Thursday, October 8, 2020

The One(s) That Got Away

 Call it a second wind, but being back in the routine of collecting has been a lot of fun.  I'm sitting around waiting for my mailman to arrive each day in a way that's starting to feel borderline canine.  

There are a lot of different irons in the fire right now.  I'm headed into the home stretch of getting my Pirate collection logged on TCDB, and have even struck up my first trades on the site.  I started browsing around the artist formerly known as Just Commons, which apparently has a new name and slightly better search interface.  And I've been taking a deep dive back into my own collection, and enjoying the thousands of cards I already have.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the highlight is the mail. 

As I mentioned in my last post, if I was going to collect, it needed to be fun.  I missed that rush of each new pickup being its own event to be excited about.  And truth be told, one of the big things that burnt me out on collecting was the way the hobby has evolved.  Collecting started to feel harder than studying for a 10th grade chemistry test.  Just keeping straight which card I owned was a complex exercise in mental gymnastics.

Was it the blue shimmer sparkle wave refractor that I had, or the baby blue shimmer dot refractor?  

Logging the card into my collection became a scavenger hunt that ended up with 3 tabs open, 5 reference photos, and Scotland Yard on the phone.  

Ain't nobody got time for that.  So let's stick with the classics.

The 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game set has always had special memories for me.  2000 was the year I really started feeling like a "collector."  My mom would take me to the LCS to buy a few packs every week or two, and another shop opened in the local mall.

I mostly stuck to the low end products.  Fleer Impact.  Topps.  Maybe we'd get real wild and go for a pack of Upper Deck MVP.  

But one afternoon we were in the mall, and while I was browsing the dime boxes (I was a young convert), the owner was telling my mom about the new product - Greats of the Game - with an unheard of 4 autographs in each box.  At this point I don't think I had ever so much as held and auto or game used card.  They were just eye candy in my monthly Beckett.

My mom has always been budget conscious.  I got it from her, she got it from my grandfather.  My wife says I'm cheap.  But I prefer frugal.

But my mom must have been feeling a wild streak that night.  She decided to try a pack from the half empty box.  I asked her if she was sure.  The packs were marked at $5 or 6 a piece.  For that price I could have a small mountain of Topps packs.

The first pack was a dud.  So was the next one.  And the next one.  We swung and missed.

But it's always been a set that's been in my mind.  Maybe it's the one that got away.  Who knows what else might have been in those packs?

It felt like the right place to start as I restarted collecting.  Even though prices are probably a bit elevated, most of the non-stars in the set can be hard for under $10.  The common HoF'ers under $20.  And damn the cards are *beautiful,* with a simple yet stately design.  The gold borders just frame the cards perfectly, the slight offwhite background and distortion on the player photos framing the autograph perfectly.

I'll never complete the set.  Some of the bigger names were SP's, and go for big money.  But I'm ok with that.  I'll chip away here and there, recapturing the cards I never pulled in the mall.  

Heck, I have a box-worth of autos right here.  And even if you don't factor in inflation, they cost me a heck of a lot less than what a box ran in 2000.

But I can't help but wonder what might have happened if we had opened just oneeeee more pack.

Anyone else have a "one that got away" set?


  1. Love this set. One that got away? Way more than one. This is one time thought that I'm glad my memory sucks.