Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday Edition


Recent Additions

These two high number 1953 Topps bring me slightly closer to closing out the set.  I'm less than 30 cards away from completion.  I was able to finally pick up the Jensen at a price I could stomach, thanks in no small part to the "LIFT" written across his nose in purple ink.  For my purposes and budget, I don't mind, but apparently others do.  I get that he's a former MVP with a very interesting history (retired after leading the AL in RBI's for the 3rd time in 5 years due to fear of flying and the arrival of air travel in baseball), but I still don't think it should demand the Hall of Fame prices it routinely does.

This pair of '73 Topps knocks my need list down to 11 cards for that set.  These were final two cards from the first and second series that I needed. 

Four more 1987-88 Fleer inch me slightly closer to finishing off that set.  Despite being less than a dozen cards away from finishing it off, the Jordan lingers as an obstacle I don't expect to clear anytime soon.

The Bo Jackson isn't a new pickup, but the Janowicz is, albeit, a duplicate.  Fun fact, these are the only two Heisman Trophy winners to ever play in Majors (and thus the reason for including Jackson).  Jackson of course won the Heisman with Auburn in 1985.  Janowicz won the Heisman as a halfback at Ohio State in 1950.  He opted to play for the Pirates after college, but after two seasons went back to football, playing for the Washington Redskins.  Tragically he was left partially paralyzed in a car accident after only one season in the NFL.

These Ralph Neely's aren't new cards either.  But I'm not sure I've ever posted a Neely card on this blog.  Neely is from Farmington, New Mexico (the city I've resided in since 2008), and was a star on the Farmington High School football and basketball teams before going on to be a two-time All-American at Oklahoma.  He played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965 to 1977, being named an All-Pro four times and helping them win two Super Bowls.  He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1960's.  Along with Duane Ward (the former Blue Jay), Ralph is on the short list for greatest athlete to ever come out of this region.

Finally, I also added the above Wallach's.  Seven total various 1984's.  

Updated Totals:

Friday, January 14, 2022

Venture, CA

These 23 cards were sent by Ken of Venture, California.  These are the first cards I've received from Venture (it's north of Los Angeles and south of Santa Barbara), but I have received cards from nearby Newbury Park and Agoura Hills.  It's a nice assortment and a good way to start the year off as I look to improve on last years total of 645 new Wallach cards.

I've noticed a tradition, unlike perhaps any other than the Masters, developing with this blog.  Whenever I do my end of the year post, I point out cards that I went the entire year without picking up a new copy of.  Without fail, I seem to always receive a few of the more notable ones in the mail almost immediately after posting about them.  In this batch of cards, the 1993 Upper Deck, '94 Upper Deck, '95 Stadium Club, '95 Topps embossed, '95 Upper Deck, and '96 CC II, were all cards I didn't receive copies of in 2021.  Maybe they were just due.

Thanks for the cards Ken!

Updated Totals:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Santa Monica, CA

This file folder was sent by Paul of Santa Monica, California.  By my records Paul also sent me cards back in January of 2016.  There could be some in between, so my apologies if I'm missing anything.  I've been lucky enough to accumulate close to two dozen of these folders over the years.  In real time, I had one of these in 1988, along with a few other players and a couple of the 1989 ones (Topps screwed up and omitted Wallach from their '89 player selection).  I ended up using my Wallach one for a solid 20 years, with a taped up hole punched folder taking me all the way through law school.  That original folder finally lost it's two decade battle to wear and tear, so I'm always happy to pick up new ones.

Thanks for the folder Paul.  I appreciate it.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Looking Ahead to 2022


2022 Collecting Goals

Despite adding fewer Wallach cards in 2021 than in any year since I started this blog a decade ago, I actually did a pretty good job of sticking to the "goals" I set out for my collection in last year's "Look Ahead" post.  The big non-"aquire more" Wallach card goal I had for the year was to complete the Ten Year Anniversary post.  While I perhaps did not breakdown the stats as much as I would have liked to, I actually got it posted on time and did a pretty deep dive into the numbers and trends of my Wallach collection.  If you missed it, here's a link to it, it may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed putting it together.  So despite "only" adding 645 Wallach cards in 2021, I don't feel like the year was a bad one.  645 may also be the new norm.  At some point, I might actually start making a dent in the population of Wallach cards left in the wild.

Of the non-Wallach related collection goals (or probably more aptly described as "focus") I set for myself in 2021, I did about as well as I ever have.  I completed seven sets this year (well six, depending if you count buying the 2021 factory set as "completing a set.")  I knocked off the 2009 and 2010 base sets, as well as the 1977, 1976, 1974 and 1972 Topps sets.  The 1972 Topps set is probably the biggest sense of "accomplishment" I've ever felt with regards to card collecting.  I also knocked off a couple of cards from "Ten Most Wanted List," picking up the '72 Ron Cey, '71 Nolan Ryan, and a 1971 Topps Basketball Lew Alcindor.  It's not Kareem's rookie, but it is his first standard sized Topps card.  As you can see below, it has a slightly dinged corner, but I still love it.

I don't really know what my expectations for 2022 are as far as the goals I'm laying out below are.  To be honest, if I can manage to keep up with this blog and post the cards people send me in something resembling a timely manner, that's good enough for me.  On the other hand, maybe I'll get the itch and the atmosphere around the hobby will improve and I'll dive head first back into cards.  It's been an unpredictable two years, and continued unpredictability is the only thing I feel confident in.

1. Acquire More Tim Wallach's

Once again this will be my primary collecting objective.  I currently sit at just under 28,000 cards in my collection.  I'm not sure I'll get there this year, but 29,000 cards is a milestone that sort of demands attention (Wallach wore #29).  It'd be nice to reach it and maybe come up with some sort of gimmick to mark the occasion.

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) Bring one card to extinction - I probably sound like a broken record with this idea, as I post it every year, and have never made a serious effort to pursue it.  Maybe this will be the year I pick a card and make it disappear from Sportlots, eBay, and every other major online retailer, you better complete your '83 Topps sets now before this decades '66 Bart Shirley emerges.

(2) Variations - This is another repeat from last year, but I didn't get around to it, and I'd still like to do it. I want to post 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.

(A custom I found online)

(3) Custom Cards - I suspect that at some point I'm going to take a deep dive into this.  The first cards I'd like to create are cards that I feel like should have been made but weren't, such as 1981 Topps/Donruss/Fleer cards of Wallach, a 1985 Topps All-Star card, and 1996 and '97 Topps cards.  Beyond that, I really like the idea of swapping photos.  For instance taking the photo from 1986 Fleer and sticking it on the border of a 1986 Topps.  I don't know that this is the year I refresh my photoshop skills (they've gone dormant since my punk band disbanded 20 years ago and I stopped doing album art and posters), but it's on my radar.

2. Continue to Complete Sets

(Bob Veale was the final card in my '72 Set)

As I mentioned above, I made huge progress in my set building this year, completing seven different sets.  I'll probably "cheat" and buy a factory set again this year for 2022 as I don't see the frenzy around packs dying down at all (and who wants to deal with that?).  If cards are available again, it'd be nice to do it by way of a few packs at a time this year, as the design isn't bad and I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss buying packs.  Either way, it'll work itself out.  My vintage set builds however will require a little more focus.

i. 1973 Topps: I'm currently a mere 16 cards away from knocking off this set, and most of the high dollar cards are in hand.  Dwight Evans figures to be the biggest hit to the wallet of the remaining cards. This is in line to be the third "series'd" Topps set I complete and the thrill hasn't become any less. Here's a link to what I need in '73 Topps (and every other set I'm working on). 

ii. 1971 Topps: I'm roughly a 100 cards short of finishing this set, needing almost exclusively high and semi-high numbers.  I picked up a Nolan Ryan this year, leaving Roberto Clemente as the biggest hurdle remaining.  I anticipate finishing this set before the end of the year, which will leave me with a run of complete Topps sets from 1970 through 1994.  The biggest issue I'll have after that is whether to focus on filling in 1995 to 2007 (which to be honest doesn't excite me), or picking another set from the 60's to focus on (which excites me but will really push my definition of what constitutes a "reasonable" collecting budget).

iii. 1953 Topps: Somehow I find my self only 26 cards short of completing this set.  Willie Mays looms large as a need, but the Mantle, Paige, and Robinson are all already in hand.  Ten years ago I started buying a ton of low grade (often extremely low grade) vintage on eBay.  Turns out I was hitting the market at the right time and ended up with most of the Hall of Famers from this set for pennies on the dollar for what it's costing me to close it out.  I'm in no hurry to pay for the Mays, but it's conceivable that I'll be one card short of completing in the near future.

iv. 1975 Topps Mini: This isn't a huge priority for me at this point, but as the sets above get crossed off, by way of attrition it could move up the list, unless I become distracted by something else, like say 1962 Topps, or a vintage O-Pee-Chee hockey build.

v. 1986-87, 1987-88 and 1988-89 Fleer Basketball: Sure, technically this is three sets, but they're small and I keep them all in the same three-ring binder.  I'm also only two cards short of finishing the '86-87 set and one card short of completing the '88-89 set, so it seemed silly to list on them on their own.  The '87-88 set is missing 15 cards, including the wildly overpriced Jordan.  Absent finding one of those in the worst condition ever, I don't see myself finishing it this year.

3. Single Cards

I bought more singles this year than I have in years.  Most of them weren't on last years list, but probably should have been given how much I enjoyed them.  Here's what I'm going with this year as my Top Ten.

2022 Most Wanted Cards
(images from random eBay listings)

i. 1953 Topps Willie Mays: For the third year in a row this card is number one on this list.  Five or six years ago, 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 $1000 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 #2 on this list for a third year in a row.  I have watched it go up in price exponentially over that time, but like the Mays, figure this market is due for a crash sooner or later.  Less than mint copies routinely sold in the $35-50 range a few years ago.  It's about 5x that figure now.  

iii.  1961 Fleer Dolph Schayes "Shoots":  If you've read this blog enough, you're probably aware that I bleed orange when it comes to Syracuse Basketball.  That fandom doesn't extend to the now non-existent Syracuse Nationals, but I would like to have a card of Schayes, who led the Nationals to the NBA Championship in 1955.  There aren't a lot of Dolph Schayes cards to choose from, but I really like this one, and I don't mind that it's not even his actual base card from the set, it just looks cool.  Dolph's son Danny was also one of the first big stars to play for Jim Boeheim in the early 80's before enjoying a long NBA career of his own.   

iv. 1962 Topps Jim Bouton:  For a few years running, the 1962 Topps Rookie Parade featuring Joe Pepitone appeared on this list.  I finally acquired one about 18 months ago.  I like it so much that I've decided I need the Jim Bouton as well.  I'd probably be equally happy with a Bob Uecker, but The Ueck is currently going for prices that I can't justify.  Also, the Pepitone has been prominently displayed on my bookshelf, near a copy of "Ball Four," so it sort of makes sense to me to swap it out with one of these.

v.  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 this card has moved all the way up to #5 on this list, as I currently sit two cards away from completing this set (plus some stickers that I'm not too concerned with).  You can probably guess the other card I need, but I'm not dropping a grand (plus?) on a single mass produced junk wax card from the 1980's.  I currently have a very nice looking counterfeit copy of the sneaker king in my set binder, and once I add this Bird I'll more or less consider the set "complete" for now. 

vi.  1957 Topps Johnny Podres:  Occasionally I'll see a random card on eBay or Twitter that I didn't previously know existed, and get the immediate urge to own one.  At the moment, this is "that" card.  The 1961 Topps Felipe Alou is also on my radar at the moment, but I'll worry about that after I have this Podres with the magnificent scoreboard in the background in hand.

vii. 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.

viii. 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky:  Like the Rose above, my desire for this card probably outweighs it's ranking on this list, but the money tree I planted hasn't been producing yet (I may have been hustled on those magic seeds).  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.  

ix. 2003-04 Topps Carmelo Anthony: As mentioned above in the Dolph Schayes paragraph, I'm a Syracuse fan.  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.

x. 2002-03 Upper Deck Henrik Zetterberg: This card is #10 on this list for at least the 3rd year in a row.  Hank's been out of the league quite awhile now, his Hall of Fame chances don't look too strong, and yet this card continues to demand crazy amounts of money on the rare occasion one shows up for sale.  Who is out there dropping a grand on this borderline obscure card of a quickly being forgotten retired Swedish hockey player?

So that's a wrap for my goals "focus" this year.  Thanks for reading, and best of luck to all of you with your 2021 collecting.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

2021 Year in Review


2021 Year in Review

There were no new Tim Wallach cards issued in 2021, with Topps opting not to include Wallach in Heritage, Archives or any of their countless insert subsets.  They did however include Chad Wallach in the flagship base set for the second consecutive year.  It was a pretty cool photo selection as well.  If Chad doesn't find his way into the 2022 set and this marks his last Topps card, he'll have a nice looking tandem of cards to show for his service time in the majors, albeit, a few less than he should as Topps inexplicably omitted him from the set in 2018 and 2019 sets (and I would argue 2017 update should have included Chad as well).

Chad played in 23 games for the Marlins this season.  He picked up 12 hits bringing his career total to 43, which means the Wallach's have now combined for 2,128 hits in the majors.  I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be excited to see a dual card of Chad and Tim similar to the family subset Topps did in the 1985 set.  

Chad was released by the Marlins this season and promptly claimed of waivers by the Dodgers.  Los Angeles put him on the 40-man roster, but sent him to AAA, where he played one game in Oklahoma City before being released again.  This time the Angels immediately claimed Chad and again kept him on the 40-man but sent him to AAA Salt Lake.  Young Wallach spent the last 39 games of the year knocking the cover off the ball in Utah, finishing with 8 home runs and a .750 OPS for the Salt Lake Bees.  Hopefully he can earn a spot with the Angels next spring and find his way back into the Topps set.

I "only" added 656 new Tim Wallach cards to my collection this year.  That is by far the fewest I have added since I started doing this "Year in Review" post back in 2014.  I can't say I'm surprised.  I also published far fewer posts than I ever have previously.  I think like a lot of collector's, the noise around cards this past year has been sort of off-putting and created a less than fun atmosphere.  So I stayed away from it as best as I could while still quietly going about my business.  It's clear though that there is a direct correlation between how often I post on thort is blog, and how many envelopes of cards I receive from readers in the mail.  I can't promise a huge increase in posting in 2022, but this blog isn't going anywhere.  I'll keep posting as long as I keep adding new cards, and there are a lot more 80's junk wax Wallach's out there still to be hoarded.

Current cards in the Collection: 27,570
Cards acquired in 2020: 656
Collection grew by: 2.4%

Top Fifteen Most Abundant Cards in the Collection


1. 1982 Topps .................................. 1,240   
2. 1987 Topps ...................................1,029        
3. 1988 Donruss ................................. 977
4. 1989 Topps ..................................... 864
5. 1988 Topps All-Star ....................... 826
6. 1988 Topps ..................................... 798
7. 1986 Topps All-Star ....................... 737
8. 1990 Topps ..................................... 642
9. 1990 Donruss ................................. 542
10. 1989 Donruss ............................... 518
11. 1990 Fleer ..................................... 492
12. 1987 Donruss ............................... 475
13. 1985 Topps ................................... 474
14. 1986 Topps ................................... 468
13. 1982 Fleer ..................................... 457

The only new addition in the Top 15 was 1985 Topps jumping up to #13 and bumping 1989 Fleer out of the Top 15.  1986 Topps also moved up a couple spots dropping '82 Fleer.  Otherwise there wasn't any change. 

It's interesting to me, that even extended out to fifteen, the list is still monopolized by Topps, Donruss, and Fleer, and the most recent card is 1990.  I'd have to list cards out to #19 for another brand to show up (1990 Upper Deck 362).  

Top 10 most added cards in 2021

1. 1985 Topps  .................................. 92
2. 1992 Topps  .................................. 31
3. (tie) 1983 Donruss ....................... 28
3. (tie) 1986 Topps ........................... 28
3. (tie) 1986 Topps AS ..................... 28
6. 1990 Topps .................................. 25
7. 1992 Bowman  ............................. 23
8. 1993 Topps  .................................. 21
9. 1983 Fleer ..................................... 18
10. 1983 Topps ................................. 16

Last year it took 53 new copies of a card to crack this list.  I also added 4x as many cards in 2020 as I did in 2021, so the numbers make sense.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised to see '92 Bowman and '92 Topps on this list. 

Notable No-Shows, zero acquired (pre-existing amount)

Where's all the Stadium Club?  I didn't add a single copy of 1991 Stadium Club (165 copies), 1992 Stadium Club (95 copies), 1993 Stadium Club (80), 1994 Stadium Club (53), or '95 Stadium Club (30).  That's the entire run of Wallach Stadium Club base cards.  '93 Upper Deck (165), '93 Donruss (137), and '92 Leaf (126) were other notable no-shows in 2021.

Welcome Back

This list isn't as exciting as it's been in previous years, no doubt a result of adding fewer cards.  But there were still a few that popped up after long droughts.

1st since 2013
1988 O-Pee-Chee Stickers
1990 O-Pee-Chee
1995 Stadium Club Super Team World Series

1st since 2014
1984 Stuart
1993 Panini

1st since 2016
1986 Topps Sticker
2005 Topps Rookie Cup

Top 5 cards sent in 2021

I posted fewer post this year than any other year in this blog's nearly 11 eleven year history.  As a direct result of that, mail was way down.  That said, I still received 155 cards in the mail this year.  A decade plus in and it still amazes me.  Thank you.

1. 1990 Donruss............................... 9
2. 1983 Donruss .............................. 8
3. 1989 Topps .................................. 7
3. 1989 Upper Deck ......................... 7
5. 1982 Donruss .............................. 5

Top 15 All-Time Most Sent Cards
1. 1989 Topps .................................. 328
2. 1987 Indiana Blue Sox ............... 325
3. 1987 Topps .................................. 308
4. 1988 Topps All-Star .................... 290
5. 1990 Donruss .............................. 289
6. 1988 Donruss............................... 284
7. 1988 Topps .................................. 253
8. 1990 Topps .................................. 250
9. 1990 Fleer ...…….....................…  211
10. 1989 Donruss............................. 209
11. 1991 Donruss ............................ 191
12. 1986 Topps ................................ 190
13. 1986 Topps All-Star .................. 179
14. 1991 Donurss MVP ................... 176
15. 1991 Topps ................................ 175

Since I started this blog I have been sent 9,434 cards by readers.  The 15 cards above are the most commonly sent ones.  This list has long been my favorite list that I keep regarding my collection.  I think it's a better reflection on trends that existed within the card industry in the 1980's and early to mid 1990's than the list of my overall collection numbers.  This is a random sampling, while the overall numbers are directly effected by the cards I specifically target, and I am biased towards cards from 1982-85.

 With the anomaly of the 1987 Indiana Blue Sox set aside, every card on this list is a Topps/Donruss/Fleer base card from 1987-1991.  As someone who was a young kid buying cards at grocery stores, gas stations, little league snack bars, card shops, and even the ice cream truck for awhile during those years, nothing about this cluster surprises me.  Baseball cards were literally every where and I'm not sure I knew a kid my age who didn't at least casually collect them.  I really believe if I were to continue this blog for another 20 years, the cards on this list would remain more or less the same.  

As always, a huge thank you, and Happy New Year to anyone who reads this blog from time to time, sent cards last year, or has ever sent cards, I look forward to doing this all again next year.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Niagara Falls, Ontario

These 15 cards were sent by Graham of Niagara Falls, Ontario, which my geographically challenged fellow Americans, is in Canada.  That also explains the inclusion of a rare O-Pee-Chee version of the 1988 Super Star card (and '92 OPC as well)  They're the first cards sent from there, so Niagara Falls is now represented on the map tracking all the places cards have been sent from.

Thanks for the cards Graham.

Updated Totals: