Sunday, June 22, 2014

The neglected decade

When it come to cards, I have many shopping lists.

There is the large one on my blog, otherwise known as a "want list." There are the various carts of cards stored on COMC or other websites. There is the watch list on ebay. And there are the variety of handwritten notes stored here and there in preparation for card shows or online binges.

All of these lists reflect my priorities in collecting. Just in case you didn't know, I'll mention a few of them off the top of my head: 1975 Topps minis, 1972 Topps, oddball cards from the 1970s, 1950s and '60s cards, early '80s Fleer and Donruss, and a whole bunch of present-day parallels.

That's just the highlights. There are a number of other interests, too. All written down or typed into cyberspace.

And then after that -- after all THAT -- comes ... the '90s.

Honestly, there are no 1990s cards on my immediate shopping lists, unless it's a semi-big-ticket item like the 1992 Fleer Update Mike Piazza, or some early junk wax card that I can't believe I don't own yet and I have to cross off the list before the collecting cops come for me.

The '90s never comes up when I'm making shopping lists. I have too many other interests, and since I didn't collect for two-thirds of that decade, the cards are out of sight and out of mind. Forever.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that as my collection grows and grows, the most obvious holes in my collection will always be from the '90s, particularly the late '90s. There were just too many cards and too many cards that, personally, are not my tastes.

That's why I depend on you, good reader and blogger, to find '90s cards that I'll never look for myself.

As a good example, I present Cards on Cards. Blog operator madding and I are closing in on our 40th cardboard transaction, which aren't really transactions at all but merely the sending of cards back-and-forth whenever we have enough of what the other person likes.

He found a few cards from the '90s that I not only needed, but it probably would have taken me 15-to-20 years before I discovered that I needed them.

Those are five cards from 1998 Fleer Tradition Update.

Let me tell you a little bit about 1998.

My daughter was born. I was holding down a new job.

You think I cared about cards?


Mike McGwire and Sammy Sosa happened in 1998. The world was abuzz with baseball. I watched with rapt attention and probably saw more baseball games that year than I had in five or six years.

That still didn't make me buy more than two packs of cards.

I was an adult doing new very adult things like owning homes and burping babies. Watching baseball was my outlet. But cards were for kids, silly rabbit.

Fast forward to today and 1998 remains a cardboard mystery (much like 1996, 1997 and 1999). I had no idea Fleer Tradition made an update set that year. Oh sure, if you asked me unannounced, did Fleer Tradition have an update set in 1998, I probably would have said, "yes," because of my general knowledge of the 1990s card motto, which was, "if you ain't overproducing, you ain't trying." But I never actually gave it any thought.

But now I don't have to think about it because Cards On Cards sent me all of the '98 Fleer Tradition Update Dodgers!

He also sent a few other cards that I no longer need to chase down:

2014 Bowman Dodgers. I'm hoping to get through this year without buying a single pack of Bowman.

Walmart and Target parallels from 2014. The fewer of these that I have to order up online, the less guilty I will feel.

Back to the '90s. Yeah, this card would never have been on my radar. I would have to be reincarnated -- four times -- to discover that I needed this card.

I'm also pretty clueless about early 2000s cards, but the old-time ballplayers that card companies discovered at this time help. I'm more apt to chase cards of Roy Campanella than Angel Pena.

Or Jose Diaz. No, I have no idea -- who he is or why he's serial numbered.

More fun with catchers (Kerry really loaded up on the catchers this package). Two super-fancy cards of former prospect and baseball lifer (still going in Triple A with the Phillies) Koyie Hill.

These really are the best kinds of packages (well, except for the ones with 1975 minis and 1956 Topps): Cards -- usually from the '90s -- that I had no idea I needed or existed.

After all, I now have all of the 1998 Fleer Tradition Update Dodgers. But I still have to do something about that want list for the 1998 Fleer Tradition base Dodgers.

The '90s will never end.


  1. I think I'm in the same boat as you when it comes to the 90's

  2. To me, the 1990s was the golden age of card collecting. There were so many innovations which made their appearsnce then. And the variety! Of the 90,000 plus cards I own, more than a third are from the 90s.

  3. Koyie Hill got a pretty good shot with the Cubs but was just one in a long line of less than stellar Cubs catchers. Nice bold signature, though.

  4. "Mike McGwire and Sammy Sosa happened in 1998."
    Uh, I believe you mean "Sammy Souser".
    Otherwise, great stuff as always.

  5. I also have Beltre and Kubenka (?) from the 1998 Fleer Tradition Update set, but you didn't have them on your want list. Let me know if you need them. I ended up getting that set (and an '86 Fleer Update) for a buck or two at a card show and I happily broke it up.

  6. I have a love/hate relationship with the 90's. Some days I wake up feeling blessed that I collected heavily during the decade. I was able to expand my collection to four sports and experience the vast new technologies and variety of cardboard that card companies had to offer. But there are other days I say to myself... what the heck was I doing? I spent so much money during the 90's on cards that are now worth pennies.