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The "Hotel California"s of the card world

I don't know if this even happens for people anymore now that everyone has access to self-programmable music, but there was once a time when you couldn't listen to whatever music you wanted to from an infinite playlist, and grew tired of hearing the same songs over and over.

You couldn't merely switch to a good song either. Your choices were "keep listening" "change station to song I also don't like" or "turn off the radio."

This led to an inevitable loathing for certain songs that continued to emerge from the airwaves long after they were useful. People of a certain age all know the biggest offenders of the Overplayed Song: "More Than a Feeling" by Boston, "Stairway to Heaven," by Led Zeppelin, "Hotel California," by the Eagles, and the song that I wish never existed simply because of repeated airplay, "Boys of Summer," by Don Henley.

This has been a common complaint of mine that translates into other facets of life. If I've seen it/heard it/absorbed it a couple of hundred times, I probably don't want to encounter it again.

The same thing holds true for cards. There are a number of cards that appear over and over with the same or a similar thought process accompanying them that tends to make me zone out.

Here are some candidates for the Most Overplayed Cards of All-Time:

The tune we've all heard over and over: An iconic young player for a new generation on an upstart set for a new generation.

The tune we've all heard over and over: The first card on an upstart set for a new generation. Collectors back then did really awful things to the first card in a set.

The tune we've all heard over and over: Look! He's got really big hair! Look! He's got a horribly painted-on baseball cap! Look! He's wearing a striped barbershop apron!

The tune we've all heard over and over: Look! There's a curse word on his bat! Look! There are almost half a dozen different ways Fleer covered it up!

The tune we've all heard over and over: An iconic young player for a new generation on an upstart set for a new generation. (i.e.: '52 Mantle 2.0)

The tune we've all heard over and over: Look! That bat is really big!

The tune we've all heard over and over: Look! That bubble is really big!

The tune we've all heard over and over: Look! That trophy is really big! Look! Action photos!

The tune we've all heard over and over: This card costs a lot of money and the games people play.

The tune we've all heard over and over: An iconic young player for a new generation on a .... um, established set ... for a new generation.

These are the cards -- along with several others -- that pop up over and over if you're a collector and do a lot of reading about cards. That is why I'm secretly thrilled when somebody puts up a card of, oh, say, John Stearns from 1979 and decides to write about it.

Seeing the iconic cards of collecting repeatedly isn't really a bad thing, just like hearing the same song over and over isn't really a bad thing. In fact, I like viewing many of these cards from time to time.

Sometimes, though, I wish that there would be something new to say about them. Something I haven't heard repeatedly. Something that will make me look at the card in a new and different way. Maybe someday I, too, can find something new to say about the Billy Ripken F-face or the Henderson rookie.

Because right now, when I see these cards, this is what I hear:

"On a dark, desert highway, cool wind in my hair ..."


Well, after I get my Bump Wills Blue Jays card, that Billy Ripken one is next.
Oh, and you forgot Sweet Home Alabama.
Nick said…
"American Pie" by Don McLean would have to take the "most overplayed" honors in my book. I cannot stand that song these days because of how often it pops up.

I can't help but smile whenever I see most of these cards come up on the blogs, though. Especially the '71 Munson. I could probably see that one every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it.

However, I'll agree with you on the '89 Griffey. While it's a terrific card, it's probably the "Hotel California" of cardboard for me.
Anonymous said…

(...he shouts while making a mental note to never blog about any of these cards...)

Old Time Rock And Roll!
Paradise By The Dashboard Light!
Rosenort said…
For me it's the Glenn Hubbard card with the snake and Takin' Care of Buisness by B.T.O.
hiflew said…
The thing to remember about those "overplayed" songs is that they are great for a group of people because everyone has their own story about that song. I have an obscure favorite song by Crash Test Dummies (no not their one hit either), but not a lot of people know about it and probably wouldn't have an interesting story with that song.

I think cards can be the same way. Everyone knows the 89 Griffey, can picture it in their mind, and probably has their own personal anecdote about that card. However much I love the 2001 Fleer Platinum Larry Walker, I realize that everyone doesn't have an attachment to that card.

Sure, it's great to occasionally go out on your own and hear an indy band, but sometimes we all just need a "Piano Man" sing along.
JediJeff said…
Anonymous said…
I think hiflew said it pretty well. I also don't think you and he necessarily disagree - sometimes with those cards it depends on your mood. On one day it could be "overplayed" on another day it could be an "all-time classic".

By the way - I'm in the latter mood right now. And while you're right that the Griffey is the Mantle 2.0, I'd point out that since it's card #1 - it's actually a combination of Mantle 2.0 and Pafko 2.0 rolled into one!

You probably read this book long ago. I learned a lot from it as a kid. Thanks for reminding me of it. I've still got it around here.

The Great American Baseball Card Flipping Trading and Bubble Gum Book.
carlsonjok said…
I am not sure how you could ever tire of that 1976 Traded Oscar Gamble. But, if you have, don't read my next post that will (hopefully) be up before the weekend.
Fuji said…
Lol... 50% of my posts feature the Rickey rookie, the 71 Munson, the 76 Bevacqua, or the 89 Ripken. Then again... I could listen to Boston, The Eagles, or Don Henley once a week and not get tired of it. In fact... I've heard all four of those songs you listed in the past 7 days and loved every minute of it.

Wait... maybe that's why you have 10x the amount of followers that I have ;-)