I'll start off with some Gypsy Queen from last year. The sad thing is that two of the five active players shown aren't with the club anymore and Mesoraco is done for the season, again, after having surgery on a torn labrum in his shoulder. The Tony Perez card reminds me of an old Diamond Kings card from way back in the day with the artwork.
I don't buy a lot of Bowman so getting them in trade packages is pretty much the only way I get these cards. Nick Howard is one of the Reds top pitching prospects but he's still a few years away from the majors as he just made it High-A Daytona this season. I like Bowman cards but the one thing that bothers me about them is the way uniforms are photoshopped on the prospects.
Here's a batch of mid-90s Reds from Pacific Crown Royale. All three of these guys were mainstays for the Reds, especially Reggie Sanders, who played the first 8 years of his career with the Reds and then bounced around for another seven before calling it quits in 2007. Boone and Casey provided nice stability on the right side of the infield. After they left, it was a free for all until Phillips and Votto came around.
Behold Brandon Szymanski, the Reds second round pick of the June 2004 amateur draft. He's one of many in a long line of Reds prospects that flamed out. He never reached the majors in five pro seasons and the highest level he attained was 22 games at AAA Louisville. According to the awesome Baseball Reference, he had a .240 career average in 422 games with 53 home runs. Basically, here didn't really tear it up down in the bush leagues. Still, this is a pretty interesting piece.
Here's a couple of cool inserts from recent Topps sets. The "timeless talents" set is something I really like, especially since it shows both Joe Morgan and Brandon Phillips. I'm sure it does the same with other teams as well.
The rest of the package was a proverbial grab bag, which I actually enjoy. Here's another Johnny Bench card for my growing PC of his. I've slowly been accumulating Vada Pinson cards for some reason, perhaps the cardboard gods are telling me to add him to my PC list? I'll have to mull that over as there are certainly worse players I could add.
As I said, there was a little bit of everything in the package. I surprisingly didn't have this Sabo card in my collection so it's a nice addition.
Now these are cool! First a Pete Rose all-time Diamond Kings card. It's pretty cool that Panini has decided to put Pete on their cards since Topps can't/won't/whatever. The Griffey card is one of the odd side projects I collect, cards from defunct retail chains. Kaybee (or K-B Toys) was a toy shop in malls during the heyday of mall but went out of business in 2009 and their assets were sold off to Toys R Us. I have fond memories of going to the local K-B Toys and searching through the aisles at wrestling figures and other assorted items.
Finally, some 1994 Topps Gold. John Roper was doing an autograph signing at the local mall in 1994 in conjunction with a card show one time. I purchased a 1994 Pinnacle card from a dealer for a quarter and went over and got it signed by him. Since then, I've lost that card as I'm pretty sure it was in my initial purge of my childhood collection about 10-12 years ago.
A big thanks to T.J. for sending these out. Best of luck with the new baby T.J. and I'll have some Mariners out to you as appreciation.