Monday, November 26, 2018

Set collectors of the world, unite!

With the arrival of an envelope from GCA of The Collective Mind, I finally completed the 2018 Topps flagship Dodgers team set.

Kyle Farmer was a tricky little devil. I don't know what it was. Maybe that semi-rare "C/3B" designation. But it doesn't matter because all 31 cards in this year's team set are present.

At 31 cards this is one of the largest Dodgers team sets for Topps of all-time. Based on the research I did
a little while ago, it ranks in the top 10, tied with 1964, 1972, 1986 and 1987 for sixth place.

Although this seems admirable, there is quite a bit of bloat in the 2018 team set, which accounts for the large number. Because Topps went to league leader cards that feature just one player, they are now part of the team set. Take out all those "extras" -- including the random checklist card -- and the Dodgers' team set falls to 25 cards.

Here is a look at the set:

If I were to apply my Joy of a Team Set breakdown to this, I'd probably name either the Corey Seager or Andrew Toles card as the best of the bunch, although the Clayton Kershaw horizontal night shot holds a place of honor.

There are some goofy inclusions in this year's set. Trayce Thompson didn't play a game for the Dodgers in 2018, getting waived before the season. Brandon McCarthy was sent to the Braves, along with Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Charlie Culberson, in the Matt Kemp trade in December of 2017. Tom Koehler got hurt and didn't play for the Dodgers. Tim Locastro was never a factor in L.A.'s 2018 plans and barely played.

I suppose this is why there is Update. I'm about three or four cards short of the Dodgers set in that.

Once I add those, I will consider the team set complete. The inserts and parallels and variations will remain on my want list and I still welcome them, but I will barely give them a thought. They're not necessary in my world anymore.

What's important is completing SETS. And not just team sets, but REAL BIG-ASS SETS!

Fortunately, GCA is also a member of this dying breed known as a set collector. But we will not be marginalized! We will still brag loudly about our set collecting!!!

All of the cards he sent were connected to set-collecting in some way. It is so rare that I get packages like this.

Here is one card for my 1983 Fleer set completion task. So very '80s.

Here are two more cards for my 1985 Fleer quest. The Doug Bair card is card No. 1 in the set. I am finding out right now, how inflated prices of card No. 1 in a set are. I thought this was only the case for vintage sets from the '50s and '60s. Apparently not. Card-sellers are going to just keep perpetuating the myth that every collector beat the hell out of the No. 1 card in the set all the way into the '80s and '90s.

Now we arrive at a couple of neglected set-completion bids. This Mickey Lolich card is one of the last that I need from the 1993 Ted Williams Company set. Just five more to go: Drysdale, Appling, Kell, Campanella and Mays. I should check my Dodger dupes for Drysdale and Campanella.

Finally, two Own The Game insert cards from 2006 Topps. In a complete departure from character, I am trying to finish all of the insert sets from '06 Topps as it marked my return to modern-card collecting. Cards from this set don't come my way often, so these might be my favorites from the envelope.

The years have not been kind to set collectors, but there are still plenty of sets out there to complete from the past. I will collect them proudly, a determined set collector who will not be put in a corner.

Set collectors of the world, unite!


  1. Appreciate your dedication to set collecting. Your description of the 2018 Dodger's team set, where you attempt (a very good attempt) to simplify a complicated situation, is interesting. The fact that you have to reach the point where you "consider" your team set complete, instead of "knowing" your team set is complete, is bizarre. Wasn't there a time when we all knew team sets were complete?

  2. 2008 Topps Stadium Club broke me...I tip my cap to anyone who still tries to be a set collector.

  3. I have been a set collector since 1972 and proud of it.

  4. When I returned to collecting, I started with sets, but the SPs scared me off and I moved to player collecting where for some reason I was okay with endless parallels.
    I do collect a couple sets, like Bunt and Big League, though. and Garbage Pail Kids.

  5. I love collecting sets. It's the building part that I tend shy away from. :)

  6. Low-budget long-time set collector here (waving hand frantically)! And still loving it!

  7. I have always wanted to total up how many innings get played by a Topps team set in a year, to see how accurate they are in their editorship of the faces of Major League Baseball, in different years. I am lazily watching it snow a little bit this morning, but still don't have time to fool with that idea. Sigh.

  8. How do people not set collect? I understand doing more than set collecting, but when you see a cool set, don't you want every single card from it?