Collecting Carney: I waited a year, what’s an extra week or so?

Way back in December 2020, Sporting News reporter Ryan Fagan was opening some packs for Twitter — a practice that had been around for a while but picked up popularity during the Pandemic — and unearthed from his 1984 Donruss Action All Stars pack a card of Carney Lansford.

Lansford is a local guy for me, and is someone I’d turned some collecting focus to in recent years. When Ryan pulled the card I reached out to him and had two requests: I wanted the card he pulled and I wanted Fagan to sign the reverse with the date that he pulled it.

Ryan returned my message, and seemed somewhat shocked by my request:

“For real(?) If you want me to do that, I’d be happy to,” he said.

I offered to pay, but Ryan said it wasn’t necessary. I thanked him and provided my address.

A few days after the pull, he tweeted that he had taken a Hal McRae from the same set into the local card shop and jokingly asked if the owner wanted to buy it. Ryan obviously was kidding; he had in fact merely taken it there to buy a top loader for MY Lansford.

And so I waited.

About a month later nothing had arrived and I was concerned that it had gotten lost. So I sent Ryan a message asking if the card was ever sent and he apologized as something had come up. No big deal, I replied.

I waited. And waited. And then waited some more.

After about two months I just assumed the Lansford was never coming. And I was not about to message him again asking where the card was. That’s not really my style. Afterall, this was a gift that wasn’t costing me nothing.

And then out of the blue, almost a year to the date after our previous message, Ryan messages me apologizing for the delay and said it was going out soon. A day later he sent me a tracking number — it was set to arrive January 25, just three days later.

I thanked him and was super appreciative the card was still heading my way so the anticipation built.

And then … nothing. The 25th came and the Lansford didn’t show up. Another week passed and nothing. So I decided to check the tracking and it was showing “In Transit” with no updates for more than a week.

And then, seemingly out of the blue, a photo mailer arrived with a rigid Top Loader inside. I knew exactly what it was. The Lansford had in fact arrived, and just in time for Carney’s 65th birthday which is today!

“Ha. OF COURSE it got stuck. What’s another week in the postal system after it took me more than a year to mail it.” Ryan said when I advised him of the delayed arrival.

And so here is the Carney in all it’s glory. Gotta love that bright yellow pull-over Oakland Athletics jersey on the front; a close-up of those round-frame “Coke Bottle” glasses and sweet ‘stache on the rear. And there, at the very bottom, just as I requested, the signature of reporter Ryan Fagan along with a pull-date inscription of “12.15.20” and “#RFPOD.”

Here’s my public thank you to Ryan for the card, and I’ll take this opportunity to say “Happy Birthday” to Carney who took our league to the Little League World Series in 1969.

If you’re not following Ryan on Twitter you can catch him on one of his two accounts: @ryanfagan for his professional and @myjunkwax for his card-related tweets,

And if you’ve got a stash of Carney Lansford cards that need a new home, I’m your guy. I’ve got almost all the base ones but will happily take what you’ve got and probably end up re-gifting them to the kids in our Little League.

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