Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Relics of the past

Maybe about four years ago, I declared relic cards as past-their-prime, not-to-be-trusted and generally not collectible anymore.

I said that they had lost their pull on me. I pared down my collection of Dodger relics and waited for relics to die an inglorious death.

It didn't happen.

Relic cards are still being made and still making their way into my collection. These two relics from 2016 Allen & Ginter arrived unannounced from Nachos Grande just last week. They're still making these things, huh?

The difference from four years ago is that I don't pursue relic cards anymore and haven't for four years. I also think -- although I have nothing to base it on outside of my own collection -- that there aren't as many relic cards issued as there were seven or eight years ago.

As an example, Adrian Gonzalez is a mid-level star that in the heyday of relicdom would have jersey cards that could clothe the earth. But this relic is just my second Adrian Gonzalez relic card. Compare that with, say, Chad Billingsley. I have one for every one of his trips to the DL.

As for Yasiel Puig, this is my first Puig relic, and he's been in the league for four years (well, he was in the league). This card happens to be my 101st different card of Puig. The 100th card was the one you saw on the last Awesome Night Card post. (The total is now up to 103. I seem to have gone on a Puig card spurt recently).

Ideally, Puig is where I'd like to be with relics. One player, one relic.

But I don't think I'll ever get there.

Even though I don't make an effort to find relic cards and have downsized, I admit I still find them mildly interesting. It was a hoot to get the Gonzalez and Puig in the mail. I'm not sure why that is. The nostalgia factor working, I guess.

I still might try to trim down my Dodger relics even more.

And to prepare, I took a brief inventory of what I have and figured out which three players have the most relic cards in my collection. The leader of the relics was once Shawn Green. But I've let a few Green relics loose since then and he doesn't make the top three. This is who does:

3. Matt Kemp, 11.

Kemp is from that period when relics still ruled. Any notable Dodger from this time can fill a sand bucket of their own relic cards from my collection. Russell Martin, Andre Ethier and, of course, Matt Kemp.

2. Hideo Nomo, 12.

Even though I don't pursue relic cards, I can see myself making an exception for Nomo, and I have in the past. The only other player I can say that for is Ron Cey. I've gone on a relic hunt for Cey several times and I will do it again.

1. Clayton Kershaw, 13.

It's not easy to get anything besides a base Kershaw card these days. That's why I'm glad I accumulated what I did when I could. I just figured out that I have a relic card for every year of Kershaw's major league career except this year, and, oddly, 2010. It seems that the only relic cards issued of Kershaw in 2010 were from Triple Threads and Tribute, two sets that don't come my way often.

I don't anticipate getting down to just one Kershaw relic card. Same thing with Kemp and a few others. But that remains the ultimate goal for most of the Dodgers in the collection. One of each player seems right and representative of a card phenomenon that is past its prime.

If only I could get over the thrill of getting one in the mail.

Baby steps, I guess.

I'll start with Edwin Jackson. Anybody want one?


  1. I haven't trimmed my relic collection nor intend to do so (speaking of the non Braves), but I have to agree with you about the "excitement" being long gone. Way past gone so much that if I can't get a bunch of them for a quarter a piece, I ain't buying unless of course it is a Brave or a Star.

  2. I know it makes me somewhat hypocritical as I have stated often that I enjoyed the hobby more back in the day when completing sets was the goal, instead of chasing "hits"...but I still love to get them, I still chase them, I still get a thrill every time I pull one- even when they are guaranteed to be in the box and I KNOW I'll get one. I've never really met a card I didn't like.

  3. I'm surprised someone hasn't tried to reinvent the relic card in some way. The only thing off the top of my head I can think of that is relatively new is one of the higher end sets (Strata?) actually authenticates the relic. That is kind of neat.

    I still like the relics, but never chase them. Most of what I receive is via trade like you or lot purchases on eBay.

  4. Ever since they started putting the generic non-committal disclaimer on the back - "not from any particular event or game" they've lost most of their appeal. Hopefully the pictured player has had some kind of contact with the swatch, but you wouldn't know for sure by reading the back.

    I did a quick search on COMC for my favorite football team that I collect and generated a list of names of all the relic cards that were there. Not a complete list, but somewhere to start. My goal was similar to yours - one from each guy. I deleted the rookies that never made the team and added some other guys that I remembered and know they have relics produced.

  5. I kinda chuckled when I saw that E-Jax was the first one up... he pitched very well for the Cubs on Monday... er, pitched badly for the Padres, to the Cubs... same thing, I guess, but either way, he's making sure that the Cubs are happy to sign his paycheck this season!

    1. That said, I'll take whatever you want to send off your hands, and will get to work putting together a stack for you! Take a look at my tradebait sheet and see if something interests you.