I did pretty good with Gwynn and Ryan. Gwynn was pretty easy to find, actually. He's never had really high card values and started playing in the early 80's. Nolan cost a bit more, and I think the earliest card I have of his is mid-70s (I might have a '71). The problem came with all those dang parallels, jerseys, and autographs. Tony Gwynn appears on well over 8000 cards now, somewhere around 3000 of them are relics and autographs. Nolan Ryan is on over 9500, around 6000 of them are relics/autos. (Wait, what?) So, needless to say, I lost interest in trying to collect such a large number of cards. If I do base cards only, Nolan appears on nearly 2000, and Tony on 1300. *These numbers are based on Beckett searches, and some of the autographs are relics as well. Some of the base cards aren't exactly mainstream. I accept the total card number to be accurate, but believe the auto/relic/base numbers are higher than actual releases.*
I've been debating new player collections for a while now. There is a small number of autographs in my collection of players I like, and I've left it at that for a while. But let's be honest, I'm never going to touch a Pujols or Ichiro autograph. I'd like to honor a few more players, and in a bit of a larger quantity. So I've decided to start basic. We'll see where this ends up in a few years. The plan is to collect the flagship Topps cards (including any Topps Traded) for each player. Main/base cards only, no subsets, checklists, All-Stars, etc. Of course, if the player appears with someone else as part of a RC (like Nolan Ryan with Jerry Koosman), that'll count. I'll also add a game-used bat for each player.
I've chosen the following players for now:
- Nolan Ryan
- Tony Gwynn
- Albert Pujols
- Frank Thomas
- Ken Griffey Jr.
- Barry Bonds (He's no hero in my eyes, but I still want him for this collection.)
- Jose Canseco (Likewise. But he was my first favorite player.)
I'm not ready to start actually collecting these cards yet. I'll be putting together a list eventually - it won't be too hard - and then I'll start thinking about working on this collection. I mean, it's not as though I don't already have a large and broad enough collecting goal...