Over the years I've found one truth about card collecting to be evident ... there is no wrong way to collect. What works for one person will not work for another person. Some may be deeply into team collecting or player collecting. Hey that works. Others, like me, may be more scattered around the map where I collect a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Recently, frequent blog commenter and author of the simply title blog "The Collector" Chris dropped me an email about wanting to do a bit of a swap. I agreed and soon there after a rather large envelope was dropped on my doorstep by the completely unfriendly mailman, who I tend to believe collects nothing but sneers while he's making his rounds. While I won't hit on everything that Chris sent, I'll touch upon the highlights for me.
These Topps Finest cards I've never seen before and they're pretty neat cards. The Reds from 94-97 had a pretty formidable team with a solid line-up and some pretty good pitching. I often think that people forget about Pete Schourek and John Smiley being part of that rotation. Eddie Taubensee was a solid defensive catcher as well.
I always dug Jose Rijo and I thought it was so cool when he made his comeback in 2001-2002. While he wasn't the same power pitcher he was in the early 90s before he got injured, it was still pretty remarkable to see him comeback from all those injuries and pitch another season and a half. Fun fact, he was the starting pitcher for the last game at Cinergy Field/Riverfront Stadium. Speaking of players who came back from injuries, Devin Mesoraco is healthy this season for the first time is what seems like forever. However, he's been supplanted in the depth chart by Tucker Barnhart, who won a Gold Glove last season.
Old school Reds cards are always welcomed too. 1981 Topps is one of those sets that most people tend to forget about as is falls right in between two really nice sets, 1980 and 1982, and it's one I don't really see a lot of singles available from. I think that might have a lot to do with the fact there wasn't a very strong rookie class with Tim Raines, Harold Baines, Kirk Gibson, Fernando Valenzuela, and Bob Walk being the top RCs available. This particular card was not one of the top rookie cards in the set as none of these guys would up being ... um, well ... household names. I'll be setting this card aside to do a standalone post on it one of these days.
This is my first experience with 1991 Fleer football and I'm not fully convinced that it's an improvement over it's baseball cousin. Sure, the bright yellow border is replaced by a green border but there is nothing in the background except for a generic sunset color. The name plate on the bottom looks like it was done on a typewriter.
On the flip side, these are some pretty awesome looking cards. The photography on these Fleer Ultra cards is just phenomenal, especially for 1992. The Bengals themselves were not good in 1992, their first season under Dave Shula. Tim Krumrie recorded 4 sacks that season along with 97 tackles and Tim McGee had 35 receptions for total of 408 yards on a Bengals squad that finished 5-11 that year, good enough for dead last in the AFC Central.
One of my side collections is "shiny cards" and do these ever fit the bill. I don't get the chance to buy much O-Pee-Chee Platinum, mainly because singles are impossibly hard to find around my area, but I do love getting them in trades. There's really no good reason I haven't added Mike Smith to my official hockey player collection, I think that might have to change here soon. The card that really takes the cake of these in the Jaromir Jagr team logos die-cut. The picture just really doesn't do it justice.
Chris also hit upon two of my main hockey player collections. First, these two cards of a young Shane Doan. This past season was the first season is as long as I can remember without Doan at the helm of the Coyotes as captain and I think they felt it, finishing with 70 points (29-41-12 overall) and the second worst record in the league. They do have a nice foundation with Clayton Keller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Max Domi along with Derek Stepan at center and Niklas Hjalmarsson on defense so it'll be interesting to see where they go next year.
Long time readers will know that Martin Brodeur is my top hockey player collection. His cards make up about half of my Devils cards alone and these are some really awesome adds to the collection. While I'm not out to get every card of his ever, I'll keep getting cards of his until I feel I have a decent amount. That's pretty much the way I manage every mini-collection within the collection, once I feel I have a decent amount of a certain thing, then I ease up.
One of the final aspects of my collecting is teams, both old and new. I like collecting defunct teams because it tells the history of the sport through cards. Such as these 1991-92 NHL Pro Set cards of the long gone Hartford Whalers. While I'm not too familiar with these particular players, I'll be looking them up at some point.
As far as current hockey teams, the Devils are definitely my favorite. They made it into the playoffs this season as the first wild card but got assigned the buzzsaw known as the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. As much as I would like to see it, I don't think they'll get past that round. Here we've got a few Devils past and present with Cory Schneider, Adam Henrique, and Joe Nieuwendyk to put the bow on this trade package.
While there was a ton of other stuff Chris included that didn't necessarily make the cut to be featured here, I appreciate all that was sent and it afforded me a nice amount of quality quiet time to sort these. Thanks for the trade Chris!