Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Impossible or Improbable?

In the previous post I mentioned that I had attempted to copy and paste all of Manny’s cards into a spreadsheet to build a checklist for completing as much of his available cards as possible. I was unsuccessful until a few days ago. I now have a complete list of all of Manny’s stuff (according to Beckett’s Online Price Guide).

Since I’ve returned to the hobby I’ve found that Beckett has a horrible knack for valuing cards as N/A. I can understand 1 of 1 runs, SPs, and other circumstances but come on, seriously, 2005 Absolute Memorabilia variations (Red, Blue, etc?) You can’t tell me that no one has sold any of these in the last three years. That’s just lazy. What about 2007 Upper Deck Star Rookies?

Now that I have finally succeeded in getting my checklist into a “workable” format I don’t know if I even want to try to complete it. According to Beckett, there are 6,676 different Manny Ramirez cards on the market with a high book value of $54,495.15. The value does not include the N/A’s mentioned above. At that rate alone you’re looking at 8 bucks a card. I know that’s high end but even 40% is still $3 per card or more.

Am I alone in missing the old days of being able to own every card each year of your favorite player? The discussion could literally be split down the middle on 1 of 1 inserts and I can see both sides of the coin. Some people want to own that card that they know that no one else has. Me, I want EVERY card of my favorite player. Everybody can’t be winners.

My main gripe with the products of Topps and Upper Deck are the variations. I can deal with 1 of 1’s now because I know that the day will soon come that I’ll come across one and my mentality on the subject will change somewhat. I’m tired of trying to collect all 12 different colors, styles, etc of each year’s set. Last year I decided to try to build a base set of 2007 Goudey. Every time that I bought another pack I ended up with more green backs that I already had instead of red backs that I needed.

To the card companies at work today and for all future companies that will come along:


I don’t care about having 10 different colors of each card. Variations are a gimmick to get base set builders to keep spending. If you feel differently please feel free to voice your opinions. Who knows, maybe someone can change my mind on the subject and make me see it a different way.

For some, this may be a legitimate concern and you would like for your voice to be heard. You can comment here all day. But, If you really want to do something, contact these card companies. They may not listen, but they will have to at least know our frustrations with their products. Please don’t limit yourself to complaints involving the topic of this post. Let them know ANY and ALL issues you have with the hobby’s current status. Remember, you are the customer. Topps and Upper Deck work for you. If you go away, eventually so will they. None of us ever want to see that. Don’t just leave the hobby like I did years ago. Let your voice be heard!


The Hamiltonian said...

June 3, 2008 at 3:48 pm e

I tried being a player collection completist (I actually have a few complete hockey player collections - minor league guys mostly, but there is one NHLer in the bunch). Then I realized I was driving myself nuts for no good reason. I was picking up cards I thought were ugly, or duals and triples that featured players I didn’t like. For me, it wasn’t necessarily a matter of their being ‘too much’ out there - there was just a lot of stuff I didn’t really like.

So, I nuked the completist attitude. It wasn’t working for me. I kept the cards I liked, I moved the ones I didn’t. And now, with my Hamilton collection - if I don’t like it, I don’t buy it. I have only a rudimentary wantlist, with no idea of BV or completion percentages - and I really enjoy it. Its all about finding a way to collect your guy that works for you.

I do have to kind of disagree with you about parallels (variations). I love ‘em. There is something immensely satisfying about completing a run of parallels and putting them into a binder beside each other. Somewhere, a building must collapse just to allow the entropy of the universe to keep increasing after a player collector manages this. Although - I will say that parallels get much less frustrating once you decide that you don’t NEED all of them.

Dave said...

June 3, 2008 at 7:49 pm e

I feel your frustrations as a player collector. I was a huge Don Mattingly fan as a kid and when I stopped collecting in 1994, I had about 200 different cards of him, which I thought was a lot at the time. In 2003, I decided that I wanted to complete my Mattingly collection, and I was overwhelmed with the number of cards of him that were in existence. It was more than 2000 and the majority had been released after his retirement!

So, I bought a bunch of his post-2000 cards with auto’s, game-used relics, etc, and then decided to simply try to collect every one of his cards from his playing career, 1984-1996. Five years later, I’m only about 15 really obscure insert/parallel cards away from achieving that goal. I now have 921 different Mattingly cards. I know that I can never collect all of his post-retirement cards because there are simply too many variations of the cards produced after 2000.

So I think that as player collectors, we have to be more selective about our goals in today’s environment. With Manny, maybe you can focus on all of his 90s cards, or just collect his base cards. Sprinkle in a few auto’s and game-used cards here and there to quench your desire for those. Obtaining every single variation of Manny’s cards is probably unrealistic.

My take on the variations is that if you don’t like them, don’t collect them. The ones that I really hate are the cards that have different colored backs from the regular cards. What’s so special about different colored backs? I remember the Topps Gold parallel cards from the early 90s. Those looked cool and were fun to collect. But who cares about ‘08 Topps Heritage black backs or the ‘07 Goudey red backs? As for me, I built a complete base set of ‘07 Goudey green backs and I’m building a complete base set of ‘08 Topps Heritage green backs. I don’t think it’s worth my time or money to bother with the different colored back parallel cards. Hopefully Topps and Upper Deck will get the point eventually, and if they’re going to make parallel cards, at least make them interesting.

Beppo said...

June 11, 2008 at 8:00 pm e

I agree. I don’t care much about the parallel variations. If they are going to make inserts, make them something unique, with different stats, pictures, or trivia.

I used to try to collect every card of Nolan Ryan (that I could afford). In the ’90s I started feeling the same frustration you speak of. I finally limited my scope to Ryan’s cards in the ’80s, and have achieved that goal. Now I just collect the cards of the players I like, of whichever cards I can affordably get, and the rest that I pull are put in a trade or sell stack.

One upside to all the inserts is there are a lot of cards available of your favorite players, but from a completist standpoint, it makes it near impossible. Although, it almost is impossible anyway, with all the low-numbered print runs (like 1, 5, 10).