Saturday, January 16, 2021

Am I becoming a set collector?

I've never been a very focused collector. I've always had some specific types of card that I value more, like Yankees and my player collections, but for the most part I've always just collected whatever caught my eye. Looking back at a card show post from April, 2019, there's no rhyme or reason, just lots of fun cards. 1980s Baseball's All-Time Greats, Bert Blyleven with a beach ball, a 1995 Fleer card, 2011 Topps Lineage, 1980 Topps, Omar Vizquel with a sports car, 1984 OPC, Nolan Ryan as a Met from a Coca-Cola set, Nolan Ryan as a baby from a Pacific set, pitchers sucking on lollipops, Fernando Valenzuela looking depressed, etc. You get the idea. It's a fun way to collect. And I still collect that way, for the most part. But over the last six months I've started tentatively journeying into set collecting.

It started with 1959 Topps. I'd been getting '59s for cheap at a local card shop, and when I'd gotten to 50, I decided I'd officially start collecting it. The fronts are colorful, the backs aren't bad, and it's the cheapest of the 1950s Topps sets. But now I'm wondering, where is it going to end? If 1959, why not 1963. If 1963, why not 1964, 1965, 1967, and a myriad of other sets? I don't know. I've been adding some cards from those other sets, so I'm at least thinking about collecting them, but for now I'm just going to enjoy the awesome cards and not over-think it.

Speaking of awesome cards, I had 28 1959 Topps cards in my Comc shipment, (the two above being examples) and there are a lot of nice cards among them. Here they are (he wrote after attempting to come up with a good transition, and failing miserably):
Pink isn't my favorite color for baseball cards. It just seems very out of place. But the three above are still nice cards; they just look a little awkward. 

Here's something about Granny Hamner you probably don't know: After his major league career he was a minor league manager for the Athletics, and he also took the mound frequently. In 1961 he had a 5-4 record with a 3.43 ERA for Portsmouth-Norfolk, and in 1962 he actually was 10-4, with a 2.03 ERA. On the strength of that he was called up the Athletics, but after posting a ERA of 9.00 in 3 appearances retired for good.
Marvelous Marv!
Here's a nice quartet of hall of famers. I don't think any of them cost me more than $2.50, which was nice. The Mazeroski might be my favorite of all the '59s I got in the order. It's in great condition, I like the yellow, and the picture is nice.
This was less than $2, but the condition bothers me enough that I regret it slightly. I mean, what's that yellow blotch?
Some facts about Elston Howard: He was an all-star for nine straight seasons (1957-65), which is interesting as he had three seasons in that span in which he hit .253 or less. In 1967 he finished 17th in the MVP voting, which is stunning as he hit just .178 with 4 homers that year! He also played a year in the negro leagues, which I did not know before researching this post.
Here are some good examples of why I'm collecting '59 after all. There's some fun photography, and I really like some of the color combinations. The yellow ones are nice, and I love the black ones.
One thing I think is weird about Sal Maglie is that he didn't become an effective pitcher until he was pitching in the Provincial League after his expulsion from MLB (48-49). And he was in his late 20s at the time.
It felt good to knock out some high numbers. These 4 brought me to having 6 high numbers, which is a respectable number, though I don't have any of the stars yet. 

I have a small connection to Solly Hemus, as my grandfather was Hemus's lawyer, so I always enjoy getting his cards. Though he was a regular for just 3 years, he was actually quite a good player. He was a 2nd baseman who hit .270, walked a lot, led the league in hit by pitches 3 times, and had some pop in his bat. He was a very under-appreciated player, because no skill of his really stood out, but he had a lot of little advantages which added up to making him a very valuable player. His career OBP was .390. I love the Infield-Manager designation, too. 1959 was his last year as a player, and though he was just 4 for 17, he hit 2 doubles and walked 8 times. This is making me think that I probably should get more of his cards, as they're very affordable.

So anyway, there you have it for the 1959 Topps cards I got. I now have 105 of them, so just 467 to go! I think I'll work a little on some other sets before getting back to 1959. 

Right now I'm not working very seriously on any sets. It's more like glorified accumulating, which I'm calling set collecting. I'm not very focused or motivated as a collector, so I may never actually complete any of these sets. But that's okay. It matters more just to enjoy collecting cards. 

And since I haven't shared any music in a while, I think I'll share a couple of songs today.

Revolver might be my favorite Beatles' album. The White Album gives it a run for its money, but I feel like the Beatles were at the height of their craft then.
I've actually shared this one on my blog before, but because it was so long, and almost nobody read my blog back then, I think it's worthwhile to share it again. I like it a lot. I'm never quite sure if I like Pink Floyd, but this a really good early song from them. 


  1. There's nothing wrong with being a player/team/set collector, who also picks up "just because" stuff on the side. I'd argue in fact that that might be the best way to collect, as it reduces your chances of ever losing in interest collecting as a whole.

    1. At this point I'm probably a "just because" collector who picks up set and team cards on the side. Which I agree is not a bad thing.

  2. I think that your connection with Solly Hemus is very cool. My dad caught three MLB pitchers, but only one was very good (Mike Crudale), so your grandfather wins. By the way, I actually do remember the Pink Floyd post.

    1. Well, that's because it wasn't 2 years ago when you read it. :)

    2. That is understood and admitted, but who says that nobody reads through the archives? I know that I did.

  3. Your grandfather being Hemus's lawyer is pretty cool. I think if that were me, I'd become a Hemus super-collector. As for pink on cards... I love it. I'm especially fond of the bright pink found in the 1972 and 1975 Topps baseball sets.