I started collecting baseball cards in the late 1970s. The earliest cards I remember having were Brewers from the 1979 Topps set. Unfortunately, though I have obtained them again, I did not hold on to those cards. The card that has been in my possession the longest is a 1980 Jerry Augustine card. And I still remember the first “old” card I got, a 1974 Bill Parsons that I received in a trade in about 1985.
In the 1980s, I bought wax packs, usually Topps, though I did get ‘82 and ‘83 Donruss and ‘85 Fleer. I remember opening the packs and sorting and resorting the cards. Sometimes I sorted them by team, sometimes by position, sometimes by making teams of my favorite players. By the time I was in high school, I started to focus on a collection. I decided that I wanted to collect all of the Topps Brewer cards.
Hunt For Brewer Cards
When I started this collection, Topps had four main sets: Main, Traded, Tiffany, and Traded Tiffany. The two Tiffany sets were almost identical to the other two, except they had a higher quality print. I decided to limit my collection to the Main and Traded sets. I also decided to include the ’69 and ’70 Seattle Pilots.
At the time, the only way to get older cards was to go to a card shop or a card show. I spent many Saturdays at card shows rifling through boxes of older sets looking for Brewers that I did not have. I always brought my notebook that had all of the players that I knew were in each set, helped tremendously by the Topps Baseball Cards of the Milwaukee Brewers picture book that was a giveaway at one of the Brewer games. I still remember the TV commercial for that, with broadcaster Mike Hegan having his 1976 card pointed out.
It took me close to 20 years to complete the set. Now I make two or three orders a year to collect the Series 1, Series 2, and Update sets. Currently, I am only missing one of the 2019 Keston Huira Update cards (#150). I will pick that up when I get the Series 2 cards this summer.
Collecting The Faves
Right around the time I started to get close to completing my Brewer collection, I started to collect cards of my favorite players. I stuck with Topps Main and Update (or Traded) sets. The first players I collected were Ozzie Smith, Jim Gantner, Pudge Rodriguez, and Brooks Robinson.
Of those players, the only cards that I’m missing are of Robinson. I still need his ‘57 rookie card, his ‘67 main card, and a ‘67 checklist that has his picture on it. I have two of each of the Gantner cards, one for my Brewer collection and one for my player collection.
I have since added three other players. I have a complete set of Jonathon Lucroy and Gary Carter, adding to the former when a new card comes out. The other player that I collect is Jose Altuve. I am only missing his 2011 Update rookie card. I’m not sure if I will continue collecting Altuve in light of the cheating scandal.
Gotta Love The Team Portraits
My most recent collection is Topps team portrait cards. They were some of my favorites when I first started collecting. Topps had them almost every year from 1956 through 1981, and then from 2001 through 2007. For some reason, they did not have them in 1969, and some teams were not represented in 1968. Houston had a card in 1963, but did not have another until 1970, when they were renamed from the Colt .45s to the Astros.
The team cards are my favorite to collect right now. All of my other collections are either complete, I’m missing some expensive cards, or are just getting the current cards. The team cards still involve the hunt, trying to find as many as possible in one shop to save on shipping. In all, there are 729 team portrait cards, and I have almost half of them.
Paging Through The Boys Of Summer
There are currently 2,097 cards in my collections, which are currently housed in four binders. I only order cards two or three times a year, but each time I pull out all of the binders and go through them.
Usually, that brings me back to summers spent riding my bike to the store to buy packs of cards. Sometimes it reminds me of a particular Brewer memory. And sometimes I remember being seven years old in the back yard, pretending to play a game with a lineup made up of the names on the back of the team cards.
5 thoughts on “My Card Collections”
Filing cards! I still have calluses on my fingers from filing cards in the 80’s. Three years ago I bought an estate sale collection of about 1200 cards and found out they were mostly filed by team. I had to refile them by year, brand and card number so I could resell them on eBay. Now I have double calluses!
LikeLiked by 1 person
The eternal question of collecting a player from a team that you also collect … can one copy of a card satisfy the requirements of multiple collections?
I’ve answered that question the same as you – I need a card so he can be with his teammates, and a card so he can be with his own other cards. And then of course a card so he can be with the full set if I’m also collecting that set.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I have to do it that way, otherwise one of my collections will look incomplete. I do the same with the team cards.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Nice piece, DJ. I especially empathize with this line: ” I have two of each of the Gantner cards, one for my Brewer collection and one for my player collection.” I collect all Topps base cards since the year of my birth (1968) plus all Phillies Topps cards, so I have two of each Topps base card of a Phillie since 1968 (including Schmidt’s rookie–not cheap!). One difference is that I also collect the inserts from Topps base sets in my Phillies collection, e.g., cloth stickers from 1967, stickers from 1969, stamps from 1961, 1962, 1969, 1974, etc., etc. So there aren’t doubles of those in my collections, just one of each in the Phillies collection. But I agree with you–one of the collections would be incomplete if I didn’t get two copies of those base cards.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I just could not imagine having an incomplete set, especially with Gantner. My player collection would be empty! For the team portrait cards, I would be missing those in the Brewer collection. That just can’t happen. And the funny thing is, right now the only 1970 team card I’m missing is the Pilots, and I have that one in my Brewer collection!
Thanks for the comment.
LikeLiked by 1 person