It's January 2010. We have only a few weeks (maybe) until the 2010 cards start to appear. So it's time to wrap up the 2009 collecting year. I'm going to show some of my favorite cards of the year with some random observations and stats.
2009 Tristar Obek Tom Seaver (#39)2009 my be the year that we overdosed on retro cards. At least I did. I bought 4 backs of Obek in Walmart not knowing what it was. When I went back for more, there was no more. The set featured a retro design of former major league players with their minor league teams. Good concept and good execution.
A high point of the year for me was finding a baseball card store near my new job. I've not had easy access to a card store for many years. It may not be the best shop but the people there are knowledgeable and it's nice to talk about baseball cards with someone who knows what you're talking about.
2009 Topps Heritage Mayo Ichiro (#15)
OK, another retro card. This was an insert to Topps Heritage. I pulled two of these from a hobby box. Topps also produced a whole set of Mayo football cards. I don't do football cards.
I bought a number of hobby boxes this year which I don't normally do. In addition to Topps Heritage, I bought hobby boxes of Allen & Ginter, Topps 206, Upper Deck Goodwin Champions and Topps Update.
2009 Topps American Heritage Barak Obama (#126)
Although I generally dislike the trend to more non-baseball cards in baseball card sets, this set was a non-baseball card set which used baseball card designs. Topps used their base set designs from many years to make an enjoyable set. See Night Owl's post on the worst card in 2009 here. I voted for the Upper Deck Retrospective.
I acquired 3,272 2009 baseball cards. This is a bit down from 2008. In 2008, I acquired the most cards I had in years. I attribute this to getting involved in the baseball card blogosphere. Most of the 2009 cards I acquired by purchasing hobby boxes, blaster boxes and some loose packs. I also got a bunch of cards through trades with other bloggers and purchases of individual cards on eBay.
2009 Topps 2006 Cliff Lee (#46)
It was an exciting year to be a Phillies fan with them going to the World Series for the second year in a row. And Cliff Lee was a big part of that excitement. This is the only Cliff Lee card as a Phillie that I have. I don't think there are many Phillie Lee cards and there probably won't be many more since he's already not a Phillie. Although I was happy to pull this from the hobby box I bought, in general, Topps 206 is my biggest disappointment of the year. I really liked past Topps 206 sets and was looking forward to this. I don't think it is a very good set.
Another disappointment to me this year was the availability of cards in the local Target and WalMarts. New product was slow to appear and when it did appear it didn't last long.
2009 Topps WalMart Black Ken Griffey, Jr. (#30)
Speaking of WalMart, Topps sold alternative designs to their base set in Target and WalMart. WalMart cards had the background of the photos almost completely blacked out. The Target cards were on gray stock with an old-school logo. I thought it was a pretty clever ploy by Topps but I hope they don't do it again in 2010. I bought a lot more product from Topps then I planned to because of this, which, come to think of it is why they did this. So I'm sure they will do it again.
Overall, I acquired 8,436 baseball cards in 2009. The non-2009 cards were from various years picked up at the card shop, in repacks or on eBay. I also had all those late 1980s cards I got at the church bazaar.
2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Framed Silk Albert Pujols (1 of 10)
This may be the best pull I've ever had. I know I featured it before but I love this card so much I had to show it again.
My overall card collecting goal is to acquire one of each kind of card produced (which is another reason I was so thrilled with the Pujols card above, having to buy one of these on eBay would be expensive). For awhile in 2009, I concentrated in 1996 cards. There were 307 different kinds of cards (base sets, inserts and parallels) produced in 1996 and I had 167. I set a goal of getting up to 200 of them. I had 11 posts in 2009 featuring 1996 cards but I didn't finish the whole year. But I did get up to 202 1996 cards.
2009 Topps Mike Schmidt (#475b)
This seemed to be the year for alternate short-print cards. The regular Topps #475 features some other third baseman named Chipper Jones. I didn't pull this myself but got it in a trade with Dinged Corners.
2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Championship Ryan Howard (#106b)
Another short print alternate design. Howard is featured on 106 and 106b. All of the 'b' cards have the moonlit background. As I mentioned, I bought a hobby box of this product and didn't get a single one of these short prints. Topps 206 had a similar thing going only the short prints, while featuring the same player had a completely different picture and different back.
2009 Topps Allen & Ginter N43 Ryan Howard (#RH)
These N43 cards are larger than regular cards and come one per hobby box. This is the first year I bought a hobby box of Allen & Ginter so this is my first N43. And, what luck, it was Ryan Howard, right out of the box.
If you've stuck it through this far, I've one more comment about 2009. In order for me to acquire one of each kind of card made, I need to know what's produced each year. I mainly rely on Beckett.com (mostly) and the card manufacturer's web sites. I also track how many cards are in each set. A few years ago, MLB put a limit on the number of sets each manufacturer could produce. They also declined to renew the license with Donruss and Fleer went out of business. This cut back on the amount of new product but through use of parallels and insert sets, the manufactures started increasing production. In 2008, by my count, there were about 141,000 different cards produced (counting every card by every player in every set). This was the most cards produced in several years. In 2009, production dropped significantly, to about 53,000 cards. My guess is that production will be even less next year with only Topps holding a license with MLB.