I've lost track of the amount of trades I've completed as a blogger.
For a while, I had a little "trade counter" on the side of this blog. However, a lack of consistent updating on my part caused me to eventually rid of it all together.
Plus, it's a little hard to determine what exactly constitutes an actual swap around here. I've received countless "just because" packages that weren't really part of an agreed-upon trade.
On top of all that, I've learned a valuable lesson.
Contrary to what I believed on the trading forums, it's not all about the sheer quantity of trades I've completed.
In the end, the quality is all that really matters.
As far as that goes, the blogosphere has bested the forums a hundred times over.
Many of you out there have done a great job of adding to my collection over the past year.
A lot of the cards I've received were fairly random, miscellaneous pieces that another blogger thought I'd enjoy. I absolutely love those types of "random" trade packages.
At the same time, though, a lot of fellow bloggers have come through in the couple times I've asked for specific cards.
Personally, I can't think of a better way to showcase that fact than with an "update" to one of my older posts.
Way back in July, I published a write-up entitled "He's New Here", one that prominently featured a group of seven new players that I'd recently "inducted" into my binders.
Ever since then, a link to that post has resided in the "Guys I Collect" tab on the side of this blog.
From the looks of it, quite a few bloggers have taken the time to go through their collection and dig for the various player needs of mine.
For that, I couldn't be more appreciative.
I don't think the progress of these collections has really sunk in for me yet. Hopefully, this post will help change that.
While I will eventually weave a few terrific cards I recently received into this post, we'll start off by analyzing my current R.A. Dickey collection.
For the seven players I'll be featuring (again) in this post, I thought it'd be interesting to do a little "before and after" thing.
R.A. Dickey --
Before "He's New Here" post: 2 cards
After post: 9
Base cards: 7
One or two of those nine Dickey cards I currently own came from a couple generous members of the blogosphere.
As it stands, Dickey just doesn't have a whole lot of cards, although I'm sure that'll change within the next year or two.
For now, this awesome '87 mini from Update is probably my favorite card of his. Dickey never struck me as much of an "emotional" guy, but this card is doing its best to change that train of thought.
I'm still betting that I'll find a copy of his '97 Bowman rookies in a dime box one of these days.
It just seems like one of those long-forgotten cards that would turn up in a dime box.
Needless to say, it would easily become one of my bigger dime box "scores" if that prediction were to come true.
Mark Trumbo --
Before post: 1
After post: 11
Base cards: 6
Had I not decided to start a Mark Trumbo collection, I would've never known about one of the greatest cards of the previous year.
His Opening Day "Superstar Celebrations" insert cracked my "Best of 2012" list a couple months ago.
That alone made me proud to be a Trumbo collector.
The above masterpiece is just icing on the cake.
As I noted a little earlier in this post, I recently received a handful of terrific "adds" to my various collections from Ryan, a fellow member of the blogosphere.
His blog, "Building A Better Collection", is one of the newer ones I've added to my blogroll.
Go and give him a read if you haven't already.
Judging from what arrived on my doorstep from Ryan earlier this week, I'd probably recommend working out a swap with him as well.
Thanks to this Axford and quite a few others, he certainly did a terrific job of knocking out a few desired "needs" of mine.
In fact, the rest of the cards you'll see in this post all came from Ryan.
This terrific 2011 Topps gold parallel is the first piece I've added to my John Axford collection in a while.
I certainly have a long way to go in that department.
John Axford --
Before post: 3
After post: 8
Base cards: 5
Even though Axford's 2010 Topps Update issue has no "rookie" designation on it whatsoever, it's evidently still considered his rookie card.
Not a common sight in today's hobby.
When I first decided to collect Axford, I was hoping that a zero-year card of him as a Yankee would somehow pop up in a dime or quarter box.
Upon further inspection, though, I don't think any exist in the world of cardboard.
David Freese --
Before post: 2
After post: 10
Base cards: 8
I have long wanted to add a David Freese rookie to my newfangled collection of his.
Thanks to Ryan and his generous inclusion of Freese's 2009 Heritage High Numbers rookie, one of my little "cardboard dreams" has finally come true.
There were a few different reasons behind adding Freese to my binders, but the main one involved his dramatic game-winning homer in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
It's still the greatest baseball game I've ever watched. And I'm sure it'll stay that way for quite some time.
And David Freese's name will forever be linked to that memory, the unquestioned "hero" of it all.
If that's not worthy of a spot in my binders, I don't know what is.
Andrew McCutchen --
Before post: 3
After post: 25
Base cards: 12
With Mr. McCutchen, we're starting to get into the most "successful" of all my new player collections.
Since July, I've added 22 new pieces to my McCutchen collection. Much of those are thanks to a few terrific members of the blogosphere.
I now own more cards of McCutchen than all but four outfielders in Pirates history. Jason Bay, Roberto Clemente, Ralph Kiner, and Dave Parker are the only Bucs outfielders to be stored ahead of McCutchen in my Pirates binder.
That group of names should put things into perspective.
Mike/Giancarlo Stanton --
Before post: 2
After post: 29
Base cards: 9
In just six short months, I've come to own more cards of Mike...okay, Giancarlo Stanton than any other outfielder in Marlins history.
He recently eclipsed my 21-card collection of Cameron Maybin in my Florida/Miami binder.
Interestingly, I've had more people send me inserts and parallels of his than base cards. That's all right, though.
That's what they make dime boxes for, right?
From what I've heard lately, I might have to start carving out a spot for Stanton in one of my other binders. Given the sheer craziness of the Marlins in recent months, I can't say I blame him for being unhappy about things.
Although I'm not sure how much longer he'll be staying in Miami, I'll be sure to track his progress every step of the way.
He's one of my favorite players to watch in the game today.
Matt Cain --
Before post: 4
After post: 60
Base cards: 35
Yes, you read that right.
In just six months, my Matt Cain collection has reached an astounding 60 different cards.
Granted, he's been around for a lot longer than most of the other players I've featured in this post, but still.
I'm as amazed as you.
A fellow blogger helped contribute to over a third of those back in October.
Ryan did his part as well, adding four new pieces to the binders, including the awesome Heritage chrome parallel you see above.
Amazingly, Cain trails only Tim Lincecum, Christy Mathewson, and Juan Marichal in terms of the pitchers section of my Giants binder.
And he's right on the heels of the "Dominican Dandy".
It just goes to show how much you can get when you ask nicely.
I couldn't have asked for much more from the blogosphere on this. Many of you have done your part in helping me build a few terrific new player collections for my binders.
And, as always, if you have anything of any of these players (or anyone else in the tab on the sidebar), I'm always interested in striking up a swap.
Because of all the great help I've received, I don't honestly think I can call these guys "new" to my binders anymore.
They're grizzled veterans now.