Friday, December 30, 2022

An Update and What's coming up...

So, I've spent the last week or so prepping for Christmas and organizing. I learned two valuable lessons in this. 1 - You can never prep too early for Christmas. 2 - I need to organize more.

It's with this in mind, that I have come up with my Hobby Goals for 2023. These are not resolution because my health likes to interrupt things so they are more of achievable ideas. Part of this is a plan and part is a restructuring of my collection and this very blog. I want to be more active on here and in getting some of the thousands of doubles to people who need them. Active trading and many, many RAK's are coming. 

This is a breakdown of what's going to be ahead for the New Year:

  • Restructure the Blog - This means writing each post as an installment of what I will be calling "Organizing a Million Cards" or OAMC. Each post will be numbered. Ex. - OAMC #1 should come up around January 2nd. Anything that gets posted that isn't about the collection or organizing this many cards will not be labelled as such. This is as much for me as for anyone who actually reads these ramblings...
  • Organizing - My card room is a mess. In order to fix this I need ground rules for myself.
    • When cataloging cards, they either need to be put away immediately or put in a two row box IN ORDER which will be put away when full. This will avoid what is happening right now. (Thousands of cataloged cards needing to be put away causing a shift in the collection.)
    • Cards logged need to be in order. This avoids headaches when I put them away.
    • Doubles need to be logged and traded or RAK'd. I have way too many.
  • The path to the cards on the racks in the room can never be blocked again.
  • Beckets will eventually have a checklist on the blog.
  • Maybe start doing giveaways...
  • Finish at least 10 sets not including new Flagship Topps. (New Flagship Topps is generally done per 1 Jumbo box each S1, S2, and Update.)
    • Will post a list of the 10 main targets. 1993 Select, 1979 Topps and 1981 Topps all come to mind.
  • Get Project Score to at least 90%. (See earlier posts.)
  • Possibly add GI Joe Comics list to the Blog...  Maybe...  That's a whole different rabbit hole.
I have many things that likely need to be added to this, but this is a good start. I hope to make good progress on this in the near future.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Holidays! Time to start it all over again...

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The People in this Hobby Amaze Me

On Sunday, Nathan @ngtcollectibles had his Sunday Twitter Giveaway thread as he usually does. This particular Sunday, I made a new friend who I hope to trade with for years to come, @jlebeck66 or Jason if you prefer. Jason had one of the two missing cards to my 1983 Topps set--the Yaz Super Veteran. 

By the time we hashed out the details, I had his needs list for 83 as well and am already working on helping, because that's what the Hobby is all about--Collectors helping each other achieve goals. In this case, it's especially close to my heart--set collecting.

But, this left one. Ripken. The 2nd year card of the HOFer. A card that ranges from $5-25 on eBay. I had a bid in on one with 30 seconds left. We were at a whopping $2.25 shipped. Money is tight. This was doable. Then I got sniped. Sadness.

Another new Twitter friend offered one for a good price, but by the end of that day, finances were even worse off. I had to hold off. He was willing to hold it for me, which I appreciated.

Then came the most epic Tweet of the day...  @gnarlycore said he likely had one. He did. When I asked what he wanted, he said "nothing"...  I know we have known each other on Twitter for a while, (Mostly under my other account.) but the generosity of the group of Hobby enthusiasts I know on twitter is unparalleled. 

This is not the first time this group, which includes more names than I mention here, has come through on a set. They have helped finish 1978 and 1984 Topps. They will likely band together when I mention I need 14 cards to finish 1979. This is just who these people are. They are giving. 

As I heal, I am trying to give back. Whether it's to them specifically or to others in their spirit, I am trying to pay it forward when I can either on Twitter or on TCDB. I have over a million cards and want to share the joy.

So, just remember, for every hateful and money grubbing waste of hobby space in our beloved Hobby, there are whole groups of fantastic people who give freely and trade willing to make people smile and because they can. No other reason.

Truly a great Christmas present to put another set to rest. Thank you to all involved and all who have helped in the past. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

We'll Be OK

Not gonna lie, Monday was rough after the high I was riding from Sunday. SGT Slaughter, my teams winning... Everything was good. Then Monday. Then the financial crisis that made Christmas more difficult. That put a damper on things.

Stef and I discussed plans and options and came up with scenarios. We still blame my former employer for this mess. 

Cards for the end of this year and most of 2023 were about to be limited or non-existent.

However, sometimes, things are a blessing in disguise. This made me check into something else which may not only fix the issue but set us up for future goals. (That and the karma that is heading towards my former employer.) 

I'm being vague for a reason. A lot has happened in recent months and with all being that it is, I don't want to say something that could ruin what is happening to right a very wrong Wrong.

The good thing is, we'll be okay. Bills are being paid, food is on the table and we are not going to be homeless. Things are just tight. It's an uncomfortable feeling when you can't really do anything outside of live, but sometimes that's what happens and then the ship rights itself and you go buy a bunch of cards... 

In the meantime, I have millions of cards to organize and tons of trades to make. So, no worries here. 

Might be a good thing to take a break from new stuff for a little bit. Organization....

Or things will be fine and by the end of the month I will rip 3 new Hobby boxes...  

We will see.


Monday, December 19, 2022

A Multi-Hobby Presence in My Life Says Hi


It's 1987. Hasbro's GI Joe is the second most important thing in my young life next to cards. GI Joe drops a full-length movie staring Don Johnson, Burgess Meredith and the Iconic SGT Slaughter. I spend hours warping the VHS tape. 

I had just about every figure in the movie. When I was a little older I traded them to a friend for Baseball Cards. (Still hurts.) 

(Years later, I sold a bunch of my cards at a garage sale. I use the I loosely as it was the housemates I lived with that saw the profits. Stef and I have rebuilt the empire since 2018.)

One amazing thing about the GI Joe movie (Which I won own on DVD and VHS now.) is that it included the WWE Hall of Famer SGT Slaughter. SGT Slaughter was first introduced to me via the WWF with Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior and Andre the Giant and JYD and Rowdy Roddy Piper and the Slim Jim Guy... But SGT Slaughter became bigger in my life when he was in that movie and I not only owned his wrestling card, but also his action figure.

Fast Forward:

I'm 45 now. Nostalgia is a big thing. Our icons sometimes do things to say hi that make our days better. Dee Snider and Wade Boggs have like my Tweets. Fergie Jenkins replied to me. 

SGT Slaughter followed me back and then thanked me for my service! This is huge. GI Joe (the shirt I was wearing yesterday) was a big reason I was obsessed with the military. It was part of the fascination that sent me to the Army when I was 20. To have a man that I idolized acknowledge that service and come from that GI Joe background is monumental. 

To say that it made my Sunday would be an understatement.

The Rangers, Knicks and Giants winnings also helped.  And the wife making Caramel Corn.

But the highlight--SGT Slaughter exchanged words with me and is watching, ever vigilant. 

Thank you again, sir. I cannot tell you in real words what this means. I hope to one day meet you.


PS - At Ease, Disease!

Saturday, December 17, 2022

A Milestone Achievement in Logging

Today I logged double number 10,000 on TCDB. This is not the first time this but this time is significant because it's an actually accurate. The first two or three times I did this whole logging my collection thing I had significantly less cards and my numbers didn't always match from my super-spiffy spreadsheet to TCDB. Now, everything is in sync.

This milestone is big for me because there are over a million cards in the house. The milestone is big because last week there were only 2,500 doubles logged. The milestone is huge because I was barely making progress before my new meds.

Overall, 238,771 cards have made it into the logs. This is spread between my main collection, the 1991 Topps Glow Backs, For Sale/Trade (doubles), and the Mattingly doubles--because he gets his own doubles list and they are not for trade.

I reset TCDB on 11-2-2021. It's 12-17-2022. So, it's taken a little over a year to get to this point. I would say that doesn't bode well for the other 700-900,000 cards I own, but I am picking up speed with my health getting somewhat better and my wife organizing doubles when she has time. This process takes time and I try to knock out a few hundred or more each day, so the idea of having everything logged is not a far fetched idea. Doing it sooner than later...  That may be different.

Still, like our jobs, we plug away at the tedious. Although, I enjoy this tedium. It is soothing to me. I find solace in it. It calms me. 

Here's to the next 10,000 doubles... and the next...  and the next...


Friday, December 16, 2022

Find an LCS that Looks at You the Way You Look at That Burger

I have been to many an LCS in my 38 years of collecting. Some knew my name. Some knew my family. Some knew how to get more money out of us. Some probably thought I was a joke and humored me as a kid in the early 90's.

At 45, I look for something different in an LCS. It's not always about the prices of their hobby boxes or the their singles or even the amount of cards they have, but the level of service they provide. Depending on what it is I want, I technically have two that I go to, but only one that sees me on a consistent basis. 

One is a shop in North Seattle that we only go to because they have a huge selection of older hobby boxes for reasonable prices. The other is my favorite.

My local LCS is about 20 minutes away. It's called Who's On First? The owner is an amazing man named Deven. Deven grew up collecting Mattingly, much like me. Deven has known my wife and I since 2018. He knows us so well, that he tolerates me sitting to the side with all of the new hobby boxes for a particular product while I wait for my wife to pick one out from a pic while she's at work. This has been our way for years. The wife picks the gems. He also will hold boxes if money is tight--like right now. It's Christmas. Everyone is having money issues. 21-22 SP Game Used Hockey and 22 Topps Chrome Update Hobby just dropped. Can't afford either but will have one of each waiting for me after Christmas. 

We spend quite a bit there and he sees my wife at her job (the Post Office) so he knows we will come through when funds clear up. The thing is most LCS owners aren't willing to do this for people. But I have seen him do other amazing things as well. He is a true pillar in the community--even helping out some of the less fortunate souls around the shop. 

The simple fact that he offered to hold boxes for us meant a lot. Especially right now. 

If your local LCS is just a place you visit because it's close and they treat you like dirt--find a better LCS. 

Find an LCS that looks at you the way you look at that burger you got from your local fast food place. 

You deserve it.


Thursday, December 15, 2022

Headaches and Redoing the Card Room--A Lesson in Health Care...

Yesterday wasn't exactly a great day for me. Some of the things I wrote about on Tuesday came back to haunt me and did so on my Parents 47th anniversary--which is not an easy day anyway considering my mother is no longer with us. So...

I did what any 45-year-old with PTSD would do...

I reorganized the card room while blasting Peal Jam.

To give this context, I have back issues and was a Grunge kid in High School. So moving 5K boxes around and listening to my favorite band when I was 16 is a dangerous combo. Stef told me not to overdo it...  Which is exactly what I did.

The upside is I can get to the boxes I need to get to so I can put cards in their rightful places--in order in their respective sets. Also, I have a separation now of doubles vs. unsorted cards that I need to check against my collection. So that is good.

The downside is I am sore. I also woke up with a nasty Headache. This is a result of whatever illness has been plaguing my life for the last two years. Overdoing it and stress generally lead to these headaches, which make doing other things difficult. 

My awesome wife responded yesterday by ordering Chinese food and finding two Holiday Megas, a Bowman Chrome Mega and a Blaster of Ginter. We finished the Holiday base set last night. (Only the 2nd Holiday set we have completed of the 7 they have released.) Then we watched Community and laughed. It was a nice way to fix a a broken day. 

Today, I am kinda cranky due to the headache, but we have leftovers and I did some grocery shopping so Stef can make Caramel Corn. I hope I did okay with that. She's working crazy hours and I want to help how I can. Sometimes it feels like it's not enough and then my body betrays me and makes it worse. It can be difficult, but then I sort some cards and calm down and by the end of the night, I realize everything is okay and she still loves me even if I am broken and awkward and a little off.

Maybe a lot off...

Here's to hoping the headache goes away--which leads to our moral... Take care of yourselves. Cards are great therapy, but don't ignore your health. Some days you just gotta rest. 

That's how you get to be there for the other days.


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Everyone has a Reason...

It occurs to me that people collect for different reasons. Some are in it for the chase and the profit of the big hit. Some are in for team pride. Some are in it because set building is an art form. Some just do it because they love it.

Then there is me. I'm not here to profit. I don't chase hits. I don't flip cards. My teams are important but the rest of sports history is important too. The next Aaron Judge card is just as important as the missing 93 Select Julio Valera. A new Mattingly is gold but is as treasured as a card I didn't have from an obscure insert set from 95 Pacific. Building sets to me is an art form, but isn't the only reason I do it. There is also and inherent love for the cards and something much deeper that I don't often talk about that goes back to when I was 7.

In 1984, my Uncle Ray bought me my first Cello pack of 1984 Topps cards for my birthday. The top card was Yankees catcher Rick Cerone. This began a lifelong obsession with the cardboard gold. Something about putting the cards in order soothed me. It was a cathartic experience even when I was young, which was good--life wasn't exactly easy as a kid. 

My parents were good people. They fought a lot. They drank a bit. We lived in Brooklyn. People got shot outside of my house. It was the 80's and early 90's in New York. Gangs and the Mafia were still a thing. Relatives died due to not taking care of themselves. My Grandfather passed away at 58--when I was 9. 

By the time I was 12, I had amassed an army of cards to sort and help me cope with whatever was happening in life. It became my refuge. When things were bad, I sorted cards. When things went wrong, I sorted cards. Parents having and argument and drinking a bit--cards.

Fast forward. 

1997. I joined the Army. Card collecting became sporadic until 2001. Then again until I was medically retired in 2012. And again until I met Stef and we moved out of a bad situation and on our own in 2017. During my time in the Army, I did 4 combat tours. 3 in Iraq, 1 in Afghanistan. I lost many friends. I went through two divorces. After, my body broke down and then my mother passed away.

In 2018, Stef and I went to a Mariners game. We bought a blaster of 2018 Topps. We pulled a Kris Bryant Manufactured Patch Card and my passion for cards was ignited--and not a moment too soon.

As much as therapy and medication help with PTSD for whatever events happen in a persons life, sometimes having a fallback option to calm yourself is critical. Sorting cards has always been my therapy. It just took me until my 40's to figure that out. Now, it is a tool as much as it is a love. I can sort doubles and calm the demons all at once. The best part is that Stef joins me in sorting cards and in opening new products. We are in this together.

I own over a million cards. Every single card that gets added to my growing collection that I didn't own before is one step closer to finish a set or a goal. These goals make the PTSD manageable. Every card I already own, becomes a card I can trade or gift to someone who needs or wants it. Like I said on Twitter yesterday, we pass the legacies on.

If you have your reasons for collecting as it's all about profits, then I applaud you for doing what makes you happy. I do believe it is a bit hollow, but if you enjoy it--then cheers. The rest of us will continue to value our collections but what they mean to us and how they help us through each day.

Cardboard therapy is very real.


Monday, December 12, 2022

I Bought a Collection Not Too Long Ago

I bought a collection from my LCS not long ago. A friend of the owner's had passed away and the owner was charged with selling the collection via the friend's mother. Part of this went eBay, part to people he knew would buy certain things, and the bulk...  Went to me. 

I like bulk collections because you never know what's in there. 

So, the wife and I sorted the cards. We kept all of the baseball and hockey. We kept football and basketball prior to 1996 and any PC items. (Shaq, Ewing, Curry, Manning Bros, Bradshaw, etc.) We also kept some of the big name guys for me to put up on TCDB for trades--names like Brady and LeBron. Some special teams went to friends and some special sports like wrestling went to other friends. What we didn't collect eventually went back to the LCS. 

Out of 64 boxes, only 18 returned. 

What I did inherit was a lot of Bowman, Bowman Draft, Pro Debut, Heritage Minors, Elite Extra Edition, etc. The man was a big prospector. What this meant for me was making massive dents in sets that I barely have anything for. But this also did something for my doubles...

Every night, the wife and I watch Dr. Who while we organize doubles so I can log them in TCDB. This morning I logged some 2020 Bowman Draft. From barely owning any cards from that set, I now have 10-12 of most and 2-3 of each chrome. This is amazing as far as trading is concerned since people love 1st Bowman cards. 

The crazy part is--it's going to be like this from 2015-2021...  When I'm done I will have a veritable army of Bowman to trade. 

Buying collections can be an amazing thing. I was sorry to hear about the owner's friend. I don't know if I ever got to meet him, but if he can hear me typing this--thanks, Mike. Your cards are making another collector very happy. I hope you collecting legacy lives on through me and the people who are made happy as I spread it through the hobby. Rest easy.


Friday, December 9, 2022

Focal Points when amassing a Large Collection

When you own over a million cards and have large goals as far as completing sets, sometimes it's good to focus on a chunk of that collection to knock out just to make sense of everything. Today, I found that chunk.


From 1988-1998 Score produced a base set. Some had inserts, parallels, box bottom cards, box sets, etc. My goal is to finish these sets and I already have a massive head start. I did the math and figured based on my criteria (1 parallel example per series, all inserts, box sets, etc.) that there are 11,507 cards made between 1988 and 1998 that can be included for this Project. Luckily, most are easily attainable and I already own 7,525 (65%) of them. That leaves 3,982 cards to find. 

Most are probably in the card room somewhere, but the call for help will ring out at some point. 

Below is a breakdown of what is being collected. I plan to update this from time to time.

1988Score Samples0660.00%
1988Score Errors & Variations0880.00%
1988Score Glossy0110.00%
1988Score Box Cards1624866.67%
1988Score Great Moments in History30562653.57%
1988Score Young Superstars I8403220.00%
1988Score Young Superstars II040400.00%
1988Score Rookie/Traded671104360.91%
1988Score Rookie/Traded Glossy0110.00%
1989Score Errors & Variations67185.71%
1989Score A Year to Remember356535.36%
1989Score Young Superstars I342397.14%
1989Score Young Superstars II142412.38%
1989Score Rookie/Traded1101100100.00%
1989Score Hottest 100 Rookies561004456.00%
1989Score Hottest 100 Rookies A Rookie to Remember0660.00%
1989Score Hottest 100 Stars621003862.00%
1989Score Hottest 100 Stars A Rookie to Remember0660.00%
1990Score Errors & Variations1618288.89%
1990Score MVP's43561376.79%
1990Score Rookie Dream Team210820.00%
1990Score Young Superstars I20422247.62%
1990Score Young Superstars II042420.00%
1990Score Rookie/Traded511105946.36%
1990Score Rookie/Traded Variation0110.00%
1990Score 100 Superstars151008515.00%
1990Score McDonald's025250.00%
1990Score Rising Stars321006832.00%
1991Score Errors & Variations34175.00%
1991Score World Series Trivia5356394.64%
1991Score World Series Trivia Q&A016160.00%
1991Score Cooperstown0770.00%
1991Score Hot Rookies610460.00%
1991Score Mantle17614.29%
1991Score Rookie/Traded51101054.55%
1991Score Rookie/Traded World Series Trivia II056560.00%
1991Score All-Star FanFest011110.00%
1991Score 100 Rising Stars2100982.00%
1991Score 100 Superstars171008317.00%
1991Score Rookies040400.00%
1991Score Ryan Life and Times0440.00%
1992Score Samples0660.00%
1992Score Errors & Variations36481275.00%
1992Score DiMaggio0550.00%
1992Score Factory Inserts017170.00%
1992Score Factory Inserts Variations0660.00%
1992Score Franchise0440.00%
1992Score Hot Rookies210820.00%
1992Score Impact Players90900100.00%
1992Score Rookie/Traded01101100.00%
1992Score 100 Rising Stars1001000100.00%
1992Score 100 Superstars1001000100.00%
1992Score Proctor & Gamble18180100.00%
1992Score Rookies140392.50%
1993Score Boys of Summer030300.00%
1993Score Franchise028280.00%
1993Score Gold Dream Team412833.33%
1993Select Stat Leaders8190990.00%
1993Score Proctor & Gamble010100.00%
1994Score Samples019190.00%
1994Score S12573307377.88%
1994Score S218833014256.97%
1994Score Gold Rush S129290100.00%
1994Score Gold Rush S223230100.00%
1994Score Boys of Summer S1030300.00%
1994Score Boys of Summer S2030300.00%
1994Score Cycle020200.00%
1994Score Dream Team010100.00%
1994Score Gold Stars NL030300.00%
1994Score Gold Stars AL030300.00%
1994Score Rookie/Traded Samples012120.00%
1994Score Rookie/Traded881657753.33%
1994Score Rookie/Traded Gold Rush18180100.00%
1994Score Rookie/Traded Changing Places010100.00%
1994Score Rookie/Traded Super Rookies018180.00%
1995Score Samples011110.00%
1995Score S13193301196.67%
1995Score S216827510761.09%
1995Score Gold Rush S135350100.00%
1995Score Gold Rush S227270100.00%
1995Score Platinum Team Sets S10110.00%
1995Score Platinum Team Sets S20110.00%
1995Score You Trade 'Em011110.00%
1995Score Airmail018180.00%
1995Score Contest Redemptions0220.00%
1995Score Double Gold Champions012120.00%
1995Score Draft Picks018180.00%
1995Score Dream Team012120.00%
1995Score Hall of Gold S1255533.64%
1995Score Hall of Gold S2255533.64%
1995Score Hall of Gold Trade 'Em0550.00%
1995Score Rookie Dream Team012120.00%
1995Score Rules030300.00%
1995Score Rules Jumbo030300.00%
1996Score Samples016160.00%
1996Score S12042757174.18%
1996Score S21462429660.33%
1996Score Ripken SP0110.00%
1996Score All-Stars020200.00%
1996Score Big Bats020200.00%
1996Score Diamond Aces030300.00%
1996Score Dream Team0990.00%
1996Score Dugout Collection S151101054.55%
1996Score Dugout Collection S211101090.91%
1996Score Dugout Collection Artist's Proofs S10110.00%
1996Score Dugout Collection Artist's Proofs S20110.00%
1996Score Future Franchise016160.00%
1996Score Gold Stars030300.00%
1996Score Numbers Game030300.00%
1996Score Power Pace018180.00%
1996Score Reflextions020200.00%
1996Score Titanic Taters018180.00%
1997Score S117433015652.73%
1997Score S25322116823.98%
1997Score Artist's Proofs White Border0110.00%
1997Score Hobby Reserve S239390100.00%
1997Score Showcase Series110100.00%
1997Score Showcase Series Artist's Proofs0110.00%
1997Score All-Star FanFest020200.00%
1997Score Blast Masters018180.00%
1997Score Franchise0990.00%
1997Score Franchise Glowing0110.00%
1997Score Heart of the Order036360.00%
1997Score Highlight Zone018180.00%
1997Score Pitcher Perfect015150.00%
1997Score Stand and Deliver024240.00%
1997Score Stellar Season 018180.00%
1997Score Titanic Taters018180.00%
1997Score Andruw Jones Blister Pack Special0110.00%
1997Score Jumbos010100.00%
1998Score Showcase Series220100.00%
1998Score Showcase Series (No PP#)0110.00%
1998Score Showcase Series Artist's Proofs0110.00%
1998Score All-Score Team020200.00%
1998Score All-Score Team Gold Jones Autograph0110.00%
1998Score Complete Players4302613.33%
1998Score Complete Players Gold0110.00%
1998Score First Pitch020200.00%
1998Score Andruw Jones Icon Order Card0110.00%
1998Score Loaded Lineup010100.00%
1998Score New Season 015150.00%
1998Score Rookie/Traded6127020922.59%
1998Score Rookie/Traded Konerko Autograph0110.00%
1998Score Rookie/Traded Showcase Series110100.00%
1998Score Rookie/Traded Showcase Series Artist's Proofs0110.00%
1998Score Rookie/Traded Complete Players Samples0440.00%
1998Score Rookie/Traded Complete Players030300.00%
1998Score Rookie/Traded Star Gazing020200.00%