Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hierarchies (or, another COMC order)

Over time, and whether I intended it or not, my collection has fallen into a bit of a hierarchy.

I (obviously) collect a lot of things, and I'm always happy to add to any of those thousands of different things, but some cards naturally take precedence over one another. Most of what I buy on COMC belongs to the pinnacle of that hierarchy - if I'm gonna specifically seek out, purchase, and wait weeks for something, chances are it's pretty darn close to top-tier. Looking back through it now, I think my latest COMC order did a good job of illustrating that.

Some of my collections even have hierarchies within themselves - I'll always take any and all Beatles cards, but I specifically decided to plunk down a bit of cash for this one because it features all four Fabs together, in action, in full-on "She Loves You" screaming-girl mop-top mode.

Other times, you can tell where a card sits on my hierarchy by how much I'm willing to spend on it.

In terms of my 50-and-75-cent COMC ways, these weren't cheap - Reggie was about $4 & Jim Morris was around $6. But they've both been high on my list because I love alternate-universe Burger King issues (not to mention Reggie's one of my favorite player collections anyways), and Morris pitched exactly two games in the White Sox system before retiring.

Little did anyone know he'd come back a decade later with some team called the Devil Rays, and have a Hollywood movie based on him, to boot.

Minor league cards tend to carry more weight for me because you just don't see them too often - I own close to 200 Carlos Zambrano cards, but that's my very first one of him in the minors.

Didn't land any wow-worthy vintage in this order, but I did track down a few Dime Box favorites for loose change (Tug is an OPC).

Mini-collections definitely operate on a hierarchy - all throwback cards are cool, but I probably own a few hundred different White Sox ones, so the Frank Thomas is another brick in what is a large (but still glorious) wall.

That Nolan Ryan, on the other hand, is the first card I've ever seen of him hitting during his time with the Angels(!) - a photo obviously taken during the '72 season since the AL implemented the DH for the rest of his career.

My player collections definitely exist in a hierarchy, and these dudes are all at the top - I couldn't afford to collect 927 different guys that were all top-tier, could I?

(I promise that Kenny Lofton looks better than it scans.)

COMC likes to remind me that, despite my skepticism of online exclusives and "chase" cards, I still like picking them up secondhand (if they're cheap enough).

I'm particularly a fan of that hockey-puck-themed Future Stars Club design, which goes well with Justin Morneau's Canadian roots.

A couple photo variations I'd been eyeing for a while - that Zimmer cameo on the Ryno is pure gold.

Throwback Thursdays and shiny cards are just two of the many probably superfluous bells and whistles that I find impossible to resist.

One seller had a bunch of these Phillies stadium giveaways obscenely cheap, and I pretty much grabbed every single one because I can never have enough Greg Luzinski and Dick Allen cards.

I don't know if the proliferation of Dodger content during my time on the blogs has made me more of a Dodger fan/collector, but it seemed like quite a few snuck into this COMC order.

Grabbed a few more of those neat Finest Dodger ROY inserts, and the '78 SSPC Bill Russell sent me scrambling because it made me realize I didn't have his '76 SSPC card...only to quickly discover he didn't have a card in '76 SSPC for some reason?

Minis are always welcome in this house, and somehow I'm only now realizing that there were die-cut '72 inserts in last year's Heritage (and I kinda like 'em!).

My COMC orders are bound to have a glut of odds and ends, and here's a few that include my first card of a ballplayer cheering from the stands, and a rare glimpse of Manny Ramirez's brief stay in the Rangers' minor league system.

Other randoms included a nifty add for my new Dave Stieb collection and the only card I've ever seen of Eddie Stanky's one-game tenure as a Rangers manager in 1977 - I'm shocked a card exists at all.

A few older hardball heroes here - a day I add a new Harvey Haddix to my binders is a banner day indeed.

Lately I've noticed that COMC can be a good source for cheap Japanese cards, which is nice because the chances of stumbling upon any of these in the wild here in the States is almost nil.

And while a new Japanese Ichiro would probably be the thank-you-goodnight ending to any other COMC order, it wasn't this time...

...because he had to play second fiddle to a new Sadaharu Oh!

I don't pretend to know much of anything about Japanese card values, but stumbling upon this gem (from Japan's Calbee brand) for all of $2 one afternoon seemed like a helluva deal to me. I've since checked what these usually go for and I'm happy to confirm that, yes, this was a massive steal - the perfect combination of a great deal for a great card that will (of course) take its place near the top of my binder hierarchy. 

And if anyone out there happens to have any other two-dollar Sadaharu Oh cards lying around, you know where to find me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Less of a blogger, more of a reader

I think I've reached a point where I think of myself more as a reader who occasionally blogs, and less as a blogger who reads other blogs.

There's no doubt that I still love blogging, but over time, writing has become something I enjoy in sips rather than gulps. I look back at the early years of this blog and wonder how I was able to post once, twice, sometimes even three times(!) a day. That just isn't feasible for me anymore - if I blog once a week these days it's a success.

I certainly don't mind being more of a reader than a blogger - I've said many times that I respect the heck out that community of loyal readers who take the time to scroll through our stuff while fending off the urge to start a blog of their own. I think some fellow bloggers would also agree that readers also have the tendency to be the most generous people around - willing to send us stellar cards as thanks for whatever half-baked thoughts we might post.

One such reader is a collector named Dave S. who's been sending me heaps of cards like clockwork - the cards in this post span stuff I got from him a few months ago, up to a box I found on my doorstep just last night, in fact. 

Dave's boxes are great, in that some of the stuff closely aligns with my specific collections/want lists, and a lot of it is just a mash of whatever he has lying around - that kind of mix is always a blast to sift through.

Case in point: these odd reprints, which look to have been knocked off in someone's basement - there's no copyright info or anything else on the back that suggest they're licensed copies. They're the kind of things I could see a less-experienced collector bringing into a pawn shop and being completely unprepared for the bad news.

The Frank Robinson is even more curious, given that it's a "Card That Never Was" as opposed to a straight reprint, and thus even cooler.

Here's a few more conventional items from Dave - cards from the last few years are especially appreciated since I've bought next to no retail lately.

Sending inserts of big names like Aaron and Yaz are surefire hits for me, but I get just as excited over odd stuff like that Kids' Club Quentin because that's probably not a card you'll ever see again.

Shooter + Mother's Cookies = a gosh-darn fantastic baseball card.

Another box saw Dave scatter a few new needs across my bigger player collections - Mo earns additional points for the bonus broken bat!

Aside from my usual Series 1 purchases, I think the only retail I've bought so far this year was a lone blaster of 2022 Gypsy Queen.

And judging from what I've read, I think I'm the only one who kinda sorta likes GQ this year - it's a whole lot more distinctive than a lot of the other designs they've thrown at us the last ten years.

These are the kinds of scans I love to show on this blog - steel cards, Rod Becks, a neat Johnny Bench, and a Babe Ruth oddball I know nothing about.

Dave must've come into an Albert Belle collection or something, because one of the boxes he sent contained a small treasure of don't-call-me Joeys.

While Belle is in my binders, he's not someone whose cards I actively pursue - but shiny stuff of anyone is always welcome around here!

Oddball madness, including a minor league mascot card that kinda creeps me out for a reason I can't quite put my finger on.

My eyes lit up when I saw a couple West Coast stadium giveaway sets in this particular box - these things are like Bigfoot here in the Midwest, and of course that makes them all the more desirable to me because the toddler in me always wants what I can't have.

Regional sets like this Keebler Giants one are often great for off-kilter stuff like managers (Felipe Alou!) and obscure middle-relievers I'm weirdly endeared to (Scott Eyre!).

Somehow, this oddball set from Dave might be even better since it's from the heart of the Moneyball A's days - including short-term-stop Johnny Damon and perennial Dime Box favorite Chad Bradford.

Dave also knocked out a Dime Box Dozen need with this '85 Donruss Mattingly - a card I still love despite the fact that it looks like Donnie Baseball got out of bed two seconds ago.

In a of great timing, Dave's latest box showed up just last night, and thus allowed me to squeeze another round of cardboard greats into this post.

I don't think I've ever bought a pack of Topps Gallery - and now that I think of it, I'm not sure I've ever seen one - but the cards aren't half bad.

Random fun from the '90s to now - Topps doesn't need more brands, but I wouldn't mind them seeing them bring back Cracker Jack.

I'm by no means a Yankees fan, but they've obviously had a lot of greats over the years, which might explain why I'm on the verge of giving them a sixth binder in my collection - no other team has more than five.

The Jeter & Mattingly are a couple more of those mysterious reprints I mentioned earlier...

...and since we started with a Mantle reprint, we might as well end with one.

Blogging has its rewards - both in the creative fulfillment it provides, and the selfish enjoyment of people sending me cards - but readers like Dave occupy their own special place in the blogosphere, one that has no doubt kept this blog running for as long as it has.