Friday, December 8, 2023

Nacho Average Secret Santa

Those of you who faithfully read many of the wonderful blogs devoted to the sports card hobby have no doubt seen a few people share the gifts they have received from Chris over at Nachos Grande. Chris is in the midst of his Secret Santa, and I was one of the many who signed up to take part.

Around the Thanksgiving holiday, I received a box from Chris, with lots of fun contained therein. Rather than show you everything, I'd like to present a Top 10 list of highlights:

#10 and #9 - Board games!

One of the things that separates Chris's blog from others is that it's not all sports cards. He's an avid board game enthusiast, and he often shares his reviews of games he has played. I too love to play board games, but I don't make the time to play them as often as I'd like. When I signed up for the Secret Santa, I had an opportunity to ask Chris for recommendations for games that I could potentially play with my two youngest daughters (ages 2 and 3, although both celebrating birthdays before the winter season ends.) Since Chris has a son a little older than them that he regularly plays games with, I figured he'd have some good ideas. He ended up these two games. Sorry! is a classic that I haven't played since I was myself a kid, but Speedy Delivery is a new one to me. I haven't had a chance to play either with the kiddies yet, but plan to before Christmas.

#8 - The baseball card equivalent of an ugly Christmas sweater

The artists often employed to create baseball cards are leagues more talented than I am, so I really shouldn't be one to criticize. However, this card of fan favorite Kevin Youkilis made me laugh, because wow that card is interesting. Maybe I only notice this because he's bald, but ears normally that large compared to the rest of the facial features? (I'm afraid to look in the mirror...)

#7 - More fun at Youk's expense

I never played Attax, Topps' attempt at a collectible card game, but I can guess why it wasn't the hit they hoped it would be. Kevin's "boost" is that he hits triples when you're loosing? No offense Topps, but Youk wasn't known for hitting triples (18 in his career). Let's talk about that background too, shall we? Is he in a volcano? A forest fire? Do I even want to know why the red sky is permeated with soulless faces? That's some serious nightmare fuel....

#6 - A card I'll "Treasure"

I don't seek out Gold Label cards, so when I get one I always take a couple extra seconds to appreciate it. This Nomar card is quite shiny, and you have to love how the light refracts off of it.

#5 - Pedro-palooza!

I feel like I'm an anomaly sometimes, in that I didn't collect during the arguably best years of my team's existence (in my lifetime at least!) So I missed out on collecting guys like Pedro, despite watching him pitch and helping the Red Sox break an 86-year championship drought. I have a lot of catching up to do, and every time I get a Pedro, I get to remember that magical season.

#4 - And the award for best action pose goes to...

Who doesn't love a good action shot? This card is a good reminder of how incredibly athletic these players are, with Nomar practically splitting the card diagonally with his legs. I would severely hurt myself attempting that....

#3 - Teenage me would have bought a lot of these had he only known...

1991 was right in my peak collecting window, and yet I don't ever recall seeing these Archives cards. Not at my local card shop, not at any shows I went to, not even in any of the trade magazines I bought. Had I known about these, I can't help but feel that I would have made a point to get my hands on some. Plus, it's fun to see Hall of Fame players like Kell and Boudreau, who had brief stops in Boston.

#2 - The Red Sox could use some good Japanese vibes right now!

The Red Sox are one of the more heavily mentioned names in connection to free agent Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and I'm all in for it! Who couldn't use a 25-year old ace who has won the NBP equivalent of the Cy Young 3 years running? The last time Boston brought pitching over from Japan, they acquired phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka and releiver Hideki Okajima. Here's hoping for Yamamoto!

#1 - Keeping a dear friend's memory alive

Earlier this past year, Chris lost a good friend who made amazing custom cards. Chris has tried to honor his friend and share some of those customs. These minis are amazing, and I particularly love the Piedmont cards. I even got an "aged" variation of David Ortiz!
Some gifts just keep giving, and although I never met Chris's friend Ryan, I am honored to have these in my possession.
Thank you so much for the board game and cards Chris! I just hope you get as much joy out of what I send back!


  1. Glad everything arrived! I'd definitely start with Speedy Delivery as the first game to play - it's got great problem solving in it for little ones (my parents kept that game from when my siblings were young and then passed it on to me when my son was young - it's amused multiple generations of children already, happy it found a new home)!

  2. I don't have any artistic talent, but the entire National Chicle set can probably be considered the Ugly Christmas Sweater set. Not necessarily in a good way either.

  3. Chris is indeed diverse. My favorite posts from him are the ones of the Lego variety.

    As for Yamamoto... I can't wait to see what he can do in the MLB. I'd love to see the Padres go for him... but I heard his projected salary doesn't fit their budget.

  4. Yeah, the artwork on that Chicle is less than stellar. And I'm in pretty solid shape, but I'd probably put myself out of commission for like a year if I tried to mimic Nomar's actions on that card.