Monday, May 25, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The first Indians' game I attended was in 1959. I can still remember that game: Mudcat Grant beat the Senators 6-1. I remember most of the starting players from that year, but not many from before that. So, why collect cards from previous years, if I have never seen and don't know any of the players? There have been a lot of interesting players wearing a Cleveland uniform over the past 50 years! I have recently made a couple of trades of my early '50's cards and received many great recent cards in return.
The more I thought about which cards I liked and why I liked them, the more criteria I began to formulate. It was as if a card had to pass certain standards before I would accept it for my collection. I like cards that are the standard size 3 1/2" by 2 1/2". That applies to most cards anyway, but not all. I am not collecting any mini, jumbo, or other odd sized sets. This makes it easier to store in standard 9-pocket pages. And, since the Topps 1957 set started the standard size, and it is close to the year I first started following the team, 1959, I have chosen to only collect cards made since 1957.
Minor league sets used to cost about $5 for a set of about 30 cards and now are $8 to 10. If the set had a star like Thome or Ramirez the price may have jumped to $50 or more. So, if I didn't get the set when it first came out, it would be too expensive now if it contained a star. If it didn't have a star, the price would be the same or even lower. A lot of minor league cards are of players that never got anywhere near to making the big leagues. I thought a long time about trading my minor league sets. Some days I was ready and others I wasn't sure, but finally I made a large trade with "Baseball Dad" for over 400 recent cards and now I am certain: no more minor league cards for me! That means no minor league sets. But it also means no "rookie" cards of players who never played for Cleveland, either because they never made it to the majors or they were with some other team when they finally made it.
Since I follow the Indians, I want my cards to show the players in a Cleveland uniform. If he has been recently traded to the Tribe, but is still wearing his old team's uniform, I don't want the card. Or, if he is wearing a minor league uniform, he doesn't make the cut. But, if he has been traded by the Indians to another team and is in a Cleveland uniform and the card has the new team's logo, still no good.
Some players get traded to Cleveland in the fall after the season has ended and are gone by the start of the next season, thus never playing a game for the team. Sometimes cards come out with the player in an Indian's uniform. These are not for me. If a player hasn't played a single game for Cleveland, why would I want his card?
I have also started applying several other criteria that don't necessarily have rational arguments associated with them other than the aesthetic look of the cards. I dislike multi-player cards - one card, one player. I especially don't want team cards where "you can't tell the players without a microscope." I prefer the player on a card to be in uniform rather than in street clothes or the uniform of another sport. I know baseball is a game, but I don't want a card of a player with bubble gum on his head, wearing a rally cap, taking a photo or helping his young son swing a plastic fat bat.
I prefer cards that have a vertical orientation, but I have not been able to convince myself to get rid of all my horizontally oriented cards. Some sets are entirely horizontal and I can't bring myself to part with them.
Even eliminating all the cards that don't qualify for my new collecting standards, there are plenty of cards that I am looking for and there will always be plenty of new ones being produced by the manufacturers. My new philosophy is to look at each card more critically to see what makes it interesting to me and why it should be in my collection. Then, flipping through the pages of my collection will be even more enjoyable than ever.
I have a few more thoughts on my philosophy of collecting, but they will have to wait for another post.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Now remember, each of these cards is new to my collection. Baseball Dad did a great job of using my wantlist to insure that I needed each card. As an example of what was included, I added 53 Jim Thome cards to my collection.
There were 37 CC Sabathia cards and 26 Omar Visquel. All the cards were from the last 15 years. This whole trade was made possible by our blogging where we found our mutual interest in the Indians and baseball cards.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I think Hal Jones was very lucky to get his own baseball card, the 17 games he played with the Tribe marked his entire career in the majors. On the other hand, poor Gomer played 80 games for Cleveland and as far as I know never got his own major league card. The two above were when he managed the Waterloo Indians and were printed by Larry Fritsch. I nearly forgot all about Gomer and the fact he was named "Harold." He will always be remembered for starting his major league career with four straight pinch hits. He then told reporters "Gollee, Fellas, I'm hittin' four thousand! Ain't that somethin'?" Unfortunately, his "4.000" batting average soon dropped to .205 and he was sent down, never to return. The Gomer quote was from "The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition" by Russell Schneider.