Some of you may not get how weird this is for me, so let me explain: because my brain tends to focus on completing sets, my player collections almost always take a back seat. It’s a lot easier to keep track of sets, give or take a few of the weird ones. Player collections, especially for the era of 5+ card companies, tons of brands, numbered cards, signed cards, relic cards, parallels, etc., I almost can’t process, even with super-helpful card sites like The Trading Card Database out there. This is why, if you look at my 72 page want list, there’s only one proper player collection want list (Tony Horton, and let’s face it, there are hardly any cards of him) on it, and why the only other mention of what I’m after on my player collections on this site or any other just keeps track of which players I’ve got autos or relics of. I guess I could list my haves somewhere, but it’s kind of a bland way to address it. I’m actually thinking of making a visual gallery of said collections (or at least the big ones) so I can double-check or something, but that seems like it might be imperfect.
So, when I’m confronted by cards that are solely sorted by player, as I was earlier today, I kinda lock up unless I know I’m looking for a card from a specific set. For instance, when I went to a garage sale today that was more like a 1 dealer card show (really quite the thing, if you ask me), but with almost nothing but cards sorted by player, I kinda wandered around lost for a minute. Then, I figured, hey, Bernie Williams! Yeah, I like him! But then, I didn’t see any, so I had to ask the guy running it, and it turned out that he just hadn’t put the box with the Bernies in it out yet. Then, to add another layer to it, even with my iPad handy and my want list loaded, I had to think about which Bernies I’d wanna get. Guy had a couple hundred, but I only had my list and no visual frame of reference for a lot. I started by remembering that ’98 Topps is the last Topps flagship base Bernie card I’m missing (if any of you have it, send it along), but I struck out there. So, my next move from there, and where I finally found my sweet spot, was to pull out cards from sets I know I’m still building, and cross-check them, along with some fun looking stuff. Here’s how I did.
’93 Fleer! Nothing exciting, but it’s still a set in progress, and, hey, I needed this Bernie card from it!
’99 Upper Deck! A set so bright, Bernie’s gotta wear shades.
(He wears them a lot, really, but let’s not get in the way of an excuse to listen to Timbuk3.)
And, though I’ve got a decent chunk of these, I did not have Bernie. So, doin’ OK here.
’05 Upper Deck! I really don’t have much UD from the first half of the 2000s, so it was no surprise that I was missing this.
This, on the other hand, surprised me, both in that I didn’t have it (I’ve gotten a few huge lots of ’07 Upper Deck Yankees over the years that it’s been murder to unload my spares of), and that Bernie even had a card in ’07 Upper Deck. I thought ’06 was it for him and flagship sets (he’s in ’07 Heritage, which is quasi-flagship, and I do have that, but it’s been so long since I’ve looked through my ’07 Heritage that I forgot he was in there). So, yeah, score here, too!
Did somebody say Score? Didn’t have this, though I have no idea why he was in ’98 Rookie & Traded, since he was neither of those things in the relevant time period. Bernie’s mad about it, too! See? Grrrr!
This is one of my favorite sets of all time, and while I’ve been chasing it, I didn’t have Bernie yet. Another nice pickup.
I’M TRIPPIN’ BALLS
Er. HoloGrFX! Building this one, too. Needed Bernie still!
Last, but not least, from the stuff I had checklists to go by…’01 Heritage! Now, I have no idea why this card refused to scan without the weirdo scan lines on it. I scanned it like 3 times, but couldn’t get around ’em. Trust me when I say that they’re not on the actual card. I am super happy to have this one, as I never run into any ’01 Heritage, and if a person’s favorite player of all time was in ’01 Topps Heritage, they should probably have that card, right?
So, that was the stuff I could verify. There was a bunch that I couldn’t verify, though, so I winged it with the last half-dozen cards. I’m going to post them now, and check in real time while I’m writing this to see if I needed the cards! Riveting stuff!
’99 Pacific! I never used to run into Pacific stuff when I lived in NJ, but where I’m living now, I find it pretty often. Let’s see if I needed it…I did! Had other Pacific flagship, but not this one. One for one!
’03 Victory, with the fancy rounded corners! I hardly have any of this stuff, though I do have the Hideki Matsui rookie from this set. I remember being psyched about that, because I got it for a buck at the flea market (from a Yankee-hater) when Matsui-mania was in full swing. Did I have it? Nope! I figured this was a safe bet, and it’s a swell picture of him, too.
’97 Metal Universe! Wow, these cards are some tripped out shit. I’m sure glad I wasn’t seriously collecting cards when I still took drugs. Did I have the card before today, though? Nope! Lookin’ good so far!
Love the quote on this. ’97 Circa! Love this set. Would love to pick up all of it at some point, but I’m not gonna start building it now unless I find a lot of it. I think I would’ve remembered getting this one, so I went for it, and yes, I still needed it! 4 for 4 so far, with 2 more to go!
Shiny Pacific goodness! Again, I hardly have any Pacific stuff, especially not the shiny Pacific stuff, so this was also a safe bet, and sure enough, this is a new card in the collection! One more to go…
…and by golly, it’s another Pacific Revolution! I really, really like the ’98 Revolution cards, too. Only have a small handful of them. Did not have Bernie! I guessed correctly on all 6 out of 6, bringing me up to a total of 118 Bernie Williams cards that are not in my auto/relic binder or a set! I win! I still need a better system than this. I mean, while I was going through my Bernie stash, I found 3 cards that should’ve been in with the flagship stuff I’m building, assuming I didn’t have it there already…
…and nope, one of them (’96 Upper Deck), I didn’t have checked off in my wants! That was actually ’96 Upper Deck card #100 for me (it’s #406 in the checklist, but the 100th card I’ve gotten so far). The ’95 Donruss and ’97 UD are available for trade, though!
Player collectors, how in the hell do you keep track of your guys?