Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Well, stuff happened...

 So, my grand schemes to have a fantastical card blog have been non-existent. In my defense, the last few months have been rough. 

Some highlights including losing Doodle (My dog and closet thing I had to a child), a CoVID scare at work that quarantined my wife and I for a week (test was negative for us both), and 3 death where I work. My work is a senior apartment complex and the last one hit me pretty hard. 

With this, we had an audit at work, cleanup from said audit, an MFA class, trades I couldn't keep up with, depression and pain... There's more...  

It's been a whopper of a few months. I'm mentally wiped out.

I am prepping however. Prepping for the new year.  I just set up a new twitter for card stuff @MadSetCollector that will be for trades, sales and retweets. I am also clearing all of the hobby stuff off of my primary twitter so that I can take that back to writing and personal stuff.

My goal right now is to finish the trades I have in the air, resume regular trading on TCDB, start writing more and finish organizing the cards. I also want to begin exercising again while find more time to read. 

I plan to have a definitive answer of what I own card-wise and what my target is overall. 

In other words, it's time to get life in order...

Wish me luck.

Stay safe and thank you all for your patience.


Monday, October 5, 2020

Still off-kilter...

 So, things are still off-kilter since September 1st. I've been playing catch up and my grand idea for this blog has fallen by the wayside. It will happen eventually...

Have a big mailday today. A stack of 73 Topps and a whole bunch of BCW boxes to finish the re-organizing project. Big sets are going into boxes appropriate for them. It clears room in the 5K boxes to organize the 375,000 cards I haven't gotten to yet. 

Progress is being made. In the effort to recheck everything in TCDB, I have made it to '98 Donruss with minimal repairs to be done with previous sets. (I am going alphabetically and then by year.) Something tells me this will all be on hold while I put those boxes together.

Either way, stuff is happening.

Last thing...  Finally pulled the trigger on an 84 Donruss Mattingly RC. He's shipping today. This completes the trifecta of Donnie cards! 36 years later... 

Also, my Carolina Card Exchange Shadow Box shipped. :D

Stay safe,


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Update for future updates

 I know, I know...  Where is my quality baseball card content?

Short answer, it's late.

Things have been busy and a bit off since losing the fuzzball. On top of that, I think I may have overwhelmed myself. The truth is, I don't have the time to do an in depth log of every card I get and all of the cool people I meet. So...

Compromising with myself:

Instead of all of the craziness, I will be posting a weekly update on totals and at least a new card of the week. I think a toned down version will be good and more manageable. 

So, there is my short update. Nothing exciting. Yet.

Oh, I also changed the list of needs to my Hit List. This is the list of the big cards I'm hunting. By hunting, I mean I want to trade for them. Will still contemplate sales, but would prefer to trade.

Okay, more to follow. Hopefully Sunday, but we will see what curveballs come this weekend.

Stay safe,


Thursday, September 17, 2020

The previous update and what followed after it was posted...

 So, the morning of September 1st, I reported that the dog was doing better and that my sinus infection was worse... 

By that afternoon, Doodle aka Kenzie aka Fuzzy Butt, was basically unable to breathe on her own. We were faced with a horrible decision. Our options were limited and when it came down to it, Doodle, my fuzzy best friend of 13 years, let us know very clearly that she couldn't do it anymore. 

It was with a heavy heart and many tears that we said goodbye to her. Her body tried to go out on it's own and the doctor reacted quickly. Rather than have her panic and gasping for air while her heart tried to quit, we were able to get her to lay down calmly...  I have seen that when the vet uses an injection it can take up to 3 minutes. Doodle let the injection take her in less than 30 seconds. 

She was tired and in pain and her little body couldn't do it anymore. I think she held on as long as she could for us.

She was the only constant in my life for the last 13 years and I miss her like crazy. Her urn is now home and I say hello to her every time I pass her--right on the dresser, near the bottom of our bed--her favorite spot to sleep.

Rest in Peace, little fuzzball. Mom will take care of you now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A Late Update--but an update regardless.

 This Update:

So the dog is doing better and I am doing worse…  Sinus Infection on top of allergies. Fun times. Finally got some antibiotics from the VA. Day 1 of that was yesterday. 

Thursday, Stef and I celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary--by jumping out of a plane! Will let everyone know how that goes later this week. :D

Archives was released as was Fire and now Stadium Club. My LCS has Archives and Stadium Club, but retail anything has been MIA for a while. My wife did track down some Fire eventually. It’s probably my favorite Fire set to date.

Card Updates:

I will get a total number of cards added and places added later today.

Sets that were completed: 2 (1992 Topps Kids and 1978 Topps)


Normally I will post pics of some of the great cards I have received since the last update. This time, I want to specifically highlight one set and a few people who fought to make it happen.

I was born in 1977. The first card I ever received was a 1984 Topps Rick Cerone. So, obviously, my targets for collecting should be 1984 or 1977, both of which I have a decent chunk. (I think I’m closer to 77.) But, sometimes, things work differently.

As it happened, through trades and some good fortune on Letgo, I wound up within a few cards of 1978 Topps. So, I reached out to the community on Twitter. The response was swift and overwhelming. Within a week, I was suddenly one base card and an error away. While that error (which isn’t recognized by Beckett) is still out there, the last base card, a variation itself (the “a” variation), was found by someone who already had done so much to help this set.

A massive thank you to the following, who have all been involved at some point:

@andyt813 @tapintomac @delspacefranco @lsucks @jcouvy @MikeCordaro1 @JennyMiller521, all of the people on TCDB who traded 78’s with me and anyone I forgot on here. (My memory is not what it used to be.)

A special shout out to @ngtcollectibles (for facilitating the Sunday giveaway that finally shut the door on the set)

And finally, to @NamathSeaver—an extra large thank you. Not only did you send cards to help, but you found the last card and made it your mission to finish this set by Labor Day. Wills error or not, mission accomplished. Thank you, my friend!

This set is a testament to the hobby as a family coming together to finish a set. I will always know that 1978 Topps was built by the community and will always be thankful for that.


I’ve said before that half of the fun of the hobby is the new people and friends I make. This is extremely true in the case of the Card_Buzz (@Card_Buzz).  

On my top 2 list of hobby people I need to have a beer with, he has been an ear for hobby advice, a friend in life and one of the nicest people on Twitter. As a fellow Mattingly collector, we have traded cards back and forth while I continue to buy cards from him. He has also worked with me financially to ensure that I don’t lose out on cards I need for specific sets. (An earned trust, I ensure you.)

Just an overall good guy who is crazy good at packing cards. One day, we will break open a box while breaking open a beer.



Thursday, August 13, 2020

Flippers, Generosity and Artwork you didn't know you needed! (Oh my!)

 This week:

This past week has been hectic to say the least. Between work and some medical information about my dog, it was a rough one. I did get a four-day weekend though. Friday was Chrome day, Saturday and Sunday saw the landlord out working on the exterior of the house and Monday I sorted cards all day and tried to catch up on stuff for my MFA program.

Doodle aka Kenzie aka the dog, has cancer and Addison’s disease. The upside is that she’s not showing any signs of discomfort or pain. Still acting normal and still food centric. We are watching and doing what we can to keep it that way. Still, it’s hard to put that thought out of your mind that these things are hiding there just waiting…  Trying to stay positive and hope for a few more years.

With all of this in mind, if I owe you a trade or some info or money, be patient…  I’m getting there.

Card Updates:

The total number of cards added since last update: 4,107 added to the collection in TCDB.

Total number of New Cities, States and Countries: 7 new cities. 1 new state.

Sets that were completed: 0 (That I know of. Haven’t cataloged everything yet.)


I could detail every highlight, but if you check my Twitter, you will see these there. With that said, some pics… I will say I finally got the unedited Billy Ripken and a 1951 Bowman Yogi Berra.

Thank you’s to @DubMentality, @CardsRyans, @Raiderjoe_FO, @gypsyoak, @tapintomac, @lcbarnett21, @Allstarsports09, @lsucks, @WarrenRary, @Card_Buzz, @CardsFromAttic, @joebell1786 for the trades and sales; to the random people on Mercari and eBay; and to my wife, Stef for supporting my hobby!







Flip life—the “art” of buying a hot product just to flip it on the secondary market to supplement or even replace one’s income.

There are many thoughts on the “flipper” in the hobby. Should it be a thing? Does it hurt the hobby? Are the dudes scavenging your local Target all horrible?

The answer (in my humble opinion) is both Yes and No…

The upside: Flipping during the pandemic has increased awareness of the hobby which many could argue was still a dying art form. The flippers are making products available to people who don’t usually get them by posting them on eBay, Mercari, etc. Some of the flippers are long time collectors who are using this to help buy things they need in their own collections.

The downside: Retail has become scarce. For people like me who can’t always afford Hobby, retail is an easy way to get a set going. The lack of retail is excruciating. When a product like Bowman comes out and I can count on no hands how many boxes I’ve seen, then we have an issue. I have also heard that vendors have had to stop putting products out to keep “adults” from fighting over it. Some stores have limited the amount of cards you can buy in one shot to prevent the shelves from emptying as soon as they are stocked. This only works so well. And then there are the people who follow, befriend or pay off vendors.

The Verdict: Am I against the art of flipping? No. If you can make some extra money in these trying times, then why not do it? Do I think the clearing of shelves hurts the hobbyist who has been at this for 30+ years? It does.

There is no easy answer here except to remember what my father said. “There are two types of people in this world—human beings and assholes. Don’t be the latter.”

Oh, and if you’re an LCS that buys up all the local retail and then prices it up to profit, then you’re part of the problem… Leave retail alone—at least during the year it comes out.

Please note: this is not me crying over not getting any Bowman. I have reached out to the amazing hobby community and been more than hooked up. I just think we need to relook at how bad we are killing the community by taking out the most affordable source of cards…  Your short term profit shouldn’t ruin the hobby forever. Moderation. Buy a bunch. Make your money. Remember the rest of us that have been doing this for decades.

And quit searching, weighing, etc. If you do that, you’re just the asshole my dad was talking about.


If you don’t know about Heavy J (@HeavyJ28 on Twitter. www.heavyjstudios.com), then you need to check him out. There are quite a few artists out there taking scissors to cards and making something new, but most don’t having the pricing system Jason does. Forget price per card or shipping—let’s talk donations. That’s right! All cards are priced as a donation to a charity. For instance, Don Mattingly would cost a donation to the Mattingly Charities and so on.

Did I also mention that he’s just an all-around good guy? That man was going to work on a card when I inquired about a spare and he wound up sending me the original because I needed it for my collection! He also sent me a Mattingly (see below) as a thank you for my service. (I did donate anyway. This way everyone wins.)

Check out his website and follow him on twitter. Super nice guy and one hell of a card artist.


1)Dr. Levy aka @DrHowardLevy1 is one of the nicest and most generous people I have ever come across in my 36 years of collecting. I met him through @ngtcollectibles Sunday giveaway thread on Twitter. We had talked about Don Mattingly, the military and collecting in general. He offered to send me some Mattingly cards and some other Yankees. (Note that the good doctor is a Phillies fan and detests the Yankees.)

To say that most of my Yankees autograph and relic collection comes from Dr. Levy would be an understatement. He directly elevated the collection. He added more Mattingly relics than I’ve ever seen, a Mattingly autograph, and some legends that I never thought I would own a relic or auto from. (DiMaggio, Maris, Mantle, Ford, Berra, Jackson, Munson, etc.) My mind is blown every time I look at the collection. He also helped fill most of my 75 Topps set. (About ½ done now.)

I tried once to send him something in return and he told me he was just happy to have the Yankees out of his house and into a fan’s hands that isn’t trying to sell them. And he’s right. They will never be sold.

I don’t know what I did to deserve Dr. Levy being in my life but I am grateful and humble. I see him as an example. Every time he sends another package, I try harder to emulate him and help other collectors in any way I can. In many ways, he has changed my life and my attitude as a collector. I also feel fortunate to call him my friend.

I say this often when it comes to him, but I want to say it again… Thank you for everything, sir!

2)JD aka @focustheframe is the other brother from another mother I didn’t realize I had. (We will talk about @Card_Buzz next post.) It started with a trade via @ngtcollectibles (That guys is everywhere and we will talk about him in the future.). What has happened since is legendary.

JD and I don’t “trade” anymore. Now, we search each other’s TCDB profiles and just send stuff when we can. It’s like a rotational trade that never stops. But, that’s just the beginning. We have favorite beers, mowing preferences and life views in common. It was like meeting a long-lost brother.

I feel like I have made a life-long friend and hope that one day we can crack open a six-pack while ripping the newest hobby boxes that we bought while our wives stare at us and shake their heads. (Truthfully, my wife opens cards with me, but I’m sure after a few beers, we would be left to open by ourselves.)


So that’s it for this lengthy and delayed post. Hope to keep this more weekly.

Stay safe.



Wednesday, August 5, 2020

A Format for the Future

Thinking about locking in a format for every Sunday’s update. This is basically what I have in mind.


Card Updates:

This section would be:

The total number of cards added by sport

Total number of New Cities, States and Countries

Sets that were completed.


This would be a recap like the last post with the highlights from the week. I will try to include photos and credit to those who provided them.


Here is where I want to tackle the hobby as a whole. Thoughts on flipping, pack searching, vintage vs junk wax vs new school, Rookies, market prices, price gouging, etc. I also want to look how the hobby helps people. Giveaways, PIFs, RAKs, friendships, etc.


Here I want to look at who is making a difference. I would talk about people like Jason from Heavy J Studios and how his cards are all made for charity and events like the NGT Collectibles giveaway thread every Sunday. I also want to talk about the artists on twitter whose work needs more attention.


Lastly, I would like to give thanks to people who have made a difference in my collecting. I could name 5 right now who have impacted not only my collection but also my life.


So, this is just an idea post. Curious for some feedback on either here or twitter. @chapter37



Sunday, August 2, 2020

The First Update...

This week was a brutal one at work. Boss on vacation and me doing two jobs. I'm still exhausted.

This week in cards:

So, this week has seen some nice adds to the collection. Some highlights include:

-Topps Now - Turn Back the Clock - Don Mattingly

-A thirft store find from my friend Brandi. (15 and 16 Topps Update and base as well as some other sets. A few nice rookies and some gaps filled in 2015 Topps so far. Still working through them.)

-My wife hooked up the first Optic blasters, some Absolute, a Topps Series 2 blaster and the Aquino Topps Big League blaster. (Just need Harper now.) Pulled the Luis Robert Medallion, a Robert Absolute insert and Turkey Red Chrome Blue Griffey #'d 01/50. 

-An awesome array of Yankees and Diamond Kings that I needed from a new friend, Brant.

-And the ultimate highlight--26 Yankees relics from Dr. Levy! This includes 7 Mattinglys, Ford, Berra, Elston Howard and Roger Maris! Every time I think that man has outdone himself, he sends another package that blows my mind. He is the ultimate pinnacle of generosity and inspires me to help others in the hobby.

Generosity and completing sets--some of the reasons I collect:

I am a set collector above anything else. For me, completing a set is the primary reason why I am in the hobby. Add to this the excitement of an amazing pull and well, I'm a happy guy! 

But there's more to it. I like seeing other people finish their sets too. This is especially true of other set collectors. Anytime I can help someone find that one last card, I feel good on the inside and know that they are feeling good too. One more down.

I also enjoy being to share the wealth. For instance, someone collects a player and I have a ton of duplicates of that player, why not send them to someone who will love them? Maybe it will be a trade but likely I will just send them. 

People like Dr. Levy and Tony Bianchini have been amazingly generous when it comes to my collection. This is also true of my friends JD, Grant, Bob and Scott. I have even had sellers help me by working with me on pricing to get me what I need and stay within my budget. With all of these people doing nice things for me, I like to stick to the spirit of what the @NGTCollectibles giveaway thread is all about. Need one card to finish a set? Ask me. If I have it, I will send it. (Of course, if that's an $80 RC, I may ask for a trade, but we will see...)

That's what's great about this hobby. Outside of the flippers, the price jackers and jackasses, their are a lot of nice people.


The other aspect of the hobby that I really enjoy is the sorting. The tedious work of cataloging and sorting cards is calming--soothing almost. As any Combat Vet will tell you, anything that helps to calm down the noise is a good thing. This is what the hobby does for me. It calms my brain when the noise gets to be too much. I have told my wife on multiple occasions that tonight is a sorting night and she understands. This hobby has become as much of a tool to combat PTSD as it has a hobby.

Something we do together:

Another great thing is that my wife and I do this together. Remember that collection we bought? She has been sorting by brand and prepping for me to absorb them into the sets. We also open packs together. (I swear she pulls all of the good cards...  Although, I pulled both the Alvarez and Tatis autos.) We enjoy spending the time together and she has really gotten the years, brands and names down. She is probably more well versed on baseball cards than half of the sellers on Twitter and eBay.  

This hobby has been something that the two of us have really taken on and it's nice to share that with person you love.


I think I time goes on, I will talk about sets and players and some of the great errors, etc. I want to try to make this personal and relatable. So, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into why I collect.

Stay Safe,

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Beginning. (Which is actually the middle.)

I guess I should start by telling everyone how I got to this point. I don't mean a recap of the bio page, I mean what prompted this blog. My cards were getting--well, out of control. I had diligently cataloged everything in Trading Card Database and kept that updated on my personal spreadsheet. Then, the numbers didn't match and I didn't know why.

In an effort to organize my ever growing card collection, I decided to go through every set in both Trading Card Database and my massive spreadsheet to see why they don't match numbers wise.

Right as I was going to start this (about a month ago), my wife found a deal on Craigslist. A guy was selling his collection. $300 for more than 120,000 cards. We drove up to Bellingham, WA and found a guy a lot like me. (Combat Vet, named Joe, collector, health issues, etc.) He was looking to go RV'ing and 120,000 cards wasn't gonna be able to go with him. So, we got everything card wise and then he threw in some extras. I got a new Griffey model Rawlings glove and a bunch of autographed photos, including Warren Spahn, Vida Blue and Duke Snider. I was beside myself and he was happy another collector had found him and not a flipper...

So we brought the haul home. (In a future post, I will share some pics of the highlights.) Combining this with my already growing collection put me at just over half a million cards at last estimate. Of which, only about 1/5 is cataloged and accounted for.

What I am finding as I do this is that I am sooooo close to so many sets and have a ton of doubles to trade. Thus, the blog along with Twitter and TCDB.com are going to be critical to finishing these sets.

Each day, I am slowly cataloging the sets and the doubles so that I can have an accurate idea where I stand in the mess.  Right now, I have roughly 15% of what I aim to collect. By the time I sort through all of the other Joe's cards and absorb them into mine, I'm hoping that's closer to 25%--which means there is still work to do.

The plan is to post a weekly rundown of the highlights that I have added and maybe a tracker of the places I've traded with. I will also add photos and keep the counter and close sets pages updated as I go.

I hope as I talk about this stuff that others will see why this hobby and the community are so amazing.

Maybe I can even get some of the people I know Twitter to do an interview or something? We will see where this goes.

So, that's why I'm here. Finish sets and help others do the same.

I hope everyone is staying safe out there!