When I think of the term "Endless Summer", I think of the summer of 2003 when I was fresh out of high school and my friends and I were working as shift managers and projection booth operators at a run down dump of a dollar cinema on the west side of Hamilton, Ohio. Our pay rate was just above peanuts and the place was falling apart but we had a lot of fun while trying to keep ourselves entertained since no one came to see movies as the nice theater was just around the corner and we had little to no business being in charge. I still look back fondly on those days, just as I'm sure that some people do during the summers that the Big Red Machine was clicking on all cylinders when Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and all the others were winning NL pennants and World Series titles. Those days are looked back fondly by most, if not all, Reds fans, just as the summer of 2003 is for me.
While this card won't cause me to go on a deep thought stream of consciousness like I did with the first card, this is still a really fun and unique card from 2001 Topps Chrome. It captures Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan from the 1970s and then Reds stars Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin. Too bad Griffey would miss nearly the whole 2001 season when he suffered a bad leg injury during the opening week of the season and Larkin was only three years away from retirement. Still, this is a really cool looking card and I'm curious to see what other combos there were like this for other teams.
My Sean Casey collection is slowly growing thanks through trades such as this. Never was a big fan of Stadium Clubs insert cards simply because they put so much thought into the photography and the base card design, it feels like the insert are simply afterthoughts. The Topps Finest card though I really dig and believe me it's better in person than it is in the scan.
This card, though, is the new winner in the Sean Casey collection. On the eve of Opening Day 1998, the Reds traded off Dave Burba, who had been one of their most consistent pitchers, to Cleveland for a kid no one had ever heard of named Sean Casey. I love everything about this card, the young Sean Casey not knowing the huge impact he'd have on the Reds, the red pinstripe jerseys before the Reds went crazy and put black into their logo, and cavernous old Riverfront Stadium with the green of the astroturf, the different colored levels where if you went to a game and someone asked where you sat, you simply said "the green seats" or "the red seats", and sitting in the big old stadium watching a team just playing to break even with not a care in the world. Those were some great days and some good times and this one Sean Casey card brought a huge smile to my face when I saw it.
I picked up the standard version of this card last year at a card show, so I was pretty surprised to find this in the package. Last year's Archives had two Reds players in their "Fan Favorites" autograph line, Joe Oliver and Jose Rijo, and I'm trying to track down both of them. This is the silver parallel version (side note: I had no clue there were parallel versions of these) and the signature is a bit better than the standard version. I'm still on the lookout for the Rijo but it's proven difficult to find.
Speaking of Jose Rijo, here's a card of his along with a few others from 1993 Flair. I never really got many of these cards during my initial run of collecting as a kid but the ones I did get were really cool. All these years later, they still hold up quite well. The Reds in 1993 were still a fairly sold team, having some leftover parts from the 1990 World Series team along with some veterans from other club and younger players.
The Griffey Jr. Reds collection slowly grows. It seems like most everyone has forgotten about his time in Cincinnati but I haven't. Yes, his star faded while he was here but the championships that were promised never materialized, mainly because the pitching was incredibly suspect.
These are certainly an interesting lot. I like the framed design on them but what's with the word on the side of the card? If it's supposed to describe emotion, it failed. None of the words are anywhere near some sort of emotion, such as "torque". Imagine if torque was an emotion? "How are you today, Al?" I'm just torque, Pete." Doesn't quite work does it.
A good smattering of cards from many different years and sets. I'm not sure if the Ron Gant card would be classified as a refractor or not but he definitely had a huge year and won the NL Comeback Player of the Year in his only season with the Reds. He defected to the nasty Cardinals after that year though. The Tyler Stephenson card is from this year's Topps Pro Debut set, of which I'm sitting on four packs that I have yet to open.
Getting new Barry Larkin cards for the Reds binder is always welcome. I seem to have a good number of cards from his early days and the mid-90s but I don't have a lot from his later years. The Flair is a super nice card and features a Barry Bonds cameo and the SPx card is a nice later year addition.
This card though is one of the best cards in the package. I have zero of these Topps Finest cards as I was never really much of a Finest person. This card is super cool and it's definitely going to have a featured spot in the binder.
Last thing I'll show off here is this box topper from last year's Allen & Ginter. This was wedged in between two pieces of cardboard that I thought was just there to protect the cards during shipping. I almost threw it away but then caught a glimpse of this hanging out in between. Good thing I didn't toss it in the trash because this is really cool. I'm not too big on oversized cards but this will be a nice thing to put in my box of good stuff.
This was a really great trade package and brought back a lot of fun memories for me from days gone by. There was other stuff included that I didn't show off but believe me, it was just as good as everything that I showed here.