Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Collecting cards of retired players means never having to say you're sorry
Times are tough for player collectors. Brian McCann's in the AL. Matt Kemp rumors are in the air. Jacoby Ellsbury is heading to the enemy.
I really feel for guys like Jack Plumstead. What are you going to do with all your Ellsburys, John?
True, not all player collectors are committed to that player's team. Those collectors will follow the player from team to team and scoop up his cards along the way. But I also know that a lot of player collectors are fans of the player because they play for their favorite team. And when you're a Red Sox fan and your guy goes to ... the Yankees? ... what do you do with your collection?
Do you sell it?
Do you burn it?
Do you keep what you got and pretend the last year he played in his career was 2012?
Or do you sell your soul and say, "eh, it's just laundry, I'll still collect him."?
I can't handle decisions like that in my hobby, and that's why I just want to shut out the world when I hear Kemp-to-the-Mariners babble. It's also why I'm not a super-committed player collector. What do you do when your player leaves your team?
Among the modest player collections that I have, the players who are retired provide me with the most comfort. There is no chance that Ron Cey or Hideo Nomo or Orel Hershiser is going to be traded ... anymore. That black cloud hovering over each individual player collection is gone forever. And I can keep collecting Dodger cards of those guys for as long as I want and ignore their unmemorable years with the Cubs or Brewers or Giants.
Sure, Steve Garvey signed with the Padres and it was a tragic moment for Dodger and Garvey fans that I still hear about to this day. But the worst is over. Garvey is still remembered mostly as a Dodger, and the majority of his cards are with the Dodgers.
Recently, I stupidly deleted the "Dodgers I Collect" page off my blog. Jon from Community Gum kindly showed me a way to recover most of the list. Unfortunately, the recovered file is only through the summer of 2012 and I've been trying to update when I have the time. Last week I finished the Hideo Nomo list. It was tortuous because I have more of his card than anyone else, but it was also beneficiary because I found out I now have more than 400 Nomos!
That tired me out so much that I've left updating the Kershaws and Kemps and Sniders for later. But I just had to jump ahead and update the most recent addition, Garvey, to add the very latest card.
Jeffrey contacted me recently and said he had won a certain card and knew I might like it.
I sure do.
This is from Topps' Million Dollar Chase thing from this year. I wish I could tell you more, but I didn't pay attention to Topps' online hysteria this year.
I know it's a Garvey pose we've seen before and it's a sticker auto, but LOOK AT IT!!!!!
That thing is diecut in about 46 different ways and it's got a nifty wood finish that makes it look like a plaque and it's numbered to #268 (who knows why) and it's an autograph and it's Popeye.
Isn't that fantastic?
I particularly like this card because there is no way I'll ever be able to compete with some very enthusiastic Garvey collectors in the world, but still this little card came to me. Thank you, Jeffrey, I'm packaging up some cards for you this week.
Thanks to the Topps' retro phase, which has been going on about 15 years now, collecting players who have retired is a whole lot of fun. Sure, there are no new action photos or the thrill of finding a card after your player just won a World Series or threw a no-hitter. But there isn't that black cloud hovering either.
If I was an Ellsbury collector, I'd probably stop collecting his cards now, or at the very least just keep collecting old Red Sox cards of him. Then I'd wait until he was retired and hope that Topps is still entrenched in retromania and gobble up all the new Ellsbury Red Sox cards.
Because we all know this Yankee thing isn't going to work out, right?