I Stayed Up All Night Making These Customs!

Well, I *was* up most of the night, and I *was* making customs during the night, but the cause and effect are a little bit different than that.

Y’see, I work in IT and this weekend we did our monthly rebooting of servers (along with software updates and the like).  This month it was my turn to stay up and babysit and do a lot of small tasks, but the way our procedures are currently set up, I click on something, wait a minute or two, click on the next thing, wait a minute or two.

Since I was sitting there in the wee small hours of the morning and decided I may as well do something else in the recurring minute or two of downtime.  On my personal laptop I had a number of images which I never got around into making into Hot Stove customs, so I figured I’d make use of my tiny little fragments of down time.

I’m feeling OK at the moment, but I got hardly any sleep last night so forgive me if I start to babble or not make sense.  I’m really hoping I don’t say something blatantly wrong or stupid.

So we’ll start with of of the newest Blue Jays, Hyun-Jin  Ryu.  This one actually is from a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn’t going to do a post with just one custom.

The photo is from a press conference, which is why he’s wearing a shirt and tie under his jersey… but I decided to try removing the press conference background and do an old school Topps trick of making the background solid blue.  It’s not quite the same blue (old Topps used solid cyan ink), but it’s close enough for government work.

For a guy who just signed a contract for a shitload of money, Gerrit Cole looks pretty unhappy… Maybe it’s because he had to shave.

I should’ve lightened the photo and gotten more of the Yankee Stadium background, but this is what happens when I make customs at 2am.  Unlike a certain famous sportscard blogger, I am most decidedly not a night owl.

Equal time for the Mets, even if signing Betances won’t quite have the impact of a Gerrit Cole.

I do like the way this one came out, though.

Back in December… I think it was December… the Rangers unveiled their new uniforms which I suppose are meant for their first season in their new ballpark which replaces their horribly old former stadium which was built in the 1990’s if you can believe it.  I didn’t bother putting new backgrounds in for these, I didn’t think it was worth it.  Anyway, here’s manager Chris Woodward in the new home uniforms.

Looking at this custom I see the folly of having off-white borders when the photo itself is very much not off-white.  I do that so the custom is not solid white, but here it looks a bit silly.  I’ll have to ponder that before I use that on any future templates.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time since 2008 that the Rangers’ jersey actually says “Rangers” on it.  Shocking, I know.

Joey Gallo seems startled by the new powder blue alternates.  It’s funny how a number of teams have gone powder blue alts lately, but at least they’re all teams which had used powder blue in the past.  I’m not sure I’m a fan of the powder blue cap.

That’s about it for now… I did make other customs, but the mistakes on those are too great for me to post them here… They should show up next week after I’ve made some corrections.

The 1970’s A-Z: Agee To Alexander

Previously, on “The 1970’s, A-Z”:

I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and for each one I’m going to share my favorite 1970’s card of that guy and some information and thoughts about him and his cards.


TOMMIE AGEE

Played:  1962 – 1973

1970’s teams: Mets, Astros, Cardinals

1970’s Highlights:
Won a Gold Glove in 1970;  Hit for the cycle 7/6/70 vs. Cardinals

Fun Stuff:
Tommie was a key player on the 1969 “Miracle Mets”; According to Baseball Reference, every major leaguer whose first name was “Tommie” (i.e. Aaron, Agee, Sisk, Reynolds) played from the early 1960’s to the early 1970’s… and each had Tommie as their legal name, it wasn’t short for Thomas.

Card Stuff:
The featured card is from 1970 Kellogg’s;  Agee appeared in 1974 Topps Traded listed as a Dodger (while looking up in the sky) after the Cardinals traded him for Pete Richert, but Agee was released in Spring Training and never played a regular season game for the Dodgers;  His final MLB games came with the Cardinals in 1973 and his regular 1974 Topps card shows his career totals.


JACK AKER

Played 1964 – 1974
1970’s teams: Yankees, Cubs, Braves, Mets

Fun Stuff:
Pitched in 495 MLB games without ever starting; Pitched for the Seattle Pilots

Card Stuff:
In 1974 he pitched 17 games for the Braves and 24 for the Mets, but his final MLB card, which came out earlier that year, showed him with the Cubs.


DOYLE ALEXANDER

Played: 1971 – 1989
1970’s Teams: Dodgers, Orioles, Yankees, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Pitched in postseason in 1973 (with O’s) and in 1976 (with Yankees)

Fun Stuff:
Was one of four players sent from the Dodgers to the Orioles for Frank Robinson and Pete Richert, Dec. 1971; Was part of 10 player trade between O’s and Yanks, June, 1976

Card Stuff:
His 1972 rookie card came after he was traded the Orioles, so he never appeared on a card with the Dodgers


GARY ALEXANDER

Played from 1975 – 1981
1970’s teams: Giants, A’s, Indians

1970’s Highlights:
Catcher on the 1977 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Lead the AL by striking out 166 times in 1978.

Fun Stuff:
Was part of the March, 1978 trade that sent Vida Blue from the A’s to the Giants;

Card Stuff:
Featured card is 1979 Hostess; Gary shared a 1977 Topps Rookie Card with Dale Murphy; Played 58 games for A’s in 1978 but never appeared on a card with that team


MATT ALEXANDER

Played: 1973 – 1981
1970’s teams: Cubs, A’s, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
Pinch-ran in two postseason games for the “We Are Family” Pirates in 1979

Fun Stuff:
Was used as a pinch-runner 271 times in his career

Card Stuff:
Although his 1978 card shows him with the A’s, he was released at the end of spring training and didn’t sign with another team (the Pirates) until that September;


COMING NEXT: Allen through Alomar

I Like ‘Em Cheap And Fun

I’ve mentioned it here before that we’ve got a new local show (local = a mere 30 miles away) and I’ve been supporting it by being a bit more free-spending than I normally would.  One dealer had a table full of autographed cards that I had fun going through even though I’m not much of an autograph collector… but you get me in the right mood and I’m up for digging through $1 and $2 autographs.

And I’ll point out up front that I think that at least one card I’m sharing today will be considered “fun” by many baseball fans, not just me and my close personal friends.

First up is a 2014 Bowman Chrome Propspects Johnny Field; I semi-collect Johnny Field just because I like his name.  It sounds like the name associated with a Marx Toys product from the 1960’s and 1970’s… The Johnny Field Baseball Playset! Contains 300 Pieces!

Johnny Field was in the Cubs organization in 2019, I don’t know if he has a contract for 2020.

BTW, almost all of these cards are Chrome and/or otherwise shiny.

Hunter Harvey is the son of former MLB reliever Bryan Harvey and was the Orioles 1st round draft pick in 2013. Six years later he made his debut with the O’s this past season. This card is from 2014 Bowman Sterling.

After the 2014 season Harvey was ranked among the Top 100 prospects out of all the Major League teams. He made his MLB Debut with the Orioles this past season, going 1-0, 1.42 over 7 relief appearances… which is probably one of the better performances of an Orioles pitcher, even if it is a small sample size.

Mets catching prospect Patrick Mazeika was never a top-ranked prospect, but I’ve seen him play for AA Binghamton a couple of times which is why this card appealed to me. This is the perfect photo for an unlicensed card, but Leaf kind of ruins it with a fairly ugly design on this 2017 Valiant Draft card.

Seth Lugo has the advantage of having been in bigs with the Mets for several seasons, plus he’s a player I like and appreciate. Working entirely out of the bullpen for the first time in 2019, he had a 2.70 ERA and a 0.900 WHIP. You don’t hear a lot about him, but he’s an important part of the Mets bullpen.

I kind of regret buying this card. I like Tomas Nido (another Mets catcher), but man, this is not a good-looking card… and not just because it’s unlicensed. Oh, I guess I should mention it’s a 2018 Panini Chronicles Phoenix Signatures card.

If I don’t like it, why am I sharing it here? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure.

OK, this last card, from 2007 Just Rookies, is my favorite of the whole bunch for multiple reasons. First off, it’s an autograph of 2-time All-Star, World Champion and all-around swell guy, Sean Doolittle.

Second, it shows him clean-shaven and in his University of Virginia uniform (along with one of his UVa teammates).

Third, it lists him as a first baseman (which is how he was drafted by the A’s in 2007, but he played both ways in college).

Fourth, and we’re getting juvenile here, the “Just Rookies” logo is partially blocked by Doolittle’s helmet, and part of the “R” in “Rookies” blends into the background, so if you squint a little bit it looks like the brand of cards is “Just Poo”.

And now it’s audience participation time… What kind of autographs do you like to get which might not get other collectors excited?

The 1970’s, A-Z: The Saga Begins

I’ve been wanting to do a blogging project which would involve “quality time” with the cards of my childhood and early teens… but I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew.  After numerous ideas focused around FrankenSet-like concepts, I came up with what you’ll see here.

I’m going alphabetically through players and managers from the 1970’s, showcasing my favorite 1970’s card of that individual and sharing – more or less – a card back’s worth of information.  I want to make this series something like if TCMA had done a “The 1970’s” set.

For the first pass at my “checklist”, I started out with guys who appeared on at least 2 or 3 baseball cards between 1970 and 1979. I’ve made multiple passes to add and subtract guys since then.  If a guy doesn’t have any above-average cards and the most interesting things I can find about him is “Gary lead the Sally League in Sac Flies” or “Ray likes to go fishing”, then he got dropped.  The checklist currently stands at well over 1,000 individual, so you’ll have to forgive me when we skip past the occasional Ted Abernathy or Lloyd Allen.

An important note to you, the reader: I’ve already got the letter A “in the can”, so rest assured that this series will get at least as far as Doug Ault.


HANK AARON

Played 1954 – 1976
1970’s teams: Braves, Brewers

1970’s Highlights:
Set career records for Home Runs (755), RBI (2,297) and Total Bases (6,856); Was an All-Star up through 1975; Lead the league in Slugging (.669) and IBB (21) in 1971

Fun Stuff:
Spent 50 years as the first player alphabetically in the all-time MLB roster until he was replaced by David Aardsma in 2004; At the time he reached 3000 hits in 1970, he had been the first to achieve that milestone since Stan Musial in 1958

Card Stuff:
Was featured on Card #1 of the Topps set from 1973 to 1976; Card #1 from 1974, featured above, was regarded by my elementary school classmates as one of the set’s top cards.


DON AASE

Played 1977 – 1990
1970’s teams: Red Sox, Angels

1970’s Highlights:
Became the first Angels pitcher with a postseason win, Game 3 of 1979 ALCS vs. Orioles

1970’s transactions of note:
Traded from Red Sox to Angels for Jerry Remy, Dec. 1977


GLENN ABBOTT

Played: 1973 – 1984
1970’s Teams: A’s, Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Pitched an inning in 1975 ALCS vs. Red Sox; Pitched an inning of a combined no-hitter, 9/28/75

Fun Stuff:
Was an original Seattle Mariner, having been taken from the A’s in the Nov., 1976 expansion draft; Has been a minor league pitching coach since 1985, and is currently the pitching coach for the AAA Syracuse Mets


CY ACOSTA

Played: 1972 – 1975
1970’s teams: White Sox, Phillies

Fun Stuff:
Given name is Cecilio; Is In the Mexico Pro Baseball Hall Of Fame; Was the first pitcher to bat in the AL after the introduction of the DH


GLENN ADAMS

Played: 1975 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Giants, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
On 6/26/77 he set a Twins team record with 8 RBI in a game against the White Sox;  the record still stands, although Randy Bush tied it in 1989.

Fun Stuff:
Was the 4th overall pick (Astros) in the January, 1968 Draft; Is the most recent of 14 Springfield (MA) College alumni to have played in the Majors


COMING NEXT: Agee through Alexander

Cool But Stinky Dime Box, Part 2: Two Felixes and Dueling Dels

To quickly recap what “Cool But Stinky” is about, I found a dimebox at a card show where the contents were mainly awesome oddballs… but like Loudon Wainwright’s “Dead Skunk”, the cards in this dime box were stinkin’ to high heaven.

Apologies for the month-long delay after the first part.

I’ll start off with a 1961 Post cereal card of the Giants’ Andre Rogers. I don’t know about you, but when I can get Post cards for a dime, I don’t care how poorly some kid cut the borders or how creased the card is, that sucker is coming home with me!

I knew that Rodgers was one of the few baseball players from the Bahamas… What I didn’t realize, even though it makes sense, was that he grew up playing Cricket and didn’t hold a baseball bat until he was 17! Fun stuff. Outside of team and player collections I have no real plans for these cards, but they’re just so much fun that I like to accumulate them.


It pains me a little that the Houston Astros current jersey is a bit on the dull side, because they had some great uniforms from their start as the Colt .45’s, through the “Shooting Star” days and into the “Tequila Sunrise” rainbow look.

One footnote to the Astros uniform history is that they went into 1965 Spring training (their first as the Astros) without a definitive new cap. In this next card, catcher Ron Brand is wearing a prototype cap which was used in Spring Training but was never worn in the regular season.

I don’t dislike the cap they eventually went with, but this one is pretty sweet. I don’t know of any instances of these caps showing up on a Topps card, but there’s at least one other TCMA card that shows the cap (but you’ll have to wait for a future Cool But Stinky post to see that).


As a child of the 1970’s, I enjoy collecting cards of 1970’s managers during their playing days, and here’s something interesting that I noticed about two cards I picked up… Former Brewers and Mariners manager Del Crandall has cards in the 1989 Pacific Legends set and in the TCMA “The 1960’s” set, and both cards feature very similar photos… so similar that I thought they were the same photo until I did a very close-up comparison.

Here’s the TCMA:

…And here’s the Pacific

I thought that they were the same photo cropped differently, but after looking at them more closely, I realized there were noticeable differences.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison I made to highlight the very minor differences.  On the left (in the red rectangles) you can see that some of the people have moved.  On the right (in the red circles) you can see that the folds on his jersey are different.  In between, the stripes on Crandall’s pants are at a slightly different angle.

I’m thinking that the photos were taken moments apart and by the same photographer.


When I was a kid, Felix Millan was the Mets’ 2nd baseman and one of my favorite Mets.  My friends and I used to choke up on the ol’ Wiffle Bat just like Millan did, and a couple of years later when I discovered Japanese baseball on a UHF station outside of NYC, Felix was the first player I recognized from the broadcasts.  I always enjoy picking up new cards of him, although in this case it weirds me out to see him with the Braves (and without a mustache).  This TCMA “The 1960’s” card has an extra twist to it, though…

Millan made his Major League debut with the Atlanta Braves in 1966;  this photo shows him in a Milwaukee Braves cap, something I’d never seen before.  He also never wore #57 during the regular season (according to baseball-reference.com), and he was in the Kansas City Athletics organization in 1964, so… Spring Training 1965?  Or would the Braves have worn Milwaukee caps during their first Spring Training as the Atlanta Braves?


Moving from one Felix with Mets connections to another… Felix Mantilla put in 6 years with the Milwaukee Braves and 3 years with the Red Sox, and in between he played a season with those woeful 1962 Mets.

I want to save most of my Mantilla material for when I get to him in my “1961 Mets” series (which also will be resuming shortly), so I’ll share these two bits of Felix Mantilla trivia:
1) In the closing credits for the 1986 movie “Ruthless People”, there’s a credit for “Utility Infielder – Felix Mantilla”. No, I don’t know why.  If  you don’t believe me, you can see it on the movie’s IMDB page… it’s under “Other Crew” after several Production Assistants and Dwight Gooden – yes,  he’s in there as well.
2) Mantilla is shown with the Cubs on his 1967 card, but he tore his achilles tendon during spring training and never played for the Cubbies.


I mentioned in the last post that I found the autographs of two 1970’s Pittsburgh Pirates in this dime box.  The first was a 1973 Topps card of manager Bill Virdon, and the second is…

…drumroll please…

Pirates pitcher Jerry Reuss, shown capless (and ever-so-slightly airbrushed) after an October, 1973 trade.

The signature looks pretty legit to me, especially when compared to the facsimile auto on the back of this 1986 team-issued postcard:

As with Bill Virdon, I have a modest collection going of Jerry Reuss, so I’m happy to add this card to it.


Dead Skunk in the middle of the road, stinkin’ to hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh heaven!

Not The “What”, But The “Why” Behind My 2020 Goals (Plus Weigh-In #65)

I’ve spent the last two posts talking about how I’m largely giving up on set building, and how I’m looking to reduce the size of my collection.

This time around, as part of my New Year’s Navel Gazing, I thought I’d discuss my goals for 2020… However, it’s not exactly a list of goals, but more the thinking behind those goals. I realize this is not going to set any readership records for this blog, but I kind of want to get it out here and out of the way.

A lot of collectors will talk about entirely cutting out new cards when things get overwhelming, but buying packs is fun and keeps me in touch with “who’s who” and “who’s where” in the Majors. Opening recent packs helps me stay somewhat knowledgeable about less-hyped players coming into MLB, guys like Tommy Edman and Jonathan Loaisiga.

On the other hand, I’ve come to the realization that what brings me joy with newer cards is not set building but, in a sense, “FrankenSet building”. In 2020 and going forward I’d like to have as many different current players as possible represented in my collection, but I’m not chasing entire sets unless I just completely fall in love with 2020 Heritage or something which hasn’t yet been previewed.

In a similar “Unless I’m blown away” vein, I’m not going to spend much effort tracking and chasing after most inserts, online exclusives and unlicensed cards.  If they come my way in packs or trades, that’s fine, but there are just too many to bother building wantlists or looking for them at shows or online.  I’ll admit that, in my case, I’m pretty much dreading the coming onslaught of Pete Alonso cards.


Quick visual break to feature three 2019 cards I found to be an interesting grouping…

Edwin Encarnacion played in 2018 for the Indians (His Series 1 card is on the bottom), was part of a three-team offseason trade which sent him to Seattle (Opening Day card, upper left) and was traded to the Yankees in June (Update card, upper right).  Not often that you get three different base cards like this.  Sadly, the Topps Chrome card used the same image as Opening Day did.


Moving on to my goals involving older cards…

I’m not going to have the time, money or frankly the opportunities to attempt anything big, so 2020 is going to be all about smaller projects, team sets and player collections. Since I’ve repeatedly run into budgetary roadblocks with my vintage Mets team sets (Nolan Ryan, high-numbered 1966 Topps, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver rookie, Nolan Ryan), I’m going to focus on the many unfinished 1980’s team set, as well as filling out some of my 1980’s and 1990’s PC wants. For example, there’s no reason why I don’t have every 1980’s Cal Ripken base card other than I hadn’t made them a priority. Now I’m making them a priority.

Since I’ve largely given up on building sets, I need to shift some of my focus towards breaking down some of these partial sets I’m never going to finish. How to handle these is sometimes less than clear-cut.  For example, My database says I need just 17 cards to complete 1989 Topps…

…But you know what? I don’t like 1989 Topps much, I mainly collected it because it’s Topps, but it’s one of my least-favorite 1980’s Topps sets.

I’m also 38 cards shy of completing 1989 Donruss, a set I like much better even while I acknowledge its significant flaws.

On top of that, I’m 97 cards short of a complete 1989 Score set, and I’ve got a complete set of 1989 Bowman (named least-favorite 1989 set in pretty much any poll you’d care to name).

Truth be told, I wouldn’t get a huge hit of satisfaction out of completing any of these sets (other than not having to maintain a needs list)… So do I keep one set largely intact and then break up the other sets? Do I pool them all together and make a 1989 Frankenset done by player & team? Should I even spend much time thinking about it given that any of these sets can be easily and cheaply replaced?

There are other years in a similar situation, but I think that’s enough hand-wringing.  You get the idea.

One final goal which will definitely affect the tens of readers I have… I want to do some updating to this blog’s format and I’m thinking I should make it more mobile-friendly. I also want/need to update and reorganize my Custom Card Gallery.

Any input on changes to the blog’s layout would be GREATLY appreciated.


OK, as long as I’m boring you all to tears, I’m going to do a Weigh-In for the just-finished 4th quarter of 2019.  Yes, I bored you with a weigh-in just a month ago, but that one was two months late, and this one is on time.

As most of you know by now, I find that posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection gives me a look at the big picture, keeps me honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.  Over the past few years it’s been “guilt” but things were looking up in 4Q 2019.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 10/1/2019 to 12/31/2019):
Net change in the collection: -40 (790 added, 830 removed)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: -293 (757 in, 1050 out)

The net change isn’t big on either number, but I’ve very pleased that both numbers are negative.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 13,433
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,078

I’m working towards making that “net change” number become negative, but that will clearly take a fair amount of work at this point.

Totals to date:
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 52,584
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -15,274

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 67,932
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 14.669

…which means I’ve got at least 82,601 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc):  $136.65

Final total spent for 2019: $964.57

Average per month for 2019: $80.38
Average per month for 2018: $79.03
Average per month for 2017: $43.63
I didn’t track my spending before 2017.

I’d spent relatively little in the 4th quarter of 2019, which is why my 2019 Average $ per month dropped over $10 since the last weigh-in. I would expect the outlay to be about the same $1,000 for 2020, but I’m hoping to make it to the 2020 National in Atlantic City, so that should boost up the cash outlay.

Size of my MS Access card database:
A few years ago I created an Access database and began tracking my collection in there. There’s quite a bit of work involved in keeping it up-to-date, so I like to satisfy my own curiosity by finding out how much information is currently in my database.

My database currently contains 939 set definitions (up 1 from the last weigh-in) and 231,981 card definitions (up 291 from the last weigh-in).

In case you’re wondering, the one set added was 1979 TCMA “The 1950’s”. I still need to add Topps Update, Bowman Draft and other late 2019 sets, but I’m planning to make modifications to my database before I do those.

It’s important to point out that this is merely the number of sets and cards which are represented within my database; for example, although I have no cards from 1949 Bowman, that set represents 1 set definition and 240 card.


GOOD NEWS FOR EVERYBODY!

This is the end of my navel-gazing for the time being.  Back to cards next week!


COMING ATTRACTIONS

I’ve got a very-long-term project I’m working on, similar in length and scope to a blog devoted to a particular set… but it’s not set-centric and will be a recurring post in this blog.  I’m having fun with the concept so far, and I think you will enjoy it as well… but just to make sure that I can keep this going for a while, I’m working to get a number of posts “in the can” before I start publishing.  Stay tuned!

What “Bringing Focus To My Collection” Means To Me

I know a number of collectors who are talking about bringing (or having brought) “focus” to their collections.  For a number of years I’ve been trying to bring focus to my own collection (despite my repeatedly shooting myself in the foot).

After seeing pictures of other people’s reduced collections, I’ve come to realize that my definition of “focus” is significantly different than some of these other people.  I see people narrow their collection down to a few hundred cards, I’ve also seen “focused” collections that number in the tens of thousands.

The key thing, I think, is that after a while (or in my case, thirty-something years),  a collector gets to the point where it all seems too much and something needs to be done to bring things down to that person’s definition of “a manageable size”.

With that in mind, I thought I’d lay out what I’m working towards.

First off, I want to know what’s in my collection. This sounds obvious, but I’ve pulled cards out of boxes, pulled binders off of shelves and said “I forgot I still have this!”  Sometimes that’s a good thing, but more often the follow-up is “WHY do I still have this?

Second, I want to be able to find things. I’ve made a good amount of progress with this given that, at one point a number of years ago, I had completely misplaced several sets (including a near-complete 1987 Topps set).  I’ve since gotten things so that everything is more or less in one place, but if I’m writing a post and I decide I want to scan my 1982 Topps card of Butch Wynegar or a 2000 Pacific Crown Collection card of Abraham Nunez, I couldn’t do that right now without searching through boxes and binders to find those sets.

My original draft of this post said that “every card needs to have a reason for being in my collection”, but that sounded more formal than it needed to be.  Frankly, a lot of cards are in my collection solely because I like them, but don’t serve any real “purpose” in my collection.  Fr’instance, I stumbled across this 1978 Australian Rules Football card a few years ago:

No matter how I might try to define my collection, this wouldn’t fit into any “rules”… but there’s no way I’m getting rid of this card.  It’s just too cool in an arcane way.  My collection is all over the place, and I want to keep it all over the place, because that’s part of what makes it fun.

So I suppose the real way to define “bringing focus” would be better described by what I’ve been pulling out of my collection.  I’ve given myself permission to remove cards which are part of team and player collections but which I don’t like.  Topps Turkey Red cards are a good example.

I know a lot of people like Turkey Red, but I really don’t.  The decision to get rid of cards I don’t like was part of a steady progression.  It went from “I can’t have it all” to “If I can’t have it all, I can be selective in what I pick up” to “If I’m being selective in what I get, I can also go back and be selective with what I already have”.

So much of this is about giving myself permission to get rid of cards I never really liked much but felt obligated to chase and keep.  Those ugly cards?  Those pointless inserts?  That Bowman Prospects card from 10 years ago of a guy who never got past A-ball and would be completely unknown to me if it weren’t for this one Bowman Card?  Why keep those?

The other part of my collection which I’m targeting is my years of attempted set completion.  Back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s there were multiple flagship sets each year and it was easy and affordable to go after them all.  But I’ve got a complete set of 1988 Topps, I’m just a few cards away from completing 1988 Topps… Even though 1988 Fleer and Donruss are pretty good sets, do I really need to have four flagship sets from the same year?  And if I’m no longer chasing 1988 Donruss, do I really need cards of 1988 Donruss cards of Brian Dayett or Fred Manrique?  …And to be honest, do I need 88D cards of Wade Boggs or Andre Dawson?

And I suppose that what “focus” really means for me.  For many years, card were cheap, cards were fun and the only decision I ever made about whether to keep cards was “Do I already have them?”  After too many years of not being selective, I’m feeling the need to go back and be selective about those cards now.  I need to ask the question I should’ve been asking all along:  Do I really want this?