Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hi, I'm Night Owl, and I'm a snob

I may talk a good game -- glorifying the base card, writing weekly tributes to cardboard worth appreciating, ripping mojo patch hunters -- but the truth is I'm somewhat of a collecting snob.

There, it's out.

Most times I lie somewhere in the middle of the collecting spectrum, which you would think is definitely "un-snobby."

However, since I'm in the middle, I will never be one of those people who collects only graded cards or even ONE graded card. Graded cards, to me, are almost a perversion of collecting. Too much obsession on condition and not enough on the card. Graded cards are like card collecting's version of porn.

I know. That's harsh. I know that's a narrow view. I'm sorry. I have opinions. I'm a snob.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who pay ode to the beat up, stripped down, stomped on the ground, buried six feet under, good god, I think that card SMELLS vintage. The dirtier the better. Stained cards. Foldable cards. Cards that look like they spent the night in an outhouse. Some of these cards -- if I'm being totally honest -- make me gag inside.

I know. Narrow view again. The opinions just come out. I apologize. I'm a snob.

I've tried to be a little more tolerant on both ends. Poor condition isn't a deal breaker to me when the card is old (to me "old" is pre-1970). And I've gratefully added many "off-condition" vintage cards in my collection. I love them just as much as if they were snazzy-new and the inside me does a little dance every time I see them.

On the other end, I've ... uh, well ... I've ... uh, OK, I still don't have a graded card. Any graded card that I have received has been released from its plastic shell with the zeal of a violent prison break. You can practically hear the bombs going off in the neighborhood.

So, there's definitely some snob in me -- and if the name wasn't taken already -- it'd be a good second nickname for me.

There's another area where the snob comes out and that's in trades.

Only this is totally unintentional and not based on any viewpoint at all. I just have happened to been at this trading/blogging thing for a little while now and I have managed to accumulate quite a few trade partners -- I really don't know how this happened.

So I end up with a lot of cards, especially on the Dodger end.

And since the snob in me says -- "wait a minute there, son, only one version of that card is allowed" -- I banish any doubles I receive to a cardboard purgatory and there they sit, waiting for someone to love them. And I get a LOT of doubles.

As you know, base cards are a breeding ground for doubles. There are simply more of them and easier to get. I actually happen to still need a crap-ton of base cards, but the snob in me sees a base card in a trade package and automatically thinks "got it -- TO THE DUPES BOX!!!" without even knowing whether it's true or not. This is why I have to go through each trade package four or five times (there really needs to be 46-hour days) to make sure I'm not discriminating against any poor, unsuspecting base card.

Unfortunately, there are some trade packages in which no base cards survive unscathed.

One such package was from Lonestarr at Life and Baseball Cards. After proper compartmentalization of the cards, I was left with only non-base cards as needs.

The card at the top of the post, a nifty relic card of Shawn Green (Green relic card #14 in the collection), was needed because it is not a base card. It's a hit.

Let's see the others:

Not a base card. Needed because it's a parallel mini.

(2009 A&G is looking better and better after the last 2 years).

Not a base card. Needed because it's a variation.

(You don't know how long it took for me to figure out if I had this card. All Topps 206 blends together).

Not a base card. Needed because it's a parallel.

(The dorky spring training caps make Martin look like he's prematurely gray).

Not a base card. Needed because it's an insert set.

(I think. Anything from 1999 automatically confuses me).

Not a base card. Needed because it's a cloth card parallel.

(Cloth cards are proving to be the most difficult of the Lineage/Archives parallels to obtain)

Not a base card. Needed because it's a red parallel.

(And totally awesome)

Not a base card. Needed because it's both a liquorfractor and a short-print.

(Sure are a lot of Dodger short-prints)

OK. Here's a base card that I needed. But it's an oddball, so in my trading world it still qualifies as a non-base card. And I'm still a snob.

Gray went to Binghamton University, which was about 3 miles down the road from me when I was a kid. Back then, it was called Harpur College, and I'm about the only person who finds that interesting.

But Gray was the first Binghamton U. player drafted in the major leagues. So that's kind of cool for a Southern Tier boy.

So, there you are.

A bunch of non-base cards. Deemed worthy of showing here by night owl, the snob.

The fact is there are tons of base cards that I still need and want. My want list will prove that. I'm just a victim of circumstance ... or something like that. (please don't stop sending me cards!!!)

And, truthfully, I'm just one type of collector, whose opinion is no better than anyone else's. You're not a collector unless you have specific interests, which by their nature are exclusive. Some like graded cards, some like moldy cards, some like 1991 Donruss (yeah, really). Some can take this, but leave that. Why I even read today that someone couldn't stand 1975 Topps (!!!!!!!!!).

Does that mean we're all snobs?

I'm not saying that.

I've said enough already.


  1. I've bought a few graded cards while I was putting my '59 set together, Norm cash and a Killebrew rookie come to mind. But I busted them out of the cases (veeeery carefully) cuz I wanted the whole set in a nice big binder I could flip through.

    And on the other end I've snobbishly upgraded a couple dozen of the worst conditioned ones I'd gotten. A small eBay lot looked like it had an oil spill close by, and another lot had all been initialed on the front by the same kid.

    So call me a moderate.

  2. I'd love to have a
    " Breaking out the graded cards " party with you sometime !

  3. A card from an outhouse would probably be my threshold. Other than that, I'll take any I can find.

    I guess I might be a bit of a snob towards the "graded" spectrum of things.

    But it's not so bad, after all.

  4. i suppose if i truly couldn't stand 1975 topps, i wouldn't have any of it in my collection. so, i'll just say it's not my favorite.

    and, i am always up to receive some of your doubles. i'll take a wander through your want lists (again) and try to find some base needs for you.

  5. Hey there...I owe you some serious cardage from about two or three years ago when you sent me one of your enormous boxes of duplicate Dodgers. I was inactive for a couple of years, sorry it's taken so long to get you back on this...I feel horrible about it. Any way you could come up with a list of known inserts/parallels/short prints from more recent (2009-2012) product you still need? I figure you're solid on base at this point.


    Thomas aka Dodgers88

  6. I think we are all a little persnickety when it comes to certain things. You and I get along because we collect in a similar way (luckily different teams) and that way is very ridged, which makes it seem snobby. I prefer to think of it as particular.

    Oh, and the only thing worse than graded cards are graded comic books. what the hell is the point of a comic book you can't even read?!?!

  7. @dodgers88,

    I sent you an email, if your email from a couple years ago is still the same.

  8. Of course, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I have no problem with the beat up cards as long as they come from the time before I started collecting. Plus, I've always been too cheap to shell out the cash for nice, old cards.

  9. I had another different name for my blog, but I decided on The Baseball Card Snob, because I guess I really am a snob. Not in the way I look at other collectors. To each his own in what you want to collect and in what condition.

    But for me, I need my cards as close to perfect as possible. Why? Not quite sure. Some of it may be money related, not wanting to spend good money on something that looks like it went through the wash. Some of it might be that I just like things to be perfect, I think it's the Virgo in me.

  10. I like cards with a story. If I know how a card got a crease (my brother and I were fighting over it, for example) then it has much more meaning. If it's a mystery crease (on a card that I obtained from the secondary market) then it's like it has it's own story that hasn't been told.