Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Player Collecting: My Thoughts

I've already talked about my player collections at various points in this blog's career. But a recent post by the Lost Collector, referencing an article by Sports Collectors Daily that I too had read, got me thinking about how my "PCs" have developed.
Of course, by PC, I mean player collection. Yes, I have a "personal" collection too, but the details of that are best saved for another post.
I've tried briefly to be a "super-collector" like TLC for Tony Gwynn and Nolan Ryan, and Hackenbush mentions that his attitude is the best (and possibly only) approach. It's certainly true that owning all of a player's cards is virtually impossible now - the one-of-one cards alone mean some singles may never see the light of day via auction or otherwise. But you don't even have to get everything you can.
Knowing that, I do have three "super" PCs. Geoff Geary was the first, later followed by Charlie Hough and Buck Farmer. I have my reasons for each of those three, but they are super collections for personal reasons, not really on-field performance reasons. I'd like to have all of their cards, but I know it's just not possible. For Buck, I have split his cards into "should have" versus "like to have" based on the print runs. I'm very happy to say I have several one-of-ones but someone else out there is sporadically grabbing them too, at big prices.
It is possible to have "all" of a player's cards, if you define "all" in a reasonable sense. What that means will be determined by your wallet and interest. I collect Jose Altuve like this - for me, "all" of his cards are the base and inserts. If I get parallels, I add them to my collection, but I don't hunt for them like the other singles. I'd like to add an autograph and relic cards at some point, too.
I have a third tier of player collecting and it's the easiest. Following the "traditional" approach that one probably would have had in the 1960s or 70s, I just get the Topps flagship card for several players each year. There are 22 players in this category, and some of them are retired, so the collections are "complete" to my liking. I've spiced it up a little by adding a bat relic card, jersey relic card, and a figurine or bobblehead to my requirements, but it's a good way to have a small PC collection that can "honor" my favorite players but not break the budget.
I think the key is having a goal that is attainable but challenging. It really isn't hard to get all the flagship cards (unless you collect Mickey Mantle) but player collecting isn't my main focus. Going after non-parallels, or only pink parallels, or something like that can add a bit of a twist.
And while there may be hundreds of cards for a player in one year, it's so much easier to get rare cards than in the past. I've had a lot of luck with eBay for my Buck Farmer collection, but Just Commons, COMC, Sportlots, and even's marketplace have proven themselves to be good sources of singles. The internet is an amazing thing, and there are plenty of message boards and the blogs themselves to complete trading.

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