Saturday, April 24, 2021

I am no longer a team collector

The other day my wife and I were trying to decide what to do for dinner. Nothing sounded good. Nothing. Not even pizza. I was thinking it, but my wife actually said it out loud. I agreed with her and briefly thought back to a time as a child when I remember saying that I would love to eat pizza every day. 

I still like pizza, but it just didn't sound good at the time. 

Earlier this month I posted about the 1969 Topps Deckle Edge set that I am working on. Night Owl posted this comment and I realize why he said what he said.

When I started collecting cards, I pretty much just bought packs and tried to put together sets. Big occasions like Christmas would sometimes bring boxes. I liked certain players like Don Mattingly and Dwight Gooden when I first entered the card collecting hobby, but their rookie cards were out of reach financially for me by the time I entered the hobby in 1988, so I didn't really consider myself a Mattingly or Gooden collector at the time. 

In 1990 I decided decided to pick a favorite player, that I would collect. It was between Robin Ventura and Ken Griffey Jr. I picked Ken Griffey Jr, just like every other kid my age and started "collecting" his cards. Which at the time, meant setting the aside when I pulled them from packs and making sure they made it into plastic pages and one the only binder I had at the time. The first singles I remember buying were two "vintage" 1976 Topps Hank Aaron cards; his base card and a Record Breaker card. But most of my meager income during my childhood continued to go towards packs and boxes rather than high priced vintage; although I spent hours of my youth scanning the newspaper print pages of Beckett, dreaming about Topps cards from the 50's, 60's and 70's.

We didn't have a big league team where I lived when I was a kid. Not sure why I felt I needed to have a favorite team, but I did, and I picked the Dodgers. Maybe it was because they were close by. Maybe it was because I thought the LA logo was really cool. I think some of it had to do with the streak of Rookie of the Year winners from 1992 - 1996. They always had fun and exciting young players. Mike Piazza became my number two guy. I collected him and Griffey. They were great choices because not only were they in every set being produced, but they were in virtually every insert set as well.

Then in 1998 the Arizona Diamondbacks took the field for the first time. I was born and raised in Phoenix Arizona and still live in the area. I attended Opening Day back in 1998 and have been a D-Backs fan ever since. As a card collector I was excited when Diamondbacks cards started showing up in packs in 1997 and became a team collector for the first time.

With a team to collect, the player collector in me kicked in and I started collecting certain D-Back players like Travis Lee, Randy Johnson, Luis Gonzalez, Brandon Webb, Justin Upton, Ryan Roberts, and Paul Goldschmidt.

Set Collector to Player Collector to Team Collector; always wanting to be a Vintage Collector.

So what happens when you collect sets, various players, a team and add in vintage? You run out of space and money. That's what happens. Something has got to give.

I no longer by packs and boxes. Oh sure, every once in a while I will pick up a retail box or a few packs here and there, but 95% of my collecting budget goes towards singles. Most of the singles at this point are vintage, hall of fame rookies, cards to complete sets, players I collect, or just cards that I think are cool. What I'm not buying right now are random Diamondbacks cards. 

I am no longer a team collector. Wow, that was hard to say, but it feels good at the same time.


  1. Totally get it. Sometimes I think should focus my collecting better.

  2. Are you working on completing any vintage sets? I don't see any such wantlists on the sidebar.

  3. I stopped collecting modern Braves cards and have gone 100% vintage Braves and Tigers; although, Hank Aaron cards are still out of reach I've been accumulating nice Spahn, Mathews and Kaline PCs.

  4. Times are a changin'. I've narrowed my focus, too, and there's nothing wrong with that.

  5. Totally understand where you're coming from. I've sort of halted spending money on cards as a whole... with the occasional purchase over at the online dime box. But even before I decided to start padding my savings, I started cutting back on my Team PC's. A lot of it has to do with being spread too thin... like you pointed out. But most of the care packages I receive contain cards for my team collections, so I figured they'd continue to grow with or without my help. I'll still pick up cards here or there when I find a good deal... or come across a player I don't have yet. And I still consider myself a team collector... I just prefer to spend my hard earned money on other areas of my collection right now. But who knows... if the A's or Padres win the World Series... that might change.

  6. I'm kinda in the same boat. I just started out buying packs to see how much I can get. When I joined the blogosphere I felt I needed to be something so I said I'm a Cubs guy since they're my favorite team...but it's not like I make a serious attempt to collect as many Cubs as possible. Just keep on doing what makes you happy with your collection.