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Having it both ways

If you're one of the many suckers (of which I am one) wasting their time on Twitter, then you know that I've answered the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge on that particular social media forum. I completed the entire list just yesterday and missed only one day, I think. Not bad, considering I was out of town on vacation for five of the days.

But now that the task is done, I think recapping the entire thing would make for a decent blog post. Twitter is not for posterity. This blog is.

Also, Tony L.'s challenge covered some well-worn territory on this blog, but there are a few days that could use more explaining than is possible on Twitter.

So if you're not on Twitter, here is the full list. If you are, well, ignore it like it's a trade post.

Night Owl's 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge

Day 1: A card from the current year that you like

The older I get, the more I want baseball cards to amuse me, like they did when I was a kid. There is precious little of that in modern-day cards. But a card of the rally monkey in this year's Opening Day may be the card of the year. I'm quite sure a monkey on a baseball card was a Christmas wish of mine many years ago. It's so amusing I had to pull two.

Day 2: A card of more than one player on it

This immediately brought to mind the fantastic combo cards of the 1950s and 1960s. Lots to choose from but there's nothing more impressive than the Dodgers' Big Three from 1963. Drysdale seems a little more impressed with Podres with the way he's cuddling up to him.

Day 3: A card from the first set you tried to complete

Some of these challenges have been interpreted in different ways. I interpret this one to mean "actively and consciously trying to complete the set." I collected between 1975-79 but not once did I think "I'm going to complete this set." It was either not a thought in my head or completely unrealistic to me. In 1980, I decided I was ready. Turns out was about 16 cards short of ready.

Day 4: A rookie card of one of your favorite players

Sometimes on Twitter you've got to go modern to get anyone to notice because everyone on there was born in 1993. This is probably my favorite rookie Kershaw of all the rookie Kershaws. And of all the Red Hot Rookies released that year, he turned out to be the red-hottestest. No Chris Volstad or Collin Balester anyway.

Day 5: A certified autograph card of one of your favorite players

Not the most attractive Ron Cey certified card I own (a little drab for my tastes), but I was in a hurry that day.

Day 6: A card you spent more than $10 to get

The 1975 Topps set runs through this challenge like it runs through anything in my life. Yount was my first thought. I remember telling myself in the car, "OK, night owl, if you want to complete the 1975 set you've got to throw down the cash for the Yount. TODAY IS THE DAY."

Day 7: A card you bought in person and the story behind it

I regurgitated this card and story for Twitter mostly so I could link to the post because it's difficult to tell stories on Twitter. I'm not linking again. I've done linked enough.

Day 8: A card that reminds you of a family member

The '75 set returns. This is the first card I remember my brother pulling from a pack of cards.

Day 9: One of your favorite cards from the 1950s

Pinning down a single favorite from a decade is an impossible task. Fortunately, I like a lot of cards, so I just closed my eyes and selected. You can't go wrong with an early '50s Bowman of Big Newk.

Day 10: One of your favorite cards from the 1960s

I went oddball before the Challenge even got to the oddball questions. I can't help it. I will always be amazed that cards with a design this pristine came out of a greasy potato chip bag.

Day 11: One of your favorite cards from the 1970s

A more difficult question for me than someone asking mom and dad, "which child is your favorite?". This is probably the reason why I still haven't started "The Top 100 Cards of the '70s" countdown.

Day 12: One of your favorite cards from the 1980s

There's a lot to choose from for this decade, too. Lately, I'm gravitating toward early '80s Fleer because the cards are a little more human than the other cards being produced that decade.

Day 13: One of your favorite cards from the 1990s

The '90s was all about "shock and awe." I grabbed this Nomo "video card" because it was fresh in my mind and I was awed.

Day 14: One of your favorite cards from the 2000s

It wasn't that long ago, but the Upper Deck Masterpieces sets demonstrate as well as anything what a different world the hobby was in 2007, 2008.

Day 15: One of your favorite cards from the 2010s

I know that if I did not grow up in the 1970s and I had card shops close to me, I would collect Finest every year. I've said it before, but to me, the coolest designs come out of Finest. Not every one is a winner, but some I love. 2014 is an example.

Day 16: A card of a player whom you appreciate but don't like

I tried doing this for current players and failed miserably: if I don't like them, I don't appreciate them. I needed to put a bit of nostalgia between me and the player. When I did that, Reggie came to mind instantly.

Day 17: A card of a player from the first set you put together hand collated

I restricted this to "completing it within the current year." Some would be surprised I didn't do this until 2006, a full 30 years after I started collecting cards. But I've always treated collecting as something that is fun that "I want to do." I just didn't have the focus many of those years to consider completing a set "fun". I do now.

Day 18: A card of a player who became manager of your favorite team

Fans of a lot of teams could pick Joe Torre. But I was so pleased that I could make a connection between this card and the Dodgers that I selected it.

Day 19: A favorite card from a country other than the United States

I wish I selected one of those O-Pee-Chee cards with the conflicting team name and uniform but I was in vacation mode here and selected what I could find. Still pretty fantastic.

Day 20: Your favorite parallel card based on the parallel, not the player

Blue parallels make me want to collect nothing but blue parallels.

Day 21: A card of a rookie you thought you were "investing" in

I have never done this. Fortunately as rookie hype was slowly ascending, I was moving away from the hobby. I barely collected between 1984-88 and took another break in the mid-1990s. I missed that whole scene.

Day 22: A card of a common player that always seemed to elude you

Dwight Evans' elusiveness hasn't been restricted to a single set. There are several sets from the '70s that I've completed in which I've discovered Evans among a list of of more well-known stars as the last few cards I needed. A couple of other veteran collectors confirmed it for me: Evans is indeed an elusive card.

Day 23: A favorite oddball card from the 1950s

Thank goodness for the blog and already scanned pictures. I had easy access to this genius combination of cardboard and root beer.

Day 24: A favorite oddball card from the 1960s

One of the more obscure cards I own (I'm not Mark Hoyle) and definitely the most obscure one I showed in the countdown. From 1960 Darigold Farms.

Day 25: A favorite oddball card from the 1970s

Oof. Another tough one. What to pick? Kellogg's? Hostess? TCMA? I settled on Fleer stickers because they might have been the coolest cards I ever saw during the '70s.

Day 26: A favorite oddball card from the 1980s

Before you could find these Topps glossy cards in rack packs and everywhere, you could only get them by ordering them off the Topps wrapper/promo card and waiting for Topps to mail you the cards to your house. This may not seem like much now, but back then the though of Topps mailing cards to your house was the strangest, most wonderful thing ever. And the cards were glossy!

Day 27: A favorite oddball card from 1990 or later

Not the golden age for oddball cards. I immediately chose last year's Marketside set because it revived the concept of oddball cards as I knew them.

Day 28: A favorite relic/manufactured relic card

This card featuring hated rivals from the 1970s is filled with things I love about the '70s and baseball. So if all of that wood in there came from the same 2x4 purchased at Lowe's, don't tell me.

Day 29: A favorite card from before 1950, whether you own it or not

This is the only card in the Challenge that I don't own. As a young teenager familiarizing myself with the famous cards issued before 1950, I discovered that not many of them appealed to me (I still feel that way). Then I saw the 1914 Cracker Jack Shoeless Joe Jackson card and it had plenty of appeal! I never expect to own this card (probably smarter to find a reprint and not worry about counterfeiting), but it's nice to look at from afar.

Day 30: Your favorite card in your collection

Last question and easiest question. This will never not be my favorite card.

So, now I am really done with the 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge. Thanks, Tony for starting it. I hope I didn't rehash too much.


Brett Alan said…
1980 was kind of a big collecting year for me, too. The first set I completed was the 1980 Super greybacks...OK, not a huge thing, but it was something. And I collected a lot of flagship then, too. In fact, I happened to discover that I was pretty close this week. I was going through card boxes I hadn't looked at in a while, and I've got about 60 cards to go. I've got all the key cards--the biggest ones I'm missing are Tony Perez, Phil Niekro, Dale Murphy, Luis Tiant, and most of the league leader cards. (I feel like I must have had a couple more of those, but I can't find them anywhere.

So, yeah, I think I'm going to make that a goal for the rest of the year, to complete the 1980 flagship set. I think you've inspired me. B^) I've actually never completed a flagship-sized set.

Oh, I love that Shoeless Joe, too. I actually used to have a t-shirt of it!
It just doesn't get any better than a monkey on a baseball card.
I like this format for the 30 day challenge.
Commishbob said…
Enjoyed rolling thru your list. Reggie was in the same spot in both our lists. He was most definitely easy to appreciate and easy to NOT like.

Day 31 My favorite card in Night Owls' list......The Stan Williams narrowly over Newk and Joe Jackson. The Big Three from '63 gets a cap tip as well. Such a neat card.
Fuji said…
I don't have a lot of regrets in terms of collecting sports cards, but 99% of the ones I have are related to rookie cards I was investing in. You're a lucky/smart man for missing that scene.