Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New Focus

2012 wasn't exactly what I'd call a banner year for my collection. For the first time in my life, I seriously considered giving up the hobby.

I didn't have the desire to keep up with the latest releases. I had a tough time getting to my LCS and buy packs. My card budget had pretty much shrunk to zero, and any extra money I did have seemed like it was going to something else not card-related.

And rather than building the Flagship card by card, I broke down and bought the factory set. The collector in me still shudders at that fact...

But as I thought about all of the things that were discouraging me, I started to think about why I collected in the first place, and my frown began to turn upside down.

I rounded up the myriad stacks of cards that had overtaken my desk, cards that I was saving for "a trade to be named later," or cards that were going to become my next set undertaking.

I consolidated boxes, all the way from 400 count to the 5,000 monster variety. Along the way I found some cards I forgot I even had, such as the 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout gold parallel RC.

Slowly but surely, I made organization out of chaos, and the flame was re-lit. I realized that if I was going to continue to have fun in this hobby, it was going to have to take some effort on my part.

After finishing my sorting extravaganza, I decided it was time to get back in touch with my fellow collectors. During the last year or two, I have discovered a lot of bloggers that I enjoy reading, not only because of how well they write, but because of the passion they have for their collection. I call it "Bubble Gum for the Soul," for lack of a better term.

Last but not least, although I am not the type of person to make resolutions for myself with each new  year, I am making some collecting resolutions. I'm going to set these resolutions mid-level; somewhat easy to obtain, but not so lofty that I'll be discouraged if I don't reach any of them. In no particular order...

*Finish the 5 sets I am currently working on: 2012 Topps Update (baseball), 2011 Topps Update (baseball), 2009-10 Panini (basketball), 2010-11 Donruss (basketball), and 1983 Topps (baseball).

*Add 500 new cards to each of my Braves, Yankees, and Twins team collections. I don't have exact counts on what I currently have for each, but will keep track of how many I acquire.

*Add 50 new cards to my Dale Murphy collection. I've really neglected to add to this collection, and am going to make this a priority for 2013.

*Add 50 new cards to my Tom Brady collection.

*Add 75 new cards to my 1963 Topps baseball set. I've been working on this set for a couple of years now, and am about halfway to completion. On the bright side, I've got a lot of the 1st and 2nd series commons knocked out. On the not so bright side, I'm still missing all of the HOF and star cards, including the Pete Rose RC. It's a marathon, not a sprint, right?

*Complete 50 trades with fellow bloggers. I'm hoping that a year from now as I look back, this number is much higher.

*Post a minimum of 3 new blog entries per week. Again, like the previous goal, I'm hoping this number is much higher.

Until next time,
Ryan

Thursday, December 27, 2012

30 Year Anniversaries

One fact that dawned on me while spending the last 2 months reorganizing my collection was that it has been exactly 30 years since I began collecting cards. The Randy Bass and Dave Chalk cards from 1982 Topps are two that I'll never forget. I remember being excited about having a card of the Royals' third baseman, but unfortunately it wasn't the card of the great George Brett. I also thought it was pretty funny that Randy Bass had the same name as a fish, and wondered if he liked to go bass fishing when he wasn't playing baseball. Hey, I was 6 years old at the time...


My earliest collecting memories      


About three or four years ago, I came across a partial set, of course missing the majority of the star cards. A few trades here and there combined with some eBay purchases and I had made major headway towards finishing it. There was one card, though, that I couldn't ever snag in a trade or break down and buy. I'll give you 3 guesses to figure out which card it is.


Give up?

Still need this one after all these years









2013 will mark the 30th anniversary of the 1983 Topps set, which features the rookie cards of Ryne Sandberg, Tony Gwynn, and Wade Boggs. This is one of my all-time favorite Topps sets, but for some reason I never put a set together. I do have the "big 3" rookies and maybe 10 packs or so I bought that year.

Completing the 1983 set is my first goal for the upcoming year. I know I could buy the set for a decent price, but I'd rather do it the old fashioned way and assemble it piece by piece.

If you have some 1983 Topps you'd like to unload, send me an e-mail and let's make a deal. I'd even be willing to make a deal for that 1982 Topps card pictured above ;)

Until next time,
Ryan 




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Back in the Saddle

One of my goals for the upcoming year is to get more involved in the trading scene, and I was able to get off to an early start, thanks to Robert at $30 a Week Habit. I had made a trade with him earlier this year, and when I saw he needed some 2012 Topps Update, I was more than happy to offer a trade.

I collect Braves, Twins, and Yankees as my main team collections, and Robert did not disappoint with these goodies, which arrived on Christmas Eve:

The highlight of this trade for me is the Denard Span 2008 Topps Heritage Chrome, #'d 485/559.  Span was my favorite player on the Twins, and although he will be with the Nats next season, I'll still be a fan and collect his cards. Robert sent quite a few numbered goodies, such as the 2006 Upper Deck Chris Heintz #44/99, the 2006 Moments and Milestones Andruw Jones #'d 114/150, the 2010 Topps Chrome Purple Jair Jurrjens #'d 75/599, and the 2009 Bowman Blue Xavier Nady #'d 21/500. The Mike Minor Topps Chrome refractor was a card I'd been missing, and the 2 Roger Clemens inserts were a welcome addition. Robert also included some other base cards from the 3 teams which will help out my team collections.

All in all, a very successful trade, and I'm already looking forward to the next one. Thanks again Robert, and as always, I'll give you first dibs on any Blue Jays stuff I find.

Until next time,

Ryan

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

Until the day I stop collecting, I will consider myself first and foremost a set builder. No matter the sport, my goal each season is to build the Topps base set in each sport. Now that Topps only produces a football and baseball set, it isn't too tough to complete both sets, and recently I've set my sights on the Upper Deck base hockey set and the Panini/Donruss base basketball sets.

My first set challenge was the 1987 Topps football set. In my town, the gas station and hardware store would usually stock a box or two of cards, which was generally enough for a couple of my friends and me to satisfy our pack-busting fix. Every once in a while my family would take a trip to a bigger city 50 miles away and if I was lucky, I'd find a few packs and be able to buy a couple of dollars' worth to look at on the ride home.

I didn't keep an official count of how many packs I bought that season, but I had completed a large amount of the set rather quickly, as well as quite a few trades with my friends also building the set. My pack buying frenzy settled down somewhat, and when I would get a pack or two, it contained nothing but doubles. The regular season was starting to wane, and with it so was our interest in buying packs.

I was down to 12 cards to finish the 396 card set, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find them. My friends were coming up as empty as I was in their efforts as well. The hardware store and gas stations were no longer stocking the 1987 boxes, and without a local card shop or any other way to find the missing cards, I was resigned to the fact that I wasn't going to finish the set.

Christmas morning came, and I luckily found 1 pack of 1987 Topps Football in my stocking. I thought how cool it would be if I found even 1 or 2 cards I needed from my list, at least I'd be closer to finally finishing it. After studying the checklist so diligently throughout the season, I knew exactly which cards I needed by name as well as number.
Would this pack contain a Christmas miracle?


I opened up the wax pack with trembling fingers, hoping against hope that just 1 card I needed would be in there. First card on top--had it. Second card--had it. Third card--had it. My excitement slowly started to turn into disappointment as I looked at the fourth card--I needed it! The fifth card--needed that one too! I went through the rest of the pack and each of the 12 remaining cards on my list was in it!  I could not believe my luck! I ran over to my parents excitedly and showed them my good fortune. They had heard my laments over the past few months about not being able to finish this set, and shared in my excitement. This was better than any Christmas present I could receive that day, and I still had yet to open any of my gifts.

A few months later I found a box of 1987 Topps football in our hall closet, and I lifted the flap to see what was inside. Three of the 4 rows had the usual 9 stacks of packs, but the fourth row was a pack short. Just as I was about to close the door, my mom came home and I asked her what these cards were for. She hesitated at first, but I kept nagging and nagging, and she finally let on.

"Your dad had ordered a box from the gas station, and when it came in, we waited until you were sleeping and took your checklist to see what cards you needed. Then that night we opened up all the packs and found the ones you were missing, then took a pack and put together the one you got for Christmas."

At first, I felt a little shocked that I wasn't lucky enough to find a random pack with my missing set needs, but then I quickly realized how much my parents knew completing that set meant to me. I will never forget it as long as I live, and even after 30+ years of collecting, it will be my most favorite hobby memory/story.

I hope you all are able to enjoy a "Christmas Miracle"--if not this year, perhaps in the near future.

Until next time,

Ryan

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Wonderland

One of the things that I enjoy about the hobby is how many different ways I can tailor my collecting interests. My main goal each season is completing the flagship Topps baseball set. Say what you want about Topps, but to me the Topps set is synonymous with tradition, a tradition that I began in 1982 with my first pack.


In between baseball releases, I started player collections and team collections, both of which I still focus on all year round. Within the last 2-3 years I have focused on a unique football collection--cards depicting action in the snow. Ever since I can remember, I have always been intrigued by "snow games" on TV and seeing how teams adapt to the unfavorable conditions. A few years ago, I pulled a card from a pack showing a snow game, and from then I starting looking for similar cards.

This card is especially awesome to me since it  is both a snow card and features Tom Brady, my favorite NFL player.

There's no business like snow business




As of right now, I have maybe 35-40 snow cards. I am definitely interested in trading for cards that I don't have, so if you come across any, shoot me an e-mail and I'll be happy to work out a trade with you.

Until next time,
Ryan


Monday, December 10, 2012

Welcome!

Good evening and welcome to my blog! You're probably thinking "here we go again, yet another card collecting blog..." and that's what I initially thought as I began this post. Actually, this blog has been a goal of mine for a couple of years now, but I haven't had the time and/or motivation to get it started.

I'll give you a brief introduction--my name is Ryan and I've been collecting sports cards since I busted my first packs of 1982 Topps baseball. Over the years my collection has expanded to all the major sports, but these days I focus mainly on baseball and some player collections also.

This blog will be under construction for the next few days, but if you would like to trade, here's what I'm looking for currently:

BASEBALL
Atlanta Braves (1992-current, all brands except base Topps)
Minnesota Twins (1992-current, all brands except base Topps)
New York Yankees (1992-current, all brands except base Topps)
Dale Murphy inserts and oddballs

FOOTBALL
Washington Redskins inserts and parallels

BASKETBALL
Boston Celtics (1992-current)
Paul Pierce
Larry Bird

I have mostly baseball to trade, team collectors are welcome. Let me know what you're looking for and let's make a deal!

Thanks again for stopping by...until next time,

Ryan