Saturday, April 5, 2014

Johnny on the Clock; Ethan off His Ritalin

I have a very workmanlike trade relationship with John, of Johnny's Trading Spot. He sends me a handful of envelopes filled with eighteen cards each. And I spend the next few weeks setting aside Braves from his want/need list while I'm sorting, sending back an envelope at a time as they're filled. Then we repeat the process.

2005 Topps Cracker Jack Mark Mulder STL #147
2005 Donruss Billy Wagner PHI #291

We go about our business very differently, though. Of course, exactly how John does his thing can't be known to me. But the way he had, like, a gazillion envelopes ready to go for me days after our initial contact, as well as his relentlessly entertaining regularly-scheduled posts, gives me a mental picture of a man who can multitask and get the job done with the best of 'em. John knows how to get a Grip.

1994 Score Jon Ratliff Draft Pick CHC #454
1996 Topps Dustin Hermanson SDP #218
2000 Fleer Impact Kip Wells CHW #42

Meanwhile, over on my playground, it's Short Attention Span Theater. I'm like James Caan being lured into a trap by Homer Simpson. "Oooo... piece of candy!" "Oooo... piece of candy!" "Oooo... piece of candy!" Right now, baseball is that candy. And making sure that I keep sorting and posting is a lot more difficult than it should be.

1985 Topps Joe Morgan OAK #352
1987 Topps Barry Larkin CIN #648
1989 Topps Ryne Sandberg CHC #360
1981 Topps Bill Russell LAD #465

But John just keeps churning out mini-collection hits for me, eighteen cards at a time. His emphasis on efficiency has meant that he's sent some Topps base set specimens that I'd already had covered. But even with these, they're such great cards that I'm sure they'll be of use to someone. Anyone have a need for any of the great '80s Doughnut lovers above?

1991 Bowman Steve Finley HOU #561
1997 Score Marquis Grissom CLE #334

Turtlenecks have been John's specialty so far. (In fact, come to think of it, that Sandberg Doughnut is a Turtleneck, too!) You sport a little extra fabric in the neck region, you're gonna find yourself in an envelope headed my way. Not all of them meet my exacting (i.e., Random) standards for this mini-collection. But many do, like this Bowman Finley, which pairs nicely with the Topps Traded card that sealed the deal for me when it came to this mini-collection.

1993 Upper Deck Luis Alicea STL #605
1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Jason Jacome NYM #327

On any given night, you might find me in the card-sorting headquarters that used to be our dining room, getting through my third pass at sorting cards into the Ge-Gl region of the alphabet, for example. Setting aside a few Glavines to help slowly fill an envelope to send to the Trading Spot.

1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Mo Vaughn BOS #281
1998 Score Mo Vaughn BOS #227
1996 Topps AAA Stars: Eric Owens/Butch Huskey #104

While John fires envelopes onto this playground as though from a machine gun. He even forced me to add a new category to the 42 Collection, called the Grandfathers Gallery. The keen eye that John has shown for reading meaning in the shadows on his blog has definitely been employed to my mini-collecting advantage as well. For example, he didn't get duped by the 35 on Mo Vaughn's cap, zeroing in on the 42 on his sleeve. He even managed to spot another mini-collection hit with the other Vaughn... even though I haven't announced that collection yet! On top of his other talents, John appears to be psychic as well!

1998 Topps Opening Day Mariano Rivera NYY #7

My favorite part about John's Grandfathers Gallery has been his good taste in sending more Mo. It's cards like this that motivate me to go back on the (imaginary) meds long enough to to keep diggin' for Braves. (Plus you can't go wrong by sending just about any Opening Day cards from before 2012...)

2000 Upper Deck Victory Ultimate Johnny Damon KCR #30
2002 Donruss Fan Club Roy Oswalt HOU #12

Maybe 95% of the cards that John has sent have either been Dodgers or directed toward my min-collections. But he's also sent a few cards that are great just because they're great, like the two above. It's always a good day when an envelope arrives from the Trading Spot. Thanks, John! Keep up the good work. And I'll... wait, what was I doing, again? Oh yeah, I've still got to get these things onto their mini-collection pages...

Oooo... piece of candy!