Friday, May 24, 2013

Hitting the Padres mother lode

Last Sunday was a great day. I was able to catch the last game of the Iowa Cubs – Tucson Padres series, had brunch at the ballpark, and best of all, was able to indulge my sweet tooth for Padres cardboard at the Urbandale American Legion monthly card show.
Between this show and the one at the mall, I enjoy this one much, much more. The vendors are friendlier, they’re more talkative and they go out of their way to help you find what you’re looking for, whether it’s a particular team, player, or card set.

I hit the mother lode at the very first table I stopped, as there were about a dozen, 5.000-count boxes full of dime cards, each row marked by team. I started salivating when I saw the whole row of Padres cards eagerly awaiting my searching. There were 2007 Topps ‘52, 2004 Playoff Prestige, 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom, 2011 Bowman Futures and 2009 SP Authentic, to name just a few.
A few of the nicer cards I found...
 I really like the drawings on the Topps National Chicle. You can't help but love the Brown and Gold uni on Adrian, while Blanks looks like he's getting ready for the Kiss Cam video promotion. As for Randy Jones, he's one of my favorite Padres, so it was indeed kismet, when I found this 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites.
Digging a little further down, I kept finding more and more cards I didn't have, so my pile became higher and higher, which I soon dubbed, "The Leaning Tower of Padres." I soon came across this 2010 Allen and Ginter Headley SP, a 2008 Upper Deck Timeline Josh Banks RC, and a 2007 Just Autographs Wade LeBlanc. You can never have enough nice, young players in your collection.
Within less than an hour, I had gone through his entire Padres collection. I think Topps Heritage is one set that really does things well. I love the wooden borders on the 2011 Topps Heritage set, so I added Aaron Harang (his soul patch really sets this card off) and a few other Pads to the pile. I was also lucky enough to find a few Gwynns for my collection, including this 2005 Leaf Sportscasters Teal Fielding-Ball #24/45. There are so many different print runs and colors to this set, it was nice to find another different card to add to the Gwynn gathering.
When I was done pawing through the Padres box (emptying it of about three-quarters of the cards), I joked with the dealer that I didn't want to spend all my allowance at the first table I came across. He laughed and then brought out a 2,000-count box, this one full of 2012 Topps Heritage Minor, so I was able to load up on a bunch of Padres minor leaguers – Austin Hedges, Casey Kelly, Rico Noel, Jace Peterson, Abys Portillo, Kevin Quackenbush, Donn Roach and Cory Spangenberg. I also picked up plenty of copies for trade/gifts.
Oh yeah, he also threw in a 2011 Limited Draft Hits Signatures Cory Spangenberg #18/149, for $2.  
Much to my wife’s displeasure, I wasn’t done yet. The last table I stopped at, had two, 5,000-count boxes full of 25-cent cards. The joys found within these card boxes, however, I’ll save for my next column.

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