Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Lost in the hobby
For the most part, I've never taken a break from the hobby.
Ever since 1st or 2nd grade, I've collected in some way, shape, or form. I've never hit the dreaded "wall". There's always been a fuse to light my collecting desires.
But that doesn't mean I've ever been "lost".
As I've previously mentioned on this blog, I went on an unprecedented year-long hockey card collecting binge during parts of 2005 and '06. I'm still a big hockey fan, but I never had much of an interest in the cards before those years, and I definitely haven't had a desire pick up my hockey cards since.
I'm still not exactly sure what triggered that sudden interest in hockey cards.
But for whatever reason, I totally ignored baseball cards for an entire year. I'd dabbled in other sports as a kid, but there had never been a time where I wasn't constantly interested in grabbing new baseball cards off the shelves.
As the 2006 baseball season began, I slowly found myself drifting away from hockey cards and back to where I was meant to be. The glorious world of baseball.
There was a short time period where I collected both sports, but I quickly found that I didn't have the budget for that. So I completely ditched my hockey card collection, although the "remains" of it is still stashed in my closet somewhere.
Another thing quickly grabbed my attention. I had no idea what was on the shelves. I'd missed every release from mid-2005 to early 2006.
To borrow the words of another blogger, I was a "lost collector".
I had no idea what Upper Deck ESPN was, or that there was a snazzy insert set that included the likes of Satchel Paige.
I didn't know where to turn.
Thankfully, this was one of the precious few times of my life where I had a friend who was also interested in the hobby.
He'd never collected before, and I was still re-acclamating myself with the baseball card world. In a way, we were both "new" to the hobby.
I never thought I could miss so much in just one year.
My friend and I would go to the local Target, and we'd both have no idea what to get. There was so much new product on the shelf that I'd never seen before. Keep in mind that there were still three different baseball card companies at the time, and we know how many less-than-perfect sets UD and Topps came out with at the time.
One set that I instantly fell in love with was Topps Turkey Red. I can't tell you how many packs of that set I went through.
I credit Turkey Red with re-introducing me to the hobby. My friend was a big fan of Mike Sweeney (that's actually where the roots of my collection of his lie), but I was lucky enough to pull his 2006 Turkey Red base card from one of the many packs I opened that year.
It's the first card that really made me realize the elegance of this hobby, something I never really appreciated about cards as a whole until I rejoined the baseball card community.
While there are still some gaps, I feel I've done a decent job of netting the cards I missed from that "lost" period.
One way I've accomplished this is through the magnificent $1.49/pack boxes at Target. You can pretty much find anything in those. I've found some 2005-2006 packs over the years, which went a long ways in helping me fill some of the gaps at an extremely reasonable price.
But the main way I've "reclaimed" those years for my collection, of course, has been dime boxes.
I've found a great deal of mid-2000's dime cards ever since I was reintroduced to the world of baseball cards. In fact, it might be the best-represented era, as far as dime boxes go.
There was even one last year that was comprised mainly of 2004 to '06 cards, and they were all grouped by set. Since I didn't have much from those years, I found a ton of cards. A hundred at least, including the above Topps Chrome Junior Spivey.
It was a major victory for my collection.
I still feel lost at times in this hobby. With the dozens of insert and parallel sets in every release nowadays, it's not all that uncommon.
It can be hard to keep up with sometimes.
However, I feel I have a firm grasp on what I like, and how I go about collecting as a whole. Yes, my collection is built around the "randomness" factor. (As is this blog.)
I do literally collect hundreds of different players or "themed" cards. If there is a specific "plan" to my collection, it's that I don't really have a plan.
But it took me years to determine what I wanted to collect and what I didn't want to collect. I had no idea what I wanted when I returned to the hobby after that "lost" year.
It just goes to show how much you can miss if you look away.