I Had An Epiphany Regarding My 1990’s Cards And I’m Looking For Feedback/Suggestions

Did you ever have one of those moments where, seemingly out of the blue, you suddenly have a thought like “What if I were to…”?

I had a tiny little epiphany like that on my way home from work last night… I was pulling into my driveway, not really thinking about anything in particular, singing – to use the term loosely – along to whatever was playing on my iPod, and I suddenly said “What if I made a ‘Frankenset’…?”

Allow me to take a step back and explain…. I’m about three years into the process of organizing and purging my collection, and while I’ve made good progress, I’m not really where I’d like to be.  Part of my issue has involved the sets of the 1990’s.

Taken decade-by-decade, the 1990’s are probably my least-favorite decade for baseball cards (and possibly for baseball in general). I’m pretty Old School, and the Nineties saw the emergence of foil and “shiny” and parallels and other “innovations”, cards were still being overproduced and often garish… Everything went crazypants and often not in a good way.

…And yet I still have way more cards from the 1990’s than from any other decade. There were many manufacturers churning out many sets, packs were still cheap enough that “what the heck” purchases were common and – most significantly in my case – I spent the first half of the decade as a working adult who didn’t really “have a life”, which left me with plenty of time and resources to devote to buying packs of cards.

I’d sometimes thought about just getting rid of all the cards from any sets that I don’t love, but I like the idea of having at least one complete set for each year, not even so much to have a complete set but more that I would have something I can view in a sort of “This is what baseball was like in this year” way.  I tried approaching it from a “one set to rule them all” standpoint, but it often didn’t work out for me.  There are years where I already have multiple complete sets, and there are other years where I can’t really say that I love any particular set.

So here’s where the mini-epiphany comes in… It suddenly occurred to me that I should pick one particular year from the 1990’s, create a ‘Frankenset’ for that year and see how it works out for me.  With the exception of team and player collections, I could create a binder containing one card of each player on each team, and then purge the cards which were left over, regardless of which set they come from.

I could also have a extra few pages for cards that don’t fit into a particular team, or that are just too awesome or weird to get rid of, like this one…
Nom nom nom nom nom

Doing this could also give me a new angle on repacks  –  If I pulled a card like this, of a player I don’t collect on a team I don’t collect and from a set I’ve never collected…
1990 Upper Deck Darrell Evans
…instead of immediately putting a card like this into the “Outbound” box, I could see if it’s better than whatever Darrell Evans is already in the 1990 binder.

Right after my mini epiphany – well, right after I pulled the car the into the garage, kissed my wife and fulfilled my “just home from work” obligations – I spent some time considering which years have A) Excessive bloat and B) No sets to which I have a particular emotional connection.  I ended up with 1990 and 1994 as candidates.  By rough estimate, I have well over 2000 cards from either year, far too many cards for someone who’s trying to streamline his collection.

1990 has the disadvantage (so to speak) of having been hit by the purge already – I’d purged Donruss a while ago, and I recently purged Fleer.  If I’d started this Frankenset before, I may have kept some of those Donruss and Fleer cards, who knows.
1990 Bowman Tony Gwynn
On the other hand, I still have complete sets of Score and Bowman and a nearly-complete set of 1990 Topps, plus a fair number of Upper Deck cards.  Consolidation into a Frankenset should still get rid of many hundreds of cards.

1994 has yet to be hit by a purge, but most of my cards are contained within two sets: Topps and UD Collector’s Choice… both of which I like, but neither of which I love.
1994 Topps Roberto Alomar
I also have a fair number of Score, but again, it’s a set I like but don’t love.

…Anyway, right now this is all big talk from me.  I’ve never created a ‘Frankenset’ using any theme, so I wonder if there’s more to it than what I’m thinking.

Many of you have done the ‘Frankenset’ thing before. Do you have any suggestions on how I should approach this?

Are there any rules I need to think through before I start on this?

Is there anything I need to make sure I do, or make sure I avoid?

Do any of you have opinions on whether I should start with 1990 or 1994?

I’d love to hear what you think!

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7 thoughts on “I Had An Epiphany Regarding My 1990’s Cards And I’m Looking For Feedback/Suggestions

  1. Having struggled with some of the same things you’ve mentioned I think this is a great idea. Don’t have too many suggestions, I’ve only tried this based on card number not “one card of every guy on every team” but I think that’s a great idea. Would love to see some posts on it as you go along if you move forward with it!

    • I do expect I’ll do some follow-up posts as I move along with this… I’ve already thought of one potential issue if I continue to do this with years which I value more than 1990 or 1994, but I’ll get to that in due time.

  2. Sounds like a fun project. I don’t have any suggestions either other than to encourage you to ‘go for it’…. I know that this hobby is a lot more fun (at least for me) when I have some sort of project under way.

  3. More power to you but it makes me feel tired thinking about it. I’d probably just pull any stars and players I like plus the Erik Pappas -like ones. I have a box that was once alphabetized (I think it fell like Humpty Dumpty) that I labelled “Junk Wax Stars”. The biggest problem I had was where to draw the line. Sorry to be a downer. I’m a bit of a pessimist by nature. Maybe you’ll inspire me. Good luck.

    • It’s going to be a long project, but I hope it’ll make me look at my cards in a different light… I might find out that I have 7 different 1994 cards of Gene Larkin and that will make me feel better about getting rid of 6 of them. :-)

      Not that I have anything against Gene Larkin, mind you…

  4. I always encourage people to jump on the frankenset bandwagon. Starting one of my own was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It allowed me to give a good home to literally thousands of cards that otherwise would’ve gone into my spares box.

    I’d recommend 1994, only because I personally don’t feel that 1990 was that exciting of a time for the hobby. One suggestion I might have is perhaps trying to track down a card from nine different sets for each of your frankenset pages. (That is, if there even were nine sets around in 1994. I’m pretty sure there were.)

    For example, card #1 could be from 1994 Topps, card #2 from UD, card #3 from Collector’s Choice, and so on. (Or any combination thereof.)

    It is quite an endeavor, but I think building a frankenset will be a lot of fun if/how you choose to pursue it.

  5. Pingback: The 1994 Project, Pt. 1 – Dipping My Toe Into The Water | The Shlabotnik Report

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