One thing that I have learned from operating a popular blog is that people actually do read the words that I write. However, when they extract the meaning from those words, it is sometimes what they want it to mean, not what I want it to mean.
For example, I fully expect to receive Donruss puzzle pieces in the mail after yesterday's post. Even though I wrote in that post that I have no desire to complete any of the incomplete puzzles that I showed, people will interpret that post as me saying that I desperately want to complete them.
All right. Whatever. Bring on the puzzle pieces. If that's the price to pay for people coming to your blog every day, I'm up for it. Resistance is futile.
And, here, I have another example for you.
A couple of weeks ago, I showed off a very large box of goodies sent to me by Rob, a.k.a., steelehere. I took some of the contents of that box and turned it into a contest.
Well, that wasn't the only box Rob sent.
There was a second one, and before it arrived, Rob sent me an email. In it he said the following:
"You'll see something that you're not a big fan of but it definitely fills a need of yours."
Great. Somebody else deciding what I need.
But I've got a somewhat open mind, so no big deal, and not too long after that email the second box showed up. It is quite possibly the heaviest card package I've ever received. And the contents are good for at least three posts, probably more (don't worry, I'll space them out).
One of the items that weighed down that box is the same item that Rob "warned" me about.
What you see there is a complete set of 1987 Topps.
If you've read this blog for awhile you know that I have said on several occasions that not only had I not completed the 1987 Topps set but that I really had no desire to complete it. Even though every other Topps set from the '80s sits complete in a binder in my card room, there was no aching hole in my collecting soul that would only be filled by 1987 Topps.
Obviously, Rob would have none of it.
So I now own what probably thousands of other collectors own -- every card from 1 to 792 of 1987 Topps.
For decades I owned maybe 150-200 cards from 1987 Topps. That's what resulted from the packs that I bought that year. Over the last 10 years or so, I accumulated about 200 more cards from the set, through repacks mostly. The cards -- although wildly popular with those who grew up during the junk wax era -- didn't thrill me any more than they did in 1987.
Obviously, these cards were everywhere. You could argue that 1987 Topps was the most overproduced of all sets (I still see more 1989 Topps). And I started to think, wouldn't it be interesting if I could come close to completing 1987 Topps passively? What if I just kept buying repacks and such and suddenly I had 715 cards from the set? Wouldn't that be cool?
Rob apparently thought this was silly. "Who collects like this?" he must have said.
It's pretty obvious how Rob collected the set. As you probably saw from the picture, the set is jammed into one box. Seventy-nine different penny sleeves contain 10 or so cards from the set. Rob said the set has been stored like this for decades and I can tell.
Inside some of the penny sleeves are certain cards protected by their own penny sleeve.
These are the cards that in 1987 terms were determined to be VALUABLE. They were investments, destined to rocket in price and pay for your waterfront home. So, yes, players like Tony Gwynn and Roger Clemens are contained in their own penny sleeves, but also players like Billy Jo Robidoux here. The fact that Bruce Ruffin and Tracy Jones and Robby Thompson receive their own penny sleeves is ... well, I'm trying not to snicker, but sooooooo late 1980s.
Collectors in 1987 were adorable.
It's entirely possible that Rob at one point tried to sell this box for one million dollars.
But enough of me poking wise. There is something else I want to get to with this set.
During my collecting days, I've seen more than my share of junk wax. Certain cards I have seen so many times that they lose their meaning. How many times do I need to see the 1989 Topps Roberto Alomar Jr. card? The same amount of times I need to hear "Eye Of The Tiger" again, that's how many times.
There are plenty of those same cards in 1987 Topps. Dave Bergman, Paul Molitor, Alejandro Pena, I've seen them more times than the inside of my own car.
But if you're a set collector, you know what I'm getting at next.
There are cards -- yes, even in 1987 Topps -- that I have never seen before. In fact, every '87 card that I have shown so far in this post is a card I have never seen before.
How is that possible? It's possible because unless you attempt to collect a set, you'll never see all of the cards that need to be seen from that year. You will be deprived of certain golden gems. And this is one of the greatest parts of set collecting. The joy of discovery. And by the time you've completed the set, you will have discovered them all.
Ray Soff. Until the moment I prepared for this post by looking through as many cards in this box as I could, I had never heard of Ray Soff. 1987 Topps has been around for 28 years, and I'm now just discovering someone named Ray Soff.
That doesn't seem right. I should have known there was a Ray Soff a long time ago.
Rob probably thought so, too. And that's why I now have a complete set of 1987 Topps.
And that means I have now completed Topps sets from 1974 through 1989. And I know all the players from all of those sets.
So, yeah, I guess this did fill a need of mine. Although now I have to get a binder and all of that.
Plus, now I have like 400 dupes of 1987 Topps -- like every other collector on the planet.
Heh. Anybody need any?