Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Binder policies

Every collector has a different way of organizing their cards.

It's one of the many great things about this hobby.

I've mentioned my love for binders on this blog many times. I'm a self-dubbed "binder guy".

While they might not be all that efficient in terms of space, binders more than make up for that with their aesthetic beauty. Whether it's a binder of your "keeper" cards or a binder full of 1972 Topps at a card show, there are few things more awesome than page after page of cardboard greatness.

Even though I've been a "binder guy" for as long as I can remember, a few challenges have presented themselves along the way.

As a result, I've developed a few little "binder policies".

Although they might seem petty and insignificant to all the non-collectors out there, I think most of us realize just how important these little "policies" actually are.

After all, they're what make all of our collections unique.

Oscar Gamble's 1973 Topps card is a good example of one of my "policies".

I think it's safe to say that it's one of the greatest cards ever made. Even so, it presented a bit of a problem with my organization methods.

The card clearly says "Cleveland Indians" under Gamble's name. However, given the Reds players that are mulling around in the background of this card, it's pretty obvious that Gamble was in a Phillies uniform when this shot was taken.

Plus, the Indians and Reds have never met in the World Series, and this was way before the concept of interleague play was conceived.

As a result, I wasn't sure where to place this card in my collection. Phillies binder or Indians binder?

In the end, I decided that I'd give Topps the benefit of the doubt for making the effort to airbrush Gamble out of his Phillies jersey.

Into the Indians binder it went.

Here's a couple examples of another organization roadblock.

Since my collection is mainly team-based, I wasn't sure what to do with my high school, college, and minor league cards.

Both of these guys were aways away from reaching the bigs when these cards were produced.

That's the main reason why I'm a big fan of these.

Although Konerko and Napoli would both eventually make their mark on the game of baseball, they were just a couple of unknowns at these points in their respective careers.

Just check out those high school bleachers behind Konerko, or those empty stands behind "Michael" Napoli. (By the way, that Napoli was produced a full five years before he'd get an actual "rookie card". Probably the only "gem" from the atrocious Royal Rookies set.)

While they're both exceptionally neat in their own ways, I didn't know how they'd fit in my binders.

Although they might look a tad out of place, I decided to simply put them with whatever team gave them their first shot in the bigs.

The Konerko sits happily in my Dodgers binder, while Napoli is doing the same inside the many pages that make up my Angels collection.

In collecting terms, "team cards" are simply any cards that feature a team photo.

As far as my collection is concerned, the "team card" moniker has become sort of a catch-all.

While they do include the ordinary team photo cards, I've included a lot more in my "team cards" section of each binder. Multi-player issues, manager cards, mascot cards, and any other miscellaneous cards that don't fit anywhere else are all mixed together within these pages.

It doesn't matter whether it's a World Series-winning manager pointing ambiguously into the distance or a funny-looking mascot with an oversized head.

They're all "team cards" to me.

Since it's my collection and all, I reserve the right to "induct" whoever I want into my binders at any given time.

For a long time, I rarely "enforced" this policy of mine.

Up until last year, I almost never inducted new players into my binders. I wasn't exactly keen on change when it came to my collection back then.

Nowadays, I'm always looking for new guys to welcome into the binders. I recently accepted seven new players into the "binder club".

Last week, I introduced two new players into my collection. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel and Rangers starter Derek Holland were the lucky pair. (As a result, I'm looking for almost any cards of theirs if any are floating out there in the blogosphere.)

Kimbrel should've been in a while ago. I always enjoy watching the Braves whenever they come on TV in my area. Plus, it's accurate to say that Kimbrel is the best closer in baseball right now.

I mainly "inducted" Holland because of his personality.

Between his former mini-mustache, his Haray Caray impersonation, and his pitching ability, it was a no-brainer.

My oldest "policy" has to do with these types of cards.

The "miscellaneous binder", as I like to call it.

There's so many different components of these that I don't even know where to start. League leaders, "combo" cards, multi-team cards, father-son cards, they're all here in some way, shape, or form.

While there are some fairly dull cards included in this category, it has its share of "gems" as well.

These Topps "combo" cards are absolute works of art, if I do say so myself.

I don't know about you, but that's the only time I've seen Ted Williams and Tony Gwynn featured on a baseball card together.

"Sweetness", indeed.

Believe me, I could go on for hours if someone asked me to describe how I organize my collection. It's a fairly complex process, especially with the "policies" and everything.

It all makes sense in my mind, though.

How I sort and store my cards is an important component of my collection in itself.

It's a big reason why I'm still collecting after all these years.


BA Benny said...

As I believe I have said here before, I too am a "binder guy". I too enjoy the leafing through the pages of a binder with a specific group of cards as I add to it. My cards get ranked into each different binder according to a pecking order I have established over the years.

Anonymous said...

Count me as a binder guy, too. Less complicated for me, since I only collect one team; no inductions needed. And the Gamble card is what I term as a "cross-dresser" card.

Zayden said...

When i first came back to the hobby i threw just about every card i thought was cool almost randomly in my shiny new binders. Looking back it was an absolute mess.

Time and experience in the hobby has changed all that and while my binders arent refined to the staus of OCD they are pretty darn close. I have the constant problem of running out of pages and they dont come cheap as i have to get the ultra pros from the internet.

I love your posts like this on how your collection comes together...i know you dont reveal all your secrets but ive learned quite a lot from you over the months.(has it really only been months? feels like years, wonderful years!

beefman said...

Hey Nick!
I stumbled onto your blog today somehow, and I've been reading it on-and-off for the last 10 hours. It's my new favorite!
I'm an Aussie, and it looks like I am exactly the same type of collector you are : gotta have our 'zero-year' cards, and 'sunset' cards! Like your post about the 83 Donruss Julio Franco, I love to get cards of players in each uniform they played in (where possible). I've somehow built up a hefty collection of 116103 baseball cards, and I keep them in 5000-card boxes, or the factory set boxes they came in.

I keep my collection sorted in a few ways : By team (players in alphabetical order), by sets (in numerical order) or by player (every card in alphabetical order). Changing from one sorting method to another can take over 6 months, but it's all fun and it keeps me busy when I'm free! Great Blog, mate, and believe me, I'm another one enjoying the OCD that comes with collecting baseball cards.

Nick J

Mark Kaz said...

Great stuff, as usual!

I am a binder guy when it comes to sets, no doubt about that. Nothing better than flipping through a binder full of 1987 Topps or 1993 Stadium Club, etc.

I really, really, REALLY want to be a binder guy when it comes to my player collections, but my OCD tendencies halt me just when I'm ready to take the plunge.

I think your post is inspiring me to write about my binder hangups...

Unknown said...

Im an abc order by player box and penny sleeve guy myself.