelope was the 1960s representative, Milwaukee Braves outfielder Wes Covington, a North Carolina native who served as Hank Aaron's cohort through Aaron's trip through the Braves minor league system. But, Covington was considered to be a better prospect than Aaron -- at least that is what Aaron said (quoted here in Covington's SABR biography). He moved to Canada after some "tax issues" forced him to leave the US, and that is where he died -- in Edmonton in 2011.

Mark, please accept my apologies for taking so long to highlight these cards, and thank you very much for the trip through the decades that this card took me on.


  1. Nice cards from Mr. Hoyle! Tony, I wish you much success on your new career path! Life without a little risk isn't really living!

  2. I'll join Julie in wishing you much satisfaction on your new road. You'll do fine.

    And, oh that Covington. He's just one of those players who always seemed to have good cards.

  3. Good luck with the career move. Ultimately working for youself is very fulfilling.

  4. I don't think it is ever a bad choice to gamble on yourself. Congrats on your new path!

    Nice cards from Mark. He is the man!

  5. Best of luck with everything, Tony!

    And nice cards.