Wednesday, January 16, 2019

For some cards, Bindered is better

I have been looking forward to this day since I first saw these cards.

But I didn't expect this action would become quite so physically imperative.

I knew I would want to see this little set of cards all together on a binder page. But today I was working on my 2017 Archives collecting effort, and this little stack of cards was obviously in need of plastic confinement - despite their quite hardy card stock each one was considerably bowed, inside of it's penny sleeve.

Their compatriots in the base '17 Archives set largely weren't; for the '60 and '82 styles at least. Such a pity Topps had to go cheap-skate on the '92 cards and issue them on junkier stock, just because 1992 already had weakened stock compared to decades earlier. Probably inevitable with a company run by a hedge fund, with customers who buy the products regardless of all their little complaints about it. The Aaron Judge Rookie Card wasn't in the '92 set, and that's what sold a big majority of the product. Not that it wouldn't have sold if the Judge RC _was_ on the thin '92 style cards.

I managed to complete this little set via the simplest method - purchasing retail 'packs' - in this case, mostly the hanger packs, which came with one each of this insert, guaranteed. Luckily I pulled the one key card, which is still a $10 card today. I think collectors are largely happy to have multiple Rookie Card cards to own. The singularity RC proved to be totally wasteful of potential collector cash, in a hobby awash with money looking to be spent. 

If I hadn't pulled the Judge on my own, the following binder page wouldn't exist, in my collection. I doubt if it does in very many other collections, because who would display a 40¢ card right next to an actually valuable baseball card?

I have always admired the Sport Magazine 1960 Rookie Star cards and would like to own some of them. 9 of them even. And particularly the Yastrezemski card, who was a favorite player when I was a little kid just discovering baseball. But I never spend money on vintage, even cheap vintage. I always feel like I will get more enjoyment for my spare 5 bucks added to my grocery bill, with a moderately sized pile of brand new baseball cards, than I will spending 5 bucks on a couple vintage singles, as much as I like those.

So 'retro' sets like Archives and some years of Heritage (I'm picky) are right up my alley. I particularly enjoyed 2017 Archives, except for the way it all disappeared from the stores nearly instantly, thanks to the Judge Effect. I know I will never find any discounted, that is for sure. Ultimately, just today, I decided to complete the 1982 and 1992 style checklists.

But not the 1960 checklist, though I have always enjoyed seeing images of one of the most colorful sets Topps ever made. The hefty card-stock in '17 Archives is completely pleasing to 'collect', at least for the '60s and the '82s. But something happened on the way to the printing plant with the 1960 style cards. Whatever special effects software Topps used to create the faux-painted effect the '60 style cards displays gave many of the players a terrible set of Raccoon Eyes, seen fairly clearly on young Alex up there, as well as the other Alex - Reyes - in this insert set. And also on the Judge card, which is so lit-up wrong I fail to see why his Archives Rookie Card cards are held in such regard. Such is the delight with 1960 Topps, I guess. But the Raccoon Eyes are such a routine occurrence in the #1-100 checklist that I just decided to pick a Nifty Nine from those cards and call it good. I never did pull the Judge base RC anyway, just this insert.

Meanwhile, it is such a pity that Topps will probably never switch to 9 cards x 9 cards printing sheets and make their insert sets in multiples of 9. Sigh. Alex Bregman will just have to be exiled from his checklist mates here, with all the other card #10s, #19s, and #20s I end up with on the Binder Page of Orphaned Inserts that I will fill up, some day.

It is always interesting to me to see Topps' efforts at rounding up a herd of Rookies and corraling them onto a little checklist together, particularly years later. These 10 'rooks are a mix of traditional draft picks from the USA and foreign born 'signings', and all have plentiful MLB service time at this point. My favorite is probably Orlando Arcia, who had that classic, scrappy Infielder ability to occasionally come up with a big game for Milwaukee in 2018, generally when least expected.

Given the design of these cards and how the generally disliked horizontal cards actually work, I knew when I saw the first one 2 summers ago now that this would be how I would want to enjoy them for the long haul in my collection:


  1. "who would display a 40¢ card right next to an actually valuable baseball card?"

    Uh, I would.
    Displaying a complete set in order in a binder puts the hyped rookies right next to the duds and all the other established players.

    1. Naturally, I knew my blog readers would be down with this system.