Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog Bat Around: No Tribial Matter!

I've been wanting to post something about my collection for a while now, but couldn't figure out how I wanted to frame the post. Thanks to Sports Cards Uncensored's Bat Around, I at least have the skeleton. We'll see where it goes from there!

In case you couldn't tell by the prolific display of Cleveland Indians logos, pictures, scans, etc, I am, in fact, a TEAM collector. Specifically, I collect Cleveland Indians (or their various other incarnations - minor league, previous team names, etc). I've posted on here before (most likely more than once) how my collection began as a child when my grandparents moved to Cleveland. But, what I haven't shared yet are some of the trials, tribulations, and just what 8,000 Indians cards look like sitting on a shelf. Without further adieu:

What you see above are the binders that hold 99% of my Indians collection. Why only 99%? Well, you see, as a team collector, I have several items that are too big for binders. I also have items that I am waiting for a shipment of pocket pages in which to place them. Some are long and skinny, some are tiny, some just don't fit any type of standard whatsoever.

My cards are sorted by year because that is what made the most sense to me. Players come and go, especially in the Tribe. So, to organize by player didn't seem like a truly feasible way to go. Those binders contain base cards, parallels, 1/1's, jerseys, autos, you name it. Which brings me to picture #2:

This would be a shot of my "non-Indians" storage center. Undoubtedly, you may have noticed the fact that the team names are all upside down. This is not a reflection on how I feel about other teams, but rather my lack of proper planning. You see, the boxes are all two-parters - the box and a lid. When I set out to get organized, I wrote the team names on the lids with the boxes closed. I do a LOT of trading/gifting/whatever you call it. It was getting to be a pain in the butt to pull the boxes out, open the lids, take out the cards, put the lids back on, slide the box back into the holder. So, I just took off the lids and put them on the bottom of the boxes, such that I could still read the team names. Before you get all, "Yeah, but you could write the names upside right on the other end of the lids" on me, let me tell you that correcting my blunder WAS on my list of things to do. Frankly, having the names upside-down drives my wife (a self-professed neat-freak) up the ever-lovin wall. And, well, just to keep that 'edge' in the marriage, I have left things just the way they are... :-)

That is not the extent of my trade fodder, however, as we see here:

This is a fuller view of things in the 'baseball card corner' as my kids call it. See, the downside to being a team collector is that I end up with a LOT of non-Indians cards. And, having 8,000 non-duplicated singles in my collection thus far, it also means I end up with a LOT of Indians doubles. See the box labeled 'Indians?' Yes, it has cards. It is FULL of cards. But there is just not enough room to hold all my Indians duplicates, so I have another area of trade fodder:

The white box contains 99% duplicate Indians cards. The other items you see are oddball items that don't really fit in the 'baseball card corner.' Oh, and, yeah, that's an nVidia graphics card in there, too. I collect ALL kinds of cards...

Here, you see the corner of my desk. The stacks of cards are mostly duplicate Indians with a few others that I had opened from packs or got as part of 'bulk trading.'

This may seem all well and good, but as the years have gone by, my team collecting has become a double-edged sword for sure. My original (and quite lofty) goal was to have a complete set of every Indians card ever produced. I would still love to achieve that to the degree which I am able. But, you see, with all the short prints, 1/1's, and heaven forbid Topps Tek, out there, I don't know that it is actually a reachable goal within the limits of my finances. So, I relaxed my standards (which inversely INCREASED the enjoyability) to say that my ultimate goal is to have at least one type-card ever made. And, as a bonus, the more non-duplicated Tribers I accumulate will be the icing on the cake. I don't know about you, but I am an icing fanatic - the more the better!

I've not yet breached the $200-for-a-single-card yet. This means I have some very rare and valuable cards missing from my collection. But, it also means that I am willing to take a faded, rounded, creased original Nap Lajoie, Cy Young, Bob Feller, or any other Triber, any day of the week!

I am a TEAM collector, not a MINT TEAM collector. As many of my readers and traders know, I am also a very enthusiastic collector. I am just as excited to get a stack of Tribe cards that all end up in my duplicate box as I am in receiving a stack of cards that help knock items off my 'do not own yet' list! I admit, I do get a bit on the giddy side when I get cards I need because it means I have not seen those ones before. But, the cards I receive that I already have are usually cards I haven't seen in quite a while, so I relive Indians history through the cards I hold in my hands. And that's good enough for me.


  1. I don't consider myself a neat freak (by any stretch of the imagination,) but I had to copy the picture of your team boxes and rotate it 180 degrees.

    It made me feel much better.

  2. Long live team collectors!

    All of your photos give me that gnawing feeling that I need to buy binders and sheets. But compared to buying cards, it's so dull!

  3. Labelled folders, labelled boxes of trade cards, boxes of assorted cards. It was like looking at my own 'baseball' section of the house!

  4. What kind of nVidia card do you have?

  5. After reading your post I felt like I had written it !! Your collection and mine are very eeriely similar.I too have the goal to have every Indian card ,but as you said , it's pretty much impossible but it still gives me something to strive for and keeps me going.I'm new at this blog "thing " and I'm still learning how it all works ! Some of you may be familiar with " Intelliracer " from ebay and other trading sites. He also has a blog " Cardboardmania " which is on hold due to his college education. Well, he is my youngest son !

  6. Great Post! Man you are pretty well organized, much more than I am. I love the upside down boxes thats pretty funny.

  7. So you're an Indians fan AND a Steelers fan? Why not the Browns?

  8. Ah, yes, great question! Why not the Browns? I was born in and grew up in and around Pittsburgh. I am a Steelers fan to the core, but never got into collecting football cards. I grew up a Pirates fan, but for whatever reason, once I started collecting Indians, I quit the Pirates in terms of collecting. As for the Browns... Well, I'm a Steelers fan first, foremost, and always. :-)