Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Player collecting in today's world

I came across this post by Rich Klein on Sports Collector's Daily this morning about player collecting, and it got my thinking about why I player collect. Here is the article if you're interested: click here. Also, sign up for their daily newsletter. It's always worth it.

Anyhow, this article goes on to state that player collecting is still very much alive within the hobby, even though many were turned away when 1 of 1s became a norm. It's now easier before than ever to find rare cards of a certain player. It's just nearly impossible to collect them all.

And I'm ok with that. Simply put, I player collect because I like to.

I started collecting Tino Martinez cards in 1996, his first year with the Yankees. I was in sixth grade, had a little money of my own from mowing lawns or shoveling snow, and I liked focusing my attention on one player.

In 8th grade, I started using collecting forums on AOL to buy Tino cards. Usually the end result would be me sending a buck or two in cash in the mail, plus a SASE for the Tino card I agreed to purchase. There was no PayPal yet (at least for me), so this is how it was done. Once in a while I would trade, but I wasn't very good at it. I remember sending some really nice Griffey cards away for a big 800-ct box of Tinos, but they were basically all junk wax dupes. That was dumb.

After a few years, eBay came into the fold and it was easier than ever to buy Tino cards, often in lots. My collection started growing rapidly as a result. I could buy 25 new Tino cards for $5, pretty much. Fast forward to today, and I've got eBay, COMC, SportsLots, and most importantly, other bloggers and traders. I've gotten Tino cards in the mail through the power of Google when someone searches and comes across my blog. It's easier than ever to play collect.

I haven't gone to a card show in eight years. It's not that I don't want to, but right now I feel that my weekends with my kids and wife are precious, and I don't want to spend a few hours on my hobby. That's reserved for when the kids go to bed, my wife is watching bad HGTV or doing something around the house, and I can settle in and scan or sort a few cards. Maybe it'll change one day if my son is interested in collecting and shows can become an activity for the two of us to spend time together.

Right now, I primarily collect Tino Martinez, Michael Pineda, Ty Hensley, and to a lesser extent Phil Rizzuto and some Yankees prospects. I never say no to other Yanks, though. I do it because I like to. I like the challenge of finding good deals and cards I don't have. Like this one that came just yesterday:

I'll never have them all. And I'm ok with that. It doesn't keep me awake at night knowing there is a Superfractor out there that I don't have. Or a printing plate. Or a mega rare Bowman parallel. Trust me, I'm good.  If I come across it, great. If not, the world keeps spinning and I keep collecting.

It gives me something to actively pursue, without the pressure of fulfilling a goal. Every couple of days, I love going on eBay and checking what's new for the guys I collect. A lot of times it's the same relisted listings. But sometimes, I find one I need or want. Without going to shows or local card shops, it's the way I actively stay involved in collecting. It'll never go away. There will always be one I don't have.

How about you. Why do you player collector?


  1. I started in the early 80's when I found two or three cards of the same guy in my extra singles. This was before I completed most of the 70's and early 80's sets I have now. Most of them are occasional All-Stars, but not many superstars. I've narrowed it down over the years to about 40-50 guys (I added a few along the way).
    I like it mostly for finding all the oddball insert or regional issues that I wouldn't otherwise collect. And it's interesting to see the evolution of a player over his career. Lately I've expanded into different time periods to get examples of those cards too. The one down side of trying to collect modern guys is that of course they have ten times as many cards issued as the guys from the 60's and 70's. I can get more than a dozen guys in one four inch binder, but you can only get two modern players in the same size book.

  2. I just read the same article. It's interesting I've been a Robin Yount collector for decades, but it was back in 2002 when I "discovered" ebay that my collection really took off. I was also surprised how many other Yount fans are out there when I started a blog solely about my collection , The Yount Collector. For me I don't know if I ever had the mind set that one day I would have collected all of his cards. As a matter of fact I get excited seeing Robin in checklists when new products come out even if the cards are going to be really expensive and probably never make it into my collection just knowing that I'll have cards to chase is enough.

  3. I was totally unaware of this player collecting concept. I don't think I've ever done it before...

  4. I've always entertained the thought of player collecting, but always shy away from it. I definitely agree it is alive and well though.

  5. You're attitude is the correct one (probably the only one) to have. Still, as someone who started collecting in the 1960's when each year your favorite player might have as many as three or four cards it boggles my mind when I see in Beckett that a guy like Kris Bryant has like 900 cards already. I dabble in a few guys from time to time but I only have one serious player collection (Ron Santo). He was and still is my favorite player. If there was no Ernie Banks he'd be Mr. Cub. I don't have a count of his cards but it will never be anywhere near 900 and I'm glad.

  6. There are teams and sets I collect, but I am mostly a player collector. I started in the mid-90's with basketball players like Hakeem Olajuwon and Gheorghe Muresan. I am a little surprised at how many Olajuwon cards I was able to accumulate in the pre-internet commerce days as a teenager in podunk Idaho. When I picked card collecting back up in 2013 player collections were again the central focus of my collection. The internet has certainly helped to spur my collections, though, as things are available at just about any price level for most players. I spent about $30 on JustCommons.com the other day and grabbed a nice big stack of cards to start a Goose Gossage collection. It might have taken months or years to pull all of those cards together when I was a teen.

  7. I player collect because it gives me something to chase. I love the chase.
    Back in the early 90s I thought I might one day amass all of Ryne Sandberg's cards. So naive. Now in my middle thirties if I see a Ryno I don't have, and the price tag is above a couple of bucks, I won't even bother. There's plenty more out there I can snag for loose change if I'm patient.
    I look for Kosuke Fukudome, Kerry Wood, Dan Vogelbach and Brooks Kieschnick cards. None of them will really set me back much coin, but I can always afford them when a new one pops up.
    Trying to be a Kris Bryant super collector is just madness. I could never collect a superstar modern day player because my bank account would go belly up.

    By the way, "my wife is watching bad HGTV" made me laugh out loud.

  8. I'll collect any player from the 75 Topps set in other years (just wrote a post about that) but that's too many players to realistically become a super collector of any one player...

  9. I collect a few guys. Mostly guys who played I the 50's through the 80's. I don't chase every card. Mostly catds just from their playing days. I don't turn the other cards away I just don't drive myself crazy chasing every one.

  10. I have probably too many player collections, but being a player and team collector is the best way for me to avoid overload and stop from draining my bank account.

    When I was a kid, I wanted to collect everything -- every card of everyone. That was good for me in terms of being able to trade now, but it meant that I probably wasted a bunch of money back then chasing *everything*.

    I'm happier as a collector now than I was as a kid. The only thing that bugs me right now is not being able to get rid of all my non-Brewer cards.