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.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Some serious card goals there!! I am all in on a Carew RC too, but doubt I will ever get one. Too tiny of a budget.