Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Pre-Covid19 Card Collector

I've been a bad blogger lately, not posting much by my standards, and not reading as many card blogs as usual either. Sitting out contests, free-card giveaways, and bat-arounds. Just been riding lowkey on the hobby lately, I guess. I half-joked on Twitter recently...

You know how there are "pre-war card collectors"? I'm thinking about becoming a pre-covid19 collector. Kinda done with 2020 cards. Seems like a good cutoff point. Not into all the $20-per online cards and recon missions for Bowman blasters in the wild hunting for 17-year olds.

And I try not to be too much of a Rob Manfred hater, but really feels like the current sport known as Major League Baseball keeps getting further and further away from the game I fell in love with 30 years ago. And when we start seeing games again finally, it'll be further still. Perhaps painfully so.

It feels good to just kind of draw the line and "set free" baseball and baseball cards to go do their thing without me being too emotionally invested over it from here on out.

No baseball season this year? Fine, whatever.
Constant overpriced gimmicks from Topps? Hey, good for everybody who's into that stuff, but I'll hang back.
Extreme hype over the latest hot prospect? Best of luck to the kid, but I don't really care.

And sure, this is mostly just talk from me, I know. If/when the Padres finally see dividends from their young talent and sniff playoff contention, I'll probably get excited and watch some games. And I'll still collect new cards of my favorite active players (in that I won't, like, forbid traders from sending me current cards).. but for the most part, I'm going to half-assedly try to confine my collection to be pre-2020 cards.

Anyways, this is really just yet another "look what I got" post, so here are some recent pickups. All older stuff, though.. which I suppose goes along with my intention of not messing with current cards much anymore.

Basically I want the hobby to remind me of "the good ol' days".. carefree days of childhood. Reggie Jackson was my first real "PC guy" as a kid. I still have the Reggie cards I accumulated back then, and have added a bunch since returning to the hobby as an adult. He's not really a priority these days, as I consider the PC "good enough" as it stands without worrying about the endless stream of post-career cards. But once in a while a card'll catch my eye, such as when I saw this 1970 Topps Super on another blog recently. Had to track down one for myself. Great shot of the young slugger grabbing a heaping helping of lumber at the old Yankee Stadium.

The back is basically the same as his flagship '70 Topps card, but here's a pic. I believe this is my first 1970 Topps Super card, though I already had a couple 1971 Supers so I knew what I was getting into.

The other main guy I collected as a kid, at least for a while, was Garry Templeton. I've explained why before, and I'm always conflicted about ever repeating myself on this blog. Probably over 99% of readers either don't remember or don't care about hearing it again, but I'm always concerned there'll be one reader with a sharp memory saying to himself, "Oh great, Gavin is explaining why he collected Garry Templeton again.. [eyeroll]" But yeah, I was a kid in San Diego just getting into baseball/collecting. My good buddy Doug was already collecting the obvious choice (Gwynn), so I didn't want to copy him and looked elsewhere. Garry Templeton was the Padres' captain at the time and longest-tenured on the squad. Plus he had a fun name that reminded me of Charlotte's Web. So yeah, while my peers were collecting flashy guys like Strawberry and Canseco, I took the road less traveled. haha

This '76 Tulsa Oilers minor league team issue is Garry's very first card. I had been after it for a couple years, finally scoring it at a solid price a little while ago. It's not quite as awesome as the first card I landed from this set, but still pretty cool.

The back. Wow, .401.. impressive.

Garry hit .321 for Tulsa in 1976 before getting the call to St. Louis in August. Tulsa has been in the news lately, apparently a rough place for black people, historically. I wonder how Garry enjoyed his time there. Allow me to take a moment to say #BlackLivesMatter. Racism is fucking stupid.
There's my soapbox statement, lol.

Sneaking in a modern card, here's Kris Bryant's 2015 Stadium Club RC. This was on my Desperate Double Dozen wantlist for a long time. It got to the point where I didn't even care that much about owning the card anymore, but I was just looking for some closure, so I gave up waiting for anybody to trade it to me and took a look for it on eBay and ended up winning this one for a few bucks. Done and done.

Switching to non-sports, I was pretty excited to score this Axl Rose rookie-- at least I think it's his earliest trading card.. correct me if I'm wrong.

It's a promo for the 1991 Brockum Rock Cards set, though funny enough neither he nor Guns N' Roses ended up having a card in the actual set. For better or worse, I consider GNR an all-time favorite band of mine. And especially since I've started my 1991 MusiCards blog last year, I've been more interested in music cards.

Yeah, in general, I've really been enjoying opening my card collection up to non-sports cards in recent years.. again, using cards as a way of reconnecting with stuff I loved as a kid.. first with Ghostbusters cards, Goonies cards, then Pee-Wee Herman cards (post forthcoming), and more recently MST3K cards (post also forthcoming) and music cards.

Let's close today with a really old card..

My interest in old-timey aviation is pretty much limited to Howard Hughes (post forthcoming later this week, hopefully), but I ended up stumbling upon this neat "playing days" Amelia Earhart card and had to pull the trigger.

1936 Carreras Famous Airmen & Airwomen #25. She has at least a couple earlier cards, so no "rookie card" top-loader for this one, but still super cool to have an Amelia Earhart card that was printed before her tragic disappearance the following year.

In conclusion..

Love this quote from the otherwise terrible Topps-produced Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987). Like this guy stuck in a bad movie, I'm deciding to leave mankind to its folly and retire here. Into this world of memories.

...I mean, not really.. But I think it's best if I try to focus on pre-2020 cards and stop worrying about the current state of things.
Thanks for stopping by.


  1. So much to agree with in this gem of a post. Especially the bit about BLM, cards in 2020 and MLB.
    My mini soap box: MLB could have been the only show in town (at least for a few weeks) and brought so many new fans to the sport. Instead it's the just the opposite. Don't they realize they're driving people away? Less fans = less money in their pockets. They're so dumb. SMH.

  2. Welcome to the way I've been collecting for years! It's pretty damn great if I do say so myself. With the amount of stuff that's out there you could stick to pre-2020 cards forever and never be bored. Ever consider completing a run of Reggie's playing day Topps cards since he was one of your first PCs?

  3. I totally agree with your comments regarding baseball. Having lived through the first round of overhyping and prospecting in the early 1990's and knowing what Brien Taylor and Kevin Maas cards are worth now, I look at the current craze with mostly indifference. Same with the arguing about whether the players are going to get a lot of money to play a game or a really lot of money this year. If they play, great, if not, then so what. All those expensive online cards being made? Not interested one bit. I'll take my ten or twenty bucks or whatever and spend it on something I really need, or want.

  4. I adore that Templeton card in all its overly busy glory. I mean, a minor league set sponsored by a factory outlet for seconds? Wonderful. I love it. And the Earhart is a true piece of history.

  5. I have been a pre-now collector for quite some time. I definitely won't turn down the cool cards of today if they come cheap of free or in a good trade, but the cards I want are mostly from the past. I want to collect someone who I have memories of, or someone who has contributed to the game. Or cards that have a history. So if that means I miss out on the current rookies, so be it. I will grab one of their cheaper cards down the road if they turn out to be a big part of the grand old game.

    On to the cards... Sweet Reggie! Sweeter Templeton!! Super Sweet Axl! I find myself agreeing with an awful lot of your likes, and opinions on the current baseball situation and world situation. Thanks for the great post!

  6. Welcome to old age, man. Your rant has basically been my blog for years.

    Also, the commissioner has been a pawn of the owners at least since I was a kid. Manfred is not new.

  7. Okay that Earhart is awesome awesome awesome. Gonna have to lowkey keep an eye out for her.

  8. That Earhart has been a mild want (in that I won't die if I don't get it) of mine for a few years now... your copy looks really great!

    As far as your current feelings go, from what I've seen, they seem to be part of the new normal for most collectors. As others have already said though, it's not necessarily a bad thing, as there is no shortage of things from pre-now to collect, especially if your interests continue to go in the non-sport route.

  9. Those two cards are so fantastic!

  10. If you haven't already, I recommend reading "lords of the realm" it will really drive home how little the owners care about the game, as well as how non-independent commissioners have always been. I still can't believe the owners were able to appoint one of their own as commissioner. At least it removed any charade of impartiality, I guess.

  11. I feel you somewhat. First off, I agree with BLM. I think the 2020 cards are kind of a waste of time right now (especially the Project 2020 and all of the online crap), but if I ever see some Bowman and (hopefully) Series 2 at Target or Wally World, I think I’ll pick up some packs.
    While I don’t like some of the new things with baseball like more playoffs, I’m stoked to see the DH in both leagues. With that being said, I’d be 100% fine if they just stop negotiations and decide to sit out 2020 to stop the virus from gaining ground. Everyone know the Yankees all but bought the 2020 title anyways.
    It’s good to see you getting back to the roots of what got you excited about collecting in the first place. Collect what you want, and hopefully everyone can trade you whatever new stuff you need.

  12. Well, there certainly hasn't been any flow of 2020 cards this year thus far. Covid and all, I get it. No baseball this year....Covid???? not totally. I feel there is a "money" issue from both sides. At least that's how I see it and it is doing to me the same as the strike in 94'. I'm already at the point of no baseball.....oh well. At least my team is tied for 1st place right now. :) As for you getting to the non current pre-covid days of cardboard. I hope that you find that excitement that cardboard (in this case---real cardboard) can bring. Find them get excited, and tell us about it. BTW, "SUPER" nice Reggie!

  13. I feel you on drawing a line. 90% of the stuff produced these days doesn't do much for me. Honestly... I'd totaly join you... but the main thing keeping me from committing to that are new cards of guys like Rickey and Tony. As for the cards in this post. Damn. You've got some really cool stuff. That Reggie is now on my wantlist. I'd love to pick up the Earhart too.

  14. Yup. 2020 and beyond will be a rare purchase. Project 2020 like Transcendent is the worst of card collecting to me so pass and sticking with the best that brings back good memories.

  15. It started out as a joke, but I'm actually starting to become convinced that Rob Manfred actually hates baseball. I see no other explanation for his (and the owners') actions. And at the risk of sounding 100 years old...alas, pre-COVID collecting was such a simpler time.

  16. I have to agree with you about having mixed emotions about 2020 baseball, especially when it comes to the Padres. However, as for the battle of MLB Billionaires (owners) vs. MLB Millionaires (players), who you going to root for? That's a big part of the reason I'm turning most of my attention to the NPB now.