This is one of my favorite O's cards from 1993 Topps. You just don't see many photos of a player looking pensively toward the horizon as he lounges by the batting cage with a cup of Gatorade. Add the gym t-shirt (Gold's Gym perhaps?) peeking through Craig's mesh batting practice jersey, and the pants hiked up to a dangerously high level, and you've got a classic.
This was the first set that I ever collected, so it holds strong sentimental value for me. I remember buying those blue and red cellophane packs all through the summer and fall: on vacation at my family's cottage in Northeastern Pennsylvania, at the Revco drug store after school, even at the supermarket near my friend Steve's house. I'm glad that I actually had the chance to walk to the store to buy cards; I'm sure that's a lost art these days. The packs were 69 to 79 cents for 15 cards, one of which would be a Gold parallel card. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think those were the first one-per-pack parallels.
My parents even bought me a box of Series 2, probably for my birthday. I just didn't know how to react to a couple dozen packs of cards, all waiting to be opened by ME. When I pulled a BlackGold WINNER card from one of those packs, I flipped out. It entitled me to receive by mail 11 cards from the rare 44-card BlackGold insert set, including Frank Thomas! Largely on the strength of that box, I was able to complete the 429-card second series. But I never did get around to completing Series 1.
There was a hobby shop about ten minutes from my house, and I was a frequent customer. I purchased the 1993 Traded set at that shop as soon as it was available. I also shared my 1993 Topps want list with the owner, and he was able to find all but fifteen or so for me. Somehow, I just never put forth the effort to chase down those few elusive cards that would complete my first-ever set.
When I emerged in the baseball card blogosphere about a year ago, I put up some want lists on my 1965 Topps blog. Those tricky 1993 Topps started trickling in, and eventually I needed one more stinking card: #185, Jack Morris. Given my rooting interests at the time I was actively collecting this set, it's only fitting that the last holdout would be one of those villainous Blue Jays.
A few weeks ago, I received an awesome bubble mailer full of Orioles cards from dayf, the Cardboard Junkie. As I was thumbing through the Melvin Moras, Brian Robertses, Eddie Murrays, Brooks Robinsons, and many more, I came across a few cards from those nearly-forgotten want lists: a 2006 Topps Hideki Matsui, a few 1990 Topps, and...could it be? YES! Jack Morris' grinning puss!
It took fifteen years, but my first set is finally complete. Thanks, dayf. One of these days, I'll get off my lazy butt and put your package in the mail.