Saturday, February 3, 2024

How do you collect?

 There are so many different ways to collect baseball cards. 

When I first got into collecting, the main focus was on complete sets. Opening packs, sorting, and seeking out the cards that were missing. As I got back into collecting again, I assumed everything was still the same. Yeah, not even close.

The absolute first thing I noticed was that there's not much love for base cards. I don't know about you, but I still love base cards. I still love opening packs, sorting the cards and looking for those I'm missing. I love the chase. Right now, the chase is '23 Topps Heritage. Next month it will still be '23 Topps Heritage and '24 Topps flagship. I got a feeling the chase for Heritage is going to take awhile. The chase and that feeling of satisfaction when you finally find that last card is awesome. 

I think the biggest change in collecting from when I started until now has to be the inserts. The only inserts when I started was gum, then stickers and puzzle pieces. Now, the inserts are as numerous as the base cards. Some of the inserts are really great looking cards. I have become a fan of some of those inserts. I tried really hard to stay away from collecting the insert sets, but I ended up with several of the '23 Topps All Aces and the Father's Day patch cards and now I'm hooked into those subsets. 

I'm not really close on completing either of them, but I enjoy looking for them and being pretty picky on what I'm willing to pay for them. So far, I've not been very successful trading for them. 

If you're a fan of the game, you have your favorite team and your favorite players. Team and player collecting has become the main stream when it comes to collecting. I'm not sure why the switch, unless collectors began questioning why do I want a card of a player who never plays and for a team I don't like? Maybe it's about space, I don't know. My first thought was it was about not as many cards, but with all of the inserts and parallels, its still a ton of cards to collect. 

Speaking of parallels, a lot of collectors collect color runs. A year ago, when 2023 Topps came out I'd never even thought of doing a color run. Hadn't even looked at it really. I saw somewhere, either on YouTube, in a blog, or at a card show someone's color run. I don't even remember who the player was. I got to looking at what I had and decided that I'd give it try. Knowing that the different colors can get expensive I had to pick a player that I liked and wouldn't get crazy expensive like Ohtani or some other superstar would. I went with Marcus Semien. I mean let's be real, it's not like he's some scrub, he's just not high up on the card collector's list. Here's what I got so far.

So, I'm not the brightest light bulb in the pack, I really wasn't paying attention to the card numbers as much as I was the picture on the front. I knew that Topps Chrome was numbered different, but that didn't stop me from focusing on the picture. I make the really quick decision to switch it up a bit and try to put together as many of the same picture as I can. Let's be real, just between Topps, Topps chrome and Topps Holiday,  there are nine different 1 of 1s and 3 different 1 of 5s. I'm not even putting those on the list as possibilities. As best as I can tell, if I take those out I've got 37 more cards to get. 

For me, my team is the World Series Champion Texas Rangers (had to get it in!). I started putting together team sets from 1972 to present. I'm not getting the team sets Topps puts out, just the cards that come in the base set. I've got a long way to go on this, but it's fun. 

I have a handful of current players that I say I collect: Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Clayton Kershaw, Bobby Witt Jr, Adolis Garcia, Josh Jung and now Evan Carter. Pretty sure that I will add Wyatt Langford to the list when he debuts, hopefully, in 2024. Mostly what I collect are Topps and Topps inserts, but I do have several Bowman, Topps Chrome, and some Panini of my guys.

I don't limit my player collection to just those guys. I also do player runs. I have a fluid list of about 30 players that I am working on collecting their Topps card from all of their playing years. Every now and then, I'll come across a card or hear story about someone and I'll start that player run.   

This post when way off from where I originally planned. Originally, it as a way to show my Marcus Semien color run, but what the heck, I got to share some of my collection. 

I'd love to hear what and how you collect. Drop me a comment!



Isaiah 40:31


  1. I was always a set collector. I would typically buy partial sets, keep the cards that looked best, and sell off the rest. I'd usually have to buy individual cards to fill in holes and upgrade. I liked--and still like--the commons.

  2. I collect year by year. In 2021, I got as many 2021 cards as possible. Same with 2022 and 2023. However, if I see cards I like, I'll take those too. I will basically get my hands on any cards that I like and are well priced. Or the year's Topps cards, which are not so well priced.

  3. Still a traditional set collector -- will always be. When I first came to blogging, I ramped up my team collecting as there was a lot of team collectors on the blogs and those team swaps were easy to do. I wish it was still that way. ... I think the change to player-collecting came in the late '90s when inserts, or what they called "chase cards" at the time, became big. No one cared about regular dudes anymore because it was all about the chase.

    I sort of did a color run with 2013 Kershaw, but I wasn't serious about it, that kind of collecting takes too much effort. But I can fill about a page-and-half of Kershaws from that year.

  4. Angels team collector primarily, with some sets and other topics on the side. I've been all-in trading on TCDB the last year, but have a made a lot of trades through blogs as well. I dont buy much anymore, a pack here and there, or if my daughter comes across any donations to her resale store (usually junk wax).

    Added you to my blog roll, looking forward to following.

  5. What is really great about collecting baseball cards is that you can always change up what you're doing. I have a small stack of Marcus coming at you soon.

  6. I collect a bunch of different ways. I think the bulk of my collection (based on sheer numbers) is sets. However my card purchases tend to focus more on my team and player collections. I don't buy them very often anymore (started cutting back when the hobby boomed during the pandemic), but I also really enjoy collecting on-card pack pulled autographs.

  7. Base cards rule! I like a good insert set here and there, but base will always be what drives me to keep collecting. I tried doing a rainbow of a couple cards years ago but got pretty bored (and broke!) quickly. I understand the thrill, but I don't have the patience for it.

    1. (This was Nick from "Dime Boxes" - Google is being weird with not letting me sign in.)

  8. I went from set collector to player collector to a mix of both.


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