What I’ve Learned, Part Two

I didn’t slow down much at all really. My addiction to baseball cards went into full-blown relapse. It started out with two or three Bowman Chrome packs shortly after my birthday. I really liked the way the card looked, and the quality was outstanding, compared to the old ’80’s packs I was used to opening.

2012 Bowman #6 Matt Garza

2012 Bowman #6 Matt Garza

 

I admit, I had to look up some players I hadn’t heard of, definitely looked up what others had or were looking for from the set to sell or trade, and by then I was hooked again. Every few extra bucks went into a pile and I discovered the blaster box – 8 packs, 50 cards or so, for $20.

Gypsy Queen blasters were particularly attractive to me, so after I built up enough of a Bowman collection to trade a few and finish out the whole set (want to know my favorite thing? No 800 card sets to try to build!), I moved on to Gypsy Queen. Pulled my first-ever memorabilia card, a Justin Upton jersey patch. Had a few Bowman prospect autos to go with it into the cool pile too.

2012 Gypsy Queen #264 Ernie Banks

2012 Gypsy Queen #264 Ernie Banks

Then, summer came, cash flow slowed down a bit, and I kind of went on pause. The kids and I still stopped in the local card shop, went to the American Legion shows and had some hot dogs, and spent a lot of time at Victory Field with the Indians. I did a lot of trading through the mail, and pretty much finished up those sets. You should know, I still need some for each of those sets, so if you’ve got some, let me know.

But then July came. My lovely wife went to Guatemala for 28 days. The kids went to stay with their grandparents for 28 days. I was home alone. With a bunch of baseball cards, and “extra” money from the food they weren’t eating and car sitting parked and babysitter we didn’t need. And Allen and Ginter came out, then Bowman Platinum.

Between the two, I bought 5 hobby boxes, so yes, I got in trouble for the money I spent. But I had a blast. I love these two sets, and I can’t wait until July to get some 2013’s.

I love Allen & Ginter’s oddball subsets and weirdness. I loved the look of Bowman Platinum, and I pulled a lot of cool stuff – die-cuts, autos, serial numbered cards, patches, and players I like.

2012 Topps Allen And Ginter Mini Musical Masters #MM6 Johannes Brahms

2012 Topps Allen And Ginter Mini Musical Masters #MM6 Johannes Brahms – He was a pansy!

2012 Bowman Platinum Relic Autographs #SM Starling Marte

2012 Bowman Platinum Relic Autographs #SM Starling Marte

And after the dust settled, and the apologies and repayments to the family budget were made, I realized my most important lesson had occurred.

Specialization. I needed to sort out what I liked and what I would go after with my money. If you can’t guess, my plan in 2013 is to sit on my hands (and cash) until July. My goal is to save up enough spare change to buy a case of Allen & Ginter (released on 7/15/13), and hopefully two weeks later to have some money left for several boxes of Bowman Platinum (released 7/31/13).

My personal collection now includes Cubs cards, and Pirates prospects (guys we will probably see play in Indianapolis soon – like Jameson Taillon, and as much as I like them, I hope Gerrit Cole and Starling Marte spend some time in Indy this spring before they go up to Pittsburgh). I like set-building, so I’m still finishing up most 2012 sets by trading and buying an odd pack here or there, and I’m planning to build A&G and Bowman Platinum in 2013 with my big purchases.

As far as players go, I am slimming down my Pete Rose collection (I don’t really need 32 copies of his 1988 card, so hopefully someone needs between 1 and 31 of mine). I am building my Nolan Ryan collection, which is a lot of fun to do with the boys. We’re also way into collecting Starling Marte. Lance has a 1/1 that I gave him this summer after he did some pretty amazing days in a row of being a great kid, and I’m usually bidding on eBay for his stuff if it isn’t stupidly expensive. We almost have the “rainbow” – all the parallels – of him in 2012 Bowman Platinum, I think the only ones left have low serial numbers (/25 and down). I’m sure there will be some other Indianapolis Indians we like this summer, and we’ll have to add them. I can’t decide on some players, whether to keep them or try to unload what I’ve got. I had quite a few Kirby Puckett cards, and some players I’m not as enamored with as I was back in 1991 or so – guys like Canseco, McGwire, Clemens, etc.

Trimming down the collection is tougher than I thought. First, very few collectors still need the cards I’ve got. I did sell an ’88 Topps Bo Jackson on eBay this summer and I about passed out. I sent the buyer 3 of them just to get them out of the house. I found a guy who had just decided to collect Don Mattingly and unloaded a lot of cards. Other than that, I’ve got a lot of the same cards a lot of other people have a lot of. Besides that obstacle, some are just hard to let go. I’ve backed out of more than one deal just because my poor heart couldn’t take it. There are several I went through with and kicked myself for three days after. On the upside, I can’t remember what those were now, so I made the right call letting them go. So the word for 2013 is “picky”. I’m focusing on cards and players I like, and/or the boys like, and not allowing much else into my house. We’ll see how well it works, since Gypsy Queen is only about 10 weeks away now, and Bowman Chrome comes right after my birthday. If I can make it through May, I’ll be ok!

The thing I didn’t think I would do is actually the foundation of my plan, which is buying singles (mostly online) of players I want. At least I haven’t caved to grading yet. That’s another post though.

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