Thursday, September 1, 2011

A collecting black hole

I mentioned a few days ago that I'm doing an update to my want lists. I'm not removing anything from them (don't I wish). I'm mostly adding a bunch of sets that I glossed over the last time, and I'm even throwing in some parallel sets, too, because I like to have unattainable goals.

Speaking of that, I have reached the point of updating that would make most collectors hesitate. I have reached the mid-1990s. Specifically, I'm at the tail end of 1995 and stopping for reinforcements before plowing through 1996.

A lot of collectors -- mostly those who grew up during the '90s -- love the '90s era of cards. The variety. The innovation. The choice. But as a team collector from an earlier time, the '90s is a black hole of cards for me. I like the cards. It's just there's no way I'm going to collect them all.

It forces a change in mind-set. Back in the '70s, early '80s, you could conceivably "collect them all." It was satisfying. But it's almost impossible to "collect them all" today, with the variety of sets, parallels, and inserts. You have to adjust your brain to, either, "I'm just collecting this set" or "I'm just collecting this player." You are placing a limit on yourself: "I'm not going to go for the high numbers set," or "I'm not looking for parallels," or "no short-prints for me," or "Topps Opening Day is stupid, I'm not collecting that."

This all began in the '90s. Sure the '80s had all those Fleer sets and the early '80s marked the end of the Topps monopoly. But things were under control until the '90s. How many collectors have you heard say "I got out of the hobby in (1994 or 1995) when it got too crazy"? I have heard it over and over and over.

So, I know all of this, but yet I still try to collect 1990s sets like I used to collect 1970s sets. I want all the Dodgers no matter how rare or pointless.

That's where enabler Mark A. comes in -- he sent me a whole bunch of 1990s Dodgers from my want lists. This will feed the beast for a little while longer as I try to achieve the impossible.

I have to start with an Orel Hershiser card. As mutual Hershiser collectors, Mark and I can't let a trade go by without including some of the Bulldog. This is a 1995 Donruss item that I needed.

Another Hershiser, included with some other 1993 Bowman Dodger wants. Bowman really was at its peak design-wise in the early '90s. Don't know what happened after that.

Early 1990s Conlon/Sporting News needs. Team checklists claim Freddie Fitzsimmons is a Dodger card. But here he is wearing a New York Giants uniform. That means there's no way that this card will see the inside of a Dodger binder, even though the write-up on the back is about his Dodger season in 1940.

Brett Butler is pointing you toward ...

... A whole bunch of CyberStats parallels from '95 Topps!!!! Weeeee!!! In a perfect world in 1994, Billy Ashley would have played in 10 games and knocked in two runs. But we all missed out. The strike robbed us off that treasured Ashley season.

The last '95 Topps Traded Dodger that I needed to finish the team set. Hey! I completed a '90s set! ... Unless there are CyberStats with these. It's always something.

Mark sent a whole bunch of Donruss needs. I've seen very little of 2001 Donruss ever. I guess that's not the 1990s anymore, is it? But the rest of the cards there are. Some cool stuff. Just an awful lot of it.

Topps Gallery is a late '90s set that I wish stuck around. It would have been nice to see the Gallery vs. Masterpieces wars of late last decade.

Good stuff.

Now, not all of the cards from Mark were from the '90s. He made a concerted effort to pick off some Nebulous 9 needs and not one of those was from the 1990s. Here they are:

I'll start with the stupid first. This is the non-original backed CYMTO from last year.

The last base set Dodger I needed from the 2001 Topps set. I thought I had completed this long ago. It's hard to believe a Kevin Brown card eluded me. Normally, collectors are more than happy to unload their Kevin Browns.

Probably my most favorite edition of Topps Finest, from 2004. It makes me think of 1970s bars built on the second floor of my friends' parents' houses. One of those "Drinking is Glamorous" impressions that kids get.

My favorite one of the bunch. Any '84 Donruss card is appreciated, and this is the last Dodger I needed to finish off this team set.

See? I'm still working on some of those '80s team sets. So you know there's no hope for me for the '90s.

But at least I've got people like Mark working for me.

And the fact that I'm doing this post now means I've made headway on getting some Hershisers together to send back to Tennessee.

See? It's not all want-list updating.


  1. Black hole is putting it mildly ! 1998 was the pinnacle of it all. I think I have listed over a hundred different kinds of packs you could buy that year ! That makes my wrapper collection a little tuff to handle too.

  2. I like how Todd Williams is wearing a short-sleeve turtleneck. I will have to try to pull-off that look and see what my wife says...

  3. I love the 90's! 1995 Donruss and 1995 Topps may very well be my favorite two sets of all time.

    That said, I like a lot of things that suck.

  4. I wasn't buying cards in 1984, but dang if that '84 Donruss design ain't sexy.

  5. If I knew you were collecting Black Holes I would have sent different cards. Glad you like them.

    Can you please explain that stray White Sox player I sent?

  6. I was one of those collectors that got out of the hobby in the mid-90s. There was just too much to keep up with. I stopped in 1993 and didn't start again until 2008 or so.

  7. The mid-90s were great for card sets. A lot of cool variety and a ton of Dodgers were popular among card makers.

    I got out of collecting in the late 90s when shit got way too crazy. I then jumped back in at the end of last year after I saw some cool relic and auto cards.

  8. Mark A. ~

    The stray White Sox player was actually intended for another card package that I'm shipping out Friday. I think it's called card serendipity.

  9. Great, not only am I enabling you, I'm enabling you to enable another collector.

    I can live with that.