Friday, February 26, 2021

Sportlots Pickup

I picked up these Wallachs on Sportlots recently along with a few 1970's set needs.  I primarily use Sportlots for set building, but when it's economical for shipping purposes, I try to add Wallach cards from whatever seller I happen to be making a purchase from.  This particular seller had a nice assortment of some less common Wallachs including a trio of Tiffany ('84, '85, '87), some Bowman, and good number of '90 Leaf.  Allegedly the '85 Topps Tiffanies are somewhat scarce.  I can't say that's been my experience, thought they are tough to fine with white edges.  Most have a yellowish discoloration, including this one.  If I had photographed the front, you would see that.

Updated Totals:

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Chad Wallach 2020 Topps Heritage #507


Card Review: I like it

I've decided not to give the Chad Wallach cards number grades out of ten the way I do the Tim Wallach cards.  It's just fun to see Chad Wallach showing up in regular card sets.  Hopefully he's able to put together a few more years in the majors and show up in a lot more sets going forward.  As it stands, I didn't buy any Heritage this year.  I don't think it ever showed up in my Target.  I suspect the lady who stocks my Target is wise to the current number of certifiably insane lunatics buying new baseball cards right now, and has figured out a way to scam the product for herself to sell on the secondary market.  My area is not a baseball card crazy area.  In twelve years of buying cards at my current Target I've never seen a single other person buying sports cards.  A few kids buying their comic book or pocoman cards or whatever that other stuff is.

After seeing this card, I'm not sure I missed out.  I like the 1971 design, but I'm not sure my life would be better by paying to get to own copies of Francisco Lindor and Tim Anderson on it.  Nothing against those guys, my money is just better spent trying to complete the actual 1971 Topps set.

Number of this card in my collection: 2, but one is plenty and I'm not going to be keeping track.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Sport Mania No. 38 September 1983

I recently picked up this copy of SportMania on eBay.  It's entirely in French, and I don't speak French.  I ran the cover headline through google translate, and according to them, "femmes de baseballeurs" means "Baseball Women."  Sounds legitimate enough to me.  Here's a look at the two page article with Lori Wallach and Jaque Francona:

If anyone speaks French and feels like translating this in the comments, by all means, feel free.  I'm not going to transcribe the whole article, but here's the opening paragraph:

Jaque Francona and   Lori Wallach who, comfortably seated in front of a hot dog and a soft drink (their supper), explain with a laugh that being the wife of a baseball player does not mean not just go to the stadium and eat popcorn during the game

I imagine the rest of the article goes on like this with nothing too wild or controversial, but I won't be taking the time to find out.   I'm not sure where this magazine fits into my Wallach collection, but it's certainly a unique peice.  That said, there's been a few oddball items over the years that I've throw this offer out on, and am doing so again with this magazine, if a Wallach family member happens to be reading and wants this issue for their own collection, feel free to email me and I'll send it your way.

The rest of the magazine has some articles on topics ranging from tennis to aerobics.  There's a couple of nice posters, including the one below, and a centerfold of a trio of Montreal Canadian Hockey players that is too large to scan.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

1986 Wallach Lot

I recently picked up this lot of "15" 1986 Wallach cards on eBay.  With the shipping charges it was going to be a couple cents over my per-card cap-price, but I was feeling frivolous with my money that day so I went ahead pulled the trigger on the purchase.  To my pleasant surprise, when the cards arrived, there were 23 of them, not the 15 promised in the eBay description.  The difference knocked the per card price (with shipping) well below my self-imposed eBay limit.  It worked out for everyone I guess.

The 1986 Topps Wallach has long been an afterthought for me.  Amongst what I consider the the "classic" run of Topps Wallach cards from 1982-1991, I've always slotted this card near the bottom, probably 8th or 9th ahead of only the 1991 and 1990.  The only reason I never have it at the bottom of the list, is due to the photo selection of '90 and '91.  I don't care for the 1991 design, but it's a set loaded with some of the best photography Topps has ever put on cards.  The Wallach photo is rather vanilla by comparison, and I always felt sort of blurry too.  I'll preemptively apologize and hedge my next comment as I know it's not popular amongst my fellow vintage enthusiast, but I love the 1990 Topps design and view it as a "sister set" to 1975 Topps.  That's not a hill I'm willing to die on, and will make no effort to convince anyone else to see it my way, but that's the way I see it.  That said, The Wallach photo has never been my favorite.  It's too dark, the cropping is poor, and it's just a weird angle for the photo.

The 2003 Topps Fan Favorite set only served to reinfoce my opinion that a better photo would have made it a much nicer card, as it corrects all of the problems I have with the original.  1990 is also another great set as far as photography.  Though it doesn't get the love of 1991 Topps (and for good reason), some of my favorite players have some really great cards in that set.



Getting back to this 1986 Wallach, I've always been lukewarm on the 1986 Set.  I came to have new found appreciation for the set as a whole when I finally got around to sleeving it in pages a decade or so ago, but the Wallach still didn't jump out at me.  I always thought he looked too small in the frame of the card.  I think I'm willing to admit I was wrong.  I'm not sure I like it enough to jump it ahead of any of the other Wallach Topps cards from the era, but it can certainly hold it's own.

Updated Total:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Centreville, VA


These 34 cards were sent by "Lee" of Centreville, Virginia.  It's one of the more off beat collection of Wallach cards I've been sent in recent years, maybe ever.  I'm not sure a reader has ever sent 8 copies of '83 Donruss at once.  There was also a 1990 Topps coin (it appears to be hidden under cards in the photo above) and an '83 Topps sticker along with four '82 Donurss.

Also of note, this batch of 34 pushed my total number of Wallach cards over the 27,000 mark.  That feels like a lot.

Thanks for the cards.

Updated Totals:

1982 Donruss x4: 240
1983 Donruss x8: 167
1983 Topps Sticker: 44
1985 Donruss: 138
1986 Fleer Mini: 42
1986 Topps Sticker: 52
1987 Donruss: 469
1987 Topps Sticker: 14
1988 Fleer Mini: 17
1988 Kay Bee: 39
1988 Score: 324
1988 Topps Super Star: 35
1989 Bowman: 183
1989 Fleer: 445
1989 Topps x4: 857
1990 Donruss: 537
1990 Fleer: 491
1990 Score: 358
1990 Topps Coins: 11
1990 Upper Deck: 361
1993 Cardtooons: 6

Monday, February 15, 2021


 Max, of "The Starting Nine" card blog came through with these seven cards recently.  An unexpected side effect of running this blog for the last ten years is I've developed an appreciation for postage stamps.  This offering featured a nice looking John Lennon stamp.

Thanks for the cards Max.

Updated Totals:

1987 Topps x2: 1,028
1988 Topps Big: 74
1989 Bowman: 182
1990 Fleer: 490
1991 Topps: 319
1991 Upper Deck: 350

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday Edition

1972 Topps Set Build

"Trade With Me...Please"

It's been nearly four years since I sleeved #710 Felix Milan into my 1970 Topps binder  and completed the set on April 8, 2017.  1970 Topps was the first series'd vintage Topps I ever completed.  It still remains the only such vintage set I've completed.  

Since that day in April back in 2017, I've turned my focus to the 1972 set.  In retrospect, probably not as much focus as I should have, being far too scatter shot in my multiple ongoing set building efforts, but it's certainly been my primary focus.  As of writing this, I sit 51 cards short of completing the 1972 set.  I've been hammering it pretty hard the last few months, and the end is in sight.  But I can also see the math, and at $3 to $10 apiece for the remaining cards, it could end up being a pricy 51 cards.

As it is, I have a lot of duplicates from 1972 Topps.  I'm talking an 800 count box full of duplicates, including a couple dozen high numbers and a lot of Hall of Famers.  So it occurred to me, maybe I should try the trade route I hear so much about on Twitter.  If you're working on the 1972 set, and have any needs, I'd love to work out a trade and take a break from shelling out dollars on eBay.  Here's what I'm looking for, and have to offer in return (the '72 in the picture at the top are all duplicates as well).

As far as my need list, #581 is one I have already, but would like to upgrade due to significant paper loss on the back.  Which isn't to say I care that much about condition.  Creases, non-existent corners, the stray pen mark, none of that really matters to me.  I just draw the line at paper loss.  For the most part, my duplicates are in VG-EX shape with a few outliers in either direction.

If you want to try to work something out, please, shoot my an email or reach out on Twitter.  Also it doesn't have to be '72 for '72, I'm more than willing to try to find something else you need, or if you need some of these but don't have any of the ones I'm looking for, take a look at my other need list, or even just ask, and I'll probably send you a handful to help out just to help out a fellow collector and reader of this blog.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ten Year Anniversary Post

Ten years ago today I started this blog.  While deciding what to add to the side bar, I added the little box to the right hand column asking people to send me their Tim Wallach baseball cards.  It was sort of a joke.  About a year later someone actually did it.  In January 2012 the "Emerald City Diamond Gems" blog sent me 7 Wallach cards in the mail.  I remember staring at them on my desk in disbelief.  I can't say I actually expected anyone to ever send any cards.  

Since then I've been flooded with cards from generous readers from all over the Country.  It's still a thrill every time a random envelope shows up, and as you may have guessed from the photo above, I've saved every envelope (or at least a part of the larger ones) that I've ever been sent.  I also, thankfully, decided to keep a chart of where every envelope I was sent came from on a Google Map.  It was on a whim, but it's become one of my favorite things about this blog.

When I hit all 50 States I I'll probably print this thing out and frame it in my card room.  Get your act together Montana.

Prior to starting this blog, I had been playing around with a random card blog I created called "Classon Ave."  There wasn't much of a theme to it, other than to post random cards and write about them, one or two at time.  It sort of evolved into a thing where I would write about something random, usually about sports, and then post cards that were loosely related.  However I found I was always resisting the urge to post Wallach cards, and for the most part not posting any, as I didn't think they would interest anyone besides myself.  After about six months of this, I created this blog.  The idea wasn't that anyone would want to read it.  It was going to serve as more of an online data base of my cards.  A way of keeping track of what I had.  The first Wallach card I ever had as a kid was his 1983 Topps card, and that's what I went with for the first post.  Here's the post that started it all back on February 11, 2011:

It took about two years to do a post for every unique Wallach card and item I had in my collection.  Initially, back in 2011, I figured reaching that point would be the end of the blog.  It would be complete, like the wonderful "Oh My O-Pee-Chee" blog after it completed it's inventory of all the OPC variations.  Chance and circumstance had other plans though, as by the time I got around to posting my last unique card (others have since been added), it was clear this blog had evolved into something else. It had become centered around the generosity of readers willing to send their old 80's and 90's junk wax of a more or less forgotten player, for a team that no longer exists, to a stranger in New Mexico.

I know this may be shocking to hear from a guy who owns 27,000+ plus Tim Wallach cards, but I have a few OCD tendencies.  One of them is a love for numbers, and patterns, and tracking them.  It's an itch I have, and one that this blog does a great job of scratching for me.  To mark the occasion of ten years of blogging, I've put together some graphs, showing the relative growth in numbers for ten years of Donruss, Fleer, and Topps Tim Wallach base cards from 1982 to 1991.  I find the results to be fascinating.  I think there are some clear patterns to be found, and probably serve as decent way of estimating print runs for the various sets produced over that ten year period. 1982 is the anomaly, as I believe my numbers are artificially inflated for Wallach's rookie card as at one point in the early 80's, people other than me where hoarding it on speculation it may one day pay for their kids college tuition.

I hope you find these charts as interesting as I did, or at least, a mildly entertaining curiosity.

Topps Base Cards 1982 to 1991

It's pretty clear where the 1982 line spikes around 2014.  It's a by product of there being a large number of 50 to 200+ card lots of it available for purchase on eBay.  But the rest of the chart is about what you might expect.  1983 to 1986 more or less tracks together.  1987 starts off higher, as I had more of them to begin with, and tracks a little steeper as there are more to be found.  Same for 1988 and 1989.  1990 drops a little, probably due to more brands being produced, creating less demand (and lower print runs) for the Topps base set, and 1991 falls more or less in line, albeit below, the 1983-86 levels.  No surprise, as by 1991 there were probably close to a dozen different sets being made with Stadium Club, Leaf, Ultra, Studio, and so on.  Here's a look at the numbers with 1982 removed:

And finally, here's a look at just how closely 1983-1986 track with each other.  I would wager that 1982 would fall more or less in line with this set if Wallach's rookie card had been in say 1980 Topps instead of 1982, but unfortunately there's no way of knowing.

Donruss Base Cards 1982 to 1991

With Donruss, 1988 is clearly the year that production ran wild.  Like Topps, there is near identical cluster of progress from 1983-1986, with '82 tracking just above.  1987, '89, and '90 all show a similar path that is decidedly steaper than the early 80's.  Here's a look at how closely '83 to '86 track with each other:

Fleer Base Cards 1982 to 1991

1989 and 1990 Fleer are clearly the heavy production runs for company.  1982 is up there in total numbers but took a much different, less steady path reaching there.  Again there is a cluster of steady numbers from 1983 to 1986.  If there's anything to be learned here, it's that 1987 Fleer probably had much smaller print runs compared to other years of Fleer, relative to Topps and Donruss.  Do what you will with that information.

Here's 1983-86:

One final chart for you look at, for now, I may do more of these down the road.  I may even take the time to learn how to do fancier ones with better graphics and that easier to read.  But for now, I leave you with this, the three companies from 1984 to 1986 overlaid with each other:

On a final note, thank you to everyone who has ever read this blog over the last ten years.  I didn't start it as a way to get free cards, but it's turned into that.  So in that spirit, I'm going to be doing a series of giveaways over the next ten days.  The first one right here on this blog.  Post a comment, or just leave your name, email or twitter handle as a comment, and I'll use a random number generator to pick someone.  The rest will be on Twitter over the next ten days.

First up are these two cards of the greatest third baseman of all time.  It's a well "loved" 1974 Topps with it's fair share of issues and a '75 Topps mini.  I'm sorry I don't have 500+ copies of each of them to send to everyone whose ever sent me cards, but this is what I can do for now.

Hopefully we'll all still be here to see the numbers for a 20th Anniversary Post

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Citrus Heights, CA


These 37 cards were sent by frequent contributor "Big Shep" of Citrus Heights, California.  It's a nice sized mixed with a few cards that fall on the less common side of the Wallach card spectrum, including the 1995 Leaf, three copies of 1989 Donruss Baseball's Best, and '87 Topps Sticker and '91 Cracker Jack.

You can check out Big Shep's card blog by clicking the George Brett icon at the bottom of this post. Thanks for the cards Shep.

Updated Totals:

1987 Topps: 1,026
1987 Topps Stickers: 13
1988 Score: 321
1988 Topps All-Star: 824
1989 Bowman: 181
1989 Donruss:  514
1989 Donruss Baseball's Best x3: 29
1989 Fleer: 444
1989 Score: 210
1989 Topps x2: 853
1990 Bowman: 131
1990 Donruss x3: 536
1990 Donruss Baseball's Best: 15
1990 Fleer: 489
1990 Topps: 618
1990 Upper Deck x5: 360
1991 Donruss: 319    
1991 Donruss MVP: 301
1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier: 86
1991 Score: 273
1991 Topps: 318
1991 Topps Cracker Jack: 12
1991 Upper Deck: 349
1991 Upper Deck Checklist x2: 290
1993 Score: 41
1995 Leaf: 22

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Topps 1981 Baseball Achievement Awards Program


All of the information that I have about this program is contained in the two scanned pictures above (front cover on top, back cover below) and the two pictures below.  The eBay listing suggested it was the program given out at an awards banquet, but I've been unable to confirm if there was actually any sort of banquet.  Ultimately, I don't care, I'm just extremely excited to have this little piece of ephemera in my collection.

That 1981 Topps All-Rookie Team is a pretty impressive line-up.  I'm not going to take the time to look, but I'd go ahead and take my chances with that team against any other Topps All-Rookie Team and feel good about my chances.  You've got a couple of Hall of Famers in Ripken and Raines, and no shortage of All-Star appearances between Wallach, Fernando Valenzuela, Hubie Brooks, and Tony Pena.  Mookie Wilson wasn't too bad either.

The biggest take-away from this little program is the paragraph on the back.  It very clearly states that every player on the Topps Rookie Cup Team was sent an actual Topps Rookie Cup Trophy.  That's a question I've wanted to have answered since the first time I saw the little trophy appear on a 1987 Topps card.  This program appears to have answered it.  As a result, I now have a new "white whale" with regards to my Wallach collection.  I'm hard pressed to imagine something that would serve as better center piece to a baseball card collection of a particular player than their Topps Rookie Cup Trophy.  I'm sort of shocked I've never seen one, for any player, show up on eBay or in someone's Twitter feed before.  Here's a look at the inside of the program:

It may be hard to read, but at the bottom of the right hand page (just above), Topps names All-Stars for each level of the minors and there are some pretty big names to be found, including Brett Butler, Terry Francona, Steve Sax, Gary Gaetti, Julio Franco, Ron Kittle, and Kent Hrbek, to name a few.

I could be misreading above, but it seems clear to me that the player and their scout both got actual an actual trophy cup, or plaque.  As my collection stands, my "flex" items (beyond cards) are a game worn batting helmet, and a 1988 Expos road jersey.  Given the nature of my collection, it's not hyperbole to say that the Rookie Cup would pass both of them and take the top spot on that list.  Unlike a Gold Glove or Silver Slugger, I wouldn't feel guilty about bidding on the Cup if it ever showed up on eBay either.  While the latter items I feel strongly belong with the family of players or on display in public places such as stadiums, museums, and similar public forums, the Topps Rookie Cup is ultimately a rather goofy piece of memorabilia arbitrarily created and awarded by a third party.  It's not showing up on anyone's baseball reference page or being mentioned on Hall of Fame plaques in Cooperstown.

If anyone knows anything more about this program, or existence of an actual ceremony or these trophies, please fill me in.  I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday Edition - 2021 Collecting Goals


2021 Collecting Goals

I've set the bar the pretty low for myself this year, at least in regards of trying to complete the collecting "goals," I set out for myself.  Looking back at last years post and the "goals" I listed, I didn't do very well.  I'd go ahead and grade my effort as an "F."  I did acquire a lot more Wallach cards in 2020, but fewer than I did in 2019.  I also laid out three distinct things I wanted to get done with my Wallach cards and didn't manage to make a real effort at any of the three.

As far as the set building goals I set for myself in 2020, that was slightly more successful than my Wallach "goals," but not by much, I think I'd generously give myself a "C-."  I did finish a few modern sets from 2008 to present, including 2008 and 2020 (albeit 2020 by the factory set route), but I didn't finish off a single "vintage" set.  I made some huge progress on 1972 Topps, and put some dents in the other 70's Topps sets I've yet to complete, but didn't actually finish a single one.

The final area of "goals" is my "Top 10" list of single cards I want.  This used to dominate my attention prior to getting hooked on set building, but has gradually grown less important me each year as I've become more obsessed with vintage set building.  I'll give my effort in 2020 a "D+."  The 1962 Topps Joe Pepitone "Rookie Parade" was the only card on my Top 10 list that I acquired (Pepitone was listed at #4) and I didn't pick it up until around November.  I did pick up a decent number of other nice cards, including a '64 Topps Pete Rose, a '54 Bowman Whitey Ford, and '58 Topps Orlando Cepeda, but they weren't on my list (though the Rose probably should have been).

My expectations for 2021 are low.  For a number of reasons.  So I'm setting some more modest goals for myself than in previous years.  Here's a look at what I'm hoping to get done:

1. Acquire More Tim Wallach's

Once again this will be my primary collecting objective.  I currently sit at just under 27,000 cards in my collection.  Each of the last two years have seen me acquire over 2,000 Wallach cards.  If can match that in 2021 that'll push the total to over 29,000, which is a very significant number, as Wallach wore #29 for nearly his entire career.

Aside from sheer numbers, here's a few things I'd like to do related to the blog this year.  I'm calling them "ideas" rather than "goals":

(1) Ten Year Anniversary Post - February 11 will mark the ten year anniversary of this blog.  For the occasion I'd like to take it deep dive into some of the statistics and maybe even post a few charts.  I'm not sure how deep, as I'm sure it'll require a massive amount of time, but it's an idea for now.

(2) Bring one card to extinction - I've talked about this idea for several years now and have never really made a serious effort to complete it.  The gist is simple, focus on one card, likely one from 1983-86, and try to buy it out online.  The issue I always run into is that when I start loading up an online shopping cart, as the dollar number in cost grows, I'm left thinking about all the vintage set needs I could buy instead.  So far the vintage needs are undefeated against 200 copies of an '85 Fleer from 40 different sellers.  

(3) Variations - At some point I want to post on all the variations, however slight, that exists on Wallach cards.  Be it paint splatter patterns on '90 Donruss, or glow in the dark '91 Topps, I want to create a reference page for all them, as most of them apply to every card in the sets and I feel like people may be able to use it for their own collecting needs.

2. Continue to Complete Sets

I went he factory set route with 2020 Topps last year.  That was my plan from the moment I saw the initial design on Twitter.  Since 2016, I've gone the Factory Set route three and half times (in 2019 I completed series 1 by pack purchase and bought a complete series 2).  It's what I do when I think the design is ugly, and there has been no shortage of heinous designs the last few years (2018 being the exception)  Usually it's a lot easier and a lot cheaper.  This past year was problematic.  I sort of live under a rock in my little obscure corner of the collecting universe and was patiently waiting for factory sets to be released, completely oblivious to the fact that baseball card collecting was having something of a revival.  I was more than a little shocked to find I couldn't even get my hands on a Factory Set.  Most years my issue is whether I wait for my Target to start slapping clearance stickers on them before I buy, or if I just splurge and pay regular price right away.  What I ended up doing this year was buying one on eBay that had already been opened and had the stupid little gimmick pack of inserts removed.  It ended up being pretty cheap and I would happily do it again.  If only there was a safe way to buy cereal at a reduced price after people take out the toys inside Frosted Flakes.  Here's a look at my more modest goals for 2021:

i. 1972 Topps: I've knocked off 84 of the 130 6th series high number cards in this set.  That may not sound like I'm all that close to some people, but I feel like I'm on the cusp of taking this set down.  There are still a few lingering 4th series cards I need, and a good number of 5th series (which aren't exactly cheap either), but I'm on the home stretch.  If I can complete 1972 Topps in 2021, I'll call the year a success.   Here's a link to what I need in '72 Topps (and every other set I'm working on). 

While 1972 Topps is the only set I'm specially listing as a "goal" to complete, I would like to make some progress on a few others.  If I happen to complete one of these, it wouldn't shock me.

ii. 1953 Topps: I I few years ago I picked up a 1952 Topps Willie Mays. It was a significant collecting moment for me, beyond just fact it was the card coveted more than any other as a kid.  It was also the last card I needed to complete the first five series of the '52 set, cards #1-310.  Since then I've been slowly working on the '53 set.  By chance I have lucked into most of the high dollar cards in the '53 set, including the Mantle.  Willie Mays still needs to be dealt with, but I already feel like I'm working downhill to complete this set sometime in the next couple of years.

iii. Single Series'd 1970 Topps sets:  I've yet to finish 1974, 1976 and 1977 Topps.  I need less than 30 cards in each of them to finish them off, but for a number of less than great reasons, I have yet to do so.  The truth is, it's just more fun to direct my hobby budget towards 1971-73 at the moment.

iv. 1971 Topps: I won't be making any concentrated effort at this set until after I finish the 1972 effort.  But that doesn't mean I can try to give myself a little bit of a head start here and there with the occasional '71 pickup.  The same applies to 1973 Topps, though that is farther down the priority list.

v. 1975 Topps Mini: I came into a large number of these a few years back and have been slowly been adding to them since then.  I still need about a 180 cards (give or take) to finish the set, including Gary Carter and Robin Yount, but sooner or later this set will be near the top of this list.

vi. Modern Topps: Working on the modern Topps sets feels more like a chore than a hobby, but it's something I still feel compelled to do none the less.  I actually finished off 2008, 2009, 2015, and 2018 last year, and none of it felt like cause for celebration.  Just a sense of relief.  If I finish 2012, '13, and '14, I'll have a complete run of sets from 2008 (the year I started collecting again after about 15 years off) to present.  

vii. 1988-89 Fleer Basketball: I'm working on all three of the Fleer sets from 1986-89, but Michel Jordan is causing problems for me in the first two sets.  So while I search for a Jordan that is in sufficiently terrible condition to put it in my price range for the first two sets, I'd like to go ahead and finish off this one.  The Jordan is already in hand too.

3. Single Cards

Due to the growing size of the list above, I haven't focused on singles the way I used to.  I've decided to make some changes to this list as a result.  There a few cards that have sat on it for several years now that I've never really felt compelled to pursue, which tells me, maybe I don't really want them that much.  In any event, it's being overhauled with at least an eye towards my set building needs.

2020 Most Wanted Cards
(images from random eBay listings)

i. 1953 Topps Willie Mays: For the second year in a row this card is number one on this list.  Five years ago or so, I thought, not entirely unrealistically either, that I may be able to get a well worn copy for under a $100.  Currently, anything less than $500 for even a horribly beat up copy would have to be considered a steal.  For that reason, this card may be number 1 on this list again next year.

ii.  1987-88 Fleer Michael Jordan:  Like the Mays, this card remains in the same spot it was in last year, and is a card I have watched go up in price exponentially.  Less than mint copies routinely sold in the $35-50 range a few years ago.  It's about 5x that figure now.  

iii.  1972 Toops Ben Oglivie, Ron Cey, and Bernie Williams:  This is most expensive card remaining on my '72 need list. Sometimes there are high number cards that sell for ugly looking numbers that just don't make much sense to me, and on paper, this was one of them.  However, after seeing it repeatedly in eBay listings the last few years, I'm starting to get it.  It's a a nice looking card featuring two players that had really phenomenal, albeit not Hall of Fame, careers in Oglivie and Cey.  This card has gone from an annoyance to me, to one I actually really want to own, for reasons that go beyond just wanting to complete the set.

iv.  1986-87 Fleer Larry Bird:  I don't like the Boston Celtics.  I don't particularly like Larry Bird (as someone to root for, by all accounts he seems to be a fine person off the court).  But I currently sit two cards away from completing this set (plus some stickers that I'm not too concerned with), and this is one of them.  You can probably guess the other, but I'm not in a mental state to spend $1,000 plus on a piece of mass produced junk wax from the 1980's, which is to say I'm not crazy.  I will however end up over paying for this Bird.  I currently have a very nice looking counterfeit copy of the sneaker king in my binder, and once I add this Bird I'll more or less consider the set "complete" for now.

v. 1971 Topps Nolan Ryan:  I'm far from what you would call a Nolan Ryan fan.  But there's something about cards of him in a Mets uniform that I really like.  His 1970 Topps was far and away the most difficult card for me to acquire when I finished that set.  After my expierence with it, I made a point to start tracking his other cards in 1970's Topps sets.  I figured I may as well get a head start on them.  This is the last one I need to complete the run of 70's Ryan, one of him in a Mets Uniform, has an awesome RC Cola sign in the background, and is a set need.  That warrants it's placement at #5 on this list.

vi. 1963 Topps Pete Rose:  I've wanted this card since I was about five years old, following Rose's assault on Ty Cobb's record.  It should probably be higher on this list, but the reality is that it just isn't a priority right now, even if it's place in my subconscious warrants it.  This is sort of "The" baseball card in my mind and I suspect the minds of a lot of other collector's my age.  If I were pressed on a Mt. Rushmore of baseball cards for my demographic, I'd probably point to this card, the '68 Ryan, the '84 Donruss Matttingly, and probably '86 Donruss Canseco.  Feel free to disagree, it won't hurt my feelings.

vii. 1967 Topps Rod Carew:  The bulk of Rod Carew's career was played before I was born, but he's always been one of my favorites.  I'd probably point to his '85 Topps card as the genesis of Carew fandom.  It was an awesome card, and even before flipping it over to see the mind blowing batting numbers on the back, I could tell even at my young age that the player pictured was a bad ass.


viii. 1971 Topps Lew Alcindor:  This isn't Kareem's rookie card, it's actually is third Topps card.  It is however the first standard sized card of the NBA's All-Time leading scorer.  This could also be a set I decide to finish one day as I have a good head start on it already.  Even if I don't ever take a stab at the set, I would love to have this card in my collection.

ix. 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky:  I more than dabble in hockey cards, and have slowly built up what I consider a half-way respectable collection of NHL cardboard.  This Gretzky would obviously be a crown jewel.  While I have no minimum standards for condition, I am stubborn when it comes to OPC vs Topps.  I want the OPC.  I wouldn't mind owning a Topps, but it wouldn't crack this list if it were 50 cards long.

x.(a) 2002-03 Upper Deck Henrik Zetterberg: This card was #10 on this list last year as well.  Hank's been out of the league for a few years now, his Hall of Fame chances don't look too strong, the Red Wings are a dumpster fire, and yet this card continues to demand crazy amounts of money on the rare occasion one shows up for sale.  The only one available on eBay at the moment is listed at $550.  I don't get it.  

x.(b) 2003-04 Topps Carmelo Anthony: I'm sure a few of the regular readers of this blog already know this, but The Syracuse Orangemen are my team.  I do have professional sports teams  across the leagues that I root for to varying degrees, I am very much a Yankees fan, I like the Buffalo Bills, came to enjoy following the Detroit Red Wings during my law school days in Michigan and would rather see the Knicks win than lose.  But at the end of the day, Syracuse Basketball is the only rooting interest that truly matters to me (to an unhealthy extent if I'm being honest), and maybe Syracuse Football to a much lesser degree.  Over the years I've hoarded Lawrence Moten and John Wallace cards the way I do Wallach cards (I just don't blog about it and on a much smaller scale).  I have a binder of nothing but former Orangemen, from Dave Bing, to Rony Seikaly to Jonny Flynn and everyone in between and after.  Yet somehow I've never bothered to pick up Carmelo's rookie card.  It's an oversight I need to correct.

So that's a wrap for my goals this year.  Thanks for reading, and best of luck to all of you with your 2020 collecting goals.