One of the benefits of having no money for the hobby is the fact that I have been able to not only organize my collection, but also reevaluate the players that I collect. In doing so, I have come to some surprising realizations.
So even though we are more than half way through the year, I have decided to update my goals and want lists, as well as players I collect.
Try as I may, I have not been able to find a current catcher to add to my player collection. I know that there are some very talented young catchers, but I just don’t have any desire to go after their cards. That being said, for some of them (Salvador Perez, Yan Gomes, and Jonathan Lucroy) if I get their cards from trades or packs, I do add them to my binder of catchers, but I certainly don’t seek after them.
Part of the problem is the way modern baseball deals with superstar catchers, especially if they have offensive skills. Anymore, teams invest so much money in these players, that once the catchers reach a certain age, or if they have had an injury, the team moves them to another position: Carlos Santana and Joe Mauer come to mind. Unless the catcher is a superbly gifted defensive player, like Yadier Molina, most of the catchers in the league over the age of 32 are journeymen players; guys who can handle pitchers, are able to throw out a runner or two, and every now and then can get a hit. All of which stems from the fact that teams pay these superstars like Posey so much money that they don’t want them to get worn out playing catcher, which is good for the team, but bad for me as a collector.
Boston Red Sox:
Here is where the most startling realizations occurred. With the recent departure of MIke Napoli, who was having a terrible year, it dawned on me that on the entire team, there are only a handful of players that I even like, let alone collect: Pedroia, Ortiz, Holt, Bogaerts, and the oft injured Buccholz. With the soon to come departure of Ortiz, Pedroia’s demise, and Buchholz likely not getting resigned, there are very few players that I like.
I loathe the off-season moves made by the organization and refuse to collect Sandoval or Ramirez. The Red Sox signed two highly over-rated players that aren’t part of my collection.
There are a few young players that do have some promise: Betts, Bradley Jr., Castillo, etc. that could one day become players that I respect. But I have never been a prospector and refuse to make room for these players in my collection. As such, they are in a holding case, a type of baseball card collecting limbo. If I obtain these cards through trades or packs, I hold on to them and put them up in a case, but I never chase after them. If they fade away, change teams, or develop into the type of player that I don’t admire, then I won’t add them to the binder.
The Red Sox are still my favorite team and will always hold that place; they just don’t fill out my collection very well.
There are only a few players that fall outside the normal criteria of my collection. The majority of my collection is relegated to catchers and favorite players from the 5 teams that I follow. These players that don’t fit in with the rest are mostly holdovers from a childhood spent collecting all of the stars of the day. Lately I have come to realize that a number of those players that I have continually collected, won’t be going forward.
I had this moment of clarity when I pulled a relic of Eddie Murray. My first thought was not how awesome it was to get a hall of famer’s relic, but who did I know that collected this player. I have dozens of his cards in the pages of my binder, yet getting his relic didn’t excite me. It was then that I realized that I had been collecting him out of habit. When I get his card from a pack of cards, I don’t have any type of positive reaction. My reaction is perfunctory: Here is Eddie Murray; I collect him; I need to put it in my binder. Why am I spending valuable time and space holding on to his cards. Therefore, Murray, Yount, Ozzie Smith, Edgar Martinez, and Jay Buhner have lost the place in my collection, and Tony Gwynn may be next.
I have decided, and it is a lofty goal, to collect the catchers from every set of Topps cards from 1982 all the way back to the first year that Topps produced cards in 1951. With that in mind, I do know that some of the cards will never be a part of my collection, unless one of you wants to part with a Johnny Bench rookie card. This particular goal will require a lot of work on my part, as I will have to go through the entire checklist of each year to find out who all of the catchers are. But it should be fun.
Though there may be no one who cares, I thought I would share that I have decided to build up my Incredible Hulk card collection. This really won’t impact anyone, except that when things get rolling again around here, I will adopt a sort of “calling card” by sending out duplicate Hulk cards, much the same way that the Card Papoy sends out Bieber cards.