Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mail from JayBarkerFan

Whenever an envelope arrives from Hazel Green, Alabama, you know you're in for a good day. Recently, I received my second envelope from The Tide Fan from North of Huntsville, Jaybarkerfan. JBF, as he is rather logically known throughout the blogosphere, has a knack for tracking bloggers' collecting interests and, then, an even greater knack for sending cards that hit those interests head on and then some.

This envelope from JBF to me was no different. Filled with hits, oddballs, and parallels that I needed for both team and player collections -- and then some special cards that made my day and then some -- JBF did it again.

Starting with an oddball of an oddball, apparently the McDonald's that JBF visited in the 1990s had a printer that didn't quite understand how the gold foil on the Baseball's Best sets was supposed to be applied. The result was a great addition to the Robin Yount collection:

Having completed and updated my team collection want lists through 1998 at this point felt like a major accomplishment. It's more fulfilling, though, when I have to go back and update the list because some new cards came in. Such was the case for this rack-pack insert from the 1984 Topps set of Harvey Kuenn. Kuenn managed the 1983 American League All-Star team, so he was featured in that Topps Glossy All-Star set. Somehow, I never got one of Harvey's cards back then -- though I got a couple of Ted Simmons's cards. So, getting one in this package was a nice addition.

From a more recent vintage, JBF shipped me a couple of hits. One was from 2008 Upper Deck, and the other was a 2009 Allen & Ginter framed relic.

Two parallels also made their way south on I-65 and east on I-20. Both of them are Wal-Mart parallels of Topps Series 1 cards, including the card that is one of the two best Brewers cards issued this year -- the Topps base Khris Davis showing him apparently making a spectacular play at the wall. By the way, the other one is Jonathan Lucroy's Topps base card of what I think is a walk-off winning run being scored by Luc, who was the best position player in the National League in 2014 by WAR.

Not to leave out serial numbered cards, JBF sent me two of those as well. The first is a Rollie Fingers card from the 2005 Donruss Team Heroes set -- and I am guessing this is the "showdown silver" parallel, but I don't know that for sure. It is serial numbered 49 of 50.  The second is a J.J. Hardy card saying it is an "Authentic Ticket Stub Plus 2 Relic card of J.J. Hardy from 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom Baseball."  I'm glad that the card identified itself clearly.

The final baseball cards in the package were from the 2009 Upper Deck Season Documentary set, and both of them picture the hefty lefty, CC Sabathia.

As everyone knows, though, JBF usually does not stop with the obvious card needs like "hits" or "cards from a want list." He has accumulated a wide array of cards from other sports and for other teams that other collectors just do not have. For this package, that meant that I received some Georgia football cards.  

Artie Lynch graduated from Georgia after the 2013 season. Lynch grew up in Massachusetts and pretty much retained that Massachusetts accent despite four years in the fair city of Athens. He was named as the first team All-SEC tight end his senior year. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fifth round of the NFL draft last year. But then he suffered a back injury in off-season team activities and spent the 2014 season on injured reserve.

Garrison Hearst was at Georgia while I was attending college at Vanderbilt. Even Ray Goff couldn't screw Hearst up, and Goff is the guy who played any number of running backs (including Hearst, mind you) ahead of Terrell Davis.

Here's my wallet card, Robert Edwards.  That story is here.

Finally, the Georgia Bulldogs cards ended with an autograph of Fred Gibson. Gibson was a frustrating player, both at Georgia and in the pros with Pittsburgh. Basically, he and Reggie Brown were two of the top three wide receiver recruits. On signing day, supposedly Gibson flipped a coin between Georgia and Florida and chose the Dawgs as a result. It always seemed during his career that he had more to give. Despite finishing his career in the top three in yards and receptions, he is remembered nearly as much for a dropped pass against Florida in 2003 as for his positive plays.

And through it all, Gibson would have much rather been playing basketball. In fact, his final professional sports job was in the NBA D-League in the 2008-2009 season. At least Gibson was smart enough to go back to Georgia and finish out his degree.

The thing is, I don't really collect football cards. But guess what? I met an 8-year-old who does. So the Georgia football cards other than Robert Edwards left my possession on Friday.

The final cards JBF sent me were Milwaukee Bucks cards. One card was of Ray Allen. By the time that Allen made it to Milwaukee, though, I had long since ceased to care about NBA basketball generally and the Milwaukee Bucks in particular. 

Growing up, though, I spent a fair amount of the winter watching the Don Nelson-coached Bucks come so close so many times to getting to the NBA Finals -- only to be denied by either the Philadelphia 76ers or Boston Celtics. One of the stars of those Bucks teams was a guard from the University of Arkansas, Sidney Moncrief. What a fitting way to put the figurative cherry on top of this package.

Thank you very much, JBF -- these cards and the memories they brought were greatly appreciated.


  1. Awesome ticket stub card! Hadn't seen one of those before. Might have to go search for one lol

  2. Never seen those stub cards. Very cool!