“Class, today we will be writing a theme.”
“What I want for Christmas.”
Ok, so I guess it wasn’t like that exactly, but once I read Gellman’s post about our first Bat Around topic, I admit I felt a little like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. My first thought was….damn, this is like some sort of college application essay. Who am I? Ugh…that’s the kind of thinking I haven’t had to do since my days on campus at Indiana (and many of those days involved beerm so often time I had no idea who I was or where I was). But then I thought about it a little bit more and realized that this could be a good opportunity to explain why I collect cards in the matter that I do.
Like many of the people in our hobby today, I was deep into it in my youth and then got out for an extended period of time and then got back into it. I find that many people have taken a similar route. All my life I have been somewhat of a geek so during my card respite, I got into collecting Star Wars items. No, I didn’t have room full of unopened toys; I went more for the statues, maquettes, mini-busts, and things like that. After that line of products started to sway into the ridiculous with variations out the wazoo and items that were getting crazy expensive, I started doing statues of my favorite Marvel characters and that was a lot of fun. But one day I sat down and looked at my collection and realized that sports are my thing and I should really try doing something like that. I mean, I had this nice fully finished basement that my wife said was “my area” and I wanted to do it up with sports stuff.
Hang with me here….this really is going somewhere.
I started out collecting autographed baseballs and photos. Then I progressed to a couple jerseys. After awhile, I had built up a pretty decent collection. Then I decided to start trying to collect autographs through the mail. I didn’t really have anything to send so I went out to buy a pack of cards for the first time in almost 16 years. And THAT is how I got sucked back in. I bought two packs that day and then ended up back there the next day and bought a couple more. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed going through the cards. It was like being 12 all over again. Then I found online store like DCS Sportscards (the first place I ordered a box from upon my return) and Blowout Cards and that’s pretty much where it all ended.
I got out of the hobby before they started inserting things like jersey and autograph cards. I found myself on ebay searching around for cards with autographs and/or relics of the players I liked. I built up a nice little collection of these cards and was happy. Then I looked around my Man Fort one afternoon and realized that I had a lot of stuff in there that I wasn’t really emotionally invested in and that bothered me. What good is having all these neat cards if you aren’t all that into them? I was buying stuff just for the sake of buying things. That is not collecting, that’s hoarding!
So on that day, I made my decision to become a PLAYER COLLECTOR. I would still continue to dabble in memorabilia (baseballs, photos, etc), but I really needed to add some focus to my card collecting. I had trouble initially narrowing it down to just one player since I love baseball so much. So I chose 5 players and decided to focus in on them. I chose Johan Santana, Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Derrek Lee, and Travis Hafner. They were guys I really enjoyed watching play. I tried that for awhile and found that I was stretched a little too thin so I had to get down to just one guy. After some back and forth in my head, I made my choice. I was now a Justin Morneau collector.
But you see….I’m not just any player collector. A lot of player collectors will go out there and grab anything they can get with their player on it. I really have no interest in that. In the Star Wars collecting community (and in the card world as well), those people are called “completists”. I want cards that I feel something for, not something I feel like I need just because it has the player I like on it. So when I go out looking for Morneau cards, I’m somewhat picky. I’ll pass on just about every single color jersey swatch cards out there. To me, those are boring. I also pass on a lot of numbered parallels. They also don’t do much for me. I pass on EVERY base card. When I was a kid, everything was base and that was fine then. But now I want more.
Give me that patch card.
That autograph card sucks!! No thanks.
Ooh, I like that autographed card.
An autographed card with Morneau and Nick Swisher? Blah!
An autographed double relic card with Morneau and Joe Mauer….you betcha!
Game used batting gloves….where do I send the money??
So what do I do with all the cards I get? Ahh…that’s where the previous geek collecting comes in handy. I had a nice display case left over from those days and after a purchase of some acrylic cards stands off ebay, I have my best cards on display in their full glory in a glass case. So yes, I like to show off what I have. I want them in full sight when I sit down at my desk. I want people to come in and say “Wow! That Morneau card is awesome!”. If I paid for it, I want to see it every day and want other people to see it.
Who am I? You can call me…the SELECTIVE PLAYER COLLECTOR.