Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Sorting Bull Part 2

My post from earlier in the week was mostly about my transition from sorting my cards by team into sorting them into sets and single player cards.  The set part is pretty self-explanatory.  Like I said in the previous post, when I work on sets I am mostly organizing them into numerical order and pulling out the inserts.  That leaves all the single cards, which is the real challenging part, and the most time consuming part of my sorting.   

My goal is to ultimately have my single player cards sorted alphabetically by player.  Within each player, I want the cards sorted by year, and then by brand.  It's a long process that has been in the works for awhile. 

As I am sorting out my sets, I am running into duplicates and inserts that I am taking out and putting into my piles of single cards.  After the stack gets big enough, I sort the cards out by letter of their last name and place them into a 5000 count box.  Every few weeks, I sort out those cards.  I ahve also consolidated those boxes a few times.  Eventually, I want to put some markers inside my single card boxes to make it easier to find the individual players.  

I currently have about 70,000 single cards sorted out.  Not all of those 70,000 are completely broken down by player, year, and sets, but I am getting there.  It has really helped that I have cut out the more recent sets.  I still do buy packs of cards, but the majority of my card purchases at this point are single cards of players I enjoy watching.  

I have opened packs of four different sets so far this year, but the quantity has been low.  I have opened packs of the Topps base set....

Topps Heritage.  

Big League

and Bowman.  

That's it.  

I have a few other groups of single cards that I am sorting out.  Some are really obvious, but I did have some big time consuming missteps in here.  

My autographs have always been sorted out on their own, and I have left them alone during this process.  They organized alphabetically by player.  Each player is sorted by year and then brand.  

I also still have my relic cards separated, but I have thought a lot about them over the last two or three years.  Same organizational pattern at the autographs.  There are relic cards that I have in my collection that are pretty incredible, or have some sort of good memory attached to them.....

There are so many relic cards though that I just simply do not care very much about.  

I have three shoebox style boxes of relic cards.  I am seriously contemplating how to get rid of them.  The cards do not sell very well on Ebay anymore, so I might try a Facebook group.  

Which brings me to my major missteps of this entire process. 

Let's talk about inserts and parallels for a minute.  

When I started this sorting process a few years back, I was pulling out all of the inserts and putting them into their own group of cards.  The process became daunting.  It felt like I was sorting out another huge group of cards beyond the sets and single cards that I was already organizing.  I spent hours and days working on these cards.  

I stopped doing that.  

Instead, I am putting my insets and parallels into two groups shown above.  The top two cards are really common inserts.  If I went onto Ebay or COMC, I could find those cards really easily.  They were not long odds pulls out of a pack of cards.  The bottom two are low serial numbers and probably have some value (leave Corbin Burnes alone) if I decided to list them on Ebay. 

The common inserts are just being sorted into my single player card boxes.  The low serial numbers are in their own boxes that also include valuable rookie cards, and my vintage cards.  I started my vintage cards at anything before 1980.  

I also had difficulty with small sets.  I took a picture of a Kellogg's set, but my Minor League cards are the majority of cards that fell into this category.  

They are clearly not big enough sets to be boxed, and sorted in with the rest of my sets.  The regular sets are in anywhere between an 800 count to 100 count boxes.  For about a year, these small set cards were sort of in limbo.  I ran into them all the time.  I would set them somewhere just to get them out of the way.  I think I had five or six years worth of Durham Bulls sets sitting on a shelf in my closet that I would move on an almost daily basis.  After a year or two, I bought a large box and have filled it up with all of my smaller sets.  It seems to be a good solution for the moment.  

That's it for now on sorting.  I am sure that I am going to be working on this for awhile longer, so at some point I will post a few more updates.  It's an ongoing process that will be finished one of these days.  

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Sorting Bull Part 1

Shout out to Dave G. on Twitter for the title of the post.  I am breaking this down into two posts that I am going to run today and tomorrow.  

I have spent much of the last week alternating between getting outside and getting some fresh air, and sorting out baseball cards.  I have made some random posts over the years showing off some of the cards that I have been organizing, but not really gone too in depth about what I am doing with my collection.

Let's rewind a few years back to 2013.  Not the best picture quality. 

I sorted my cards by team.  Why?  I had always sorted my cards by team, which did not make much since considering that I would collect them as a set.  After the set was finished, I broke them down into teams, and then sorted them into boxes.  It was more status quo than anything else.  It's the way things had always been, and I was not going to make any adjustments. 

So, I changed my sorting system, and broke all of my base cards back into sets starting in 2013.  I even made a post about it.  For awhile in 2013, 2014, and 2015 I would post pictures of set boxes, and even made some posts about some of the sets that I had assembled. 

There are a few hundred of these set boxes in a closet in my house.  

Then I stopped posting about sorting and breaking my cards into sets.  Why?  I literally stopped breaking my cards into sets for a period of time.  You cannot post about it, if you are not actually doing it.  After awhile, I resumed breaking my cards into sets, but did not take the time to actually organize the cards into order.  Meaning, there are still hundreds of more sets that I still need to put together from when I started this project back in 2013.  

I am really good at big ideas, but not always really good at filling in the details to make the big idea happen.  So, I took some time a year ago, and I filled in some of those details.   

I am now back to sorting out the rest of my sets.  

I am working my way up from the mid 1990s, with most of my older sets sorted.  My sets from the past decade are also sorted, so I am really looking at about 15 years worth of cards that need attention.  Many of them do not actually require too much work.  There is still plenty of work to do, but not as much as it sounds.  As you can see from this picture, many are already sorted into stacks by set, and just need to be put in order.  Luckily, I have a little bit of help with this task, which has really helped me get these done faster.  

He even puts the boxes together for me when we are done sorting out a set.  

The number of boxes needed, along with the amount of money they took out of my baseball card budget was a major issue when this started.  I was also still trying to buy current releases at the time I started this project, so it really became impossible to continue to buy new cards and buy the boxes to hold all the sets.  I have given up on collecting new sets, only single cards these days, so there is plenty of money in the budget for boxes at the moment.  

This weekend we ended up putting together about seven or eight different sets from the cards that were pictured on the table above.  For me, it's fun to look back at all the old sets.  A few that I worked on the last few days.....

There are also some really good finds within the stacks of cards.  Again, some that are just enjoyable cards to look at for sentimental value.  

Some have rookie cards that were once really valuable.  They still have value in spirit, even if I can no longer sell them for a bunch of money on Ebay.  

There are a lot of sets where I also have not sorted out the inserts, so they are mixed in with the base cards.  There are many that I remember pulling out of packs, or getting from card shops, but there are also plenty of surprises.  

I did not remember having this Canseco insert.  I did not even know that the Gold Team inserts were still popular and sold well.  Who knew?  Not me.  

One of the hardest parts of this for me is sorting out the single cards, or stacks that are too far away from making sets.  When I had started this project seven years ago, I had a desk in my baseball card room that I made into a doubles table.  It was impressive.  

People came over to my house and would take cards, some got traded, others got sold.  

The doubles table is gone, but there are still a lot of single cards in my collection without a set.  Some are really good cards.  Last week, I found a Trout rookie or two floating around in one of the piles.  

For the moment, I am sorting out the single cards into boxes by last name of the player.  

My plan is to sort out these cards out further after the sets are completely finished.  However, I am not putting all of my single cards into these stacks.  I am taking an additional step to separate out good rookie cards, inserts, autographs, and relic cards into other places.  

More on the single cards and smaller sets in tomorrow's post.  

Saturday, June 27, 2020

One Dozen Local Basketball Cards #5

Here is the backstory behind these cards.

I got everything right last week. 

The first half dozen for this week.  These are cards 49 - 54 in the 1990-1991 Skybox set.

The second half dozen.  These are cards 55 - 60 in the 1990-1991 Skybox set.

Here are some questions.  I know more about college basketball than the NBA, feel free to debate the answer to these questions in the space below.  I am not doing research for a basketball card post. 

Best player in this dozen: I am leaning Larry Nance.  

Without looking (pinky swear) who went to what college.  

Last week I knew 9 out of 12.  So far, 27 out of the 48 players in the set.  

Brad Daugherty - UNC 
Chucky Brown - NC State 
Steve Kerr - Arizona 
Tree Rollins - Clemson 
Mark Price - Georgia Tech 
Larry Nance - Clemson 
Steve Alford - Indiana 
Rolando Blackman - K-State 

Best Card Front: Chucky Brown shooting the ball over James Worthy.  I already know the shot was good.  Yes, there is some local bias in the answer.  

Best Card Back: Mark Price.  Looks like a Christmas card photo he got taken at Sears.    

Best Cameo:  Charles Barkley on the Tree Rollins card.  

Fun Fact: Chucky Brown and I went to the same school.   

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Baseball Cover Songs Part 4

I picked up a few baseball card "covers" last week.  Both were direct sale cards from Topps, with one card coming from the Throwback Thursday set, and the other from the Project 2020 set.  Both are good looking cards.  I think I actually like the Throwback Thursday card a little more, so I am going to start there.  

The Throwback Thursday card is an on-going set that borrows the card designs from previous Topps products.  The designs for Throwback Thursday come from old baseball cards, football cards, hockey cards, and other pop culture sets that Topps has made over the years.  The design on this Gibson card comes the 1959 Topps Football set.  No, I do not have a 1959 Topps Football card.  

I love the bright background and alternating colored letters on his name.  It's a really simple design, but comes together well.  I think this might be my favorite Throwback Thursday card that I have picked up during the last few months.  I wish the logo in the corner matched the era of the card and player, but I can live with the STL logo being there.  Great looking card.  

Back of the card.  

I kind of wish that Topps did something more with the backs of these cards outside of just putting a "Topps TBT" stamp on the back.  Since I do not own a 1959 Topps Football card, I went on COMC to find one.  It's a nice looking card back.  

I love the front of the card, and I do not regret buying this for a second, but maybe they should try duplicating the back design too. I am sure a creative person at Topps could do something catchy with transitioning this over to a baseball card, and still squeeze in the 'TBT Thursday" stamp on there too.  


I liked this design, which is why I decided to purchase this Project 2020 card.  It's a 1987 Topps Mark McGwire rookie card made out of a bunch of triangles.  How much did I pay for this card? A crisp $20 bill, but you know that someone spent a ridiculous amount of money on this card at some point during the last month.  I think finding the high auction sale on Ebay might be a feature of all my future Project 2020 cards.  

I guarantee this person returned this item.  

I like the parts of the picture that are made out of triangles.  There are a lot of really obvious triangles in the picture, but there are also some really subtle ones too.  The writing, numbers, and A's logo made out of triangles kind of bothered me at first, but they are better than I expected after seeing the card in person.  

The artist of this card is Naturel.  Biography is at the bottom of the card.  You can find his artwork online, and this card is very true to his style.  Overall, I am happy to own this McGwire Project 2020 card.  This is my third one overall, but my first non-Bob Gibson.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A 1980s Card Part 47 - 1986 Topps Traded Tim Conroy

Tim Conroy is the second best part of this card.  He's a supporting actor.

This quick rundown on the former Major League pitcher.  The A's drafted in 1978, and for some reason thought it would be cool to bring an 18 year old up to the Majors straight out of high school.  They did the same thing with Mike Morgan.  Both of them had an ERA above 7 pitching to Major League hitters as fresh out of high school pitchers.  Conroy gets sent to the Minors where he lingers for a few years.  They bring him back up in 1982, he does decently and they use him as a spot starter and long reliever for a few years. 

The earliest card I have of Conroy in my collection is a 1984 Topps card. 

He also appeared on the A's team card.  Name a better duo on the 1983 A's. 

I can think of about 5, but they put the batting average leader and ERA leader for the 1983 season on the team card for the 1984 Topps set.  Take that Carney Lansford. 

Enter the 1985 offseason. 

The Cardinals trade Joaquin Andujar to the A's for Tim Conroy and Mike Heath.  Andujar was coming off a 21 win season, so the trade looked a little lopsided at the time.  After reading a write up of the trade, I am guessing that Joaquin Andujar going ballistic on Don Denkinger in Game 7 of the 1985 World Series might have been the final straw for him in St. Louis.  Not sure that Whitey Herzog was a big fan of baggage.  See Keith Hernandez.  

Conroy pitched part of two seasons in St. Louis.  Injuries wrecked his career in 1987, but his most significant contribution to the Cardinals was his 1986 Topps Traded baseball card.  Here is the front of the card.  

As a kid, I have to admit that there were very few Cardinals cards with pictures inside of Busch Stadium.  Just looking at the 1986 Topps cards, every single picture was either taken at Spring Training or in Shea Stadium.  All of them. 

There were years that someone squeezed in a shot or two from Busch Stadium, but not many.  I like this Conroy card because the photo was not only taken at Busch, but you kind of get the whole feel for the stadium in the mid 1980s.  He's not standing against a wall, or sitting in the dugout where you just get a little piece of the stadium. 

There is astroturf.  The high blue walls in the outfield. The National League logos on the walls.  The concourse ramps.  The right field video board.  The discolored seats in the outfield that might have been red at some point.  I have tried to figure out what is on the videoboard. 

My guess?

Before the games they used to have the Cardinals team stats, the individual team leaders, and the National League leaders.  Those were displayed as a list.  At some point, usually while the players were stretching, the organist would play a couple of different songs including "Meet Me In St. Louis" with the words displayed on the scoreboard.  The clock says 7:14.  I am guessing this is from a 7:35 start, and that's what is on the scoreboard. 

There are videos of the former longtime Cardinals organist on YouTube, but no "Meet Me In St. Louis", so here is "Here Comes The King" instead. 

If the photographer had taken another step back you probably would have gotten the arches at the top of the stadium, which might have made it a perfect.  I am being picky.  This is a great card. 

Back to Conroy for a second. 

Here is the back of the 1986 Topps Traded card.  The stats are not great, but I did not know Pepper Martin was born on a leap year day.  Tim Conroy and I also share a birthday, but nearly two decades apart in age. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Moving On

The labor situation in baseball has been depressing this week.  However, it is even more depressing locally when you consider that we are probably not going to get Minor League baseball this summer.  North Carolina does not have a Major League team, but we do have a whole bunch of Minor League teams, including several that are within an hour of my house. 

I am all about keeping people at home, and staying safe.  Still frustrating not to have baseball. 

This week was my first time off of work since January.  It was a weird school year working from home, but I have been on roughly the same year round school since 2006.  You really get used to the schedule.  Every year for the past fourteen years, I have worked the last week of January, all of February and March, and had a vacation sometime around the first week of April. 

I have been slowly recovering from the change in schedule.  I did not hand write any posts this week.  I turned my computer on, but I also managed to get outside and enjoy some fresh air.  I ended up putting in over 40 miles of walking around my little corner of central North Carolina. 

I also did a bunch of work with my cards this week.  I have really wanted to do a post about sorting cards and organizing for more than a month, and I am finally going to get to that this week.  Somewhere in there I also picked up a few new cards.  Seems to have slowed to a trickle in recent months.  I was excited to see someone on Twitter unloading a card of one of my favorite recent Durham Bulls players.  

I had to grab this one.  

This is from the Diamond Kings set in 2018.  That little logo in the top right corner did not immediately register with me when I first saw the card.  I guess Panini is trying to fancy things up. 

I went through an Anthony Banda phase two years ago.  The Rays got him in a trade for Steven Souza, and he spent part of 2018 pitching in Durham.  He did not pitch much last year, and ended up having Tommy John surgery.  Hard throwing left handed pitcher, misses a lot of bats.  Hopefully, whenever we get to watch live baseball again, I will get to see Banda pitching for the Rays. 

The serial number is hard to read, but it is 02/15.  Nice patch piece on the side too. 

Back of the card. 

Love the phrase "player-used material" in the small print underneath his height and weight.

The person who sold me the card also sent me some bonus cards of Banda and Paul Goldschmidt. 

It was nice to move on from the school year and spend a little more time with my baseball card this week.  The best part is that I have another month and a half off before I have to go back to work.