Sunday, January 27, 2013

Organization matters

I like to think that this blog is a "melting pot" of sorts.

During my time here, I've taken pages from a lot of different bloggers in composing my own writings.

This blog is indeed a mash-up of a lot of different ideas. Some are my own, while others are simply me building off another blogger's thoughts on a given topic.

I guess the first little inspiration I drew for my blog involved the the topic of "concepts".

After I finally mustered up the courage to start writing, I wasn't quite sure where to start. 

I did know one thing, though.

Although I wasn't sure what it'd be, I knew I wanted to have an overarching "concept" to my blog. 

Whether it revolved around a certain team, player, or "theme" in the hobby, most of my favorite blogs at the time were built around a central topic.

That's about when the whole "dime boxes" idea hit me.

True, I did want to show that, yes, there are still some members of the "younger" generation who have fun with this hobby. But, unfortunately, I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep this "young" label these days.

I'll be twenty-one next month, after all.

More importantly, though, I wanted to show just how much fun a box full of forgotten cardboard could be. And although there might not be a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it, there is indeed a history behind every single dime card in existence.

In a funny way, I guess this blog's "concept" is built around, well...not having a concept at all. Even I'm not sure what I'll be showing on a day-to-day basis.

Over the last few months, though, I've noticed an interesting little "subplot" developing within my writings.

I've quickly found that I absolutely love writing about how I organize my collection. 

My collection has always relied on a sound sorting system. It keeps my passion for "randomness" going. And, more importantly, it keeps me well-organized.

Yes, fellow readers. As crazy as my collection might sound, I can assure you that it is all appropriately sorted and filed. I pride myself on being an organized hobbyist.

Now, in the past, I did compose a write-up on a few of my "binder policies".

But, in all honesty, those barely scratched the surface.

Although it's not all that complicated, my organizational process could yield a seemingly endless number of posts. It's that big of a part of my collecting habits.

And, yes, I love organizing that much.

Understandably, I seem to get more questions about my sorting process than anything else.

For example, another blogger recently asked me if I split up the cards of franchises who relocated to different cities during their respective histories.

When it comes to franchises that changed their names, that answer is yes.

Although they've never moved from Houston, I have my Colt .45s and Astros cards in two different binders. Same with my Pilots and Brewers cards.

Now, with teams who didn't change their names...

The answer to that question is a no.

I do indeed pack my Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers cards into the same binder. 

However, I've been considering a change in that department recently. 

Though I'm not sure if I'll ever take the time to actually separate my Brooklyn and L.A. Dodger cards, I do indeed draw distinctions between the two.

In fact, one of my favorite aspects of my Dodgers binder is seeing which players made the "move" with the team. I love taking a closer look and seeing how many of my Duke Snider cards feature him as a Los Angeles Dodger.

In the end, though, I think my favorite "on the move" Dodger has to be Pee Wee Reese.

Almost all my cards of his feature him as a Brooklyn Dodger. Considering he spent 15 of his 16 years as a big-leaguer in the city, that makes a great deal of sense.

Still, what about that 16th season?

"Pee Wee" hung 'em up in 1958, the very year the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.

Photographers only had a small window of time to snap a picture of him in the now-famous "L.A." cap. On top of that, Reese would only play in 59 games with the Dodgers that year.

All things considered, shots of him as an L.A. Dodger are fairly rare.

That should tell you how much I love this little "Ziploc" oddball.

Aside from a few airbrushed reprints of his '58 Topps "sunset" card, this is the only piece I own of Reese in a Los Angeles cap.

Who'd have thought?

Ziploc, of all companies, produced one of my favorite cards of a legendary Hall of Famer.

You can't make this stuff up.

As far as I know, only one player in my binders managed to pull off the "trifecta".

Eddie Mathews went "on the move" with the Braves three different times.

As shown by this starry-eyed rookie shot of the soon-to-be slugger, Mathews broke in with the Boston Braves in 1952.

The franchise would move to Milwaukee the very next year.

Thirteen of Mathews' fifteen seasons as a Brave came during their tenure in the city. Not surprisingly, almost all of my Braves cards of his feature him with an "M" on his cap.

Milwaukee is basically the city that made him a Hall of Famer.


He would indeed make yet another move with the franchise in 1966.

This time, it'd be to their current home in Atlanta.

Mathews was traded to the Astros after just one season in an Atlanta Braves uniform.

Once again, an oddball proved to produce one of the few cards I own of him with an "A" on his cap. A former dime box find of mine, this one comes from the almost unknown "Line Drive" brand.

All the more reason to love oddballs, I guess.

As with any organizational process, I sometimes run into dilemmas.

Although I can't recall exactly how it happened, I wound up with this remarkably cool '55 Bowman "night card" on my hands. (Or possibly a "dusk card".)

Trouble was, I'd never heard of Alex Kellner. Which means that I'd never "inducted" him into my binders.

Still, it was exactly the type of masterpiece that deserves to be showcased in a nine-pocket page.

As a result, I recently created a new little "clause" in my binders for cards like these. 

In my past "policies" post, I mentioned what goes into the closing "team" section of each of my binders. They're composed of managers, team cards, and stadium shots, for the most part.

However, I decided that any simply "fun" cards would also be granted a spot in the team sections as well.

And, I have to tell you, it really does look spectacular in a nine-pocket page. Just the way the cardboard gods intended.

Crisis averted.

I have to say, the blogosphere has changed my perspective on this hobby in a ton of different ways.

This page is a great example of perhaps the most important "lesson" I've learned during my time here.

Instead of focusing on simply the players featured on the fronts of cards, I've recently started to appreciate individual sets much more as well.

Although I'll probably always sort my cards by player, I've started to bring the whole "branding" concept into the organizational process.

Sure, the two "Golden Moments" pieces may look nice next to each other because they have the same photo on the front.

However, those three cards at the bottom look a whole lot better to me these days. After all, they're each from the same set.

Specifically, the trio of Clementes come from the spectacular 2001 Upper Deck Decade release.

Although I may never branch off into the world of set collecting, I've developed a newfound appreciation for the concept.

Thankfully, that's starting to be reflected in my sorting methods as well.

The overall "concept" to my organizational process is pretty simple.

Every card deserves their time in the spotlight.

Whether it's a sweet vintage piece or a seemingly mundane ten-cent common, they're all grouped together in my collection.

I'd say that about ninety-nine percent of my "keeper" cardboard is stored in one of my many trusty binders.

Anyone browsing through my collection would see odd combinations like this all the time.

In fact, these two cards sit next to each other in my Phillies binder.

I can certainly appreciate a nearly-flawless 1961 Topps masterpiece of Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.

But, at the same time, there's something just as special about a nearly forgotten common, one that I literally "saved" from a devastating life of dimly-lit rooms and garages.

That's the train of thought that keeps my love for organizing going.

It'll always be a major part of my identity as a collector.


(...Joe) said...

Oh man, I remember being 21! I turned 25 last month though. I'm gettin' old.

For me, I've kept my organizing fairly simple. All my Mets cards and player collection are set in stone as far as organization goes, but alot of other binders are always in constant state of change and re-do. When the mood strikes me I'll reorganize some cards. It can be fun...sometimes.

Brad's Blog said...

I have a whole bunch of random piles.. I kind of know whats in them dont really know what I want to do with them yet.. I do really like that 61 robin roberts sweet card

Anonymous said...

I'm 21 and will turn 22 this July. I only have three binders but I am real ify about putting them in a shelf standing up. I have noticed that when they are standing up the pages bend a little. I don't know if this will affect their condition after a while. You think you can share some advice with me about binders?

Michael Chase said...

My favorite posts of yours are the ones where you talk about organization!

I've kinda borrowed your methods of organization and my collection is organized drastically different now than when I started here last July.

I was at a point where I was pretty confused on how I wanted everything to look and feel, and in a way sometimes still am. But it's always a work in progress.

Organization is a must for me as well, and I find it to be extremely therapeutic. That's probably one of the best parts about this hobby!