February 8, 2012

Getting Back into the Game

Now that I have my own card collecting blog, I've been reading a lot of fellow bloggers' work out there and adding their sites to my blogroll, getting ideas and learning what folks are working on. I've also discovered there are more guys like me who are getting back into card collecting after 20-plus years away from it, such as Ryan's Pitch and a few others.

For me, one big reason I lost interest was being overwhelmed by all the different manufacturers and sets that were available. When I started collecting back in 1987, there was Topps, Fleer, and Donruss. Those were the "Big Three" and each company produced one set per year (plus traded or update sets)--easy to keep up with and financially feasible to find all the cards and create team sets. Then came Upper Deck and Score, both of which brought simple designs and quality photography and elevated collectors' expectations about what a baseball card could be. The result was the "Big Three" producing their own higher-quality cards with names like Bowman, Bowman's Best, Stadium Club, Fleer Ultra, Pinnacle, Topp's Finest, Leaf, Emotion, Studio, Upper Deck SP...ugh. And of course those premium cards came at a premium price. It was just too overwhelming and expensive to keep up with them all, so I stopped buying them. All of them.

"The Big Three" manufacturers--Topps, Fleer, Donruss--in 1987 B.C.
(Before Cardmageddon)
I take that back: I stopped buying new cards and stuck with the vintage ones, working to complete the old Cardinals sets from the 50s, 60s, and 70s that I had started with my dad. And that's what I've been doing the last 10-15 years.

I'm getting back into the card-collecting game mainly to fill in my existing sets from the 80s and 90s (while easing my way into the 2000s) and encourage my 13-year-old son to collect. Every week or so, I'll stop by Wal-Mart (the only place in town where I can find them), buy two jumbo packs and two regular packs of 2012 Topps cards, and sit down with him and open them and compare what we have. That's the best part for me: seeing his interest in the hobby. And yes, like his old man, he mainly collects Cardinals cards, but he likes the Golden Moments ones too with DiMaggio, Mantle, and Musial.

The Bearded One, Mr. 600 Homers, and an Ex-Cardinal
A brief review of the 2012 Topps cards: I like them. The design is simple and not distracting, and the team logos are a nice touch. (I don't really like designs in which the name is spelled out.) The photography is great and the white backs are easy to read (compared to the gray ones back in the old days). I really like the 1987 design minis and could see myself collecting all of them, even the non-Cardinals. (I've yet to see one for the Cardinals though.)


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