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Cards I got for Black Friday and a shift in collecting focus

I had this card in my COMC cart for a few months. It was mixed in with several other cart cards that contained the usual, modern Dodgers needs, set needs, vintage quests, etc.

Not long after placing it in my cart, I began to wonder if I had the card already. It sure looked familiar.

It took me weeks to look for it in my binders and when I finally did, I didn't see it. But that doesn't mean anything. It could be in a stack of cards that hadn't reached the binders yet. It could be anywhere, really.

I checked my card inventory on the computer. It wasn't listed there either. "OK," I thought. "I must need it."

Then, a little while later, something happened.

I decided I'm done obsessing over modern Dodger cards.

I'm not going to do it anymore. No more fretting about this insert or that parallel. No more worrying whether the latest set is represented by a want list on the blog. No more making extra trips to the store to look for the most recent releases.

It's too much. It's too much to be a team collector now. Topps makes too many sets and then not satisfied with that, it makes inserts, and then not satisfied with that, it makes parallels, and then not satisfied with that, it makes variations, and then not satisfied with that, it makes online-exclusive cards. I don't have time for this. And, quite frankly, although I really like seeing what's new on card shelves, it's not why I'm collecting.

So, I went back into my COMC cart and removed the Yasiel Puig Hot Streak card. Then I removed just about all the Dodger wants that I had in there, most from between 2015-18. Then I added a couple more cards that I really wanted and hit "SHIP!"

It's about time I narrowed my focus, to stuff like this:

This is one of the cards I landed to show on Black Friday because I don't shop on Black Friday. This is where I'm shifting my focus. It's not much of a shift. I've always been a set collector and a lover of 1970s cards. I'm just going to concentrate on it more.

Stuff like this. My unrealistic pursuit of a complete 1975 Topps buyback set. I added 10 more cards from my pre-Black Friday COMC order. Take a look at that Fergie Jenkins masterpiece. If I didn't think 1975 was that long ago, this card will convince me otherwise.

When I featured the above buybacks on Twitter, it then landed me two more buybacks from someone who lives just an hour away:

These both happen to be cards I know from my childhood very well.

This brings me to 256 cards from the 1975 Topps set in buyback form. I'm still getting them for prices I want to spend, so I haven't reached the difficult period yet.

So this is the stuff that makes me happy, instead of chasing down every Dodger from yet another Topps late 1990s reboot. It's not nearly as exciting pulling a Dodger from a Topps Gallery rack pack from Walmart as it is to get these:

(Fred Lynn had a mustache with the Red Sox?)

Delighted with those.

This gets the 1976 Kellogg's quest down to 26 needs. There's still Rose and Reggie left, but most of the others are uninspiring folk like Clay Carroll, not that any 1970s card is uninspiring.

Those purchases left room only for a couple of more modern Dodger cards.

This one from 1992 Pinnacle, because who's going to look for a card of Donald Harris in search of Dodger cards?

And this one from 1989 O-Pee-Chee, because you can't have enough cards of Gibby's home run.

But that was it. And that's the way the pattern is going to trend. I will become even more of a set collector and less of a team collector.

Does that mean I don't want your Dodger cards anymore?

No it does not. I still like Dodger cards and will take just as many as I always have. I'm just cutting down on the brain effort it takes these days to collect a team.

I will still make team want lists, just not as frequently. I will still go to stores to buy random packs and thrill over the Dodgers I pull. You'll still see that on the blog. I don't think I will ever just go buy a team set of the latest release online. That doesn't seem like collecting to me, and I'm simply not that interested in modern cards to buy a team set in one shot like that.

No, most of my online shopping from now on will be only for what I want most. That will be vintage, old oddballs, Dodgers from back in the day and whatever sets that catch my fancy.

It's time to focus here.

Yesterday, while sorting some cards for my Dodgers Opening Day binder (yes, you didn't spend your Thanksgiving this way?), I breezed through one of many stacks of Dodger dupes. Not even a minute in, this card fell out of the doubles pile:

That was the sign.

I was making the right decision.

Time to focus and stop worrying whether I have my 46th different insert card of Yasiel Puig.


Matt said…
I was gonna say, hope you will still take Dodgers. I have a huge stack to send your way still
Old Cards said…
I like your shift in focus. It will make your blog even more interesting to follow. I think somebody drew that mustache on the Fred Lynn card.
Rob said…
I feel your pain. The insert/variation/parallel/numbered chase is so exploitative. I'm an Eddie Murray collector and can't imagine what that would be like if he played in 2018...
Mark Hoyle said…
Almost got you to the dark side. The only reason I go the team set route is to get my new base Bosox. Then in turn I have more time and money to concentrate on the vintage sets and team sets.
Bo said…
Quite a few people have gone this way. Never thought I would be one of them but I've shifted my focus too. Suddenly I'm a vintage-first guy - and loving it.
JediJeff said…
I had the same thought a couple years back. For anything prior to 1980, I keep track of everything I need. But after that, and especially with 1990 forward, I get what I get. I only keep track of Topps flagship for each year 1980 forward. No inserts. In my mind, if I have series 1, 2 and Update, than I completed the team collecting for the season. Screw all that other filler.
Commishbob said…
Being a contemporary team card collector seems to me like trying to drink from a fire hose. Just too much coming at you to be satisfied. That would be especially true for someone like me who was such a 'complete-ist' back when I was assembling Orioles sets.

I'm working on the '75 set. If I stumble across any buybacks I'll hook you up.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Vintage-first definitely has the "good for your sanity" thing going for it. I was unaware of those OPC World Series cards too. Shame they seem to have stopped doing those after 1989.
Fuji said…
Welcome to the club. I stopped focusing on new A's and Padres cards a few years ago. I'll still collect and cherish them, but I don't go and target specific ones. Between blogger care packages, the 3 to 7 blaster box purchases I make each year, and the occasional flea market collections I find... they make up about 99% of the cards I add to my team PC's. The remaining 1% are autographs (and sometimes memorabilia cards or rookie cards) that I really, really want.

As for your COMC haul. Great stuff. Love those 76 Kelloggs! And that 73T Bench is beautiful.
I don't know how people go for complete team sets these days myself because as you said there are just too many additional fliff-flaff cards. I didn't know about that Strawberry on the Pinnacle card so I have to go and get that. Thanks!!
Paul Hadsall said…
I stopped trying to keep up with all the Mets a few years ago when I realized it was just the same five or six guys in every set, with a multitude of inserts and parallels that I mostly didn't care about. I still care about the Topps Flagship base cards. Everything else? If I happen to get it, cool... if not, oh well.

I love your 1975 Topps Buyback set project -- good luck with it.
arpsmith said…
I haven't gone that far but definitely focusing more on vintage. For the Giants, although I make an extensive want list, my main focus is base cards from any set, regular inserts and just a few parallel sets (I go after the flagship gold and rainbow, A&G minis and maybe a cool colored Chrome parallel set). I suspect I will get to the point you are at sooner rather than later.
Bulldog said…
That's a great photo on that Johnny Bench card. Lots of great cards there. Cool stuff.
No doubt, it's getting more and more difficult to be a team collector. Glad to hear you're focusing more on what you really want to collect.

I love those 1976 Kellogg's cards, by the way.
Community Gum said…
I think the move is smart and probably well overdue. If it were me, though, I'd still be dumb enough to buy duplicates of things I already owned but forgot.