Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Best Binder Page"

Recently another blogger, The Junior Junkie, asked what your "Best Binder Page" was.  Not a literal page in a binder, but your nine favorite cards is how I understood it.  If the house was on fire and for whatever reason you could only save nine cards, what would they be.  My nine are above.  Here are my rankings and explanations.

First a quick disclaimer, or rather three things I used as criteria.  I decided against including any cards that were passed along from my father.  There's no doubt some of his cards are among my all-time favorites, but I guess they're not really mine (though my brother has no interest in them).  As I work on vintage sets, I keep his cards completely segregated, not because he wants them back, but they feel more like an heirloom than a "need" to be checked off a want list.  I also decided against going with an All-Wallach page, which would have been very easy.  Finally, in the last ten years or so I've been very fortunate to have acquired a large amount of vintage cards.  I tried not to include any of those.  For one, they haven't been in my collection that long, and as such, don't have much history with me.  The nine cards above all have a large amount of sentimental value.  So as much as I may love a particular '53 Topps I've picked up, it just isn't something I feel could not be replaced.

#9 1958 Topps Jim Brown

Right off the bat I'm breaking one of the rules I laid out above.  This card is a very recent acquisition.  And on top of that, it's a place holder, for the 1962 Topps Football Ernie Davis, which is currently at the top of my want list (where it's been for many years).  However, a well-worn rookie card of Syracuse legend Jim Brown, easily makes my nine favorite card list at this point.  I come from a family full of Syracuse grads, and while I may not live there, Central New York is my home.  So until I land an Ernie Davis, Jim Brown makes the cut.

#8 1989 Upper Deck Dale Murphy (Reverse Negative)
This card may not mean much to a lot of collector's, but for those of us who opened packs in 1989, we probably all spent a good amount of time staring at Dale Murphy cards trying to decide if it was the "error."  I didn't pull this in 1989, nor could I afford one on my $2/week allowance.  But about 10 years later, I tracked one down on ebay at a small fraction of the price it was going for during the frenzy it caused in '89.  I remember seeing one at a card shop in Phoenix at the time, with a "not for sale," tag on it.  Bet they'd like to have that one back, especially in light of the revelations regarding an intentional second printing of this card in "Card Sharks," by Pete Williams.

#7 1983 Topps Traded Darryl Strawberry
 Much like the Murphy card above, this is one I didn't actually obtain until a few years after it's initial frenzy had died down.  I've actually acquired five copies of this card now, but that hasn't lessened it's appeal to me.  Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden are two of my all-time favorite players, and the '83 design is one my all-time favorites.  In my collecting universe, this card is an iconic classic, even if popular opinion doesn't agree.

#6 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky
When I was about fourteen I decided I wanted an "old" Wayne Gretzky card.  Actually I decided I wanted a Wayne Gretzky rookie card, but given my father was a nurse, and my mother taught art at public school, I knew better than to ask for one.  So instead I asked for an "old" Gretzky card, and sure enough, this was under the tree Christmas morning.  I can count on one hand the number of time I've been given cards (not boxes or packs) as gifts from family, it's three.  This is one of them.  I've since picked up older Gretzky's but this one remains my favorite.

#5 1995-96 Collector's Choice Lawrence Moten
I was raised, and continue to be, a rabid fan of the Syracuse Orangemen.  Jim Boeheim enjoys near deity status amongst my family.  My younger brother (of two years) and I often didn't agree on much growing up, however, we both agreed that Lawrence Moten was the greatest basketball player of all-time.  The vast majority of Syracuse Basketball games I've been to in my life were during Lawrence Moten's career.  To this day Moten remains The Big East Conference All-Time Leading scorer.  When this set came out, we had no local card shop.  So we took to buying boxes of this stuff (and all the other sets that year) at Sam's Club in an effort to gather as many Moten cards as we could.  This was the first one we had, and it remains my favorite.

#4 1983 Topps Tim Wallach

This was the first Tim Wallach card I ever had.  Not this exact card (I don't think), but a copy of this card.  I'm sure the original is still among the 221 copies I have, but I never made a point of keeping it separate as a kid.  It remains my favorite Wallach card design wise, and I don't see that changing.

#3 1962 Topps Luis Aparicio

I am not, nor have I ever been, a particularly huge fan of Luis Aparicio or autographs for that matter.  That's not to say I dislike him, I just don't really know much about him beyond his impressive Baseball Reference page.  One of the perks of living in Cooperstown as a kid, was easy access to the autograph session the Hall of Fame put on each Induction Weekend.  One of my best friend's dads was the curator at the Hall, and we always found a way in.  For the most part, I would stick with the yellow postcards, 8x10's, and go with a Freeman's Journal to have the players sign.  They really didn't mean much to me as a 12 year old.  They were just old guys.  However, one year I took this Aparicio card, which is one of my father's cards from his childhood, and had Luis sign it.  Of all the signatures I ever brought back, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Stan Musial, etc, they by far elicited the biggest reaction from my father, who is a die-hard White Sox fan.  It's exception to the rule of not including my father's cards, as I feel the act of having it signed was a sufficient transmutation to make it mine.

#2 1977 Topps Andre Dawson

I mentioned above that I've never received many cards as gifts.  For a variety of reasons, not least of which, it's hard for a non-collector to pick out cards for a serious one.  For Christmas in 1986 my father, completely unsolicited gave me this card and a 1981 Donruss Tim Raines rookie.  I briefly felt disappointed with the card when Dawson became a Cub, but quickly got over it, as his monster '87 season (in which he won an MVP that should have gone to Wallach) made me the envy of the neighborhood.  I've ended up with a good number of copies of this card of the years, but this is the original, easily recognizable by the small nic to the right of the green "R."

#1 1982 Fleer Tim Wallach (Autographed)

When I was in first grade, Beckett published the addresses of every Major League Stadium so that readers could seek autographs.  Every kid on my street sent at least one card, along with a SASE to their favorite players.  It took nearly three months, but this is the card that came back to me.  I was the only kid to get the card they sent back.  The coloring on it is terrible from 20+ years of sun light, as it sat atop my dresser in my parents through all of elementary school, high school, and college, until I finally reclaimed it when I had a home of my own.  This card, and gesture of returning it, bought a lot of good will for the otherwise anonymous Expo amongst my family, and simply put is the one card I would save before all other's if my house was on fire.  Had this card not been returned, this blog may very well have ended up being titled "Eric Davis" or "Hubie Brooks," "At Attempt to Collect Them All."


  1. Hubie Brooks? That would have been weird.

  2. Great page, Corey. NIce mix of non-Wallachs!

  3. I was right in the middle of the Dale Murphy Reverse Negative craze. But I ended up pulling the Gary Sheffield error.

  4. "my father, who is a die-hard White Sox fan"

    This, folks, is why you ALWAYS respect your father.

  5. I will never understand the Syracuse allegiance, but there's some fine stories with those cards. I have that '82 Fleer Wallach (no it's not signed) sitting on my card desk right now!

  6. Love the page, and love the stories even more!

    If/when you exhaust the Wallach theme, can you start a Hubie blog? That would rock!