As far as organization goes, I've stuck with the same method for as long as I've collected cardboard.
Although I may initiate some minor tweaks or fixes here and there, I've never felt the need to conduct a "massive overhaul" of my sorting process.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
I know it's an overused cliche, but it fits well with the overall theme of my binders.
Still, I constantly find myself looking for little ways to tinker with my collection. It was the basis behind my "summer project" from a few months ago.
I guess it's just an aspect of my overall love for organizing.
Others might see a big stack of new, unsorted cardboard as a roadblock. Probably an annoyance, too.
Not me. I see it as a pleasure.
A few days ago, I hit upon a potential idea for a future organizational "project". One that could well be a whole lot of fun.
Anyone who reads this blog on at least a semi-regular basis probably knows my unabashed love for binders.
Ninety-nine percent of my pieces of "keeper" cardboard are placed in one of my many trusty binders.
Over the years, it has taken a constant influx of nine-pocket pages to withhold my collection. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
As I was browsing through one of my binders the other day, I realized that I'd never really given any sort of "label" to any of the specific slots within each page.
I've never relegated any of the more unspectacular cardboard to any of the corner slots. Whether it's a ten-cent common or a ten-dollar insert, all my cards are happily combined with one another.
For the most part, that's the way it should be.
Still, I couldn't help but think how neat it would be to select a "centerpiece" for each of my little nine-pocket pages. One that stands out among the rest.
After all, I know the center spot is where my eyes go with each passing page. As far as I'm concerned, it's a natural thing.
Although my cards are constantly shifting, I liked the idea of having one, specific card that would always occupy the center slot of each page.
I haven't actually decided to "chase" this project yet, but I did complete a few trial runs for the sake of this post.
So far, I'm loving it.
Since I'm on a Johnny Podres kick due to a recent post over at Mr. Spiegel's blog, I figured I'd start with him this afternoon.
The above '65 Topps issue of his easily proved to be the "centerpiece" of his place in my Dodgers binder.
Because 1965 Topps just happens to be my all-time favorite set.
It's safe to say that anything from '65 Topps is a definite "centerpiece" in my binders.
Although I own quite a few other nice Podres pieces, there was never much of a doubt in my mind about that selection.
The '65 Podres was far from the only "no-brainer" in my collection, though.
My Tom Seaver collection recently eclipsed the 120-card mark.
Usually, it's not all that easy to select a single favorite from such a large grouping of cardboard.
Seaver is one of the few exceptions.
As soon as I snapped up a copy of his '74 Topps issue a couple years ago, I knew it'd be the best Tom Seaver card I could or would ever own.
It has all the makings of a true "centerpiece".
Of course, it's not that easy to select a surefire "centerpiece" most of the time.
The world only contains so few cards in the class of a '74 Seaver, after all.
Take Dock Ellis, for instance.
Undoubtedly one of my favorite players of the 1970's. Up there with Fidrych and "Spaceman".
A quick search of my blog told me that I'd only made one mention of him in the last year around here. For someone of his caliber, that's absolutely criminal.
So, here, Mr. Ellis. A whole spot in this post to yourself. A whole page in this post to yourself.
I could've gone a few different routes with him. Any one of these would've made for a tremendous "centerpiece".
On the one hand, it's hard to go against his '69 Topps issue. That's his rookie card, after all, and arguably one of my all-time greatest quarter box finds, to boot.
Then again, how neat would the black borders of '71 Topps look in the middle of a nine-pocket page?
Then again, how could I choose against '75 Topps? It's likely the most iconic set in the history of baseball cards.
In the end, though, I absolutely had to go with the LSD-inspired design of 1972 Topps.
It just suits Dock Ellis so well.
Do I really need to explain why?
While I imagine it would be more fun selecting "centerpieces" for past greats such as Podres and Ellis, I wouldn't underestimate the likes of newer "stars" like Evan Longoria.
Guys like him have been lucky enough to receive some tremendous cardboard over the years.
As I soon found out, it was even harder to pick "centerpieces" for the newer faces of baseball.
Longoria seems to be one of those guys who "follows" me. Every pack I open seems to yield something of his.
Still, I'm not complaining. Thanks to that "curse", his spot in my Rays binder recently surpassed the 100-card mark.
Which made it all the more difficult to choose a "centerpiece" for this particular page of his.
A page that includes two rookie cards, a 2011 Heritage short-print (which I pulled from a pack, of course), an '87 Topps Mini, and a pair of staggeringly awesome 3-D issues.
Certainly a lot of options there.
The twelve year-old kid in me gave the "centerpiece" to Longoria's "2020" Topps insert from a couple years back.
Like it or not, I'm still a fan of any piece of cardboard that can elicit an "ooooh" or "aaaah" response.
3-D cards always seem to do that to me.
And probably always will.
Sadly, my Cubs binders are slowly becoming more focused on the "old-time" guys than on the present.
I'll be the first to admit it. There just isn't a lot to be excited about on the North Side these days.
So, just who is my favorite current Cub, you ask?
The speedster himself, Tony Campana.
Unfortunately, I don't have enough cards of him to fill a whole page...yet. I'd need at least nine cards of a guy in a specific uniform to crown a true "centerpiece". For every nine cards, there'd be one "centerpiece".
I only own six of Campana.
Still, my choice for second-favorite Cubs isn't much of a contest, either.
One of the few bright spots for the Cubs these days.
Thankfully, I have enough cards to crown multiple Samardzija "centerpieces". The above page was a bit of a challenge, though.
Again, it could've gone a few different ways.
Like Longoria, this page is home to one of my rookies of Mr. Samardizja with that UD Timeline card in the top-left. In fact, that was my first-ever card of his.
More than that, I'm sure a revered "liquorfractor" would probably make for one awesome "centerpiece". There's no doubt about that.
Still, I just can't get over how much I like his 2012 Heritage issue.
That Salvador Dali-like mustache is one of the best pieces of facial hair I've seen on a card in the last few years.
Something like that is enough to warrant a "centerpiece" in my binders.
If I really took the time to chase this project, I'm sure I'd find quite a variety in my "centerpiece" choices.
From cool vintage issues, LSD-inspired designs, and awesome facial hair, this post was certainly an example of that.
In the end, only a precious few "centerpieces" exist in the world of cardboard.
They deserve to be recognized.