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


  1. Always a treat when an update comes and seeing what new cards have arrived- prepping one right for you!

  2. Congrats on 10 years! Funny that what started as a bit of a joke has made you kinda famous!

  3. I still pull all the Wallach cards that come across my path and store them away for you. The pile is pretty small right now, but if the blog is around another ten years they'll surely find their way to you eventually. LOL Congrats on the milestone!

  4. Congrats on 10 years! I actually have a few more Wallachs stored away for you, waiting for a bit more to fill a PWE.

  5. congrats! and yes, I often think of your blog and reading your individual card totals as a way of estimating print runs - all the more reason to get more to build a larger sample size!

  6. Happy 10 years. The best thing about this blog is I never have to worry about whether what I'm sending is what the person wants.

  7. Congrats! I beat you by a day and started my blog Feb 10, 2011. But you’re better than me and I forgot until today.

  8. Happy 10th blogoversary to you! Love that picture of all the envelopes and bubble mailers. If one could pinpoint the place in the US that is the furthest from any MLB ballpark, would it be in Montana?

  9. Happy blogo-versary! Yours was one of the first card blogs that I discovered and inspired me to start my own. Thank you for all of the fascinating content over the past decade!

  10. Congratulations on your first decade!

  11. Thanks everyone. Lost Collector, I'll be sending the Schmidt's your way.