Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Signs of OCD, or not

A lot of card collectors say they have OCD -- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And I'm sure some of us do. But others are just making self-deprecating jokes because being a participant in our hobby can mean going through some of the rituals that are tip-offs of OCD behavior.

I don't have OCD. Or if I do have it, it is a very, very mild case. But one of the things that I do like to do that is also an OCD warning sign is making lists. I love lists. You may have noticed that. I've made several on this blog.

I've compiled lists since I was a youngster. There used to be these books that were published that simply featured a totally random series of lists. I thought those were the most interesting books around. Then there were music countdown shows. I loved those freakin' things. I wanted to be Casey Kasem. But, you know, a more cool Casey Kasem. I would create weekly top 10 lists of my favorite songs. Seriously, I did this. But at the same time, I had girlfriends. Really, I did. No, I did. Stop looking at me like that. I did. Just get out of my face, all right?

I'm a little too busy to be doing lists these days, except for some of my blog work. But I wanted to post a couple of them here, more for posterity than anything. If someone else finds it interesting, that's fine. But I'm sick of having the papers lying around. This will clean out the file on my useless list-making.

Both of these lists have something to do with Alex Rodriguez, which is a rather unpleasant side effect. But that's the way it goes. The first list involved my curiosity as to which player was pictured the most times as the first card in the Topps base set.

Well, Alex Rodriguez is the official king of that list as of the 2009 set. He was already the king of being the sole person pictured the most times as card No. 1. But when you include the No. 1 cards that featured multiple players, both Rodriguez and Hank Aaron were tied at four apiece until this year.

One of the many things that I find interesting about this list is that it appears that sometimes Topps puts thought into who appears first in the set, and other times it's just whoever. So, here, for your viewing -- or ignoring -- pleasure, is the complete list of the No. 1 card in the Topps base set each year:

2009 - Alex Rodriguez
2008 - Alex Rodriguez
2007 - John Lackey
2006 - Alex Rodriguez
2005 - Alex Rodriguez
2004 - Jim Thome
2003 - Alex Rodriguez
2002 - Pedro Martinez
2001 - Cal Ripken Jr.
2000 - Mark McGwire
1999 - Roger Clemens
1998 - Tony Gwynn
1997 - Barry Bonds
1996 - Tony Gwynn
1995 - Frank Thomas
1994 - Mike Piazza
1993 - Robin Yount
1992 - Nolan Ryan
1991 - Nolan Ryan
1990 - Nolan Ryan
1989 - George Brett, Record Breaker
1988 - Vince Coleman, Record Breaker
1987 - Roger Clemens, Record Breaker
1986 - Pete Rose
1985 - Carlton Fisk, Record Breaker
1984 - Steve Carlton, Highlight
1983 - Tony Armas, Record Breaker
1982 - Steve Carlton, Highlight
1981 - League Leaders (Brett, Buckner)
1980 - Carl Yaztrzemski/Lou Brock, Highlight
1979 - League Leaders (Carew, Parker)
1978 - Lou Brock, Record Breaker
1977 - League Leaders (Brett, Madlock)
1976 - Hank Aaron, Record Breaker
1975 - Hank Aaron, Highlight
1974 - Hank Aaron
1973 - Babe Ruth/Hank Aaron/Willie Mays
1972 - Pirates team card
1971 - Orioles team card
1970 - Mets team card
1969 - League Leaders (Yastrzemski, Cater, Oliva)
1968 - League Leaders (Clemente, Gonzalez, Alou)
1967 - Frank Robinson/Hank Bauer/Brooks Robinson
1966 - Willie Mays
1965 - League Leaders (Oliva, Howard, B. Robinson)
1964 - League Leaders (Koufax, Ellsworth, Friend)
1963 - League Leaders (F. Robinson, Musial, Aaron)
1962 - Roger Maris
1961 - Dick Groat
1960 - Early Wynn
1959 - Ford Frick, commissioner
1958 - Ted Williams
1957 - Ted Williams
1956 - Will Harridge, league president
1955 - Dusty Rhodes
1954 - Ted Williams
1953 - Jackie Robinson
1952 - Andy Pafko

Fascinating, huh? Aren't you glad I did all that work for you?

OK, the second thing is even more specific and really of no use to anyone.

When I was younger, I would try to chronicle every single home run I saw on television for an entire season. There was even one year when I tried to do every single stolen base (this is when the stolen base leader for the season had like 80 or 90). But I would never stick to it. I'd get to June or so and get sick of it.

So, two years ago, I did it for the whole season, just to see what it would look like when I was done. And also if my suspicion was true -- that I sit through more Yankee home runs than any other team in baseball.

My suspicion was true. Just sickening, isn't it? I live in New York state, so that's not a surprise. Also, I don't have the Extra Innings package, so I'm stuck watching whatever the cable company is offering. Yankees and Mets, mostly. And I saw Alex Rodriguez round the bases while Michael Kay yelled "see ya!" way too many times.

So here are the home run figures for 2007, as watched by me -- one guy who apparently has more time on his hands than he thinks he does. (Don't worry, I'm not going to list every home run):

Most homers by team: Yankees 45, Mets 29, Cubs 19, Red Sox 18, Braves 17, White Sox 14, Giants 14, Phillies 12, Cardinals 11, Dodgers 9
Least homers by team: Mariners 0, Royals 1, Angels 2, Astros 2, Pirates 3, Twins 3, Padres 4, Devil Rays 4, Orioles 4, Rangers 4, Marlins 4, Tigers 4
Most homers by player: Alex Rodriguez 12, Bobby Abreu 5, Robinson Cano 5, Jorge Posada 5, Alfonso Soriano 5, Carlos Beltran 5, Ramon Castro 4, Jermaine Dye 4, Carlos Delgado 4, Manny Ramirez 4
First regular-season homer I saw: Jorge Posada, April 2, fourth inning
Last regular-season homer I saw: Dioner Navarro, Sept. 25, 10th inning (walk-off)
Last homer of the season: Garrett Atkins, Oct. 28, 8th inning (World Series)
Most homers in a month: 68, July
Least homers in a month: 20, October
Total homers witnessed: 272
Back-to-back homers: 10 (Sosa-Catalanatto, Kendall-S. Stewart, Thome-Konerko, Pujols-Duncan, J. Encarnacion-Kennedy, Feliz-B. Molina, C. Jones-Teixeira, Murton-Soriano, Rowand-Burrell, Ortiz-Ramirez)
Back-to-back-to-back homers: 1 (Pierzynski-Dye-Uribe)
Game-winning homers: 22
Walk-off homers: 6 (Morneau, Holliday, Delgado, T. Clark, Navarro, M. Ramirez)
Grand slams: 6 (Craig Monroe, Carlos Guillen-twice, Pierzynski, Spilborghs, Josh Fields)
Foul pole homers: 2 (Soriano, Victorino)
Homer on first at-bat of game: 2 (Rickie Weeks, Soriano)
First homer of career: Daniel Ortmeier, Michael Bourn, Ryan Jorgensen
Homers by pitchers: Jason Schmidt, Carlos Zambrano
Dodger home runs: Luis Gonzalez, Jason Schmidt, Wilson Betimit, Jeff Kent (2), Matt Kemp, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra (2)
Guy who seemed to homer every time I saw him play: Ramon Castro. Easily.
Other notable home run: Barry Bonds' 756th (the 180th I saw that year).

Still with me? Probably not. Anyway, two things are apparent from this. First, I watch too much baseball. Second, maybe I do have OCD.

Oh, and one more thing. Alex Rodriguez also will figure prominently in my next post. You've been warned.


  1. I'm having list envy. Thanks for satisfying the craving for now...I can actually get some work done.

  2. I found the list strangely fascinating, actually. Reminds me of when my dad and I taped every televised home run of McGwire's and Sosa's in 1998. It's a pretty cool thing to watch, even if they were tainted.

  3. That was actually pretty interesting, and its funny, in 2007 I used to do the same exact thing with home runs, but I got bored, and stopped in like June or something.

  4. You are very thorough, I have to give you that. And I think that's a cool idea to chronicle the HR's you see. Too bad they are mostly Yanks homers and that you don't get to see my exciting O's more often.

  5. Hey, lists are a GOOD thing. I have a list of every Astros card I have/need...a list for my DVD collection (400+), CD collection (900+), a want list for my stamp collection...and with out them I would have no idea of what I need or already have.

    And yeah...I have OCD. Maybe I should find a suppport group.

  6. I have CDO. It's obsessive-compulsive disorder, sorted alphabetically.