Friday, June 1, 2012

Card collector's O.C.D.

As most of my regular readers probably know by now, I'm big into vintage.

While they're not often found in dime boxes, the fact that each card is like holding an individual piece of history makes them well worth the price. I could never understand how anyone could not be a vintage fan, but that's just me.

For some collectors, the name of the game in vintage is condition. When you get down to it, it's basically a quirk.

I've never been one to care about the condition of cards, especially when it comes to vintage. I probably would've priced myself out of the hobby by now if I did.

While I don't lose sleep over the fact that my '56 Topps Bobby Thomson has the edges cut off (how else could I get it for a buck?), I do have little quirks that I could never quite understand.

In that regard, I'm probably like most other collectors out there.

It's just part of the hobby, I guess.

Horizontal cards are the basis for one of those pesky quirks.

Let me first say that I'm a big fan of horizontal cards. But since most of my collection is stored in binders, vertical cards have the advantage.

I probably have thousands of horizontal cards scattered amongst my binders. And they all face the same direction. Right.

I've tried to store them in the other direction from time to time, but I can't bring myself to do it. Sets like 2004 Topps Cracker Jack are especially annoying. The backs of every single horizontal Cracker Jack card I own are upside down in my binders.

To make the backs right side up, they'd have to be facing left.

But that's just not acceptable.

Vintage aside, I am not a fan of oversized cards.

It's the reason why 1989 Bowman is my least favorite set ever.

There's no reason for oversized cards in the modern age. Plus, they don't fit into binders all that well. I can see this Whitey Ford card sticking out the top of my Yankees binder as we speak.

I have no problem with minis or other undersized cards.

Unless we're talking about pre-1957 Topps or any early Bowman sets, I have to say that oversized cards are just plain ugly.

In case you haven't noticed by now, almost all these little "quirks" have to do with how I organize my cards.

It's an exact science. Anything that disrupts it is a pain. (I'm only half-kidding.)

As I've mentioned on this blog, my collection is largely grouped by teams. So cards like the above Ron Santo present a bit of a problem.

As you can see, the card lists him as a member of the White Sox. And the larger picture depicts him in a White Sox uniform.

But then there's that pesky mugshot of him in a Cubs hat.

If a card lists a player with a certain team but pictures him with a different one, I go with the team he's pictured with. No harm, no foul.

But these are a challenge. I've had to devote a whole new binder to cards like these. The "miscellaneous" binder, mostly league leader cards that I don't really have much attachment to. (You have to admit that league leader cards have been pretty bad lately.)

I would love to put this Santo card with my three other cards of him in a Sox uniform. But I just can't do it. He's wearing a Cubs hat on part of this card, so I can't put it in the "official White Sox binder".

Darn these little quirks!

Within the teams, my cards are sorted by position. Pitchers first, catchers second...and so on.

Because of that, you might be able to notice the problem I have with cards like these.

Robby Hammock (who is the guy who caught Randy Johnson's perfect game, by the way) is listed as a catcher on his 2004 Topps Total card.

But he's clearly pictured as a third baseman here. (Where he'd play for exactly two innings during the 2004 season.)

Topps had two easy solutions for something like this:

1) Find a picture of him as a catcher. Not too difficult, considering that was his main position throughout his career.

2) Just list him as a third baseman!

Don't get me wrong, I find it neat that I have a card of Hammock's two-inning tenure as a third baseman in '04.

But I don't see a real upside for Topps in mismatching positions like this. I even have a few cards of guys listed as DHs when they've clearly got fielding gloves on.

I know, stuff like this is petty.

But that's what a quirk is, right?

The way I organize as a whole is a "quirk", pretty much.

As far as Dodger first basemen go, I have 79 cards of James Loney. Then, we have the 53 Dodger cards of Steve Garvey in my collection...all the way down to my one card of Doug Mientkiewicz during his short tenure at first base in Los Angeles.

It's like that for every team, every position. Descending order of how many cards I own of each player. (I couldn't think of a better way to word that sentence.)

I love how I organize. I've never come across anyone who does it in a similar way. It's unique.

But mostly, I've done it this way for too long to ever think about changing it. I've never thought about a mass re-organization. Even as a kid, that was how I sorted my cards.

There's no going back now.

Perhaps some of these are a bit silly. But I don't care. It's what I've gotten used to over the years. Besides, it's good to have quirks. I bet we all have them.

It's part of what makes collecting so much fun.


jacobmrley said...

Awesome post. I like the way you do things. I think about how I organize my collection almost as much as I do what is in my collection. In fact, my whole blog is based on how I organize my collection.

Robert said...

I'm down with O.C.D. (I think I got that lyric right?)