I finished uploading all my Angels cards onto TCDB the other day, which means I've at long last cataloged the first full team in my collection.
Obviously, cataloging is a slow process for me - I think I started with my Angels binders a couple months ago. The site seems to be a bit more geared towards set collecting, and being a player collector at heart, it takes me a few more clicks to get things going. And since I still prioritize putting new cards away over cataloging old ones, I'm lucky if I can spend an hour or two a week on TCDB.
But the good thing about TCDB is that I do it as I please - I accept that cataloging is probably going to be a multi-year project here at Dime Box HQ. The time I've spent over there thus far has been a lot of fun. I really enjoy how the site's laid out, and it seems like it attracts a good group of collectors (though I'm still a long ways away from ever trading on there, it'll take me long enough to catalog the cards I have first!).
I waffled about TCDB for a long time, and whether you're a longtime user, or remain on the fence like I was, I figured I'd share a few things I've learned from my early experiences.
I have a lot more cards than I thought I did
I think the thing I like most about TCDB is that it crunches the numbers of my collection - it's a pure thrill for a statistical nut like myself.
After just one team, my collection is already at a staggering 5,295 cards. That's almost all Angels stuff (with a small exception I'll discuss in a bit), which leaves me what the heck the numbers are gonna show once I get the other 29 teams cataloged.
It's true that I probably collect more Angels dudes than other teams - I've followed there ever since their 2002 World Series run as a young baseball fan - but a number like that still floored me.
I don't have as many cards than I thought I did
Maybe I didn't have an exact number before TCDB, but don't get me wrong - I know I have a lot of baseball cards.
Part of the pull of TCDB comes from the fact that you can compare your collection to others who use the site. It's a lot of fun, but can also leave you slack-jawed. For example, I have 88 cards of Mo Vaughn with the Angels - couple that with the reams of Red Sox cards of his I own, along with the small handful of Mets Mos, and I'd put my collection at a bit over 200 cards total, which I thought was a good number.
Turns out that'd put me way back in right around 30th place out of all TCDB users, and lightyears behind the #1 user who owns exactly 2,257 different Mo Vaughn cards(!).
I'm #1 (and proud of it!)
The only part of my collection I've cataloged outside of my Angels cards is my Hoyt Wilhelm stuff since they're stored separately from the rest of my team binders (he remains the lone player to have such an honor).
According to TCDB, I own 167 unique Hoyts (showing a rare Angels Hoyt here for the sake of continuity), which puts me in first place by a landslide - the next closest user has 94. To see myself at the top of a list is a weirdly proud moment, given I've spent so much of my collecting life accumulating Hoyt cards.
Of course, I'm only able to compare my collection to others who use TCDB - I know there's a lot of Hoyt collectors out there, and at least a handful of them have a bigger collection than mine, but for now I'll enjoy my time at the top of this mountain.
I'm #1 (but it wasn't a competition...)
I proudly collect a lot of obscure players, but comparing my collection of them to others is a bit like running unopposed in an election - is there really anyone out there trying to scoop up Ben Weber cards?
I own a whopping 10 cards of Weber - a sidearming, goggled middle reliever of my youth - which ties me for first place among TCDB users, and I'll have sole possession of #1 when I catalog my small scattering of him with other teams.
Yay for me, I guess?
My cards are a grain of sand on a beach
People in my life who don't collect are confused as to how I can keep finding stuff I need when I already have so many cards!
Now I finally have the numbers to answer them. The 250 Mike Trout cards I have sure sounds like a lot...until you consider that, according to TCDB, there are currently 21,625 different Trouts on the market. That means I own 1.2 percent of all the Mike Trout cards in existence.
A grain of sand, indeed.
I can make a want list!
I am, admittedly, not great when it comes to making and maintaining want lists.
The want lists I do have probably include a lot of errors, and I know there's troves of cards I need that I've never recorded anywhere. A lot of times I'll be flipping through a binder and think oh, there's a card I need - but I rarely think to write it down, and thus it often becomes an eternal gap in my collection. But with TCDB, all I need to do is click a button, and it goes on a want list.
TCDB showed me that I had several parallels of this 2007 Bowman Gary Matthews Jr. without the simple base card - and all was well when I managed to secure a copy recently.
Some collectors are insane
Collecting often lends itself to strange ways of thinking - yes, I do need those eight different parallels of the same card, thank you - but TCDB has shown me that some "variations" even sound crazy to me.
For example: TCDB lists four different versions of this seemingly standard 1990 Donruss Jim Abbott. One has a "1989 Leaf, Inc" copyright on the back. Another has "1989 Leaf, Inc." on the back (note the period). A third has "Aqueous Proof" stamped on the back. A fourth is listed as having a "Factory Set Border" that differs from the regular base issue - I've stared at the two for a few minutes now and can't tell the difference.
For the record, I have the "1989 Leaf, Inc" version, and no, I don't need the other three - I'm not that crazy.
I've mentioned that I was a longtime TCDB holdout, mostly because I didn't find the site very fun.
Obviously, I've become a convert, and I'm here to report that I think I've been getting the hang of the site. It's allowed me to sit down and enjoy some quality time with my collection, which has been nice since I tend to prioritize buying and filing new cards away over appreciating what I already have. I've even been coming across some great cards I own that I'd kinda forgotten about (like this magnificent Edmonds).
The next team up on the cataloging docket is the A's, and if it's anything like my Angels binders, I'm expecting to have my mind blown all over again.