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What a motley crew I'm collecting

I've heard of, and even come across a time or two, people who collect only Topps cards.

The reason seems to be that Topps is the premier card company in the land and their cards are superior to any competitors in their eyes. Some, I think, decided they can't be collecting other kinds of cards, it's too much.

I wish I could have done that. I sometimes wish I was around 29 when I saw Donruss and Fleer cards for the first time in 1981. I think I'd be resistant to their charms if I was, and I'd be one of those "only Topps" guys to this day.

But I was 15. I wanted new stuff and I thought I could collect everything. It was released, I needed to have it! That was my perspective at the time. And I'm paying for it now.

My "m.o." ever since 1981, for years and years, was to try to get it all, or at least all the Dodgers. As the number of releases multiplied, I started to get burned out and I was done collecting by the mid-'90s. Even when I resumed 10 years later, I still tried to accumulate what I could, from Topps and every non-Topps issue. Then came Panini, and their god-awful baseball sets and, yup, I was too far into my habit to ignore those. Was it released? Need it!

So, I'm paying. Still paying.

I received an envelope from Cards On Cards recently. I showed the Kershaw cards from it last week. Outside of one Kershaw card and one other card, all of the others were non-Topps and, honestly, there is not a lot that I like about those cards. Let's see them.

This is what the rookie subset in Diamond Kings looks like this year. I should enjoy this, given how brightly colored it is. I hate it. It's on the level of "I wish I could get this card out of my collection but I can't." Just an ugly card and that lame "Artist's Proof" stamp isn't helping.

Bowman is Topps, but for this exercise, it's not. It certainly doesn't look like Topps. I can't remember the last time I liked a Bowman design. Combine that with the players I don't know and the shininess that prevents me from taking a decent picture, and cards like this are hopeless. There's also an excellent chance that this card barely registers for the rest of the time it's in my collection.

More Bowman except it's Best, which is the Best kind of Bowman. But we're still featuring cards of players who may never make the majors. This is just my sixth Jeren Kendall card -- I could've sworn I had 20 already -- but he's still hitting .160 in Double A.

I'm a bit of a sucker for the Contenders line, at least the baseball portion (not that college stuff). But these are pretty dull.

Dullness continued. I know I'm supposed to like cards of legends no matter what, but I have issues with B&W cards -- it's my issue, I know -- and you erase the logos and what am I looking at here? Panini's Absolute brand these days is pretty mind-numbing. I realized that in my most recent Dodgers binders update. Looking at the Absolute pages is like looking at pencil sketches.

More B&W and please stop with the repeated photo, I didn't like it in 1994. Chronicles falls into the same trap that so many sets do where the base cards are exceedingly boring so they can coax collectors into finding the parallels.

There's the Topps card! I've said before that this is one of the most awkward postseason celebrations I've ever seen.

Donruss is the chief offender of the boring, logo-less base card. Even the wild design for 2022 that I initially enjoyed is not doing it for me anymore.

Final card. It's telling that my first two Freddie Freeman Dodger cards were Panini Absolute cards and not exciting at all.

As dull as Panini's products are, they seem to be the only one releasing cards now. They're pretty cheap and they're available and for bottom-feeders like me, that's what I need.

Panini will be disappearing from baseball soon, which is exactly what I need to save me from myself. I keep hoping I'll wake up and stop the knee-jerk reaction to "ooh, new product -- I need the Dodgers!" but I don't see myself able to turn away anything but Topps.

Wish I could. I mean that's a motley crew of cards I'm collecting.


RIP to Maury Wills.

I never saw him play but he was an inspiration to many of the players that were favorites -- Davey Lopes in particular. Wills was always one of "my favorite players from before I knew what baseball was."

I still hope to one day see him in the Hall of Fame.

It's been an honor to collect his cards.


Glad you called out Wills. Underappreciated.
Dave said…
Agreed… let’s see Wills, Allen and Cobra in the hall the next veterans committee vote.
bryan was here said…
RIP Maury Wills. I still remember his brief stint managing the Mariners. One of the more moonstruck episodes in Major League Baseball.

Yay. More overpriced MSA...oops, Panini, although that Donruss design is kinda cool. Shame it's wasted on a crappy set.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Wills and Hodges were a couple of the guys who I always though were in the Hall and then was always surprised to find they weren't. Nice that one of those has been fixed. A shame Wills won't be alive to see his fixed.

Logoless Panini has been snore from day 1 for me. If you're not going to give me logos at least give me food to go with the card.

And LOL at your description of Jack Little. He's in my alumni PC (the only good thing Bowman Draft is for).
Brett Alan said…
It occurred to me today that there might be more "copies" of that 1962 Wills card than there are of most if not all of the cards which actually were in the 1962 set! I mean, the 1987 Topps card alone had to have been produced in far greater quantities than the actual 1962 cards, and then you add the K-Mart version and the 1975 MVP card. Am I wrong? Are there any 1962 cards which have been reprinted in quantity (either a straight reprint or something like the Wills where it's shown on another card)? Obviously there's the Mantle on the same 1975 card, and I'm sure Topps has reprinted it at some point besides that. And the Aaron card is on one of those 1974 Hank Aaron Specials, but that wouldn't have the quantity of the 1987 TBTC. What else?
night owl said…
My next guess would be Lou Brock's rookie card. But outside of a Topps Archives appearance and a couple Cards Your Mom Threw Out inserts, I think that's it.
madding said…
There are a couple of other rookie designs in Diamond Kings this year for you to not enjoy. I believe there are at least three "tiers".
Nice collection of Wills cards.
Bo said…
Re Dave's comment - Wills, Allen and Cobra are head-and-shoulders above almost everyone the VC has elected the last couple of years.
Matt said…
RIP Maury Wills

I think most of the "Topps only" people had their peak collecting years either before 1981 or after Topps gained their exclusive license. I know as an 80's kid I collected Topps, Donruss, and Fleer (and then later Score and Upper Deck).
GCA said…
I hate trading with the Topps only people because I usually have so much more Donruss, Playoff, Fleer, Upper Deck, Pacific, Score, Stadium Club, etc. from their team that I can't move. And Topps designs are fine, but relatively plain and simple compared to some of the much more artistic, textured, (and yes, sometimes overfoiled) of the other companies.
AdamE said…
Until I found blogs in 2008, I collected Topps only.
Anonymous said…
Not liking b&w cards isn't an issue, it's perfectly reasonable.
Anonymous said…
I tend to agree. As a youth I collected Topps, Donruss and sometimes Fleer (plus Pro Set football); Score was too boring and Upper Deck was too expensive (this was 91-92, you see). Now I have gone back to get some of the better sets from that era (UD 89-94, Leaf 93, Score 95 and 96). However, I still find myself drawn to Topps from 96 forward, and especially in the modern market, to me, Topps is the only card company that still matters.

I guess it feels like a Topps card is a real card, not just because of the logo, but the history behind the company. A Topps rookie - Mattingly 84, Jeter 93, Molina 04, Verlander 05, Posey 10, Judge 17, all the guys in 2019, Franco 22 - seems to still mean something. I agree that Panini is terrible, and I still don't like how Topps has endless parallels, inserts and parallels of the inserts, plus relics, Chrome, Heritage, A&G, etc. It's overkill and greed, if you ask me. But it's still better than Panini or Bowman.
Fuji said…
I'm an "everything" collector... but I understand the Topps only thing. If I were to ever just focus on Topps (doubt it ever will) that decision would fall on whoever thought it'd be a good idea to take MLB licenses away from Upper Deck and the other card manufacturers. So much of my fanfare for Topps is based on their history and the fact that they feature MLB logos.

Nice Wills collection. It's cool to see the Kmart and 87T cards together. Not sure if they've ever made one of those 1962 Topps Wills cards for Archives (or something similar), but if they haven't... it'd be cool if they did.
Jafronius said…
Nice group of Wills...RIP.