Monday, August 20, 2012

Problems of being a team collector

I have several collecting goals, but chief among them is Phillies and post-1994 Astros cards. Phillies cards because I'm from Philadelphia and am still a huge phan. Post-1994 Astros because I moved to Houston in 1995 and, although it's been tough the past few years, I'm an Astros fan as well.

I thought I list what I think are the main challenges to being a team collector. This is in any particular order, just the order in which I thought of them.

Leave a comment if there is some particular difficulty in making a team collection that I missed. I'm sure this list isn't exhaustive.  If I get enough comments, I'll use them to make a similar post .

1. Minor league players who never make it to the big leagues.

Should I consider minor league players who appear in mainstream sets as part of the team set?  Of course I do.

2004 Bazooka #298 Anthony Acevedo
Nothing against Anthony Acevedo of course. He was in the Astros minor leagues from 2000 through 2004. According to, there are 29 Acededo cards, counting parallels, all issued in 2004. I have 4 of them. The base set cards aren't that much of a problem, the parallels are.

2003 Stadium Club Royal Gold Il Kim
If one of these minor league players made it into a mainstream set, they also are in the parallel sets. 2003 Stadium Club only had 2 parallel sets, this Royal Gold and a "Photographer's Proof" numbered to 299. Many sets in the past 10 years have come with multiple parallel sets (a virtual rainbow in some cases), each one harder to get than the next.

2. Minor League Sets
I see this as a different problem than #1. Minor league sets may have limited distribution. Generally, I don't consider minor league sets to be part of the team collection, but I don't shun them. If I can get them, I'll take them.  I don't know for sure but I think there are a lot fewer minor league sets than there used to be.

1991 Reading Phillies ProCards #1382 Tony Longmire
Sometimes you can find whole team sets on eBay. I've acquired a few of these Phillies ProCard sets that were available in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They aren't usually very fancy but I always liked this 1991 set.

3. Printing plates
I do not consider printing plates to be part of the team collection. They are just too hard to find. I've pulled exactly one printing plate in all my years of collecting.

2006 Fleer Tradition Threads Printing Plate David Ortiz
I don't mind having one of these but I'm not sure I even consider these baseball cards.

4. 1 of 1 cards
These are pretty hard to get as well, but they are real baseball cards so I consider them part of the team collection.

2005 Flair Row 2 #29 Roger Clemens
This is the only 1 of 1 card (besides that Ortiz printing plate) I've ever pulled. And it was an Astro!

5. Odd-ball cards
Odd-ball cards are ones that come in some thing else than a regular baseball card pack. They might be packaged in a food product or be given away at a gas station. They may be issued as experiment cards by a major card manufacturer. There are a lot fewer of this sort of thing around. I generally love to get odd-ball Phillies and Astros cards but not consider them a part of the team collection.

1986 Topps Quaker Oats #14 Mike Schmidt
I got this in trade with a fellow blogger in 2009. Although I don't consider this an official part of my 1986 Phillies team collection, it is an official part of my Mike Schmidt collection.

6. Relic/Patch/Autographed Cards
I do consider these a part of the team collection. Often hard to pull from a pack, many are pretty easily available on eBay. The rarer cards, especially of front line players, may be expensive and hard to find.

2007 Upper Deck Premier Patches Triple Gold Roy Oswald
Even this triple patch, numbered to 50 only cost me about $12. Of course you can go broke trying to buy all the relic, patch and autograph cards of your favorite team that are available.


Rosenort said...

I did a similar post a while ago and my main issues were cards with a player pictured with a different team than what the card listed, this is even worse when it's the only card a player has with that team, and multi-player cards with multiple teams.

night owl said...

Minor League sets are always a conflict for me. I include them in my team binders, but every time I look at them I wonder why they are there. I suppose I should get separate binders for the minor league sets, but I don't like thinking about that.

I don't even consider printing plates cards. It's not a thought when I'm collecting a team set.

Paul said...

I get the base set Topps cards (including the update) that picture any players from my team. League leader card with a guy from my team? Minor leaguer who never got the call? Winter trade photoshop special of a guy who was just passing through? They all count.

If I pick up anything else, it's because it's cheap & looks cool. I got burned out trying to chase everything. Topps won because they've made baseball cards every year my team has existed.

(I do have a fairly significant collection of minor league team sets, but they're a separate thing. They are a bit less common than they were during the height of the boom years - some teams would get two or three different sets then - but almost every affiliated team still produces them.)


Ditto on the printing plates. I would consider them baseball collectibles but not cards.I wouldn't mind having some Indian ones but wouldn't be with my team collection.
I have a lot of minor league cards.They are in separate binders, but I consider them part of my team colection.

AdamE said...

I only consider base and parallel cards as team cards. No autos, jerseys, insert, printing plates, card back parallels, or things numbered less than 500. I decided that because of personel taste and to keep my costs down. I don't turn any Red Sox down when I'm offered them but I don't chase them unless they are base or parallel cards.

(I do collect the regular Topps inserts though because they are as easy to get as base cards)

I think if minor league cards the same as inserts. I take them when they are there but I don't chase after them.