Monday, March 12, 2012

Why fight it?

Last fall, I mentioned that nobody will ever mistake me for a player collector. I list on my blog that I collect certain players, but that really never has been my primary collecting goal (I still can't get rid of the stalker vibe that I feel when I say I collect a certain player).

I'm a team collector and a set collector first and that will always be my way -- at least until Clayton Kershaw has won his fifth Cy Young and I have accumulated enough of his cards that I can't maintain the "I'm Not A Player Collector" lie any longer.

But, anyway, I mentioned in that post that I'm not a player collector because, despite my desire to collect specific players, I had almost as many cards of a player that I have not publicly stated that I collect than I had of any player that I HAVE publicly declared as a collecting target.

And that player who is not on the official "Dodgers I Collect" list, but yet scads of his cards can be found in my collection is Mike Piazza.

It's easy if you're a Dodger fan to accumulate Mike Piazza cards.

How easy?

Well, a blog reader, Dave, contacted me a few weeks ago and said he had some Dodger cards he'd like to send. Awesome. He sent the cards, and then he sent another package later. He sent so many Dodgers that I can't show them all here. I'll have to break them up into two posts.

What I want to show first are the Piazzas.

I'll start with the scariest one. Moments & Milestones is a very alarming set that exploits the addicted. Not that all card sets don't do that. But M&M is just cruel about it. 70,000 different versions of a single card? That's like crashing a beer truck into an A.A. meeting.

When I get some spare time, I am going to invite a device that makes shiny cards actually look shiny when scanned and uploaded for blog posts. It will be the greatest achievement of my life. People will have parades in my honor.

I don't think anyone was collecting in 1994, so I'll fill you in on what little I know about this card. Apparently, Upper Deck did an insert set called Mickey Mantle's Long Shots and then forced Mickey -- who was a year away from passing on, by the way -- to come up with quotes about the player depicted on the card. Mantle's quote about Piazza mentions how he always thought that catchers had an advantage in hitting because they saw so many pitches that they knew how the ball was moving on that particular day. This does not explain John Buck.

You cannot see the printing that runs up the left side of the card, but it says "Thunder Clap," as this is the title of the insert set. Even though I've never used the phrase "thunder clap" in my life, it's a very cool card. The lightning strikes glow gold -- one of those cards that you wish had a light shining on it at all times.

I was confused by this card because I noticed that the image of Piazza was raised off the card on the right side. Then when I went to touch that part of the card, the card started to OPEN --- !!!! -- I broke it!

It turns out it was supposed to open. Silly me. Hey, how was I to know? It's called "Limited Access." It's not like I could get one of these.

Another shiny insert. This would be even cooler if Score got rid of the tiny Mike Piazza at the bottom right. It looks like Piazza has a doll of himself. Weird.

This is a parallel from '95 Score Summit called "Nth Degree." It looks just like those Diamond parallels from last year's Topps, except better. The card is thicker and when you hold it under the light, it changes from silver to blue to gold. I am now sad for the 2011 diamond parallels.

Finally, there is this gem. I love everything about this card. Die-cutting that makes sense (some of it doesn't). An insert title that makes sense (many of them don't). And some silver-plated flying hawk emblem at the bottom. Holy crap, get Fleer Ultra back here -- if only to make inserts again.

Now, if you count all those cards up, you get nine Mike Piazzas.

I'm not exactly certain what that brings my Piazza totals to, but I do know that with these nine cards, I now have more Piazza cards than I do Hideo Nomo cards. I have around 350 Nomos, which WAS the most of any one single player in my collection. I know I have more Piazzas than that.

So, it's official. It has to be, if I have more cards of Piazza than anyone else. I officially collect Piazza cards.

That scares me a little.

One, there are way too many Piazza cards. I don't want to doom myself to a lifetime of chasing his cards.

Two, 350-360 Piazzas is just a splatter of tobacco juice in the bucket compared with many other Piazza collectors. They have thousands of Piazzas, and that's a little bit daunting. Not that I want to compete, but, yikes, what am I getting myself into?

But there's no use fighting it anymore. Mike is a Dodger I collect. (But not a Met I collect. Or Marlin or A or Padre I collect). One day, when it's not March, I will add Piazza and my list of his cards to the "Dodgers I Collect" tab.

At least he has some great-looking cards.


  1. I have a whole binder full of Piazza cards. And a whole Monster shoe box full of Piazza cards. and a damn cigar box full of unsorted Piazza cards that taunts me. Oh, and about 75 game used Piazza Cards that hang out in a separate box because they don't fit in the monster box. Yes, player collecting is a sickness. Stay a team collector, I beg of you.

  2. I wish Fleer Ultra would come back...I'm clicking my red heels together right now wishing for it. Oops, I've said too much.

  3. what a coincidence - i just featured my favorite piazza on the header at my place.

    he certainly does have some cool cards

  4. I think it's legal to limit a player collection to one team. I only collect Mike Mussina cards that show him on the Orioles. That leaves out a whole crapload that I don't have to worry about (2001+)

  5. Glad to help out! I only wish I had kept some of my stuff before I got married- THEN the inundation would have begun!