Weigh-In #70: Lots Of Organizing, Few Acquisitions, Vintage Steelers

(I’ve been procrastinating a post where I recap the progress I’d made in organizing my collection during the first quarter of 2021 — That’s January through March — and I figured a holiday weekend is as good a time as any to put it out there)

It’s just as well that I found almost no retail cards for the first quarter of 2021.

Yeah, there were times when I wanted to open some packs but there was nothing to rip.  Even my “emergency stash” got used up, and I opened the last pack of *anything* I had in the house… which was, for the record, a pack of 1998 Dart Flipcards “Mr. Bean” cards.

Much of what I did do was organize my binders and my cards… One of my main projects was to streamline my 1991 baseball cards.  Before I started I had well over 3,000 cards from that year, which is way too much for any year that’s not one of great personal significance.

They say that a good way to determine what you don’t need is to gather everything like it – clothes, books, etc – and go though it all at once so you can see what you’ve got and what you don’t need. I’ve done this before with a particular year’s cards, and recently gathered all of my ’91s together to see what I can easily live without… for example, I have over 10 different 1991 cards of Ryne Sandberg, a player I don’t collect who played for a team I don’t collect.  Gathered all together, I found I had 10 Ryne Sandberg cards just from 1991, and I honestly don’t need 10 1991 Rynos… I’m getting to the point where I’m questioning whether I need more than 4 or 5 cards of any particular player for a given year.

…But this is all to give background on what I did those three months. Organize, organize, organize. It was also good to spend some “quality time” with cards I’ve owned for 30 years and hadn’t paid much attention to lately.

As for this weigh-in, I’ll spice things up with a bunch of vintage Pittsburgh Steelers cards I’d acquired at the most recent card show I’d been to (February 2020)… Steelers like this 1957 Bowman of Bob Gaona who played from 1953 to 1957 (this is his only football card)

I’ll also kick things off with my “Mission Statement” for these posts: 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.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 1/6/2021 to 4/9/2021):
Net change in the collection: +150 (243 added, 93 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: -30 (171 in, 201 out)

“Net change in the collection” went up because a lot of the organizing involved going through my overflowing “in box” and officially adding past acquisitions into my collection by entering them into my card database and filing them away in the appropriate binders and boxes.

A blaster of 2021 Topps Series 1 makes up the bulk of the inbound cards, but I also bought some cards online from the Tri-City ValleyCats (formerly NY-Penn, currently in the unaffiliated “MLB Partner” Frontier League).

1959 Topps Frank Varrichione, 5-time Pro Bowler with the Steelers and Rams

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 15,022
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,507

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 53,147
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -3,191

Now that I don’t have to hide in my house for months on end, there should be an uptick in cards leaving the house… if nothing else, I’ve got a backlog of cards to donate to Goodwill.

1960 Topps of Pro Football HOFer Ernie Stautner

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 71,171
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 12,491

…which means I’ve got at least 83,662 cards in my collection

1961 Fleer Jimmy Orr, who was with the Colts that year and a Pro Bowler in 1965

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $28.95

Again, my spending was that blaster and the minor league cards from the ValleyCats.  (Coming attractions:  There will be a big upswing in spending for the 2nd quarter)

The following will put things in perspective: My spending for the first three months of 2021 was less than the monthly average of any year since I started tracking my spending five years ago.

Average per month for 2020: $76.66
Average per month for 2019: $80.38
Average per month for 2018: $79.03
Average per month for 2017: $43.63
Average per month for 2016: $36.11

I didn’t track my spending before 2016. In 2016 and 2017 I didn’t go to as many card shows because there weren’t any local shows, and I only made the 5 hour roundtrip run to a regional card show once or twice those years.

1961 Topps Junior Wren, who jumped to the AFL’s New York Titans that year

Size of my MS Access card database:
I track my collection in a Microsoft Access database of my own creation. 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 995 set definitions (up 14 from the last weigh-in) and
247,160 card definitions (up 2,596 from the last weigh-in).

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 definitions.

1962 Topps Buddy Dial – He was drafted out of Rice by the Giants in the 2nd round, didn’t make the team, was picked up by the Steelers where he make the Pro Bowl in 1961 and 1963

State Of The Streamlining? Purge? De-cluttering? (Weigh-In #69)

I’ve actively collected baseball cards every year since 1974 when I was a wee Shlabotnik.  There have been years I went nuts buying cards, there have been years where I cut way back on my acquisitions, but needless to say there’s never been a year like the one just passed.

For me it was sometimes hard but it wasn’t completely bad.  The sudden downturn in incoming cards allowed for the opportunity to look around my cluttered mess of a mancave and think about what I’m trying to do and where I’m going.

For the nine year’s I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve stated that I want to reduce the size of my collection.  Thing is, I’ve never had a straightforward plan for how to do that.  I’ll admit I envy those people who can make wholesale changes along the lines of “I’m going to get rid of everything but ________” or maybe “I’m ditching anything that was issued after I hit puberty”.

I do have some bits of strategy, though.

One thing I’ve decided on is that I’m sticking with the amount of shelf space that I currently have, and I’m not going to get any more binders than won’t fit in that space.  I can upgrade bindes or change binder size, but I can’t go on just adding binders.  There are binders I haven’t pulled out in years, and what’s the point of having binders if you never look at them?

I’ve also been pulling out some of those binders and realizing that “Hey, I haven’t looked at these binders in years and I didn’t miss a lot of these cards”.

I’ve also started using a variation on a decluttering technique.  They say that instead of going through your clothes in your closet and then going through the clothes in each drawer that you should instead pull all of your clothes out and then put them back, because that’s the only way you’ll realize that you have 527 concert t-shirts (or whatever).

I’ve discovered the same is true for card sets.  I might look at my 1991 Upper Deck cards and say “Well, I don’t collect Wade Boggs but the dude’s a HOFer so I’ll keep the card where it is”, and then later I look at 1991 Bowman and 1991 Leaf and 1991 Stadium Club and say the same thing each time.  It’s only when I pull out all of my 1991 cards and go through them as a whole that I realize “Holy crap, I’ve got seventeen 1991 cards of a guy I don’t collect!”

I’m doing this with a couple of years so far, most recently with 1991 (341 cards removed so far) and 2005 (721 after the first pass).  Not earth-shattering, but it does help me get rid of cards where I wouldn’t otherwise realize the redundancy in my collection.

So that’s what I’ve been doing… As for *how* I’ve been doing, let’s get into the “Weigh-In” numbers for the 4th quarter of 2020.  To visually spice things up I’ve added in some random cards I got at my last card show which, sadly, was a year ago this month.

So let’s kick things off as usual with my mission statement:  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.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 10/11/2020 to 1/5/2021):
Net change in the collection: -11 (779 added, 790 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +684 (777 in, 93 out)

Having my collection reduced by 11 cards might not seem like much to you, but this was exciting to me. It’s the first time this number has gone down in a while.

Year-end numbers for 2020:
Net change in the collection: +279 (1,905 added, 1,626 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +2,113 (2475 in, 362 out)

My “In/out of the house” numbers are stunted because it’s only showing cards sent out in trades and junk wax cards which have gone into the recycling. I normally give away cards at Halloween, but that didn’t happen this year. I didn’t send any cards to COMC because they suspended the cheap procesing option I normally use (I don’t sell many big $$$ cards). I also haven’t dropped any cards off at Goodwill because I just haven’t.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 14,929
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,357

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 52,946
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -13,161

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 71,003
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 12,491

…which means I’ve got at least 83,494 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $66.54

This quarter’s spending consisted of a 2020 Topps Factory set and a handful of retail packs. Almost all of my hobby time has been spent organizing.

Average per month for 2020: $76.66
Average per month for 2019: $80.38
Average per month for 2018: $79.03
Average per month for 2017: $43.63
Average per month for 2016: $36.11

I didn’t track my spending before 2016.  The spending for the first two years is lower because there weren’t any card shows local to me at that time.

One thing that’s very telling about my spending this year… I spent more in the first quarter ($271.71 spent at two card shows and on still-available retail) than I did the whole rest of the year ($188.23)

Size of my MS Access card database:
I track my collection in a Microsoft Access database of my own creation. 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 981 set definitions (up 14 from the last weigh-in) and 244,564 card definitions (up 3,316 from the last weigh-in).

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 definitions.

The More I Organize, The Worse It Seems (Plus Weigh-In #68)

Because we have a maintenance plan with an HVAC company, and because the HVAC tech scheduled for today has to get to the attic by walking through Shlabotnik World HQ (the spare bedroom I took over), I spent part of this weekend cleaning up the large piles of crap that have accumulated.

In cleaning up a bunch of used padded envelopes, I picked up one that didn’t feel empty… and it was from COMC and had a postage date of December 2018. With a sense of dread I looked in the envelope hoping to just find empty toploaders but instead found a small COMC shipment that I’d forgotten about.

This goes both ways emotionally. One on hand, it’s a fun discovery, like putting on a jacket for the first time since last spring and finding $20 in the pocket.

On the other hand, these cards had been forgotten for nearly 2 years, which just depresses the heck out of me, organization-wise.  Every time I think I’ve turned the corner with the organization of my collection I run across a 22 month old package to let me know that I’ve got a long way to go.

Anyhoo, I figured I’d try to make the most of it by making a post out of my newly-rediscovered collectibles (some of which had appeared here when I originally received them), and throw in one of my quarterly weigh-ins because I’m due for one anyway.

I’ll start off with this Japanese 1993 BBM card of former Giant & Angel Max Venable.  Max Venable’s legal name is William McKinley Venable, which makes me wonder if he was named after the 25th president of the United States.  At any rate, this was a cheap Japanese card I couldn’t walk away from.

I’m not much of a collector of recent hockey cards, but five years ago I was watching a college hockey game when this freshman named Jack Eichel caught my eye.  Eichel is currently the captain of the Buffalo Sabres and is probably as close as I come to having a favorite NHL player.  This 2017-18 UD Canvas card was too nice to pass by.

I’m something of a Brian Roberts collector because my wife is a big fan of his (she’ll still make a point of watching Orioles games where he’s part of the broadcast). This 2012 Topps Sticker was filling in one of the gaps in my collection. I think that, excluding relics, autographs and parallels, I was only missing a couple more major issues of his… I guess maybe I should finish that off someday.

I’d already featured this card about 20 months ago, but I’ll share it again because it got the biggest “Oh, that’s riiiiiiiiiiiiight” out of all of these cards. From what I’ve seen on YouTube, Miki Nishimura has an interesting approach, her backswing brings the ball almost directly over her head.

This is my fifth card of a professional bowler, which I think ties it with Cricket in the overall “standings” of sports represented in my collection. Hmmm, maybe I should do a post about that. The top three would be Baseball, Hockey & Football but then there’s a huge dropoff after that. I’m guessing Basketball would be next, but I don’t think I have more than a couple of binder pages of hoops (and that’s counting Harlem Globetrotter cards).

Two more that I’ve already featured in this blog… 1974 Topps Stamps. I was very excited about these at the time, but now it’s kind of “Yeah, I should chase the set at some time”.


I wasn’t prepared for how tiny these are.

OK, one last thing before I move on… Last week I was looking at a local big box retailer to see if they had 2020 Topps factory sets. I didn’t expect to find any and I didn’t, but I was greatly surprised to find jumbo packs of 2020 Topps Archives. I don’t have a huge interest in Archives, but since it had been two months since I bought any sort of baseball product and three months since I bought anything more interesting than Topps Album Stickers, I decided to pull the trigger.

I will admit that they look a little bit better in-hand than they do online. I’m still not a fan of the set in general, but I’m a little more open to pickup up cards from the 1974 “subset”. I only pulled commons from my pack, but here’s my favorite of the bunch.

One of many admittedly picky issues I have with Archives is that the originals are generally very colorful, but something about the way Archives is printed – or maybe it’s the cardstock? – leaves the bright colors very muted. From top to bottom these are 1974 Rany Jones, 2020 Max Scherzer, 1974 Chris Speier, 2020 Brandon Crawford.

OK, I think that’s about all I’m going to say about 2020 Archives here.


On to the Weigh-in part!  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.

I’ve been doing this for *nine* years! I didn’t fully realize it’s been that long.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 7/6/2020 to 10/10/2020):
Net change in the collection: +102 (320 added, 218 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +132 (289 in, 157 out)

If I had another week or two, this number would be much better…. I’ve got a couple of hundred cards which I need to sit down and remove from my database, but I haven’t had a chance to do the clerical work yet.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 14,139
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,368

Totals to date:
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 52,853
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -13,845

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 70,841
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 12,491

…which means I’ve got at least 83,332 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $40.90

$40.90 over the course of three months is as low as my spending’s been in years. If you take out the two shows I went to in January and February, my 2020 spending averages out to $20.98/month, which is minuscule for me.

Average per month for 2020: $65.57 so far
Average per month for 2019: $80.38
Average per month for 2018: $79.03
Average per month for 2017: $43.63
Average per month for 2016:  $36.11

I didn’t track my spending before 2016.

Size of my MS Access card database:
I track my collection in a Microsoft Access database of my own creation. 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 967 set definitions (up 12 from the last weigh-in) and 241,248 card definitions (up 2,954 from the last weigh-in).

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 definitions.

One more card from that COMC shipment… THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!!!!

 

 

 

 

Waning Interest in 2020 Baseball Cards, Plus Weigh-In #67

It’s not like it takes much to take the wind out of my sails these days, but…

Maybe it’s because of the lack of baseball up to now, maybe it’s because there’s so little product out there in the stores after the locusts descend, but my interest in this year’s cards has taken a pretty significant hit.

Going into 2020, based on images I’d seen, I didn’t have a lot of interest in flagship Topps but I did expect to chase after the Heritage set (since it’s based on a 1970’s set) and I liked Big League and I considered chasing that set as well… and then for anyone still not represented in my ‘Current Rosters’ binders with a 2020 card, I’d fill in the blanks on an ad-hoc basis, or maybe just buy a Topps factory set just to save myself the time of chasing down Homer Bailey, Stephen Vogt and the 200+ other guys who are in Flagship but not in Heritage or Big League.

…But right now, two days away from Opening Day… I’m finding that my general reaction to current year cards is as poor as it’s been since 1995, when I was pissed about the lost World Series, replacement players and all of the other nonsense associated with that labor dispute… Only this time around I’m down on MLB for going with a 60-game season, for threatening Minor League Baseball as it’s been doing… and probably for everything else going on which is out of MLB’s control but still contributes to a lack of enthusiasm.

And even before my interest in this year’s cards fell off, I’d realized that I’ve become pretty base-cards-only over the past few years. Parallels never interested me that much, but even insert sets have generally become “See if any of my buddies want this” propositions.

…But I enjoy opening packs… or I generally do, but even that’s been up in the air this year.

So I’m not sure where I’m going with this bit of rambling.  It’s entirely possible that I just need a break, or that having regular season games again will boost my enthusiasm levels, but it’s clear that 2020, like 1995, will go down as one of those “That was the year that…” situations.

Does anybody else find that they’ve lost some interest in recent cards or cards in general?


One thing that did perk me up while writing this intro came when I used an online thesaurus to find a synonym for ‘despondent’ – admittedly too strong a word for what I needed – and found the phrase “as sick as a parrot”. I’ve never heard this idiom before, but apparently in the UK it means “to be very disappointed” and seems to have been used a lot within the context of Football (Soccer)… “I was as sick as a parrot after that loss to Sheffield Wednesday”.

I love a good Britishism.


So anyway, let’s move on to the Weigh-In. I’ve tried to perk this post up with some arbitrary scans of cards I got at shows early this year.

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.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 4/3/2020 to 7/5/2020):
Net change in the collection: -293 (244 added, 537 removed)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +528  (631 in, 103 out)

I’ve been pretty good at working on my collection and removing unwanted cards from the collection proper… but I’ve been building up a pile of cards to leave the house at some point. One of these weigh-ins I’m going to have a decent sized number in the “leaving the house” category.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 13,921
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,266

As always, I’m working towards making that “net change” number become negative. I’m getting there, but I still have a way to go.

Totals to date:
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 52,696
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -13,997

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 70,480
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 12,491

…which means I’ve got at least 82,971 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $80.79

My spending this quarter is just slightly above my Per Month average of 2019.

Average per month for 2020: $58.75 so far
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.

The Average Per Month isn’t the lowest of any of the years only because of the money I spent at shows in January and February.

Size of my MS Access card database:
I created an Access database and track 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 955 set definitions (up 11 from the last weigh-in) and 238,294 card definitions (up 4,080 from the last weigh-in).

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 definitions.

Is that the end of this, Tim Harkness?

Yup, that’s the end,

Four Vintage Commons And Weigh-In #66

I realize that these weigh-ins are not the most enthralling content for everybody, but I know at least a couple of people look at them and if you just want to look at assorted vintage cards I’ve got posted in here, that’s cool as well.

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” and it still is, but with card shows not a possibility right now, and with my retail buying down, I’ve been doing more organizing. However, I don’t expect my numbers to really reflect that until next quarter.

First vintage card!!!! 1957 Topps Dusty Rhodes

My mom was a NY Giants fan until they moved, and I would make a goal of collecting team sets of the Jints… except there’s this “Say Hey” guy making things expensive.  I’m pondering the idea of chasing the 1957 Topps Giants and just getting a reprint of the Willie Mays card… During some dubious future time when I’m sitting in my house and thinking “Y’know, I don’t have enough goals…”

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 1/1/2020 to 4/2/2020):
Net change in the collection: +481 (562 added, 81 removed)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +769 (778 in, 9 out)

I went a little nuts at the two card shows I went to in January and February, and I’ve got a couple of boxes of cards bound for Goodwill at some point after things settle down.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 13,514
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,559

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

Second vintage card!!! 1961 Post Cereal Hoyt Wilhelm

Solve for x: Post + Orioles + Hoyt = x * awesome

Totals to date:
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 52,593
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -14,505

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 69,136
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 14,669

…which means I’ve got at least 83,728 cards in my collection

Third vintage card!!!! 1960 Topps Eddie “The Walking Man” Yost

Eddie Yost falls into my “1970’s Mets coaches” collection.

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $271.71

Average per month for 2020: $90.57 so far
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.

It seems the more I try to rein things in, the more I spend. A big part of this is because 2019 saw the return of a local card show, which I try to support as much as I can without going crazy.

But the thing is, I usually go crazy in the first couple of months of a year. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, my “New Cards Retail” is down $30.44, my “Repacks and Other Retail” is down $11.58, my online spending is down $31.37 (because I didn’t do any in 2020) and my show spending is down $18.00… So yeah, that average spent is going to come down. Even before the pandemic, I was planning to cut back on spending and work on my organizing.

Fourth Vintage Card!!!! 1963 Post Cereal Milt Pappas

Hand-cut by a child? As long as the photo is largely intact, I DON’T CARE!!!!!

Size of my MS Access card database:
I created an Access database and track 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 944 set definitions (up 5 from the last weigh-in) and 234,214 card definitions (up 2,296 from the last weigh-in… 2020 base sets, don’tcha know).

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 definitions.

I’ll wrap up with a song I heard the other day and really like… “Keep Your Head Up” by Preservation Hall Jazz Band

 

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!

My Collecting Goals Are Like A Roll Of Toilet Paper (And Weigh-In #64)

There’s a saying, maybe you’ve heard it before: “Life is like a roll of toilet paper… The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes”.

I’ve got a variation on that regarding my collecting strategies: The further along I go, the faster I re-evaluate my goals.

When I was a kid, I wanted every Topps baseball card. Period. And this was the mid 1970’s, so this WAS a relatively modest number of cards… something like 15,000 cards.

Somewhere in the now-distant past I realized that I was far too cheap to spend triple-digits on vintage HOFer cards, so I changed my goal to collecting every Topps set from 1974 (my first set) forward… but I grew to hate several of the Topps sets of the late 1990’s, so that broke me of any desire to see that goal through.

I’ve also come to realize I’m not *really* a set collector, that when I do collect sets it’s more out of love for that particular set than it is about any need or desire to check off all the boxes.  The only set builds I have in mind for 2020 and beyond are 1970’s oddballs like Hostess and Kellogg’s… and I don’t know how hard I’m going to go after those.

Then there’s my team collecting goals, predominantly for the Mets. At one point I’d figured that collecting every Mets card there has been was an achievable goal… But even that goal has taken a beating thanks to HOF rookie cards (Seaver & Ryan), HOF sunset cards (Duke Snider) and ridiculously expensive high number cards of decidedly average players like Lou Klimchock.

The 2010’s saw the advent of online exclusives –Topps Now, Living Set, Throwback Thursday and others – and I gave up on the idea of collecting most of these Mets cards.

Now I’ve crossed into a whole new realm… I’ve come to realize I don’t even WANT all of the affordable Mets cards.  This was brought home to me this past weekend when I was going through a stack of 2019 Mets cards I got from dime boxes. After going through a bunch of samey-same cards of Jacob deGrom at various points in his delivery, I looked at the cards, shook my head and said “What the heck am I *doing*?”

….and this burnout was on just base cards, I’d already given up on most parallels.

So my 2020 goals, on paper, aren’t much different than my 2019 goals – streamline my collection and goals, get things organized – the only real difference is the level of resolve and the “tightening” of my want lists, especially on non-vintage cards.

So that I don’t finish this part of the post on a complete downer… I’ll mention that as part of my online Black Friday shopping I finished an “unofficial” goal for 2019:  I have bought the last 3 commons I needed for my 1979 Topps set, so…. yay, achieved goal!

…or at least “achieved goal” once the cards arrive in the mail and are put in the binder.

And now, on to the long-overdue Weigh-In #64… This should’ve been posted at the beginning of October, but the day after Thanksgiving seems as good a day as any to get this out there (OK, fine, “dump it out on the blog”).

These weigh-ins are part of an ongoing goal of mine to streamline my collection, to get rid of the clutter and leave just the cards that I love, either individually or as a part of some greater project which I love. By posting quarterly updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection, I get a good look at the big picture and – because I’m making it public – I find that doing this keeps me somewhat honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.

It’s almost always guilt these days.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 7/11/2019 to 9/30/2019):
Net change in the collection: +299 (448 added, 149 removed)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +823 (1118 in, 295 out)

Since I keep talking about streamlining my collection, these numbers should both be negative.  Shame on me.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,893
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,118

I don’t want to think about the last time this “net change” number was negative.

Totals to date:
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 51,534
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -14,981

I always try to focus on these numbers when I’m not making great progress… Even with all the added bloat of the last year or two, I’m still significantly better than I had been at the start.

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 67,368
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 13,817

…which means I’ve got at least 81,185 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc) $287.61
Year to date: $827.92

Average per month for 2019 so far: $91.99
Average per month for 2018:  $79.03
Average per month for 2017:  $43.63
I didn’t track my spending before 2017.

The 2019 average should drop in the 4th quarter, as I’ve all but stopped my card buying while I concentrate on organization.

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 938 set definitions (up 11 from the last weigh-in) and 231,690 card definitions (up 2,248 from the last weigh-in).

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 definitions.

My Favorite Cards Numbered # 63 …and Weigh in #63

I’m always willing to try something different here, especially with the “weigh-in” posts that I pledged to maintain when I started this blog. This time around, I’m going to try merging two recurring themes of this blog: The Weigh-in and the “Let’s take an arbitrary number and see which cards have that number!” post. In this case, I’m using 63 as that arbitrary number and looking through my database to see what fun cards have #63 on the back.

These weigh-in posts are part of an ongoing goal of mine to streamline my collection, to get rid of the clutter and leave just the cards that I love, either individually or as a part of some greater project which I love. By posting quarterly updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection, I get a good look at the big picture and – because I’m making it public – I find that doing this keeps me somewhat honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.

It’s almost always guilt these days.

But before I get into the number crunching, let’s get to the first card numbered 63…


1978 Hostess #63 Dave Winfield

I think I appreciate Dave Winfield more now than I did when I saw him play, but part of that is the my knee-jerk reaction to anyone who played for the Yankees: “Aaaaaah, he’s not so great, he just gets hyped because he’s a Yankee”. 1978 saw Winfield named to his second of 12 All-Star teams.

There’s no questioning that I appreciate 1970’s Hostess more than I did in the 1970’s. Part of that is just because it gives me a chance to chase cards from years where I’d finished the Topps set decades ago.


Changes since the last weigh-in (from 4/4/2019 to 7/10/2019):
Net change in the collection: +299 (448 added, 149 removed)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +445 (979 in, 534 out)

On the surface these numbers aren’t bad, but they’re still going in the wrong direction and there are storm clouds on the horizon…


1956 Topps #63 Roger Craig

1956 Topps generally falls into the ‘Nuff Said category for a list like this, but Roger Craig has seen the highs and the lows: He’s pitched in four different World Series, plus as a member of the Mets he was also a two-time 20 game loser (10-24 in 1962, 5-22 in 1963).


Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,544
Net change to the collection, to date: +5,295

I don’t want to think about the last time this “net change” number was negative.


1970 Topps #63 NL RBI Leaders

The first of two Leaders cards I’m featuring here.  Willie Mac lead the National League with 126 RBI, Ron Santo had 123 and Tony Perez was close behind with 122.  For the record, Harmon Killebrew lead the Majors with 140, and Boog Powell finished 2nd in the AL with 121 RBI (just behind Tony P.)


Totals to date:
Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 51,108
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -16,806

I always try to focus on these numbers when I’m not making great progress… Even with all the added bloat of the last year or two, I’m still better than I had been at the start.


1970 Fleer Laughlin World Series #63 1966 Orioles vs. Dodgers

The Orioles swept the Dodgers in the 1966 World Series, and Frank Robinson was the MVP. The Dodgers lost the first game 5-2 and got shut out in the other three. Daaaaaaamn.

I was just a baby in 1966, but 2019 Joe heartily approves of this result.


Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 66,573
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 14,201

…which means I’ve got at least 80,774 cards in my collection


1975 Hostess #63 Steve Carlton

Another HOFer on a Hostess card. Gotta love it. 1975 was something of a pedestrian season for Carlton as he didn’t win 20 games, didn’t lead the league in any categories, wasn’t an All-Star and didn’t win a Cy Young Award.


Money spent on cards:

This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc) $177.21
Year to date: $540.31
Average per month for 2019: $90.05

The monthly average is continuing the trend of 2018, but is much higher than the monthly average of 2017 (the year I started tracking my spending).


1977 Topps #63 Tito Fuentes

It wouldn’t be a Tito Fuentes card without his trademark sweatband. Tito was the starting second baseman for the Tigers in 1977, and if there was a traded set that year, he would’ve been in it.


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 927 (up 16 from the last weigh-in) and 229,442 card definitions (up 3,158 from the last weigh-in).

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 definitions.


1973 Topps #63 – RBI Leaders – Johnny Bench, Dick Allen

Interesting that the two Leader cards #’ed 63 are both RBI Leaders; only one was NL and this one is both leagues. Since this card only shows the two leaders, I’ll mention the #2 and #3 guys in each league:
NL: Billy Williams – 122; Willie Stargell – 112
AL: John Mayberry – 100; Bobby Murcer – 96


A few words about my lack of progress, numerically:

The fates have not been kind to me in 2019. Focus and discipline are what I’ve needed, but because there wasn’t a single retail set that completely grabbed me this year I’d try a little of this, a few blasters of that, without fully devoting myself to any one chase.

Also, after over a decade without a recurring local show, we’ve got one which includes fun nickel and dime boxes… I’ve also run across a number of smaller sets on some dollar tables, and it’s easier to buy a complete 1989 Topps Leaders set for a buck than to chase down those five or six cards I want. All this is great for entertainment value and trade bait, but not so good at helping me emphasize quality over quantity.

I normally have an 800-count box that I use for my “in box”, but now I’ve got that full of retail purchases and cards from my generous trading buddies. Also, since the July 10th cutoff date of this post, I’ve been to a regional show, a local show and received a shipment from COMC.

Oy.

I need to start “fasting” and keep organizing the cards I’ve already got.


…But GOOD NEWS for you, the reader… I’m done talking about my numbers and I still have two favorite #63’s to go!


2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #63 – Rachel Homan

I’ve only got a dozen or so curling cards, so it’s a bit unexpected that one of them happened to be #’ed 63. As a skip, Homan is a three-time Canadian champion and one-time World Champion.  As I pointed out the first time I posted this card, Upper Deck’s olde timey filters were not kind to Rachel, as this looks less like her than it should, and makes her look older than her (at the time) 25 years.


2002 BBM Hanshin Tigers Extra Edition #63 – Go Kida

I know very little about Go Kida, but even the most common of Japanese cards is exotic enough to be a favorite.

Thank you for getting this far!  I promise there won’t be another weigh-in until October!

1992 Sports Illustrated For Kids… Plus Weigh-In #62

Whenever I’m going through dime or nickel boxes, there are several types of cards which catch my attention and usually get me to just grab whatever I find without any thought to whether I need them or not.

1976 SSPC cards are always a “buy first, ask questions later” proposition.

MLB Showdown cards are another favorite. Even though I don’t play the game, part of me loves the fact that I *could* play the game if I so desired.

When I went to a local show in February, there was a guy with nickel boxes, and just from glancing at the tops of a section of cards in the box, I knew he had a third type of “Don’t think twice, it’s alright” cards…

Sports Illustrated For Kids!

I don’t care if the card features a baseball player I collect, or features an Olympic Gold Medalist from a sport I don’t follow…

…Sports Illustrated For Kids cards are just too damn much fun to pass up… and these were a nickel apiece!  I went ahead and took everything he had and added them to my stack.  There were a few from other years, but most of them were from 1992.

And this 1992 design… I mean, there’s no doubting this is from the early 1990’s.

As a character from a very famous 1990’s TV show might say, “Could it BE more Nineties???”

These cards are just too damn much fun.


(Darrell Waltrip says “Boogity, boogity, boogity!”)

But the thing is that as much as I enjoy getting these cards, I don’t have a lot to say in this blog about the cards, so I thought I would combine the scans with my quarterly “Weigh-In” post.

So on to the standard run-through of what these weigh-ins are about: It’s an ongoing goal of mine to streamline my collection, to get rid of the clutter and leave just the cards that I love, either individually or as a part of some greater project which I love.

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.

There’s almost always “guilt” involved these days.

So let’s get on to the numbers…

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 1/1/2019 to 4/3/2019):
Net change in the collection: +687 (687 added, 0 removed)
First quarter of a year is something of an uphill challenge because of the new products. This time around, I also happened to have two shows in two months, which rarely happens to me anymore… Plus the one show involved the aforementioned nickel boxes (that’s 422 cards right there) and the second show I bought a wax box of 1990 Pro Set Hockey (which I’ll tell you about when I get a chance to write about that show). Most of the Pro Set cards will be going back out the door at some point (at the very least, into the recycling bin).

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +1,926 (2,206 in, 280 out)

Not too bad, all things considered.  Obviously I’ve got a backlog of cards I’ve acquired but haven’t moved into my collection.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,395
Net change to the collection, to date: +4,996

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 50,574
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -17,251

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 65,015
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 13,970

…which means I’ve got at least 78,805 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:

This quarter (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc) $363.10
This is kinda a lot for me, but it’s also extremely unusual that I go to two card shows in the space of two months.

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 199 set definitions (up 19 from the last weigh-in) and 226,284 card definitions (up 3,323 from the last weigh-in).

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, it represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.

Looking Back On 2018, Forward To 2019 (Weigh-In #61)

I’m not usually one for writing about goals, and I guess the fact that this isn’t getting posted until February says a lot.  In general, my goals for the past few years have been “Have fun” and “Streamline my collection”.

One thing I have been relatively good at is keeping track of my progress, and that has made me all too aware that there hasn’t been a lot of “progress”.  I need to revisit my objectives because getting rid of a hundred cards here and there out of a collection that’s north of 80,000 cards is not getting the job done.

So here’s what is going to happen in this post… I’m going to look back at 2018 in the form of one of my “weigh-in” posts, listing cards coming and going, as well as the money I’ve spent.  After that, I’m going to float a few ideas I’ve had about kicking my streamlining process up a notch or two.

It’s a long post, but I know some of you will find it interesting, and if you don’t… well, I’ll be back tomorrow with some custom cards.

To give this a little visual appeal and to whet everybody’s appetite for 2019 Topps Heritage, I’ve scattered some images of 1970 Topps cards… like this one!

Side note about 2019 Heritage:  One thing I wonder about with this upcoming set is how much thought they’ll put into the color of the team name on each card.  I’m of the opinion that the people doing 1970 Topps did give a fair amount of thought towards colors based on the pictures involved and what background the name would be in front of… for example, the yellow “SENATORS” works nicely against the dark background.  Anyway, just a thought.

On to the numbers.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 9/2/2018 to 12/31/2018):
Net change in the collection: +771 (827 added, 56 removed)
I made the mistake of checking to see when this number was last negative (meaning that more cards were removed than added): It was over four years ago. (*sigh*)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +1045 (1257 in, 212 out)
The last time this number was negative was two years ago… not *quite* as depressing. One thing that affected me this year is that we were not able to give out cards at Halloween, and I also did not take those accumulated cards to Goodwill.

Totals for 2018:
Net change in the collection: +2,298 (2,451 added, 153 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +4,398 (5,103 in, 705 out)

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,395
Net change to the collection, to date: +4,309
Again… I keep saying I want to streamline my collection, but this “Net change” number has not been negative since late 2016.

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 50,294

Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -19,177
This number was -26,404 back in early 2015.

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 64,175
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 14,630

…which means I’ve got at least 78,805 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards

Money spent on cards since September 2nd (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc) $225.07

Money spent on cards in 2018: $948.31 (which averages out to $79.03/month). This is much more than my monthly average for 2017 ($43.63/mo). I didn’t track my spending before 2017.

One thing I’m going to do in 2019 is get a little more “granular” in tracking my retail spending.  The last two years, if I went into Target and bought $10 worth of Topps packs and $20 worth of Heritage packs, I would’ve listed the total spent as $30.  In 2019, I’ll put them each on a separate line in my spreadsheet.

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 892 set definitions (up 91 from the last weigh-in) and 222,961 card definitions (up 18,398 from the last weigh-in).

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, it represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.

This is one of the few numbers I’m happy about here; I added a crap-ton of data to my database over the past three months.

…And now, on to the forward-looking, navel-gazing, “What am I gonna do now?” section.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that for me to make any progress in streamlining my collection, I need to determine what SHOULDN’T be in my collection just as much as what should. Here are some general goal-like statements I made for myself, maybe some of you will find these somewhat thought-provoking.

I need to back-burner some projects.
Having a “Plan B” is good for when a particular project runs into roadblocks, but my problem right now is that I’ve also got Plans C, D, E, F, G and H. The end result is that I’m just flailing about without making real progress on anything.

I’m going to cut back on retail – but in what way I’m not sure.
A significant part of the fun of this hobby comes from ripping packs, and I’ve come to enjoy ripping a few after a particularly crap day at work… But I’m all too aware that buying retail is far from cost effective, especially when I’m growing less and less interested in the inserts. I may consider other options for Heritage and leaving the retail pack-busting for the lower-end sets like Big League and Opening Day.


Quick pause for another 1970 card


I need to put more thought towards what I want my collection to be.
Just saying “I want to streamline my collection” hasn’t been enough for me, I need to do some navel-gazing about what specifically should be included in my collection… but not just “keep this set, ditch this set”, but more of a “mission statement” of what I want my collection to be.

I need to put more thought towards what I should move away from.
This is kind of the opposite of the prior goal; I’m feeling the need to define what should fall *outside* of the collection. For example, I kinda-sorta collect Francisco Lindor, and I only collect Fauxbacco cards like Allen & Ginter or Gypsy Queen under certain circumstances… So maybe I should draw the line and say that two kinda-sortas adds up to one “Yeah, no”?

I need to rethink some of the conventions involved in collecting.
I’ve already done this with set collecting to a large degree; for newer sets, I collect what I want from within a set and don’t let things get defined by what the manufacturer says a set is. If I love a set enough to want to collect it all, then great. Otherwise, I generally can do without the “League Leaders”, “Rookie Debut”, “Home Run Derby” and combo cards which clutter Topps Series 1, 2 and Update.

I’ve lately started to reconsider the definition of team collecting. I’ve always been a Mets collector; however, I’ve been looking at this one card, a 2006 Bowman Prospects Cory Ragsdale. Ragsdale never made it to The Show, I’ve never seen him play, I don’t remember much about him, I have no personal or emotional connection to him, but he’s in my collection because Bowman listed him as a Met.  Is that a good enough reason? As the Magic 8 Ball might say, “Outlook not so good”.

Without going into great detail, I’m also giving a number of inserts and parallels the side eye.


Another quick pause for a 1970 card


A semi-nuclear option:  “Forget” The 1990’s.

I’ve sure you’ve all seen movies which have been cleaned up for television and had characters nonsensically yelling “Forget You!” and “Yeah?  Well, forget you too!” at each other.

I have to admit that there have been more than one occasion that I’ve looked at my collection, saw where most of the ‘bloat’ lies, and (after my internal ‘Network Censor’ kicks in) said “Aw, forget the Nineties”.  This is a decade that, with all honestly, gives me the most agita of any in my collection.

For starters, much of the decade involved, for me, more disposable income than obligations… so I bough a lot of cards… a LOTTA lotta cards.

But honestly… and I’m sorry, I know many of you love the 1990’s… it’s not a decade I look back at with a lot of fondness.  Card manufacturers were playing games of “LOOK AT ME!” One-upsmanship, with the result being me often saying “Ugh, do I *have* to look at you?”

BTW, this applies to the uniforms of the day as well, with teams like the Brewers visually grabbing you by the front of your shirt, shaking you and saying “I’m retro, dammit!  FRIGGIN’ NEO-TRADITIONAL!!!”

…And then there’s the whole debacle of 1994…

Long story short, I don’t know that I would ever go so far as to pitch all my cards from that decade, but there are days when it wouldn’t take much to get me to box up all of the nineties cards which aren’t from beloved sets and haul them off to Goodwill.

So, that’s all I have for today…

Do any of you have any suggestions or thoughts that might help a fellow collector who’s down on his luck?  (To quote Humphrey Bogart from whatever movie it is where he said something like that… or maybe it’s just the Looney Tunes parody of Humphrey Bogart that said it).