PWE Playhouse: The Calendar Says “July”, But It’s Opening Day (And Finest And MegaBox…)

I’m fairly well overdue on this one, but I’m always thankful for the PWE’s I get from Shoebox Legends.
PWE Playhouse thumb

We’ll start off with the titular Opening Day cards, because I’ve now completed the Mets team set from 2016 OD, thanks to Shane!
2016 Topps Opening Day Michael Conforto
Michael Conforto is currently down in AAA Las Vegas, hopefully relaxing and letting what he does so well come naturally again. This is actually his first time in AAA, because he went straight from AA Binghamton to New York last season.

I’m also one-third of the way to an Orioles team set… but unfortunately that’s because there are only 3 Orioles in the Opening Day base set… Yep, the first place O’s have three cards while the below-.500 Yankees have something like 49 base cards. Great job, Topps.
2016 Topps Opening Day Adam Jones
Adam Jones is having a typical AJ10 season, but it’s not good enough to get him on the All-Star team (just yet, anyway). Five Orioles have been named to the A.L. All-Star team, and only one of them is in Opening Day as well… and that’s the fairly obvious choice of Manny Machado.

More Panini Hometown Heroes in this PWE, including personal favorite Lee Mazzilli. Back in the late 1970’s, Maz was pretty much the face of the Mets.
2013 Panini Hometown Heroes Lee Mazzilli
Maz represented the Mets in the 1979 All-Star game, and it’s funny… I don’t remember his home run as well as I remember his run-scoring walk given up by Yankee Ron Guidry. It’s that extra “stick it to the Yankees” element that makes that one memorable to me.

Interestingly enough, the other Hometown Heroes card in this PWE is for Ron Darling, who was one of two young pitchers the Mets got when they traded Mazzilli to the Rangers.
2013 Panini Hometown Heroes Ron Darling
They would be teammates later in the 1980’s during Mazzilli’s second stint with the Mets.

Mini Strawberry!
2014 Allen & Ginter Darryl Strawberry Mini
I don’t collect A&G beyond what I get for my team and player collections, but I kinda like the 2014 design.

…From Straw to shining Thor!
2015 Topps Update MegaBox Noah Syndergaard
Shiny parallels don’t often do much for me, but I have to say these MegaBox parallels from last year are really nice. I think I’m going to have to go after the other cards I’d need to complete the Mets and Orioles sets.

For the second time in three days, it’s Hunter Harvey! This time, he’s on a Bowman Chrome parallel of some blueish hue.
2015 Bowman Chrome Sky Blue Hunter Harvey
I really wish card manufacturers would have something on the back of the card to tell us which parallel, variation, etc. we’re holding in our hands. (And keep that thought in mind, because I’m working on a post involving my wishes for an ideal card back).

We’ll wrap up with a 1995/96 Topps Finest card of Vezina Trophy winner Jim Carey.  Carey was the first Capitals goalie to win the Vezina, which is fairly appropriate given that Braden Holtby just became the third (Olaf Kolzig was #2 in 1999/2000).
1995-96 Topps Finest Jim Carey
In the ’95/’96 season, the 21-year-old Carey squeaked past Detroit’s Chris Osgood in the voting for the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s best goaltender… Both Carey and Osgood had 5 first place votes, but Carey had one more 2nd place vote and three more 3rd place votes. Carey lead the league with 9 shutouts, had a 2.06 Goals Against Average and 35 wins.

For a variety of reasons, my hockey fandom started a steady decline in the mid-1990’s… which is why I can look at a card of a guy with my favorite (at the time) team, who won a major award at the age of 21, and I can honestly say “Whatever happened to him, anyway?”

In the 1995/96 postseason, Carey gave up 10 goals in 3 games, and coach Jim Schoenfeld pulled him in favor of Olaf Kolzig, and the Caps would lose that first series to the Penguins in six. Some point to that series and his benching as taking a major hit on Carey’s confidence.

In March, 1997 Carey was involved in a major trade with the Bruins that saw Carey, Jason Allison and Anson Carter going to Boston for Adam Oates, Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet (who played all of 13 games for the Capitals).

Carey didn’t play as well with the Bruins as he did in his Vezina season, and within a couple of years he was out of hockey at the age of 24.

One thing that caught my attention about this card is the ad on the boards for a regional electronics chain that went out of business over a dozen years ago.  Just having an ad on the board for “Nobody Beats The Wiz”, a chain that at one point was the biggest electronic chain in metro New York, gives us a decent idea of who the Caps were playing that night… probably against the Rangers, Islanders or Devils… maybe the Whalers or Flyers depending on how far The Wiz stretched their chain and their advertising dollars.

Anyway, thanks again, Shane!  The lovely people of the USPS are bringing a PWE your way as we speak.

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