Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Last Reason To Use Beckett

Growing up, there were few things as exciting as a new Beckett issue.  I read and reread every issue I had in my pre-teen years, pouring over the articles and memorizing the price guide for cards I had absolutely no chance of ever buying or selling.

Back then the magazine seemed cool, it seemed important.  As I grew a bit older and started to take collecting more seriously, I found Beckett's online forum.  It was the first time I really interacted with fellow collectors beyond the few people I would run into at the local shop, and was a wonderfully knowledgeable group of collectors.

And then, like many media companies unable or unwilling to adjust to the digital marketplace, they screwed up everything.  A website redesign in 2007 or 2008 rendered the website virtually useless.  The print magazine was lightyears beyond its usefulness in media terms.  The redesign included an overhaul of the My Collections feature, and subsequent redesigns that rendered it less than user friendly.  And of course the forum's dynamics changes, as moderators began suspending and banning knowledgeable members while a gaggle of obnoxious pre-teens ran wild over the place, presumable forsaking their Halo controllers for scamming people on the internet.

Needless to say, I don't visit Beckett much.  But I figured their checklists were still useful, right?

As I move my collection to pages, I wanted to cross reference my haves with a masterchecklist so I can leave appropriate space for new additions.

I knew the checklist was far from complete, leaving out countless regional, minor league, and oddball releases, while including those obnoxious renumbered "convention" cards that I couldn't care less about.  But...the checklist...it's all they have left.  It has to be accurate.

And of course it wasn't.  I didn't notice any glaring issues, like the absence of major Roberto Clemente cards.  But I did notice the absence of other players.  When searching by team, some of those lesser guys just don't exist as Pirates in sets where they are clearly pictured in black and gold.
Bruce Aven managed to avoid the Pirates checklist, as well as the memories of most Bucs fans.

So does John Vander Wal,, who had some success with the Pirates.

Both guys spent limited time with the team, and were traded mid year, so perhaps their cards were all miscategorized as their latter season team for that year.  Still, it was a bit frustrating to have to not just cross reference the Beckett checklist, but then double check that against my own excel sheet to make sure I wasn't leaving any cards out.

I may just stick to teamsets4u for team checklists from now on, though they aren't exactly excel-friendly.

You know, with all the advances in technology, you'd think someone would have come up with a navigable, comprehensive checklist by now.  It's just not surprising that it wasn't Beckett.


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