Monday, August 26, 2013

It Pays to Be Random!

1950 Bowman Walter "Hoot" Evers DET #41

This is now my oldest card. And it didn't cost me anything, thanks to the power of Random. At some point at around age thirty, right around the turn of the century, I had a bit of a paradigm shift. I embraced the random nature of reality and the human condition. I went from being someone who needs to know where he's going and what's going on at all times, to someone who loves surprises and enjoys getting lost and exploring. And it made me a much happier person. In short, I dig the Random.

2003 Upper Deck Leading Swatches Ichiro Suzuki SEA #LS-IS

Thanks to the Random, this Ichiro card was free. I'm not one to get excited about relic cards. I enjoy getting them in packs, because that's Random. But this one was Random, too. And I dig it. First of all, I respect Ichiro. I'm a fan. Plus, I actually really like this card design, which isn't very common when it comes to relic cards. I like that green. (Is that hunter green? I'm not good with nomenclature for the various breeds of color.) I like that the swatch is enhanced by that nice-looking number one. Good card. Happy me.

1984 Topps Cardinals Leaders: Lonnie Smith/John Stuper #186

All of the cards you're going to see in this post are Random. (Well, except for one.) There are 34 cards here. An appropriately Random number. In some ways this is the most Random of these cards. Maybe. Is it really possible to be more or less Random? I probably already had five or eight or twelve copies of this card. And here it is again, thanks to the power of Random.

1981 Donruss Tom Seaver CIN #425
1991 Fleer Billy Ripken BAL #489

Tom Terrific drops and drives his way out this card's frame. It's a Reds card where the team name appears in yellow. And enveloped in a sea of yellow, that's Billy, not Cal. Random.

1991 Post Ken Griffey Jr. SEA #11

Another yellow border, with the Random quotient kicking into overdrive. A mini-collection hit! Junior in a turtleneck and matching airbrushed cap. He appears to be stunned by the Randomness.

1987 Topps Pete Rose MG CIN #393
1985 Topps Cal Ripken BAL #704

Random is the player with the most hits in baseball history not being in the Hall of Fame. And... oh wait, there's Billy's brother. Random.

1983 Donruss Rollie Fingers MIL #78

Random is getting into the Hall of Fame for your mustache. And you're still looking at free cards. Bear with me, this gets even more Random.

1991 Topps Archives Hank Aaron MLN #317
1991 Topps Archives Willie Mays NYG #244

Okay, here we've got a couple of cards from set that reprints '54 Topps. Except for Billy Loes. And including cards that didn't exist, such as Hammerin' Hank here. Random. Did Topps really think that Photoshop cartoon looked like the artwork gracing the rest of the cards in the set? And is it really that hard to match such a simple font? Weird. And totally Random.

2012 Topps Blockbusters Patches Jay Buhner SEA #BP-6
2012 Topps Blockbusters Patches Gary Carter NYM #BP-4

Patches manufactured for baseball cards. That's definitely Random. So is the fact that Topps designed these in such a way that the player's picture awkwardly obscures part of the patches. I have to admit that I kinda like the patches, though. They're colorful and fun to touch. They make me really want to get a Dodgers patch... via some appropriately Random method, of course.

2003 Donruss 20th Anniversary Reprints Johnny Bench CIN #16
2003 Donruss 20th Anniversary Reprints Nolan Ryan HOU #3
2003 Donruss 20th Anniversary Reprints Andre Dawson MON #12
2003 Donruss 20th Anniversary Reprints Eddie Murray BAL #14

These are really thick, really glossy reprints of 1983 Donruss cards. Just the fact that reprints exist of 1983 Donruss cards is wonderfully Random. I love that that's what these turned out to be. I hadn't been expecting that. Surprise! Random. And free.

2012 Panini Father's Day Rookie Cards Dylan Bundy BAL #11 (116/499)

A card with a serial number. That's Random for me. And a first for this blog. It's card number 116 of 499, to be Randomly specific. And it's a Father's Day card. That's cool. I'm a dad. A Random dad, in that I have five kids, though I didn't actually make any of them myself. Is Dylan Bundy still a prospect, or did he transition to suspect when I wasn't looking? A Random toss of a coin would adequately reflect my knowledge on the subject.

1975 Topps 1957 MVPs: Mickey Mantle/Hank Aaron #195

Random pink and purple frames these 1957 cards on a 1975 card that we're looking at in 2013. And check out those friggin' beautiful swirly squiggles in the middle. This card makes me want to go to a ballgame... a day game... and get some ice cream. That would be wonderfully Random right now.

1968 Topps Dave Boswell MIN #322
1963 Topps Hector Lopez NYY #92

Wait, weren't we just looking at shiny serial-numbered cards? What's up with these things? One is bordered with what appears to be burlap, the other features candy-like green and red. They're so Randomly beautiful. And free.

1960 Topps Larry Osborne DET #201

Speaking of colorful Random beauty, what about '60 Topps? I just made the connection between this set and 2008 Topps, with their use of alternating colors. How Random is that? Can two sets be any more different than 1960 and 2008?

1960 Topps Billy Goodman CHW #69

The White Sox logo is a sock with wings. Billy Goodman was a batting champion who never really had a set position on the field. Random...

1961 Topps Billy Goodman CHW #247
1961 Topps Don Nottebart MLN #29

So Random that he shows up twice. And now we've got a little '61 Topps. Get ready to look at these things, 'cause I got Random again, and you'll all be reaping the repercussions of that Randomocity over the course of next few weeks.

1961 Topps Fred Hutchinson MG CIN #135
1964 Topps Bud Daley NYY #164

You're still with me here, right? I'm guessing you are, because there's just something irresistible about Random. It's the fact that you don't know what you're going to see next, or why, that makes it impossible to look away. In 1961, managers were framed by red, white, blue and orange. Bud Daley is a free Yankees card from the '60s. Random.

1969 Topps Deckle Edge Curt Flood STL #28
1977 TCMA Galasso Glossy Greats Willie Mays NYG #8

This Curt Flood is my first of these original Topps Deckle jobs. Black and white, with a faux autograph in blue. Thin stock, with a super-shiny coat of gloss. And deckles. What are deckles? They're Random, that's what. So is Willie Mays posing in such a way that it looks like he's a statue, rendered in motion, and held secure by a post coming out of his crotch. Or is he just happy to see us? Random.

1957 Topps Johnny Antonelli NYG #105
1960 Fleer Baseball Greats Arky Vaughan BRO #11

Did this turn serious at some point? How did we get here? One moment we're looking at a 1983 Donruss Rollie Fingers, the next we're gazing upon a 2012 Panini Dylan Bundy. And now, somehow, we're looking at a 1957 Topps Johnny Antonelli. And it's beautiful. I love the colorful sets, like 1960 or 1972 or 1975 or 1990 (yes, I really do), or 2010. But I also really love the simple sets that let the pictures really come forward, like 1957, or 1961, or 1978, or 1989. I just love baseball cards. Because they're Random. Like Arky Vaughan here. He might have been the second best shortstop in baseball history. That's where Bill James ranks him in his Baseball Abstract. But his name hardly ever comes up. Maybe because the second best shortstop in baseball history is also the second best shortstop in the history of the franchise he played most of his career for, the Pittsburgh Pirates. And here he is as a Dodger. And he's got a couple of interesting red pucker circles on his card. One of them looks like an earring. And it's a card made by Fleer in 1960. Random. And free. And I love it!

1954 Topps Hank Thompson NYG #64

If you want real proof that this is an exercise in the Random, look no further than this Hank Thompson card. It's the second key vintage card in this collection that is a Giants card. Here. On my blog. Giants. I have to admit that my love of the Random was tested by the cartoon on the back. Tested, but not found wanting. After all, Hank was free, too.

But I did pay for something...

Wanna see it?

1954 Bowman Larry Doby CLE #84

Is that a flingin' flangin' beautiful card, or what? The dude was the Jackie Robinson of the American League. Jackie Robinson had to put up with racist anger and violence. People wanted him dead because they couldn't stand the idea of a black man being given the opportunity to be better than they could ever be. Larry Doby went through the same thing, just three months later. If this were a Jackie Robinson card it would have cost me, what, about $500? I don't know, because I could never afford such a thing. How much did this unbelievably awesome card, with vibrant color and no creases, cost me?


You're not normally going to see this card, in this condition, selling for anything like this price. But that's what I paid for it. And all of the others? Free.

Why? How? It's all thanks to the power of Random. You see, all of these cards, all 34 wonderfully Random pieces of cardboard, were sold as one lot on eBay. The person looking for a 2003 Ichiro relic is not the same person who's looking for a 1950 Bowman Hoot Evers. The person looking for a 1991 Fleer Billy Ripken isn't looking to spend anything close to $10. The person looking for Arky Vaughan in a Dodgers uniform isn't seeking vintage New York Giants. The person who wants a '75 Topps Mantle/Aaron card isn't in the market for four of twenty 1983 Donruss reprints from 2003.

Unless that person is Random. It's because I embrace the power of Random that I was able to get this beautiful 1954 Bowman Larry Doby card delivered to my home for $13.87... along with the 33 other fabulously Random cards you see here. Or maybe I paid just under 41 cents per card, if you want to look at it that way. Maybe I paid $6 for Doby, $3 for Hoot Evers, $2 for Arky Vaughan, 17 cents for Ichiro and 9 cents for each of the rest. Doesn't matter, cuz it's RANDOM.

But these cards aren't in Random order. I've presented them in very close to the order that they were in when they arrived. The Doby card was second to last.

1955 Bowman Bob Miller PHI #110

The final card was Bob Miller, coming at you in 1955 Bowman Color TV technology. I didn't remember that this card was part of the order until I saw it. When I placed my winning bid on this lot I didn't have any mini-collections. By the time the cards had arrived, Getting a Grip was already a part of my world. Thank you, Random. I wouldn't want to know what life would be like without you...

1 comment:

  1. You've gotta love the power of random! That Doby is indeed a beauty.