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Players with the most cards in my collection

 
 
With the cards I received from Sportscards From The Dollar Store that I blogged about yesterday, Cody Bellinger stepped into 25th place on the list of the players with the most cards in my collection.
 
I've long wanted to know collection highlights like who has the most cards and such. For the many years that I was inventorying my collection, I dreamed of being able to spit back numbers like that on the off-chance anyone would ask and then award me with a cash prize.
 
The inventorying of my total collection is still going on, but I mentioned that I completed accounting for all the cards of individual baseball players in my collection a couple of months ago. And last night I figured out which players had the most cards sitting my card room.
 
I knew that all of the players with the most would be Dodgers. I've never considered myself a player collector -- and that's what makes an exercise like this interesting because I'm not controlling the puppet strings, so to speak -- but I'm definitely a team collector.
 
So, therefore, all but one player who has accumulated triple figures in my collection have played for the Dodgers. I'll show the lone player who hasn't at the end.

Bellinger's arrival in the top 25 is significant because he's appeared on cards only since 2017. That's how many cards Topps and Panini are making of the superstar players these days.

Let's go through the top 25 in reverse order.

25. Cody Bellinger - 182 cards
24. Brett Butler - 185 cards
23. Duke Snider - 187 cards
22. Yasiel Puig - 199 cards
21. Adrian Gonzalez - 203 cards

19 and 20. Chad Billingsley and Corey Seager - 205 cards
18. Sandy Koufax - 220 cards
17. Eric Gagne - 221 cards
15 and 16. Ramon Martinez and Gary Sheffield - 245 cards
14. Russell Martin - 246 cards
13. Chan Ho Park - 263 cards
12. Kevin Brown - 269 cards
11. Andre Ethier - 288 cards

Now, before we hit the top 10, a couple of notes:

You should be able to notice the unreal number of cards produced in the late 1990s/early 2000s in the list of players I just typed.

In other words, I have never actively added a card of Kevin Brown or Chan Ho Park to my collection, meaning I have never specifically purchased one. They have all landed in my collection through trades for Dodger cards. And since Brown and Park both played for the Dodgers during that magically weird period at the turn of the century, they have way too many cards.

The same goes for Gary Sheffield and a few guys we'll see in a minute.

Meanwhile, there is some indication above that I did actively recruit certain players to my collection. There were periods when I really wanted cards of Russell Martin, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig.

Note that Corey Seager is already tied for 19th and he's been appearing in major issues only in the last five years.

OK, time for the top 10:


10. Orel Hershiser - 292 cards

One of five players that appears on a specific page on the blog advertising that I collect these guys, although, again, I do not make obtaining his cards as one of my top collecting goals. I don't play like that.

All but three of the 292 cards are Dodger cards. Hershiser is also the only player in the top 10 whose career is rooted in the 1980s.
 


9. Jackie Robinson - 304 cards

I've mentioned this a bunch of times already but the percentage of Robinson cards created while he was playing that are in my collection is tiny compared with the total number of Robinsons. In other words, 2 of the 304 cards I have were made in the 1950s.
 


8. Adrian Beltre - 334 cards

No doubt in my mind that if Beltre had stayed with the Dodgers for his whole career, or even most of his career, that he would be in the top three in my collection. Heck, he may have ended up as my favorite player ever with the most cards.



7. Raul Mondesi - 369 cards

Mondesi was my favorite player during the mid-1990s. I wasn't collecting cards then. Imagine if I was.



6. Eric Karros - 424 cards

Like Brown, Park and Sheffield, I've never actively sought after Eric Karros cards. But when enough cards are created of a player to start an avalanche, you're going to end up with a few.



5. Matt Kemp - 426 cards

I was a big Kemp fan around 2010-12 and that synced up well with so many Kemp cards produced in that period. I was happy to get as many as I could.



4. Shawn Green - 440 cards

An unreal number of cards created of Green during his Dodger days.



3. Hideo Nomo - 531 cards

If I was specifically a player collector, I know I would have more Nomo cards than of any other player. That's because the amount of Nomo cards created, so I'm told, could clothe every person in the world.



2. Mike Piazza - 587 cards

It took a long time for the No. 1 guy on the list to put Piazza in the rear view mirror. Piazza's card catalog is immense. Playing in the late '90s and playing for the Dodgers and the Mets will do that.



1. Clayton Kershaw - 761 cards

No surprise to me and I'm sure no surprise to some readers.

That's not even the correct total. There are a few new Kershaws on the card desk that I haven't inventoried yet.

So, that's the players with the most cards in my collection.

Ideally, the players with the most cards would be my favorite players of all-time. But they just didn't make gobs and gobs of cards in the '70s like they did in the past three decades.

Ron Cey, my all-time favorite player, is in 38th place at 140 cards, trailing players who I am much less fond of, such as Jeff Kent, Kenley Jansen and James Loney.

I could do something about that, I suppose, and just get rid of the cards of the players I don't like as much. But my collection is much more about sets and a team than individual players.

The one player in triple-digit figures in my collection who never played for the Dodgers has 118 cards, which probably would be around 60th on the list (I haven't tallied beyond the top 40 or so).


It's Nolan Ryan.
 
I've accumulated so much because his career was so long and because it lasted through the '70s and '80s, which is my favorite collecting period.
 
The second-highest total for a player who didn't compete with the Dodgers is George Brett with 98 cards.
 
It's great fun to know exactly how many cards I have of each player and I hope to calculate other aspects of my collection in future posts. And there's still that matter of determining the grand, grand total ...

Comments

Nick Vossbrink said…
And now I'm scared.

A fun idea this. I'm not quite organized enough to do it. If I had to guess though I'd say that Barry Bonds is my clear #1.
John Sharp said…
Oh, my, I have absolutely no idea of any card total of anyone other than Matt Boyd, w/ 104 total +only because he's recent). Bill Freehan isn't even close to having that many cards. I'd guess Verlander, Cabrera, Cecil Fielder are up there.

Good Job!
As I PC just two players it's easy for me to stay on top of the figures for them. But for the other cards that I have, I have no idea and am not actively collecting them. So the cards are "legacy" from when I was collecting in the 1980s and early 90s. It's nice you have so many cards of players that represent your team. I kind of really, really want to se send you 2 Brett cards to get you to 100.
Nick said…
Part of the reason I'm in the process of cataloging my cards right now is for this exact reason -- I wanna know how many total cards I have of the players in my collection. Other than a handful of my top-tier player collections, which I've already catalogued, I have nothing more than a rough estimate on a total because most of them are spread out among my various team binders. It's been a fun process.

Also owning 269(!) cards of Kevin Brown seems both fascinating and daunting. The late '90s/early 2000s was indeed a strange time for collectors.
I envy your ability to know things like that about your collection. I want to know, but have nowhere near the energy to do the cataloging necessary.

I was betting on Piazza for the top spot, but I guess Kershaw is not a huge surprise.
Michael Ott said…
Ha! I knew it was Ryan all along. Brett, Yount and maybe Winfield would also have been among my next guesses.
steelehere said…
I really thought Derek Jeter or Barry Bonds was going to be the non-Dodger on the list.
Nice Jackie relic. As you know I have a rather extensive Player Collection. With things as the were this year. I only have 10K cards obtained this year to check against my PC needs (normally would be a task for next year.....)
Fuji said…
Wowza. 304 different Jackie Robinson cards? That's pretty darn impressive. I'm also impressed with your book keeping skills. I have time this week... maybe I'll sit down and try and figure out my largest player collection. I think it's Owen Nolan... but Tony Gwynn might have finally surpassed him.

As for Dodgers... I'm guessing it's Hideo Nomo since he's the only Dodger that has his own binder sitting on my shelf.
What did you do give all your Garvey, Cey, Russell and Lopes cards to GCRL? I am amazed that Ron Cey didn't crack the top 25.
night owl said…
They didn't make that many cards of players in the '70s and early '80s.
Sean said…
I admire the patience, discipline and time it takes to be the type of collector who doesn't just suspect, but firmly knows as a fact that he has 269 different cards of Kevin Brown in his collection. More so when said person isn't even a Kevin Brown collector.
Bo said…
It amazes me how expensive the early Ryan cards are, because he pitched through the whole junk wax era. It seems hard to believe that the same guy who is in sets like '94 Donruss is also one of the hardest cards to get in '68-'72 Topps.
Matt said…
The only reason I know who my top 25 are is because it's a feature on the TCDB. I knew before I got to the end of your article that Ryan would be the non-Dodger. He's got so many cards that I'd wager a significant number of collectors from our era would have him in their Top 25 without even trying. (He's #2 on my list behind Clemens!)

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