Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Edition

Non-Wallach Mailings

I've started to take part in a few more trades for set needs and just Wallach cards.  Below are two envelopes I've received recently that didn't include a single Wallach card.  

These eighteen 1977 Topps were sent by Mark of Memphis, TN.  Mark reached out over Twitter, which loathe as I am to admit it, I'm actually starting use Twitter quite a bit.  I still think it's mostly a hangout for bigots and morons, but there's also some decent stuff and people to be found.  These '77 are a little worn from the years and all the stops between their original wax and my binder, but I don't mind.

I've changed my opinion of this set so many times I'm starting to get dizzy.  The first card from the 70's I ever owned was a '77 Dawson my father bought be for my 7th birthday in 1986.  I wanted rookies for all the Expos stars.  Naturally I loved it, and subsequently I started off with a very high opinion of the '77 set based on my sample size of one.  Dawson left Montreal that off-season for Chicago (and stole the '87 MVP from it's rightful recipient Tim Wallach), but my disappointment was tempered by the skyrocketing number next to the '77 Dawson in Beckett every month.  I became the envy of half the neighborhood, which only heightened my esteem for the '77 set.

Somewhere along the way though, I decided it was bland and boring (blame my introduction to '72 and '75 Topps sets).  But I was wrong, this set isn't bland and boring.  It's really a great looking set with a simple, classic design that just screams "baseball card" and has some fantastic photography.  Somehow, even the bland pitcher standing on the foul line shots, like the Tommy John above, look great in this set.  The Padres uniforms don't hurt it either.  Thanks for the cards Mark.

These cards were sent by Jim of Elgin, IL.  Jim started sending me cards about a year or so ago, and has probably sent me over dozen envelopes of Wallachs since then.  I believe this is the first time he sent one without any Wallach's.  Awhile back on one of these "Sunday Editions" I wrote about my love for the early Fleer Basketball sets from '86-89.  Thanks for the cards Jim, and since he asked in his note, here are need list for those sets.  I have a good number of Topps duplicates I can trade from '52-91, and 2009-15.

Need Lists

1986-87 Fleer Basketball: 6, 9, 26, 53, 57, 111

1987-88 Fleer Basketball: (Nearly all of them), I HAVE these two: 81, 108

1988-89 Fleer Basketball: 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 116, 117, 119, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 131, 132

1970 Topps: 635, 696, 702, 703, 710, 715, 716

1976 Topps:

1977 Topps:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Portland, OR

These 34 cards were sent by Kerry of "Cards on Cards."  Kerry conveniently included a print out of his blog logo and address, which is much appreciated as I don't have to sit and try to figure it out now.  I've noticed a few bloggers have taken that step of printing out business cards or leaflets like this, and few have a stamp that they use.  I need to do something similar, though I've been saying that for two years or so now.  I'm thinking stickers, but who knows.

Thanks for the cards Kerry, I've already pulled some "Cards" to send your way.

Updated Totals:

1988 Topps All-Star x2: 584
1989 Donruss x5: 325
1990 Bowman x3: 87
1990 Donruss x3: 360
1990 Score: 196
1990 Upper Deck: 234
1991 Donruss: 197
1991 Fleer Ultra: 69
1991 Score x3: 199
1991 Score Franchise x3: 147
1991 Topps x3: 206
1991 Upper Deck x3: 254
1991 Upper Deck Checklist x3: 189
1992 Pinnacle: 90
1992 Score: 71

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sutton, MA

Shane of Sutton, MA, sent these cards, putting Sutton on my map.  You've probably seen Shane on Twitter or know his blog, Off the Wall.  If not, give it a look.

Thanks for the cards Shane.  Here are the updated Totals:

1988 Topps Big: 55
1989 Sportsflics: 8
2003 Topps Fan Favorites: 14

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Edition - 2017 Topps

2017 Topps finally arrived at my Target this week.  "Finally" probably isn't a fair way to term it, because it's actually the earliest it's ever arrived.  So it was less late, which is an improvement.  Last year I bought two packs of each series and opted instead for a complete set.  I thought about that approach this year, given I wasn't wild about the promo shots of this year's set, but in the end I just couldn't go another year without opening packs.  I like these cards better in hand than I did in pictures, but overall I'm not giving it much more than a "C-" grade.  The backs are a complete "F" for me.  Complete career stats have been a staple since '72, and as far as I'm concerned they should have stayed that way.

The Alex Bregman is a card I was looking forward to.  He's the bit of a local legend having come out of an Albuquerque High School, and though I'm not a true New Mexican, I still like to see people from the area make it out.  They're few and far between.

I'm not much of an insert guy, and once again I find this year's offerings pretty bland.  I'll give the Rediscover inserts some credit as a cool idea.  While they don't do much for me, I can see how these would be very appealing to younger collectors (and do I sound snobbish to say "educational") and that's a good thing.  For my purposes, I'd rather just get two extra base cards, because completing these sets is hard enough without getting most of this crap instead of set needs.

Speaking of set needs, I feel like this year is worse than normal when it comes to doubles.  I've bought $64 dollars worth of cards (2 packs, 5 hangers, and 2 jumbo packs).  Last year my complete set cost me about $60 (or something like that).  So for about the same investment, I have zero series two cards, and still need 128 cards from series one.  I also have 158 duplicates.  This is what 158 duplicates look like:

I did the math, I pulled 380 base cards, 222 were set needs, 158 were duplicates.  That works out to 41.6% duplicates.  That's ridiculous.  There's got to be a better way to do this.  If they can figure out how to put a "platinum autograph" one in every 86,400 packs, Topps should be able to figure out how to spread 350 cards out in a little bit better fashion.  Look at my binder, it's a mess of blank spots in the pages:

If you've run into a similar issue, email me on gmail at 22Stackhouse.  I'd be happy to try to trade.  Here's what I'm looking for:

2017 Needs:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mansfield, TX

This assortment of Wallach cards was sent by regular contributor Tom of Mansfield, Texas.  It's a nice group cards, including only the second '87 OPC Sticker and '90 Sportflics that I've ever been sent by a reader.  You may notice that's not Tim Wallach on the card in the lower right.  That's a card of the middle of three Wallach children, Brett.  Brett, a pitcher, was a third round pick of the Dodgers, but an arm injury cut his career short.  The youngest of the Wallach kids, Matt, is still playing in the Reds organization.  He's a long shot to make the roster out of spring training, but is expected to start the year in AAA Louisville.  I think there's a strong possibility that Matt could make his MLB debut at some point in the 2017 season.

Thanks for the cards Tom.

Updated Totals: 

1987 Fleer: 195
1987 O-Pee-Chee Stickers: 3
1990 Sportflics: 6
1991 Score: 196
1991 Topps Cracker Jacks: 10
1991 Upper Deck Checklist: 186

Monday, January 30, 2017

Seattle, WA

Will of Seattle, Washington sent these cards recently.  Last May I received cards from Mark, another Seattle collector.  They literally live a few blocks apart.  Not sure if you guys know each other, but you may have trade partners a lot closer than you think.

Thanks for the cards Will.

Updated Totals:

1990 Donruss: 353
1990 Score: 195
1994 Topps: 86

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ashburn, VA

These 7 ards were sent by self-proclaimed "Tim Wallach Hater" (not the first Cubs or Mets fan to describe themselves as such) Jamie of Ashburn, VA.  Thanks for the cards and note Jamie.

Updated Totals:

1988 Topps x2: 604
1989 Topps x2: 614
1990 Donruss x2: 352
1990 Fleer: 275

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sarasota, Florida

This nice assortment of 14 cards was sent by Zach of Sarasota, Florida.  It's the fourth time someone from Florida has sent me cards, and the first from Sarasota.  These are the last of the 2016 cards I needed to post.  I already have a healthy back log of submissions from 2017 to get to, and am going to try not to fall so far behind this year.

Thanks for the cards Zach.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Edition - 70's Hi Numbers

1970's Topps Hi Numbers

I just placed a rather large order on "Just Commons" for some 1976 and 1977 Topps needs (and a good number of Wallach cards obviously).  I mentioned in a previous post my intent to complete '74, '76, and '77 Topps this year.  That will give me a run of complete sets from '74 to '91.  I legitimately want to complete these sets, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't rather try to attack an older one.  But I'm not.  They're just too daunting at present.  The remaining single series sets I want to complete shouldn't be too hard, and will provide a lot of opportunities to break out my red sharpie and start drawing "x's" in my need list book. 

I've come to hate the term "hi number."  Working on the 1970 set has hammered home the concept to me.  But it also made me curious as to which sets put the highest premium on a hi series card. So I looked at each Topps set going backwards from '73, listed them in order of how expensive their respective high numbers are.  The list below shows the number of cards in the final series, and what my old price guide says commons are "worth" versus commons in the first series of the same set.  I'd use the values, but I've never seen much correlation between a cards listed "value" and what it actually costs to buy.  And as if hi series weren't already enough of a pain in the ass, '71 had an uneven print run with 66 double printed cards and 44 single printed cards on the sheets.  I went with the price for the single prints for that set.

1. 1970 Topps: #634-720, 87 cards ................................ 13.3x more than first series
2. 1972 Topps: 657-787, 130 cards ................................. 12x more 
3. (tie) 1967 Topps: 534-609, 75 cards ............................. 10x
3. (tie) 1966 Topps: 523-598, 75 cards ............................. 10x
3. (tie) 1961 Topps: 523-589, 65 cards ............................. 10x
6. 1971 Topps: 644-752, 110 cards (66 SP's) ................... 8x 
7. 1973 Topps: 529-660, 130 cards ................................... 6x  
8. 1964 Topps: 523-587, 65 cards ....................................... 5x
9. 1952 Topps: 311-407, 97 cards ....................................... 4.2x
10. (tie) 1965 Topps: 371-598, 228 cards ........................... 4x
10. (tie) 1962 Topps: 523-598, 75 cards ............................. 4x
12. (tie) 1960 Topps: 507-572, 65 cards ............................. 3.75x
12. (tie) 1963 Topps: 523-576, 54 cards ............................. 3.75x
14. 1953 Topps: 221-280, 60 cards ..................................... 3.3x
15. 1959 Topps: 507-572, 65 cards ..................................... 2.5x
16. 1955 Topps: 161-210, 50 cards ..................................... 2.5x
17. (tie) 1968 Topps: 458-598, 141 cards ............................ 2x
17. (tie) 1969 Topps: 589-664, 76 cards .............................. 2x
19. 1956 Topps: 261-340, 80 cards ...................................... 1.2x
20. 1954 Topps: 76-250, 175 cards ...................................... same
21. 1957 Topps: 353-407, 54 cards ...................................... 20% less
22. 1958 Topps: 111-495, 384 cards .................................... 33% less

I'd be remiss not to immediately point out a few errors on the list above.  Most striking in 1952.  I've been slowly building a low grade copy of that set for nearly a decade now.  I've never seen a hi numbered card sell for much under a $100, and I'm talking copies with glasses and lipstick drawn on players with multiple hole punches and large section of corners torn off.  A typical mid series card sells for $3-6, Hi for $100-150.  Just another example of why price guides are closer to being porn for card dealers than actual reflections of the market.  Also, a few of the 50's sets at the bottom have other mid-series that are more expensive, but nothing that far out of line with the rest of the set.

What I take away from the list, is that the 1970's sets are well represented at the top.  Which supports my theory that they're a bigger pain in the ass to deal with than a lot of the sets that came before them.  It wasn't just recency bias from dealing with the 1970 set.  Below is what I deem to be the ten most annoying hi-numbered cards from the 1970's Topps sets.  The rankings are a combination of price and my subjective "worthiness" of the card.  Feel free to disagree.

Top 10 Most Annoying 1970's Hi Number Cards

1. 1970 Nolan Ryan: This card is probably the most expensive hi number card to found from the 70's hi numbers.  I'm not a Ryan guy, and it's not his rookie, so having to shell out for it was a really tough pill for me to swallow.  Mercifully, after two years of following all the listings on eBay, I got lucky and didn't have to blow three months of my card budget on a decent copy.  In fairness to the card, it is a really nice looking shot of Ryan in a Mets uniform, and if you believe the card following a season (as I do) is the correct one to document it, this is the appropriate card for the '69 Mets World Series.

2. 1970 Johnny Bench: Like Ryan, this is the third card of Bench, and second solo card.  In addition to being a Hall of Famer, Bench won the NL MVP in 1970, and as collector's over 35 may remember, back in the 1980's, collecting the cards of MVP's from the year they won the award, used to be a very popular thing.  My feelings about Johnny Bench are pretty neutral, and I think the card itself is kind of bland (and what was at his feet that demanded they crop them out for all that extra sky?), so this was a very difficult card to justify paying for.  Were it card number 60, I probably could have found one in the neighborhood of $5, but since it's 660, it ended up being one of the more expensive cards I've ever bought.  My copy has a pen mark on the front that helped ease the pain to my wallet, but it still hurt.

3. 1973 Mike Schmidt:  The price guides say this card is less expensive than the 1970 Ryan.  That may be true for graded copies in good condition.  In the world of well-worn "raw" cards, not so much.  I wanted this card for thirty years before I finally owned one.  That's long before my set building days.  I finally found a copy I could afford because it's in really rough shape (as you can see) and it came as part of a lot of about 150 other '73 Topps cards.  Despite costing me more than the two cards above it on this list, it bothered me less, due it's iconic status as the rookie card of the best third baseman of  all-time, and it includes another great player in Ron Cey.

(not in hand, eBay image)

4. 1970 Rookie Stars: I'd never heard of any of these three pitchers.  After looking them up, I don't feel bad about that.  None of them ever made an All-Star team, the longest career was 7 seasons, and none of them ever won more than 9 games in a season.  Johnson (28-34), Klimskowski (8-12) and Zepp (10-5) aren't exactly a Koosman/Ryan rookie combo.  Yet this card is one of the most expensive in the set.  The cheapest copy currently available online (that I can find), is $18.  That's actually cheaper than any that were available a week ago.  If anyone can explain why this card demands such a premium, please fill me in.

5. 1971 Dusty Baker/Don Baylor:  This is a card I bought about twenty years ago as a young teen when my focus was on rookie cards.  It's really in very nice shape.  I don't remember what I paid, but given when I bought it, it had to be under $10.  Lucky break for me.  If you decide to build 1971 Topps good luck finding one for a reasonable price.  While Baker and Baylor are both very easy to like, and it's cool to have them on the same rookie card, the price it demands is still hard to justify.

(not in hand, eBay image)

6. 1972 Rod Carew: I love Rod Carew, and this is a great looking card, but my goodwill only goes so far.  I don't own one of these yet, but just the idea of it irritates me.  In fact, the entire 1972 set irritates me.  It's obviously awesome to look at design wise, but it's huge at 787 cards, and that extends to the hi numbers (130 of them!) and they're the 2nd most disproportionate hi number series in price there is to be found.

7. 1970 Ron Santo:  I'm not a Ron Santo fan.  I'm the opposite of one in fact.  This is another low grade warrior.  The price guides don't think much of it in great shape, but the low grade copies are tough to find under $20 on eBay.  As I narrowed down my '70 need list, the Santo is one I sort of ignored and didn't really think much about.  I figured I'd easily find one for $4 or $5.  Not so much.  I thought strongly about ranking this card a lot higher, but I'm sure there's some recency bias as I just had to pay what I deemed to be entirely too much for one.

(not in hand, eBay image)

8. 1971 Topps Richie Allen:  I get it, it's a hi number and one of the coolest looking cards you'll ever see (the pose alone is great, but that foul pole and outfield pavilion put it over the top).  But it's still a Richie Allen card from the middle of his career, and great as he was, he's not a Hall of Famer.  And even if you think he should be (I do), he's not, and non-HOF'er, non-rookie cards, shouldn't cost this much.  I'm not looking forward to coughing up for one of these, though I really want one.

(not in hand, eBay image)

9. 1973 Dwight Evans: The '73 set is, mercifully, short on HOF'ers in it's hi numbers (beyond Schmidt) obviously.  I think a side-effect of this is people overpay for the non-HOF all-stars.  Like Dwight Evans.  A well-worn copy of this shouldn't demand a Hamilton, but the market place disagrees with me.

10. 1970 Seattle Pilots: Like everyone else, I love "Ball Four."  But I don't love over-paying for 1970 Seattle Pilot's cards.  Can you imagine what a hi number Bouton in a Pilots uniform would demand?  Team cards in general are way too expensive (I blame all of you team collector's), and this one is the poster child for that trend.

(not in hand, eBay image)

Honorable Mention: 1972 Carlton Traded: Carlton is one of three Hall of Famer's to appear with the goofy black "TRADED" stamp in the '72 hi numbers.  The price guide says they should cost about the same, but they're not all created equal as far as I'm concerned.  Joe Morgan strikes a cool pose kneeling on his bat, and appears as a Red for the first time.  That's a card worth coughing up a little extra for.  Frank Robinson shows up on a Dodger card (I believe for the only time) and is shown in a neat swing follow through shot.  Carlton gets the generic sternum up school picture shot that Topps always uses for pitchers.  And no offense to Steve, but he's has what you might call a face made for radio.  Perhaps the best lefty of all-time, Topps should have found a better way to showcase him.

So these are ten that you have to look forward to if you plan on taking on 1970's sets.  If you've run into an

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Racine, WI

This envelope makes two 2016 submissions from Dan of Racine, WI.  As always, thank you very much Dan.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fredricton, New Brunswick (Canada)

I see so little of Canadian postage that it still looks strange and unique to me.  Such was the case with this envelope sent by James of Fredricton, New Brunswick.  These are the first cards sent from Fredricton.  James included a nice letter which explained he wasn't originally a Canadian, but merely married one and moved there.  He saw an article in a magazine awhile back, and was considerate enough to keep me in mind the next time he found himself in his parents attic, and pulled these cards for me.

Thank you very much James.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Palermo, ME

The above is another assortment of cards (7) sent by Chris of Palermo, Maine.  Thanks for the cards Chris.  You've cleaned me out of any O-Pee-Chee's I had, but if I come across more I'll certainly set them aside for you.

These were sent last December, but I'm just getting them up now, so the totals have already been updated.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Edition - 2017 Goals

Looking Forward

I've always written things down.  Grocery list, to do list, outlines of large undertakings that I'll tackle as soon as the time and money magically present themselves.  In part because I'm a little compulsive, and in part because I just enjoy the act of putting pen to paper.  When I was an undergarduate student, I minored in creative writing and back then we still turned most our work in as handwritten.  After that I spent a few years playing in a band and filled countless journals with crappy lyrics and chord progressions.  I still like the feel and aesthetics's of a nice pen or sharpie being put down in a nice notebook, or on a pad, and a short coming of blogging is that by nature it all has to be typed.  I recently read some Yahoo headline that said it's a good habit and writing down your goals makes them more likely to happen.  Yet every week I write down "win the powerball," and the results are the same.  In any event, here's a run down of what I hope do baseball card wise in 2017.

I've become much more active on twitter.  With a little bit of shame, I can admit I'm actually starting to kind of like it.  One of the people I follow is a guy named Andy Broome.  He grades cards for Beckett.  He routinely post pictures of counterfeit cards that people submit.  It's fascinating to me, but also kind of scary.  I've bought a good number of vintage cards since I got back into collecting about ten years ago.  I've always been very much against the idea of "slabbing" cards and have always "freed" any graded cards that I've purchased.  But I've decided to change my position on graded cards primarily due to two things that happened this past year.

The first is following Andy Broome and all his post of fake card submissions.  I'd like to authenticate my cards.  I think I'm pretty good at it, but some additional peace of mind wouldn't hurt.  Of course I could always "free" the cards once I get them back, but that brings me to the second thing that happened this year.  Someone reached out to my father with a baseball card issue.  They had come into some cards.  They knew nothing of them, other than one was a Ruth (and they had heard of him) so they took them to a few local card shops in their area.  The best offer for the lot was $200.  They were pretty sure baseball cards weren't very popular anymore, these weren't even "real" cards in shape and size, and they were told they "weren't mint" and "not that uncommon" (by more than one P.O.S. dealer who I may take the time to post about later when I get more details).  Then they remembered hearing that my father had a kid who collected cards (me), so they thought they'd double check with him.  It was a collection of 1921 American Caramel cards, and from the photo's I was sent, they were in very nice shape (probably 5-7 range, but sure, "not mint").  They were all set to be sold for $200 because the owners didn't know what they had.  I know what I have, but my wife and daughter don't.  My collection isn't going to buy a house, but it could probably buy a Ford Focus or Honda Civic.  And if my daughter or wife would rather have a Civic than my cards when they eventually pass into their possession, that's fine by me, I just need to let them know what they have in a way they can understand and not get taken.  I feel like having my more "valuable" cards graded is a way that will make that easier for them down the road.

With that in mind, here's a run down of my collecting goals for 2017:

1. Acquire More Tim Wallach's

This will always be my primary collecting objective.  If recent numbers and patterns hold, I should easily pass 20,000 Wallach cards this year.  But within the blind scatter shot hoarding there are a few specifics I'd like to focus on.

(1) Audit my Collection -  I try to keep track of the cards as they come in, but I'm sure I've made mistakes.  I plan on doing a hand count, and making sure my spreadsheet is accurate, as well as the numbers on the individual card pages.  It sounds more daunting than it is, as I keep groups of 25 of the same card in team bags within the white boxes I store the duplicates in.

(2) Bring one card to extinction - What I mean by this, is I want to pick a card (say '83 Fleer?), and buy it out online.  I'll purchase all the copies available on the major sites, Sportlots, COMC, JustCommons, etc, and try to keep up on ebay.  I want to make one card an endangered species more or less.  Usually on those sites, I buy all the Wallach's available from a particular seller to save on shipping.  Focusing on a card rather than a seller will cost more, but I find the idea of it amusing, so I'm going to try to make it happen.

(3) Coffee Table Book - I'd like to put together a coffee table book that is at it's core a chronological catalog of Wallach's various cards, but also serves as a biography.  I plan aiming at about a 12 year old reader audience.  A childrens book.  I remember reading a series of sports biographies that were in my elementary school library as a kid.  They were all from the 60's, but I couldn't get enough of them.  I feel like there's a market for something similar today.  I'll probably end up sticking just to Topps cards, so I can try pitching it to Topps when it's complete.  I feel like the potential is there to do something similar with a guy from every team.  A series of children's book biographies of ball players supplemented with all their baseball cards through their career (and a few extra photos here and there).

2. Continue to Complete Sets

I finished three sets in 2016.  I bought a factory set of 2016 because I couldn't justify spending money on packs of what I consider to be the worst design of any Topps base set, ever.  I knocked off 1979 Topps and 1978 Topps.  I enjoy set building, and have every intention of continuing to focus on it in 2017.  I'd like to get more active in trading, email me your need list fellow set builders ( and I'll see what I can do to help you out.  Here are my Top Set priorities this year:

i. 1970 Topps: I currently sit 13 cards away from completing this set.  I won't be doing any other set building until it's complete.  Here's what I'm missing: 635, 689, 692, 696, 698, 699, 702, 703, 705, 710, 714, 715, 716

ii. 1952 Topps: I've come to peace with the reality that I'm not going to go after any hi numbers.  I'm strictly looking to complete the first five series #1-310.  I'm about 65% of the way there.  You can follow the progress on my side project blog for 1952 Topps.  I made some good progress in 2016, I don't necessarily expect to match it in 2017, but I would like to pick up at least two Hall of Famers this year.  The Richie Ashburn card is a really nice one, and Yogi Berrera, Warren Spahn, and Phil Rizzuto can all be found for well under $100 apiece in well loved condition.

iii. 1976 Topps:  I've grown to very much appreciate 1976 Topps as a set.  It's surprisingly colorful when you start sleeving it in 9-pocket pages, and has better than average photography.  The idea of completing it doesn't excite me anywhere near as much as say, taking on 1972 Topps does, but I've decided I need to focus on completing my run of single series sets from 1974-91.  Once 1970 is in the books, '76 is up next.

Here's what I'm looking for: 5, 17, 24, 30, 45, 46, 48, 52, 55, 65, 69, 70, 71, 73, 74, 78, 80, 81, 84, 87, 88, 90, 91, 95, 109, 112, 118, 119, 123, 125, 128, 130, 140, 141, 146, 147, 150, 160, 169, 172, 179, 180, 185, 187, 191, 192, 196, 198, 199, 202, 203, 205, 208, 213, 215, 220, 225, 230, 241, 245, 248, 251, 255, 257, 270, 271, 272, 298, 300, 303, 304, 307, 315, 317, 318, 330, 337, 341, 342, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 355, 361, 365, 374, 375, 392, 399, 400, 405, 416, 420, 421, 422, 424, 426, 433, 435, 445, 452, 453, 477, 479, 480, 497, 502, 508, 518, 521, 525, 531, 550, 554, 556, 561, 576, 574, 575, 578, 580, 581, 585, 587, 589, 590, 591, 594, 595, 596, 598, 600, 601, 605, 606, 608, 610, 615, 617, 620, 633, 643, 650, 652, 653, 657, 660

iv. 1977 Topps: Same idea as '76.  I want to complete the singles series sets before taking on the older, multi-series/hi-numbered monsters.  I have a long ways to go with '77, but at least these are easy enough to come by.  I'm not posting a need list due to it's size, but if it's a set you're flush with doubles with and want to trade, email me.  That goes for any of the other sets below as well that don't have individual needs listed.

v.  1974 Topps: This, if things go according to plan, should be the last of the single series sets from '74-'91 that I take on and will complete the run for me.  I've got a decent start, and don't think completing '76, '77, and '74 is an impossible task this year, though I'll forgive myself if '74 sits atop this list at this time next year.

vi. 1972 Topps: I am going to try to exercise some self-control and not dive too deep into any other sets such as '72 this year.  But I'm sure I'll stray a few times.  Filling out a shipping limit on Sportlots is an acceptable deviation as far as I'm concerned.  In a way, I can argue to myself that it's irresponsible not to.

vi. 1986-87 Fleer Basketball (sans Jordan): I love this set.  I'm extremely close to finishing it, with the exception of the Jordan.  I actually went so far as to buy a fake Jordan to put in the binder as a place holder.  It feels dirty.   I'd like to knock out all the other needs.  Once I do, I'll probably move on to the '87-88 and '88-89 Fleer basketball sets as well.  All three will easily fit in one binder given the tiny set sizes.

My need list: 1, 4, 9, 26, 53, 57 Jordan

vii. 2015 Topps:  I haven't finished 2015 Topps.  And I really liked 2015 Topps.  It's just not as exciting as tracking down 1970's set needs.  My typical purchase goes something like this, I give myself a $20 budget to spend on a particular set.  I fill a Sportlots cart with $80 in cards from a dozen sellers, then I start trimming sellers and all the cards from them.  Once it's under $20, I go and fill out the max shipping numbers for the remaining seller(s) with 18¢ cards from other sets.  2015 just never comes to mind as one to search for.  I find myself picking up random 18¢ 1968 needs and the like, from other sets I have no intention of completing any time soon.  This year, I'm going to make more of an effort to work backwards from 2015.

3. Single Cards
I have definitely shifted from a focus on singles to sets over the last three years, which is a complete 180 degree turn from my collecting habits for the first thirty five years of my life.  But I still love my singles.  Here's a list of my 10 "most" wanted.  I say "most," because it's not a true ranking.  If I hit the powerball tomorrow, a '52 Mantle jumps to the top of this list.  As it is, I factor price into the equation.  So the list represents a balance between my desire for the card, and the possibility of me actually owning the card.  If I pick up two of these this year, I'd consider that a huge success.

2017 Most Wanted Cards
(images from random eBay listings)

i. 1962 Topps Football Ernie Davis: Yes, a football card tops this list.  Last year I responded to a twitter question as to a card you hoped to acquire in 2016, and I answered with this.  Clearly I failed.  Syracuse is my strongest rooting interest, and it's not close.  I'm a fan to an unhealthy degree.  Ernie Davis led Syracuse to the 1959 National Title and won the Heisman at Syracuse in 1962.  This is his only card Topps ever made as he died tragically of cancer at a very young age before he could ever join Jim Brown in the Browns backfield (go watch "The Express" if this all sounds new to you).  This is a card I need in my collection.

ii. 1953 Topps Satchel Paige:  I love this card.  I'm not the only who seems to like it, as it always seems to sell for $60+ no matter how beat up a copy is for sale.  It's Paige's only Topps card, and he's featured in a St. Louis Browns uniform.  As popular as this card is, I think it's one of the more over-looked pieces of cardboard that exists, and merits a much higher price point than it has.

iii. 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr.:  I was, and still remain, a rookie card collector.  For the first thirty years of my collecting life, outside of Wallach cards, rookie cards were my primary focus.  But I've reached a point where I more or less have all the iconic Topps rookies from '70-'91.  And what remains, are crazy expensive vintage relics that I can't afford.  This Ripken is the last modern Topps rookie card that I feel remiss for not owning.  I'm not a huge Ripken guy, and never wanted to pay for this, but I can't justify ignoring it any longer.  1982 is also the only Topps Traded set I'm missing for the factory traded set period.

iv. 1980-81 Topps Basketball Larry Bird/Magic Johnson:  I'm not a huge Bird or Magic fan, but this is one of the more iconic cards of my lifetime, and I feel like it's one I'd like to own.  I picked up a very low grade Joe Montana rookie this year, and would really like to find a low grade (read "cheap") copy of this card in 2017.

v. 1952 Topps Andy Pafko: This card serves the double purpose of being one of my '52 set needs.  It's priced the way it is for no other reason than it's card #1 in the first Topps set.  I'm not judging, as I have it on my list for that same reason, and would want the likes of Hank Thompson or Johnny Bucha just as much had they been #1, but it's Pafko, now and forever.

vi. 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky:  This card is on the fringe of the most that I've ever paid for a card, and I could probably find a Topps copy for a decent amount less.  But when it comes to my hockey, I'm kind of picky, I want the OPC.

vii. 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout: I bought a lot of update in 2011.  I didn't complete it, and I didn't pull a Trout.  I didn't think much of it at the time, or the years after.  Then I decided to start hammering out the recent update sets and about choked on my coffee.  Who is driving the price on these things?  There must be literally close to half a million copies of it floating around.  I just need one for the set.  I figure the longer I wait on this card, the lower the price will go, no matter how great Trout ends up being.  I just have a theory that any mass produced base card from after, say 1973, will always end up being found for under $10.

viii. 1962 Topps Joe Pepitone:  This is one of those horizontal multi-payer rookie cards in the last series of '62 Topps.  I met Pepitone once and he made a great impression (contrasted with the ex-Yankee I spent all summer working with who didn't).  I've been a retro-active Pepitone fan ever since and would really like to own his rookie.

ix. 1985 Topps WWF Hulk Hogan: I haven't watched WWF since Wrestlemania VII (and even then I was only checking in for the Wrestlemania, and not watching regularly anymore).  But I still have positive memories of the colorful late 1980's wrestlers.  Hogan wasn't my favorite by a long shot (I preferred Big Boss Man, Macho Man, and Andre the Giant), and I know he has older cards, but this is his first licensed by the WWF and it's made by Topps (and isn't stupid expensive).  I feel like my collection would be better with one of these in it.  The 1987 Macho Man is pretty awesome too.

x. 2002-03 Upper Deck Henrik Zetterberg: I have zero intention of paying the price this card currently demands, but I feel like it's due to drop.  Zetterberg has been my guy in the NHL the last decade or so, and I'd like to own his marquee rookie.  I feel like I may stumble into a trade one day or the find it for a better price, so I'm putting it on this list.  I don't talk about it much on this blog, but I have good amount of Hockey cards from about 2007-12 that I could part with, without shedding much of a tear.  Maybe I'll try to unload them on eBay and try to turn them into one of these.

4. 2017 Topps Base Set
I bought four packs of 2016 Topps, two of series one, two of series two.  I really disliked the design.  I felt personally offended by how bad it was.  So decided to go the factory set route in 2016.  I think I'll do it again this year.  While what I've seen of 2017 isn't so bad it offends me, I'm pretty sure I don't like it.  It makes me kind of dizzy to look at. Which is a bad thing.  So I'll get my pack fix with Update, and maybe a stray pack of Heritage or Archives, and go factory set again.  It's a drag walking by the card aisle in Target and not grabbing a a few packs every week, but it saves me money in the long run.