Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sneaky Secret Santa Strikes Swiftly, Soundlessly

Just as December was beginning, I went to the mailbox and found a padded envelope.  As I expected, it was addressed to me.  Nobody else in my family receives bubble mailers.  However, I didn't recognize the return address at all.  I wondered, Could this be my Secret Santa?  It seemed a bit early for my Secret Santa package to arrive; after all, I hadn't even begun putting my package together yet.  (I have now.  It's in the mail, so the recipient should be getting it in a day or two.)  I opened it up, and saw some wrapping paper and a card.  It was Secret Santa, and he was early!

My first thought was to keep it and unwrap it later, more toward Christmas Day.  However, knowing how slow I am at posting things on my blog, and wanting to give a shout out and public thanks to the sender ASAP, I decided that I had better open it.  So here I am, two weeks later, finally posting its contents.  It's probably best I didn't wait, or I might not have written this post before Christmas.

The question remained: Who was my Secret Santa?  The answer lay in one of the cards.  This card to be exact:

Jon, from A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts, was my Secret Santa.  Jon and I have never traded before, so it was no wonder that I hadn't recognized the address.  He made a great first impression.

A couple of vintage Cubs is a nice start.  The '59 Glen Hobbie is almost my oldest card now, if not for my Glen Hobbie rookie, which is a '58.  I thought it a strange coincidence that it is the same player in back to back years vying for the oldest in my collection.  Neither one of these pitchers had great careers, but Hobbie was serviceable for a few years in Chicago.  Schaffernoth played for the Cubs for 2 seasons, posting a 4.58 ERA and a 3-8 record before leaving the Big Leagues for good.

Now here we have two players who had significantly more successful careers at Wrigley.  These are both oddballs, and sets that I never even knew existed, to boot.  The Andre Dawson is a 1993 Duracell issued set called "Power Players," and it was apparently available in 6-card packs with a proof of purchase mail-in order.  I don't know how I didn't know about this as a kid.  I was certainly old enough to understand this concept at the time, and I would guess that I used batteries then.  The Ryno is from a 1993 set released by photographer Barry Colla and it featured the All-Stars of that year.  I have no idea how it was released other than it appeared to have been only available as a boxed set.  I'm happy to include both of these cards in collection.

My only other card from this red-bordered set is a star, Giancarlo Stanton, but I'll take a Rizzo any day over Stanton.  The blue hat and red border look fantastic together on this parallel.

After seeing those great Cubs, I ran into some basketball.  Jon included a trio of Grant Hill cards.  Hill just happens to be my favorite basketball player of all-time, and one of the few basketball players that I collect.  What I can't figure out is how Jon knew to include Grant Hill.  I have no basketball listed anywhere on my wantlists, and I don't think I've ever done a post that focused on Hill.  Jon must have done some deep digging in my blog to pick up that clue, and I appreciate that.  All three of these cards are pretty sweet, too.  The Classic Four Sport is a Promo, which is cool.

The cards kept rolling, as Jon sent some Steve Youngs for my BYU collection.  That Pacific Revolution set is really cool in hand, but it is pretty busy.

This is the back of the Action Packed Armed Forces card.  As you can see, it is clearly marked as a Promo, as well.  I don't know where this one came from, but the oddballs keep rolling in from Jon.

If I'm going to be completely honest, the package made my heart sink at the very first.  You see, I opened up the 1st little package and immediately saw the back of the Raymont Harris card.  It was like opening up that present from your grandma on Christmas Day, all full of anticipation and excitement, and discovering that she had given you underwear.  Except this was worse than underwear, it was a Bear.  I wondered if Jon had gotten me mixed up with someone else, or had assumed that since I was a Cubs collector I also liked the Bears, and sent me a package chock full of Bears.  Then I noticed one single word in the bottom corner of the card: "Refractor."  It hit me that Jon had seen the newest addition to my wantlist and had sent me a card for my Refractors Frankenset. He was redeemed!  It's a shame that refractors don't scan well because these cards look great in a binder full of refractors.

That was it for the package labeled "Open 1st."  Now for the one instructing me to "Open 2nd."

We're back to the Cubs, but this package is obviously the one full of hits!  A Brett Jackson auto from A&G.  I don't collect A&G, but I have to say that they always look great and I'm happy to take this former Cubs Prospect Supreme into my collection.

The second hit of the package--a Johnathan Franklin auto from 2013 Prizm.  Johnathan Franklin logged only 19 carries in his brief pro career with the Packers, but he is one of the Packers that I focus on.  In 2013, he and Eddie Lacy were both drafted by the Pack, and it was my excitement over both of the picks that helped catapult me back into collecting.  Franklin was an entirely different skillset than Lacy, and I thought they complemented each other well.  Unfortunately, a neck injury in his rookie season ended his career.  I suppose it's the career-ending injury that gives me a soft spot for Franklin in my collection.

The final card in the package was an auto-patch numbered to 725 of Brandon Jackson.  Jackson came into the league in 2007 and had higher expectations than Franklin, due to his status as a second round draft pick.  Unfortunately, it didn't pan out for Jackson, as he spent only four years in Green Bay, starting only 16 games and averaging about 3.8 yards per carry in that span.  He spent one year in Cleveland after leaving the Pack before he was out of the league.  That doesn't matter to me, though.  I'll take an on-card auto and two-color patch (especially when it is obvious part of a number or letter) of anybody who suited up for my Pack.

In his card, Jon wrote that he "attempted to add some new additions to multiple parts of [my] collection."  I'd say he was successful.  Thanks a million, Jon!  I loved the package.  And thanks to Matt at Bob Walk the Plank for facilitating this little Secret Santa exchange.  It has been fun.


  1. I'm glad to hear that you liked everything! I don't think could have asked for an easier person to shop for this year, as most of these cards (other than the 5 or 6 that I already had) took almost no effort to find. Fate?

    As far as Grant Hill goes, I remembered you showing a card or two of his quite a while ago, and mentioning that he was your favorite player, so I thought it would be good idea to try and include a few.

    And I had no idea that Johnathan Franklin had to retire due to an injury, that's kind of sad to hear. I saw him play quite a bit during his UCLA days, and was under the impression that he was on track for at least a somewhat successful NFL career, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be for him.