Who Am I? (And Where Have I Been?)


It’s been three months since my last post, or 25 years in pandemic time. There are multiple reasons for that – general ennui, lack of ideas, absence of baseball itself. The truth of it is that my collecting interest is very much alive, but focused on mid-‘60’s football sets.

Sacrilege! Yes, I know, but those sets have short checklists and no real high dollar cards, so they’re easy to complete. Sort of easy. The absence of card shows is a problem right now. I need to go through tables full of commons to get to the finish line.

But all of this interest in getting nice Bobby Bell cards doesn’t mean I’ve avoided baseball cards. It only means I’m still working on sets I’ve already written about.


Here’s my progress report:

  • I finished my 1963 Bazooka All-Time Greats with a graded Nap Lajoie, eventually to finds its way from COMC to Cooperstown. He will be freed from his plastic prison upon arrival.


  • I also finished my hand cut 1975 Hostess by snagging a solid Billy Champion. I do need the Doug Rader variation (I’ve got all the other variations) and my Glenn Beckert is actually a hand cut Twinkie version (the remnant of the solid black bar on the back gives it away), but I’m calling this one done.


  • I’m six cards from completing the 1961 Post set (one of each number. I’m not even trying for all the variations).
  • I’m seven away from a complete 1960 Leaf Series 2 set, after a big auction win of 20 cards in VG/VGEX condition. I recently got a pretty nice Jim Bunning (there’s a delicate balance between cost and condition on these), but there are still the biggies left – Sparky Anderson, Cepeda, and Flood.


  • Totally stalled on 1933 Tattoo Orbit. I’m slightly more than halfway through, but I keep losing auctions. I think that shows my heart isn’t completely into it.

All this is by way of a reintroduction of sorts. Yeah, you know me, and I know you, but it’s been awhile and I want you to know I’m still here, still collecting, and with an itch to post again.

You’ll be hearing more from me, so stay tuned.

Author: Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

14 thoughts on “Who Am I? (And Where Have I Been?)”

  1. The thing I enjoyed most about this post was hearing that you were going to break the Bazooka Nap Lajoie out of his slab once he arrived. I completely understand why we need grading services for big-ticket transactions, but on an aesthetic level I absolutely hate the slabbing of cards and won’t accept them into my own collection. If you can’t put your hands on it, then I don’t see the point 🙂 So, good on you, Jeff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t like having cards slabbed, although cracking them out gives me no end of anxiety. I have one exception – if the rest of the cards in the set are stored in top loaders, then I keep the cards slabbed. Basically only applies to Kellogg’s 3-D cards.


  2. I don’t mind the graded cards. Kind of like knowing they won’t deteriorate. I do have many more non graded. I completed the 1969 football and am working on the 67 Philadelphia set. Keep the posts comi Nd Jeff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your Lajoie 7 is in an old PSA holder so you should be able to get it out safely with a pocket knife inserted up near the label. The new PSA holders are much harder to break into without damaging the cards. I am not, of course, endorsing such a step, even though I’ve done it on cards graded 5 or lower.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alternative title for the post (though you may need a trademark or copyright or some other symbol):

    “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years”

    I have no knowledge regarding the 1933 Tattoo Orbits in particular, but this has been the weirdest card buying time during a downturn that I have ever seen, so you may not want to question how much you’re into the project. Not everything is moving – I doubt 1988 Topps will ever “move” – but vintage and higher end new stuff seems to be doing well. I’ve started putting some hard dollar limits on those types of things to stop getting caught up in the frenzy, and have focused more on player collections and completing some modern insert sets (though I’ve even seen some of those with high prices at auction) through some of the big volume dealers (mostly on Beckett).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been weird. I’ve been bidding on some higher priced cards with the idea that a major financial disaster coupled with massive unemployment would affect prices.


      I guess most card collectors still have money and jobs.


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