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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Lost Box of Total Awesomeness - Beginning the Excavation

It's time to start examining this Totally Awesome longbox I found out of nowhere last week that I thought was lost forever. There are 800 or so cards in this thing so I'm going to have to do this methodically or else I'll have a post as long as a novel. Whenever I put this box together there was definitely a method and a purpose to it. Everything is pretty well organized in here. With this in mind I'm going to begin on one end and peel back the layers so we can figure out about when this box was put together and for what purpose. Cardboard Archaeology!

The first group of cards to be examined is a pile of 56 starting off with this fellow:

Now that's a great way to start a box isn't it! A 1996 Collector's Choice John Smoltz card, I have no idea what's happening here. The initial impression is that he's giving an interview, but he's wearing a polo shirt, headphones and using a wireless microphone. I think this could be evidence that Smoltzie was an early enthusiast of karaoke. I will further go out on a limb and state that the song he is most likely singing is "Lay Lady Lay". While I have no evidence confirming either of these hypotheses, I will viciously attack anyone who contradicts me because Smoltzie singing Dylan would be too incredibly amazing for words.

I think the best way to go about examining the rest of the cards in this group (although I've probably hit the highlight of the entire box with the first card) is to sort this pile by player and go from there. Here are the totals:

John Smoltz (2)
1996 Collector's Choice
1996 Score Select

Greg Maddux (7)
1994 Collector's Choice
1996 Score Select
1996 Upper Deck Defensive Gems
1996 Upper Deck Strike Force
1997 Donruss
1997 Pacific
1997 Pinnacle Clout

Tom Glavine (1)
1992 Leaf

Mike Bielecki (4)
1990 Topps
1992 Leaf
1992 Ultra
1993 O-Pee-Chee Premier

Terrell Wade (1)
1996 Score Select

Kent Mercker, Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena
1991 Stadium Club Members Only No-Hitter

Terry Pendleton (2)
1991 Stadium Club Members Only Batting Average Leader
1991 Stadium Club Members Only MVP

Fred McGriff (2)
1995 Stadium Club
1997 Fleer

Ryan Klesko (1)
1997 Pacific

Mike Kelly (1)
1992 Classic Best

Marquis Grissom (1)
1991 Upper Deck

Kenny Lofton (4)
1994 Donruss
1994 Ultra
1994 Upper Deck
1997 Fleer

So far we can obviously tell I put together a pile of Braves together for some reason. Maybe they were doubles, maybe I was going to add them to my binder and never got around to it, maybe I had just picked them up at a shop or card show. Grissom and Lofton aren't in Braves unis, but they were Braves nonetheless. Now let's check out the non-Braves:

Greg Colbrunn (12)
1991 Upper Deck
1996 Donruss
1996 Leaf
1996 Pacific
1996 Pinnacle
1996 Score
1996 Topps
1996 Upper Deck
1997 Fleer
1997 Pacific
1997 Topps
1997 Ultra

Twelve cards of Greg Colbrunn? What is this, the "to burn" pile?

Bryan Harvey (10)
1991 Upper Deck
1992 Score
1992 Studio
1993 Flair
1994 Bowman
1994 Collector's Choice
1994 Leaf
1995 Donruss
1995 Pinnacle
1996 Score

There's as many cards of Bryan Harvey as Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, but things are becoming clear...

Kevin Rogers (5)
1993 Leaf Gold Leaf Rookies
1993 Score
1993 Upper Deck
1994 Collector's Choice
1994 Donruss

Scott Brow (1)
1994 Ultra

Dean Hartgraves (1)
1996 Fleer Glossy parallel

So what do these five players have in common? They were all members of the Braves in 1997. Colbrunn was picked up in a trade with the Twins, and the rest all played in the Braves' minor leagues. Hartgraves made it to the majors in 1998, but the rest never made it past Richmond (or Greenville in Harvey's case). They were all acquired by the Braves though and I followed their every move closely enough to want to have those cards for my Braves set. Unlike Steve, I want a card of every player to ever put on a Braves uniform, and in this case whether they actually put on the uni or not. This pretty definitively dates this box to 1997. All these guys would have been interesting enough for me to pull from my common boxes in '97 but boring enough to ignore in'98. Also the most recent card set in the box is from 1997 and the hockey schedule found on top is is from '97-98. So this box could have been lost for as long as a decade, which is pretty amazing considering what else I found in the thing. But that's for another post...


Steve Gierman said...

Don't get me wrong... I want that too, and I used to be the exact same way. I have a bunch of Danny Heep cards to prove that. Danny never made it past Spring Training. I also have cards of people like Gene Lamont and Barry Foote because of that philosophy. I'm just more streamlined now. I still want them in minor league unis though, but that alas is another story. :)

Bay Rat North West said...

What is truly ASTONISHING about this box?
They are all players:
Who no one but Braves fans care about. Come on man! I had to wait ten years for Smoltzie in a polo shirt? Where are the SP to 100,000 cards?

Matt said...

bay rat north west,

One man's trash...