This post was originally going to be called "stuff I discovered on the internet," but I figured that would leave too much to the imagination.
Before the internet came along, I discovered cards and card sets mostly through advertisements in the Sporting News or Baseball Digest, or through hobby catalogs that came to my house, like TCMA or Fritsch Cards. Later, I subscribed to Baseball Cards Magazine and found new-to-me sets in articles in that magazine.
But I missed so much through those methods. Outside of what was selling in wax or cello packs at the drug or grocery store, that was all I knew.
It wasn't until years and years later, when I ended up online like everyone else, that I discovered how much that I had missed.
Once I became aware of card blogs, the door was open wider than ever. There were so many sets -- so many sets and cards that often had been issued right under my nose -- that I never knew existed.
I had no idea there were so many box sets from Fleer (and Topps through various retail and food issues) released during the 1980s.
Sure, I knew all about the 1982 Kmart set that kicked off the boxed set craze. But as far as I was concerned that's where it ended. Much, much later, a handful of 1986 Fleer Limited Edition Superstars cards landed in my collection. But with no reference point, I figured they were just part of the main '86 Fleer set, which I never bought packs of anyway.
I had no idea that Fleer was issuing multiple box sets every year during the late '80s because I was in college in the late '80s and baseball card collecting wasn't even a thought. Could I find baseball cards in a bar? OK, then who cares?
The above 1987 Fleer League Leaders cards -- sent to me recently by Stealing Home of All Trade Bait, All The Time -- took decades to enter my consciousness, until one day I saw them displayed somewhere on the internet. And a whole new world opened up. Today, I have entire binders filled with boxed sets from the late 1980s.
This 1986 Sports Design Products card showing the great Robin Roberts bizarrely dressed in a Yankees uniform, popped up on the internet a number of years ago as I was wandering online.
"What a great card," I thought. I had known all about legends sets through reading the TCMA Advertiser and catching the ads from Renata Galasso and others. And I knew that sometimes those sets would copy old Topps designs and that was cool, too.
The '86 Sports Design Products set, though, escaped my knowledge, because -- see above, beer and girls and such -- but, wow, what good stuff. Roberts was sold to the Yankees after the 1961 season, but they released him before he pitched in a regular-season game. He later moved on to the Orioles and pitched with some success, which makes this Roberts-Yankees card even greater.
I've since become aware of the 1986 Sports Design Products/J.D. McCarthy set and have owned the Walter Alston card from that set for quite awhile. The Roberts card, which I obtained from A Cracked Bat's pick-pocket program, also spurred me on to grab the only other Dodger from this set, Sandy Koufax, which has eluded me too long. It should be arriving at my door very soon.
Here is another pick pocket card from Julie and another internet discovery.
Card blogs contain collectors of all ages and there are two ages that dominate online and have dominated for years. One are the collectors who grew up in the late 1980s (All Hail 1987 Topps). The other is collectors who grew up in the mid-to-late '90s.
Because of those late '90s collectors, I've seen all kinds of sets -- specifically from Collector's Choice, Upper Deck and Fleer, but others, too -- that show posed shots such as these. "Posing With Props," I call them. At first, I thought they were weird -- I had never seen them before. I didn't collect through much of the 1990s.
But after years of seeing people making them primary parts of their collections -- think Dime Boxes -- I've caved a little. Quite frankly, cards like this make for interesting posts and sometimes I wish I had a card of a player sitting in a sports car, or using a video camera, to illustrate a blog post. But my collection is very low on late '90s cards.
So I picked Julie's pockets for a card that I discovered on the internet: Kenny Lofton stealing bases.
This pick-pocket card I discovered before the internet. Seeing those 1980 SSPC Baseball Immortals cards advertised in Larry Fritsch's catalog was one of my favorite discoveries. I wanted those colorful cards so much.
It might be too much praise for some who consider Fritsch's prices inflated (I do, too, for the record), but Fritsch's catalog was the internet for me at the time. That's where I found cards that I never knew existed.
The internet and card blogs are the new advertising catalogs and hobby magazines, and as much as I love those old ways (and hope that some of them continue), I admit that my collection has grown exponentially better because of the online world. Who knows what stagnating state my collection would be in if I was never online?
I'd never be able to get an in-person autograph card like this Derrel Thomas here, sent to me by Stealing Home, because it was signed at Dodger Stadium and how am I going to get something like that without the internet?
Before the internet, it was out of mind, out of sight. What I didn't know never showed up in my collection.
But now, I see it all. And there is so much card stuff in my mind currently that sometimes it falls out of my brain.
Still, I wouldn't have it any other way. And I'm ready for the next card discovery.