Sunday, March 18, 2018

Blog Bat Around: What I Collect

A week or so back, Night Owl made a post about some of the items he collects and just recently followed up on that by officially declaring a blog bat around on the subject. Typically, I don't usually participate in these "Blog Bat Around" type subjects, mainly by the time I have a chance to write about a subject, I'm about 2-3 weeks behind everyone else. However, I'm at a rare point where I'm pretty much caught up on everything (except for a few trade packs I got in the mail recently) so I figured I would jump in on the fun of this particular topic.

I've really enjoyed reading the posts others have done on this particular subject, especially those of my regular trade partners, and it's provided me more ammunition to add to my trade box. Reading want lists and such is nice but really, when it's broken down simply in a blog post, it's much easier to keep track of.

At first I decided to split my collecting interests up into three different posts, however trying to focus on my collecting interests by sport turned out to be a pretty lengthy task, so I decided to summarize my collections in the different sports and other areas I collect.

1. Baseball

Baseball is the primary sport I collect and as far as teams go, the Reds and the Indians are the primary teams I collect. I also go after defunct teams such as the Expos, Browns, Senators, Pilots, Brooklyn Dodgers, Milwaukee/Boston Braves, and the Philadelphia/Kansas City A's. As far as player collections go, there's just too many to list. On my want list page, I did put down a pretty extensive list of players that I quote "collect" but it's just merely a guideline. If I had to pick though, probably my top player collections would be of Barry Larkin, Bronson Arroyo, and Dennis Eckersley.

In terms of sets, the main set I'm trying to complete currently is 1984 Topps, which is my birth year set. I managed to score the Don Mattingly rookie card in last year's Secret Santa package and I'd say I'm probably about 50% complete on the set, but I need to update my want list on that to be sure. Another set I'd like to get started on would be 2002 Upper Deck Vintage, as that was the only set I managed to complete during my initial foray into collecting. I haven't really started on that at all yet though.

Some team sets I'm currently trying to track down are the 1969 and 1970 Seattle Pilots cards from those particular Topps sets. The Pilots to me have always been a curiosity to me, being the only "one and done" team in modern MLB history, and so I thought it'd be pretty cool to have all of the Pilots cards from the two Topps sets to feature them. Also, in the vain of curiosities, I'm trying to piece together all the Washington Nat'l League error cards from the 1974 Topps set. I've already got the Willie McCovey and a handful of others but that's been a collecting mission of mine for as long as I can remember.

Of course, there's other stuff beside just teams, team sets, and players I stay on the lookout for and that would include things such as buybacks, cards of "short term stops", cards of players on teams they never actually played for (aka "zero year cards"), oddballs of defunct retail chains such as Hills, KB Toys, and I guess now Toys R Us could be included in that), card of players in throwback uniforms, vintage team cards, and pretty much any random vintage cards as long as they're in decent shape.

2. Hockey

Over the past few years, I've become a pretty big hockey fan, so much in fact that I buy the NHL.TV all access subscription every year so I can watch the teams I follow and because trying to find a hockey game that's not on NBC is a major chore. The current NHL teams I tend to collect are the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Arizona/Phoenix Coyotes. Both the Cincinnati and Dayton areas have a rich minor league hockey history so if I can track down cards from Cincinnati teams like the Cyclones or Mighty Ducks or former Dayton teams like the Bombers and Gems, then I go for those too.

As I mentioned previously, I collect defunct baseball teams and hockey certainly has it's share as well, heck there's even a whole defunct challenger league (the WHA). I'm always on the lookout for cards, mainly vintage, for teams such as the Quebec Nordiques, Hartford Whalers, Cleveland Barons, California Golden Seals, Atlanta Thrasher, and Cincinnati Stingers to name a few. In fact, just like the Seattle Pilots cards, it's one of my collecting missions to get every Stingers card from the O-Pee-Chee WHA sets that were produced in the 70s.

Just like baseball, there's too many player collections I have going on to list, some I actively seek out cards for (Jaromir Jagr, Shane Doan, Martin Brodeur) and some I've yet to officially declare that I'm collecting their cards (Braden Holtby, Ilya Kolvachuk) but if it's a star player or even a player I recognize from watching a game on TV, then I'm pretty likely to pick up their card. I also collect a lot of the players that were popular when I was a kid (Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic, etc.) or are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

I also collect any vintage hockey I can get my hands on, any of the WHA O-Pee-Chee cards, and any oddball cards as well.

3. Pro Wrestling/UFC

I've been a wrestling fan since the mid 1990s and to be honest, the wrestling cards back then and even into the late 90s were pretty pitiful. Once Fleer got the rights to WWE cards in the early 2000s, things really starting getting better. Since then, I've been into wrestling cards. I usually get cards of wrestlers I enjoy watching on TV both past and present. I'll buy a few packs of Topps WWE cards here and there as well, but I mostly focus on singles.

As far as UFC cards go, my interest in that has definitely waned over the years. I'm more of a fan of the original UFC stuff from the 90s but I will still watch the TV fights here and there if I have time. Topps usually includes cards from old school fighters like Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, and Royce Gracie in some of their releases. Also, Jessamyn Duke (a distant cousin of mine) was on the Ultimate Fighter a few years ago and had a few UFC cards produced of her, so I try to get those when I come across them.

4. Football

I'm not a big football collector but if I find older cards, I might snag a few up here and there, especially of Hall of Famers. I do like the cards that Panini puts out in some of their sets of retired stars and Hall of Famers, so if I stumble across those in a dime or nickel box, I'm apt to potentially get those as well. I'm also on the lookout for USFL and XFL cards, since I'm big into that sort of thing, but that about the only thing I'll grab in the way of that sort of stuff.

The only cards I really actively seek out in terms of football are Cincinnati Bengals cards, and even there I'm pretty selective. I won't buy just any Bengals card, it has to be of someone like Andy Dalton or A.J. Green or older stars from the 80s and 90s like Boomer Esiason, Anthony Munoz, Jeff Blake, Corey Dillon, Cris Collinsworth, Ickey Woods, Ken Anderson (not the wrestler), etc.

5. Basketball

I'll admit it, I don't really watch basketball at all, not even when the NCAA Tournament is happening. I've tried. I played some youth basketball at the local YMCA in grade school, and couldn't get into it. I even tried to watch a little bit when the Cavs were in the the Finals the past few years and it's just not for me. However, that hasn't really stopped me in terms of collecting. I'm always on the lookout for Cincinnati Royals cards and ABA cards, plus cards of Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas.

6. 1988 Topps Fright Flicks

I don't remember exactly when or where I heard about these cards but when I did, I knew I had to try to build the whole set. I found a dealer a few years ago at the HorrorHound convention who was selling packs of the stuff for five bucks each. I bought one pack just to try it out and, as a fan of classic horror and sci-fi, I was hooked. I've only got about 16 of these in my collection currently.

7. Racing cards

I got back into racing cards last year thanks to Panini's Donruss set. I really enjoyed busting open packs of it and trying something new. I just recently went back and thumbed through some of the cards I got from those packs and I forgot how neat they were and I'm planning on getting a handful of packs again this year.

8. Pokemon cards

Even though it's not officially listed on my want list, I have a five year old son who is in to everything Pokemon. I managed to get him into collecting Pokemon cards and he's already got a half a binder full of cards. While I don't understand the whole concept behind the show, nor do I understand how to play the official game, it's still a fun father/son activity that we share every so often.

So there it is, my collecting habits in a nutshell ... well, almost a nutshell as this got a bit more wordy than I thought it would. I hope this provided everyone some more insight into what I collect and, in some cases, why I collect certain things. An also, as I said in the beginning, a big shout out to Night Owl for introducing the topic and declaring an official "Blog Bat Around".


  1. That is a wide variety of things to collect! I could probably send you a bunch of hockey cards for the teams/players you collect. Let me know if you'd like to trade some time; it would be a nice change to swap hockey cards with a fellow blogger instead of the standard baseball (which I also enjoy, of course)

  2. I don't believe I realized you enjoyed all these subjects! Perhaps I'll write up something for this bat-around. Look for that post nearer to the holidays...

    1. Yes, my collecting interests are quite varied.

  3. I'm tempted to write one of these posts, but I'm worried that it'd be too long for people to even read all the way through. I don't even know what I'm collecting some of the time.

    I'm also trying to get all the 1969-70 Pilots cards and it actually hasn't been as tough as I thought. I think I'm down to needing about three or four more at this point. I'm also on a halfhearted quest to complete the '74 Washington Nat'l set, and while it's not a priority of mine, I do have the toughest card out of the way (McCovey).

    1. I felt the same way as I was writing it but I after lots of rough drafts and starting this piece over at least three times, it came out as a nice little summary, and that's really all that you need.

  4. Yours is the first BBA to feature the 1988 Topps Fright Flicks set. I'm kinda bummed that I didn't see these cards back in the day. At the time, I was in high school and would have been all over these.

    1. I'm really surprised those cards don't get more love, especially from horror and sci-fi geeks.