I'm looking forward to 2009. But before I ring in the new, I must ring out the old. So here is a list of a 100 things I've learned in 2008, as they relate to this collecting hobby of ours. Some of these "things" are fact, some are opinions, some are just plain nonsense. And I fudged a little bit here and there to get to 100. And I'm counting backward, like Casey Kasem.
Here's what I've learned:
100. Blasters are my friend.
99. My friend keeps reminding me of how stupid I am for picking him (her?) as a friend.
98. People exist who love 1991 Fleer and 1988 Donruss. And that's helped me enjoy them, too.
97. Short-printing, and any other tactic that produces artificial scarcity, is the ruin of this hobby. If any one factor is powerful enough to destroy this hobby, this is it.
96. Giants fans make for good trading partners. Who knew?
95. Topps has ruined the legacy of Mickey Mantle. What Mantle and his fans took 50 years to create, Topps shattered in 10.
94. Watching the Dodgers is fun again!
93. The Dodgers CAN win a postseason series.
92. Watching the postseason is fun again!
91. I'm a vintage collector. Still. I thought that immersing myself in the current state of the hobby would change my view. It has somewhat. But what it has really done is reinforce that I like the old cards much, much better.
90. But I still love chome.
89. I especially love chrome when it features an all-star in front of a lighted scoreboard. Sweet! (If only Howard was actually doing something in this photo).
88. Chase Utley is my new favorite non-Dodger player.
87. The willingness to pick up a towel at a postseason sporting event, and wave it frantically in hopes that it will spur your favorite team on, is the sign of some sort of character flaw.
86. Card collectors are the nicest, most pleasant people on earth.
85. It's better to give than receive. I already knew this. Dave of Tribe Cards just reinforced it.
84. There are baseball fans in the United Kingdom!
83. The most detailed, well-thought-out comments I received on this blog this year were in reference to baseball announcers. Announcers, pay attention! You're being watched. And reviewed. Fans really care about what you say and do. Think about that.
82. I love my 1971 Topps set even more than I did four months ago. And other people out there love '71s, too.
81. There IS an electric fireball zipping behind Manny Sanguillen on the 1976 Topps card. Yes there is. Is, too!
80. Card shows are more fun when you're shopping for more than yourself.
79. The 2008 Topps Heritage team cards are the best team cards ever, as long as there are no fences blocking half the team.
78. Set of the year: Topps Allen & Ginter. Easily. Take a bow Kerri.
77. Favorite card of the year (that I don't have): Russell Martin, 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces (but it's on its way!)
76. Favorite card of the year (that I do have): Sandy Koufax, 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces (yeah, I know it's last year's card, but I saw it for the first time THIS year).
75. Favorite card of the year that I do have that IS from 2008: Russell Martin, 2008 Stadium Club, edging out Russell Martin, 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter (he had a lot of good cards).
74. The best horse cards are not from Bella Sara, but drawn by one of the girls at Dinged Corners. That card still holds a place in my daughter's room.
73. My favorite PunkRockPaint card: 1975 Topps Sandy Koufax
72. My knowledge of late 1980s retail and regional sets is much greater than it was four months ago, thanks to fellow bloggers.
71. I love 1990 Classic, in all its forms. The louder the better.
70. I love 1988 Score. A set to collect in the future.
69. There are actually a fair amount of people who don't like foil stamping. Yeah!
68. Caramel creams ARE sold in movie theaters. Yes they are. Are, too!
67. I don't like myself when I buy Upper Deck Baseball Heroes. I become a parallel chasing goon.
66. The best kind of card: blue chrome refractors.
65. Collectors have an incredible number of cards, and an incredible number of certain athletes in particular. And thanks to some collectors, I now have an incredible number of Orel Hershisers and Hideo Nomos.
64. Collectors love to share their knowledge, whether it's on Japanese baseball cards or promo cards or obscure sets. I've tried to reciprocate when I've been able to, but my knowledge isn't nearly as vast.
63. What I said about 1990 Classic and 1998 Score? They still can't compare to 1993 Upper Deck. Another set to collect for the future.
62. Pointless, ridiculous, but quite enjoyable: the red-letter backs on 2007 Topps.
61. We're freaks. To those outside of our hobby, anyway. The good news is: I don't consider any fellow collector a freak. Only a friend.
60. Collectors will part with fantastic cards. In the last four months I've received a 1950 Bowman, a 1957 Topps, a 1963 Topps, a couple of 1967 Topps, a couple of 1968 Topps and a bunch of 1971 Topps.
59. I love card contests (there's one going on here. Deadline to enter is 3 p.m. Jan. 1).
58. I love card contests in which I only have to say, "I'm in!"
57. I love card contests in which I only have to say, "I don't know what that is," and I win!
56. "Cards," that open like books, are not cards.
55. Triple cut signatures are not cards.
54. Cards that don't feature photographs of the player, but do feature an autograph or a relic of a player, are not cards.
53. I have no interest in cards that are considered "big hits" or cards that "every collector would love to have," if that card is ugly.
52. I now know who Dan Opperman is!
51. I now know who Frank Eufemia is!
50. I now know who Lou Thornton is!
49. Favorite post that I wrote this year: the first Blog Bat Around about being a set builder.
48. Favorite blog idea this year: the Blog Bat Around
47. When I started 2008, I never would have figured the two sets I would complete this year would be 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter and 1983 Topps.
46. I love the variety of baseball card blogs out there. So many different personalities, backgrounds, opinions and interests!
45. I'm happy to say that a few more people now know what "night cards" are!
44. Topps Heritage is the girl next door. Topps Allen & Ginter is the hot, fascinating, mysterious new girl on the block.
43. The mail is my friend again.
42. Email is my friend again.
41. I am not the only one who didn't know that the Milwaukee Brewers logo of the 1980s was a glove formed out of the letter "M" and "B." Phew, what a relief!
40. Collectors will send you autographs and relics though the mail!
39. Most pointless sets of the year: Upper Deck First Edition, Topps Opening Day, Upper Deck X, Topps Co-Signers, Upper Deck Artifacts, Upper Deck Spectrum, Upper Deck SP Authentic.
38. The most pointless set of the year: No, not Opening Day. I'm going with Upper Deck Artifacts. The set is boring in every way. Too boring to even show here.
37. I've come to the realization: I don't really care if all other sports disappear. As long as there is baseball, I'll be happy.
36. I love oddball cards. I don't know much about them, but I love them.
35. Baseball cards are very tasty. If you're a dog.
34. The 1986 Topps set DOES have issues. It does. Does, too!
33. I LIKE the 1986 Topps set. I do. Do, too!
32. There needs to be more Dodger cards of Jimmy Wynn.
31. The 1975 Topps Herb Washington card fascinates a whole mess of people. That is so cool! (No, I haven't tracked down his address yet. But I still hope to).
30. The deaths of George Kissell, Preacher Roe and Dock Ellis affected me more than I thought they would.
29. Funniest card I received in a trade: either the Eric Karros Ultra Pro card of him in a tux, or the Tommy Lasorda Baseball Enquirer card.
28. I don't think Topps Heritage High Numbers gum is actually gum.
25. The 1988 and 1978 Topps blogs warm my heart.
24. Card blog site that makes me think: Dinged Corners
23. Card blog site that makes me laugh: Cardboard Junkie
22. Card blog site that makes me want to change: Sports Cards Uncensored
21. Card blog site that tells me something I didn't know: Wax Heaven
20. Card blog site that shows the most love for baseball: It's a tie. Dinged Corners, Cardboard Junkie and White Sox Cards
19. Dodgers I'll miss: Takashi Saito, Brad Penny, Nomar Garciaparra
18. Dodgers I'll miss only when I'm in a charitable mood: Jeff Kent, Derek Lowe
17. Coolest blog trend: Creating cards that never were. White Sox Cards, Goose Joak, Green Monster and Writer's Journey do an excellent job of this. PunkRockPaint is the king. Someday I'll give it a try.
16. Card set that lots of people like, but I don't really: Upper Deck Goudey.
14. Best non-auto or relic insert: Hmmmm. Probably the colored-bordered Upper Deck Masterpieces card. And I don't own a single one.
13. Most in-your-face card subset: Yankee Stadium Legacy.
12. Most in-your-face subset, runner-up: Mickey Mantle Home Run History (funny, both in-your-face awards go to Yankees-related cards. Hmmm).
11. Best card collecting trend: a lot of people are still collecting sets.
10. Worst card collecting trend: pack searchers (although I can't get as angry as others do about this).
9. Saddest news in my neck of the woods: I found out today that the collectibles shop where I first rekindled my love for cards back in 2004 no longer sells cards. I stopped by for the first time in two-and-half years today. The man said, "we haven't sold sportscards for two-and-a-half years!" Freaky. Did they stop selling because I stopped coming in?
8. Cards I never thought I'd enjoy receiving in the mail: doubles!
7. Quickest card brand turnaround: Upper Deck Timeline. Hated them in November. Loved them in December.
5. Greatest blogger gift, part II: 338 1986 Topps cards from Matt F. of Heartbreaking Cards
4. Greatest blogger gift, part III: 434 cards from Jeff of I Am Joe Collector
3. Favorite blog moments to read/see: sons and daughters collecting cards, husbands and wives and boyfriends and girlfriends busting boxes
2. Favorite light-bulb-over-the-head moment: (Circa September 2008): Blogging about cards! I love to write! I love baseball! I love cards! Holy smokes! I was destined to do this!
1. Favorite surprise of the year: That I could start a blog, that people would read it, and I would find collecting friends all over the country and the globe. It's been fantastic.
Thank you for a great 2008!