Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The card set that won't die

I received this flashback rack pack from madding the other day.

You can't see the price tag, but it says $1.29. Thirty-nine cards for a buck twenty nine in 1989. That's 3 cents a card! That's awesome.

I'm pretty sure madding sent this to me because Orel Hershiser is peaking through the brightly colored writing. It couldn't have been because he thought I needed some 1989 Topps cards. Because we all know nobody needs '89 Topps cards.

As much as the thought of '89 Topps takes me back to a golden, carefree year in my life, the actual cards fail to elicit a response from me. I am numb to them because of repeated trips to a single Buffalo drugstore that caused me to accumulate countless duplicates of Scott Bailes, Moose Stubing and Dave LaPoint. The cards are like the lyrics to a Don Henley song. They have lost their meaning.

I sold a monstrous box of 1989 doubles in a garage sale several years ago. Yet I am still accumulating Stewart Cliburn cards. The set will not die.

So that raises the question: what do I do with this particular rack pack?

I could keep it unopened forever in hopes that 1989 Topps becomes valuable again, or, more likely, that it becomes barter for food as I roam a barren, post-nuclear holocaust planet.

But I had another thought.

You know how everyone is signing up for dayf's 2010 Heritage fantasy team league?

I could do something similar with this pack of 39 cards.

OK, you see obvious flaws. I do, too. But stay with me.

First I should explain why I didn't jump into the Heritage fantasy pool. It's easy really. I don't like this year's Heritage. Therefore, buying a blaster of it is counterproductive. Also, I suck at fantasy baseball and it ruins my appreciation for the sport. I've said all of this many times before.

However, I actually COULD form a fantasy team out of these 39 cards. I know it's not as many cards as there are in a blaster. But I'll open it up and see what I get. Maybe I'll need to form a mutant team. Ken Dayley might have to play the outfield. But I'll form a team, dammit.

Now for the obvious question: how the hell do I run a fantasy team of retired players?

I haven't gotten that thought out yet. I was thinking of using similarity scores and finding a present-day player that compared to each 1989 player, respectively. That would involve calculating similarity scores, which would be a project of epic proportions -- unless there is an easy way of plugging in a 1989 player and coming up with a current player that matches him. I don't know if that's even possible.

Maybe I'll just find a current player that I think resembles the '89 guy. I like that. Who needs research anyway?

If I could do that, then I could have my own baseball card-fantasy team that I could track without any of the aggravation/angst of being involved in an actual league. No commitment. No attachment. No responsibility. I am a rock. I am an island. I like that, too.

But unless dayf posts updates of every participant's team on his blog, I won't be able to see how my team stacks up. If he just communicates with members via email I'm SOL, because, you know, I'm not in the Heritage blaster league.

So, I may not be able to pull it all together. That means I may just end up creating a team from this pack and just ending it there.

But that's what we all did when we were kids anyway. Fantasy team? What was that? You lined up your cards on the bedroom floor, then picked them all back up when mom called you to dinner.

So if that's all this ends up being, that's fine. It'll be good for a post.

See, madding? I'm really trying here.

More on this ... eventually.


  1. I say you pick a team. Plug in a player you think matches up. Post your results. I'm betting you end up in first place in the 1989 Topps Fantasy Comparable Players League. Yep, first place!

  2. Great blog!

    On a side note, my blog has been nominated for the Upper Deck Blog Awards. If you're interested in some free sports cards, please visit our site, follow the simple rules, and maybe we both can win!


  3. You got a big chuckle out of me for the "You lined up your cards on the bedroom floor, then picked them all back up when mom called you to dinner." line. That is classic. And SO true.

    Except for me it was usually either the living room floor or my bed (it's tough stacking up cards on a lumpy bed you are also occupying space on it) because, as much as I hate to admit it, I couldn't see very much floor space in my room as a kid.

    Thankfully, that has changed. My wife is thankful too.

    But I still take up the living room floor from time to time...

  4. I get the feeling '89 Topps cellos will outlive us, nuclear wars and cockroaches.