Skip to main content

Trimming 182 cards off your want list in one day

It's one of the pure joys of being a set collector.

Sometimes -- and it doesn't happen often -- someone will send you a whole bunch of cards that are all from a set you are building. Then you spend the entire day surrounded by cards from that set. Every card with the same theme. It's glorious.

Set-collecting goes back longer than player-collecting so the chances are greater of inheriting a whole bunch of set needs all at once. People back in the day always grouped their cards in sets so there are just stashes of sets lying around. All you have to do is say you're collecting 1990 Donruss and there will be a line of people, toting boxes emanating a strange red light, at your door.

This probably won't be the case years from now as player collectors have taken a greater piece of the pie. In the future, collectors will be desperate to off-load their several thousand Albert Pujols cards on someone, and we'll be avoiding them like they said, "Hey I have some extra 1991 Fleer!"

But, for now, this set collector is benefiting from the set-collecting buyer's market.

Awhile ago, Adam from ARPSmith's Sports Obsession landed a whole bunch of sets and he seems to have quite a bit available still, because recently he sent a huge number of 1982 Fleer needs that I originally recorded as knocking 182 cards off my want list. One-hundred-and-eighty-two cards crossed off in one day. That's not easy to do outside of going to a card show.

Here is most of what he sent me:

How about that? That's obliterating a want list.

My favorite part of 1982 Fleer is the color-coding in the design. Each team is framed in one of its main colors. The set feels right because of that, the team and design in harmony. And I think it's the reason I can overlook the many issues with 1982 Fleer's photography, cropping, photo choices, errors on the back, etc. I've said this many times, but good design solves a lot of problems. At least in my eyes.

While going through the cards, there were a few in less than ideal condition. So it wasn't quite 182 cards off the want list. More like a still-impressive 165.

But Adam also sent three of the last few needs in my 1981 Fleer quest:

Really just two more cards to go for 1981, although I need to double-check my binder.

As I enjoyed the 1982 Fleers design wash over me as I scanned and sorted, I pulled a few cards aside because another thing that 1982 Fleer did well -- heck, that Fleer did well, period -- was show you what baseball was like in the 1980s.

Today's baseball cards do a terrible job of showing you what baseball is like. The zoomed-in pictures leave us up to our imaginations. Baseball cards are no longer chronicling the era, they're just showcasing the player. I think maybe Stadium Club still gives you a glimpse of what the game is like, but it's not anything like what Fleer did.

These are all glimpses of the game back in 1981. It also gives a more accurate portrayal of what baseball is all about. This is baseball at rest. Yes, there is a time for baseball in motion. But there is much more rest than motion. Today's cards don't want you to know that, but it's still true.

This is why I am collecting cards from this period and why I collect sets.

They give the Whole Picture of what baseball is like for whatever particular year it happens to be. There are no sound bites, or highlight reels or top 10s. 1982 Fleer tells the whole story.

Well-executed or not, I have all the respect in the world for 1982 Fleer.


arpsmith said…
That's a whole lot of scanning. You decided to post your want list right around the time I was sorting to try and unload a bunch of cards. Timing is everything. Good luck finishing this one up.
Nice crisp, clean, and simple design.
steelehere said…
Ah...the infamous 1982 Fleer Rufino Linares card where he gives the bird.
BaseSetCalling said…
Black Armband season for the 1981 Yankees, it looks like. I hope GCRL might see this one...

The Hooton is probably my favorite.
Fuji said…
The 82F design isn't that attractive... but hidden among all of these cards you received are some really great action shots. That Lopes card is fantastic! Love the Sakata too.
acrackedbat said…
I do like the design and there are many great photos choices. I find this set difficult to enjoy because it seems depressing. Even the outdoor shots taken on obviously sunny days all have a grayness to them. I pluck my favorites as I find them but this is a set I'll never seek out intentionally.
GCA said…
...but I do have extra '91 Fleer....?
Old Cards said…
Great points about cards representing the time period and the game at rest as opposed to being in motion. These are the reasons I prefer portrait or posed photos, like the Bill Russell card, as opposed to action shots where the camera is so far away from the player.
gregory said…
Hopefully some of the people who make today's baseball cards read this post.