Collecting so far

A few months into collecting again has been very eye opening. What I thought were decent goals at the beginning have been thrown by the way side. I’ve become a patient collector again, enjoying the process of scouring through bargain boxes at stores and tables at shows. Afterwards, slowly logging the cards, organizing them into binders and creating want lists.

Most of my time is trying to focus on the copyright date on the back or searching to the card number and name to figure out the release.

A local card shop has been very helpful at getting base at no more than .10 a card. Most vendors at the local card show, price their cards fairly. I’ve won a couple eBay auctions too, but those are far and few in between visits to shops and shows.

Some things never change, like the speculators. I stay away from that drama online. There’s the urge to watch it all unfold though, between the investors and the collectors. Sometimes I cannot tell who is who. I wouldn’t say the hobby is in turmoil, just the minds of the collectors/prospectors online who chase hit after hit and have strong opinions about how to collect and invest their money.

The PSA trimming scandal is something to keep on eye on though. I find it very strange how many new cards are sent in for grading. Reading how many cards have been found to be trimmed and graded is disturbing as well. If I ever buy vintage, a ruler is going to be involved.

What also never changes is the amount of cards available. I think our own nostalgia and strong attraction to over-valuing moments creates a false market that creates short term winners and long game losers.

True collectors, though, always seem to come out in winning in the end.

Cracking open packs and indulging in group breaks, I’m finding, isn’t really my thing. I admire the SABRcards writers as they examine cards and sets deeper. I wish something like that was around back in the day. I surely would have participated and probably had not stopped collecting. Maybe one of these days, inspiration will hit and I will dig deeper into a set or a certain player’s portfolio of cards.

As finding Dodgers base slows down, I’d like to start trying to build Topps sets starting with the 1975 set. I’m not ready to exactly jump into set building yet but if an opportunity arises, I might jump on it.

I started collecting again because I needed something else to balance out the vigor of life. I also play chess and take a lot of photos (street and documentary photography). Those other activities need other people and/or better weather. I can collect cards without having to rely on participation of others. Having said that, finding other patient collectors and traders on twitter has been a pleasant surprise.


Fav 2019 card so far

Granted, it’s still early in the year but this is my favorite Dodger card of the year so far. Casting aside how easy it is to like Kiké Hernández, this card has it all: the beautiful ball park grass and a (flying) sliding catch. These action shots rarely work but this one does. It’s a sports photo that reminds me of street photography.

I’ll probably revisit the favorite card of 2019 in a few months but for now, this takes the award. The runner up is Julio Urias’ Donruss 1985 throwback card as it pictures Julio’s pitching leg kick. Too bad about the missing logos though. Donruss cards look nice but it’s hard to like them because of the missing logos.

Also, couldn’t they have used a better Kershaw photo? His fly is open for crying out loud. I’m not sure the ins and outs of which photos the card companies can use but you’d think after all these years, the curation of what makes it to the cards would be better. It just isn’t.

Finally, cards with action shots would be much better (for people like me) if the back of the card listed when the photo was taken. I get that’s what Topps Now cards are for yet I cannot bring myself to search out any of those cards. I get the feeling others feel the same way.

One month update

It’s been a little over a month since I took the plunge back into collecting. Since I’ve been only collecting Dodgers, my focus has been pretty singular. That said, the desire to open packs really has been strong. Opening packs has allowed me to trade with a couple other card bloggers.

I’ve noticed a few things since I’ve been back.  Here’s 10.

1. The hobby is still crazy.

It’s even crazier then when I left it. Online box breaks, bloggers, Facebook groups, twitter wars ….. yadda yadda yadda. Some things never change, like collectors flocking to stores to get ugly Michael Jordan cards in packs of Hanes.

2. Card shows are where it’s at, still.

The best way to make contacts and actually see cards before you buy them are at card shows. eBay is nice and deals are to be made but nothing compares to spending $10 to $20 at a card show and coming home with cards, human interaction and a good experience.

3. Group breaks are crazy.

Crazy can mean a lot of things. I’ll wait for something affordable to get base, a chance at a “hit” and the excitement of opening packs at a distance. Crazy is the prices at which some breaks go for. Crazy for how many there are. Are card companies still mass producing cards like they were in the late 80s and early 90s? All of this makes me wish I could find a group of collectors locally so we can pool money and have our own breaks. Also crazy? The speed and carelessness that some breakers open packs.

4. Bloggers make collecting fun.

Granted, I’m still trying to figure out just how this blog is going to work for me. Am I going to include some of my baseball photography? Reviews? Witty banter about cards, players and life? While I figure it out, the best card collecting bloggers show me things I’ve never seen before, make me think about players and cards differently than I did before and give me more content than just what they added to their binders.

5. Topps is still king.

2019’s set is pretty damn good. Many of the previous base sets just do not have design qualities that make a good baseball card. Heritage is fun-ish. Allen and Ginter seems like a cool idea but I feel like it needs a reset. Panini, Donruss, etc just do not have the same excitement factor for me. I hated Donruss design back in the 80s and 90s. I tolerated Fleer. Diamond Kings were the only thing Topps didn’t have but should have.

6. Hit chasing is still a thing and it’s incredibly stupid.

Sure it’s fun to pull a nice relic or autograph. But upon re-entering the hobby I see the same predatory collectors making it harder for others to enjoy it. Searching and weighing packs in aisles? Get a life! Plus some of the designs on these relics and autographed cards are very poor.  Relics with white jersey patches are boring.  I’m also noticing all the “hits” from the same players.  Either they are mass produced or my perception is not reality.

7.  Player and team collecting is more fun now than before.

Again, this is a little due to bloggers documenting their successes and failures.  Seeing others modest successes is inspiring and motivating. 

8.  Leaving and coming back is helpful.

Knowing how being patient is great way to save money on your collection.  Prices always end up going down on what most people need for their player and team collections.

9.  Franken-sets, WTF!?

Now this is a new thing since I’ve been gone and it seems like a pretty fun thing to do but not for me.

10.  Player collecting, should I or should I not?

Back in the day, I had a PC of Dave Parker.  He’s the one non-Dodger I liked to collect.  There are non-Dodgers who I like to watch play but are they PC-worthy?  At this point, I do not know.  Should I continue with Parker (and work backwards) or should I find a new player to try to scavenger for?

2000s Dodgers

With some eBay sleuthing most of the cards you see here cost no more than .04 each. Did the junk wax era go into the 2000s?

Either way, these cards all seem foreign to me. Although I was listening to and watching games during this time, getting cards never entered my mindset. It’s been fun getting reacquainted with long lost friends like Furcal, Choi, Loney, Braxton and Gagne.

The stacks in the photo are based on year. They about to go into a binder. There is a 100% chance I will be reading the backs and studying the fronts this weekend.

Card show results

In Webster, NY (a Rochester, NY suburb) there’s a monthly card show called Collector’s Monthly. The show, from what I can gather, is organized by the same person since 2001. There’s also free admission and prizes given away at noon.

I gave myself a $10 budget and ended up spending $13. The best thing about starting to collect again is that everything is new. I haven’t opened a pack of cards since 1993.

The dealers were all pretty unique and had varying degrees of friendliness. Some dealers had everything under glass while everyone else had binders, boxes or just laid everything out on a table. There was also a good mix of vintage, junk era, and new.

With my girlfriend and daughter in tow, I had them help me pick out some cards that caught their eye. The bottom two rows were the results of that. This should keep me busy updating my want list and organizing the binder until the next show on April 28th.

1956 Topps Sandy Amoros

I always loved the 1956 Topps Sandy Amoros card. I recently got it for a mere $2.

He’s well known for “the catch” in game 7, but I’ve always wondered what play at the plate inspired this card. The only clue given on the card is Sandy committing to a slide at home. We see Berra’s number 8 ready for a potential tag.

Sandy scored three times in the 1955 Word Series. In Game 5, Sandy hit a homer. In games 3 and 4, Sandy scored a run. In game 3, Sandy’s run was an easy walk home after Pee Wee Reese drew a bases loaded walk. In game 4, with the Dodgers down 2-0 in the bottom of the third, Sandy drew a walk from Don Larsen. After Carl Erskine popped up for the first out, Jim Gilliam hit a double on a hit and run which scored Amoros.

After some searching, you can see the play below:

And the catch:

Finally, the back of the card:

Ripping packs

I’ve been eyeing the 2019 packs with the greatest moments cards since I’ve seen them in the stores. Always looking for and not seeing any Dodgers on the front, I passed on buying one. Until tonight.

That’s Duke Snider. The same Duke my dad loved as a kid. The same Duke we named my childhood dog after. This three pack is going to have to be good, right?

Ripping into the first pack I got two aces, one a need for my Dodger binder.

I’ve always loved the 94 Topps set. Getting this Kershaw (along with the Snider card) made this all worth it. Got two needs and the joy of opening some packs.

Let’s see what pack two got me.

That Kike Hernandez card completes the series 1 base set for me. How’s that for luck? Plus a great card of Mitch Garver. I got to see him play (dominate) in Rochester. I hope he continues to do well.

Since I basically and unexpectedly went above and beyond my needs for any kind of pack purchase, no amount of Yankee or Red Sox WS cards (which there were a lot of) would damage my mood.

On to the highlights of pack three.

Again, I’m a sucker for that ’84 design. Also, those stars of the game inserts are pretty sharp. I’ve never been much for flashy cards but these I like.

That’s probably the last series 1 pack I will buy. I feel like I picked a good year to start collecting Dodgers again. This 2019 design is right in my wheel house. It’s a nice throwback to 1982 plus the photography is above average for baseball cards in general.

Overall, even though my expectations going in are low, coming back has been enjoyable. This along with connecting with other collectors and trading certainly has made it fun again.

Mail day

It’s kind of a sad day as I said goodbye to some film cameras that have served me well. They are their way to their next owners. I know they are awesome cameras but they became redundant as I narrow down the scope of my photo projects. A few people told me I let the cameras go at a very good price. I felt bad at first but I hope they are going to people who will enjoy them as much as I did.

Much to my surprise though, as I returned home from the post office, I had two envelopes filled with cards from Kerry at Cards on Cards and Brad from Red Sox Fan in Nebraska. They both sent me cards from my want list and more. In fact, I feel they above and beyond generous to me. I looked at the cards as I watched the first Dodger spring training game today.

Here are some of my favorites:

Hershiser was my favorite player growing up. Not only was he a pretty good pitcher, he was also a pretty good pitcher. Now he and Joe Davis are perfect (to me) as successors of Vin Scully.
Count me as a Dodger fan who will miss Kemp and Puig.
Favorite of my girlfriend. I hope he has a better year this year but he’s already battling back soreness.
Pair of aces. Kershaw is battling something. Buehler might be the ace of the staff in 2019.

Thank you again Kerry and Brad!