Thursday, August 13, 2015

Picking The Best Card

I'm trying to avoid referring to fantasy baseball because usually that will turn off most people. This post IS related to fantasy, but only in terms of my collection. 

I understand the meaning of the term 'Frankenset' and my fantasy player collection doesn't fit that but I do face some of the same decisions that Frankenset collectors do. They might ask themselves which card best fills a number slot, I ask myself which card best fits the player.

I put one card of each of my players in my binder. I have certain criterion in mind when I hunt up a player's card. I prefer a vertical card, one that shows the player on the correct team, and one from a year I had him. The whole thing forms a hierarchy with a card fitting the above description at the top, and a horizontal, multi-player, die-cut, minor league, different organization card from a previous year at the bottom. 

But I'll ignore all that to add variety or to spice up the binder with a card I really like. I do all this for football, too. But that binder, with 35 seasons of players is quite a bit larger than the baseball one. 

Here are a few examples of cards that I picked up to supplant those in the binder, and a few that I considered that just didn't have what it takes to make the binder:

Mattt Wieters:

It's tough to find Weiters cards since he hasn't been in Topps sets. I had the Donruss card and it was fine. I like it a lot in fact. With him in his gear it's easy to ignore the fact that as an unlicensed card there are no logos. 

I came across this eTopps card for a good price and bought it. Without really thinking about it I pulled the Donruss and inserted this one. But I'm having second thoughts. It's chrome-y and all, but is it really a nicer card? Heck the 'Orioles' isn't a lot better than 'Baltimore' and there still isn't a logo. 

The eTopps stays, but I'll be reconsidering this one some. 

Here is an easy one that illustrates my preferences. Carlos Frias appeared on this Heritage rookie with another player. 

I picked it up for the binder because it was his only major league card for awhile but as soon as 2015 Topps Series Two included him I snagged one. Much better!

This Daniel Murphy from a few years back lost out to a cooler card.

Sure the Stadium Club card has hard to read names but it's a far superior card. Plus, I had him in 2015 so it matches my roster.

Here's an example of my obsession with having a card of a player. I drafted Ryu Hyun-Jin a couple of years ago before he made the Dodgers staff. I overpaid for the only available card he had at the time.

Last year I picked up a cheap card of him in a Dodgers uni. Do I dump the costly Korean card? Yup.

This manny Machado card was the binder card and I thought it would remain so. I really liked it. (Ignore the missing scanner absolutely HATES modern white bordered cards).

This card came along from a blog reader and for variety sake I replaced the original. But as nice as a touch of variety can be that's one busy card!

Brian from Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary included a couple of Manny cards in his recent PWE. This Stadium Club is just terrific!

But it's horizontal. So sad.

This other Machado from Brian is pretty snappy and it's unique. It's my new 'binder' Machado. Thanks, Brian.

I had Jed Lowrie rostered for about two hours this year but even with that brief a stay he has to have a card. I found that I owned this card from his Red Sox days already.

But his 2015 Series Two fits much better. He's an Astro and I owned him in 2015. Bingo.

Here is another case of Brian bumping a card out of the binder. Schoop's card was OK, but...

This yellow border Bowman he sent is unique. 

I really liked my Kevin Gausman card...

But this gold 2015 Topps is unique to the binder.

And then sometimes I make decisions based purely on whiskers. Dallas Keuchel was a heck of a pick for me this year. And I had a card of him. I think that's a WalMart or Target version. And I had no others like it. But that doesn't look like Dallas Keuchel. 

Now THIS looks like Dallas Keuchel. And into the binder it goes.

Funny how much time I waste sorting through my rather limited stash of current cards trying to weigh the merits of one card over another. Especially since absolutely nobody except me sees the fantasy binder. But that's the hobby for you.


  1. I should have started this years ago. It would be tough to catch up now. I guess I could start one, but then I'd always know there were years I didn't have a collection for.

    1. I only have three seasons of baseball to worry about. But unlike the old days when I documented everything by hand the web based leagues dump data from one year to the next. I had to reconstruct my first baseball season roster from my transactions which I always printed out. There's a small chance I missed a guy but I'd rather not thing about that.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes he really does. They were off local TV last season and I never saw him pitch so I had no idea that he ever was beard-less until I found that I had this card.

  3. I don't have a binder but I collect guys on my fantasy teams too, guess I'll have to start one now.

    1. If you find yourself passing on a guy on the waiver wire because he doesn't have a card you'll know you are (way too) committed.

  4. Your hierarchy for this collection is very similar to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection. I'm constantly shuffling cards trying to pick my favorites, keep them vertical, get the correct uniform (for me, Cubs) and keep variety all at the same time. It's a tough juggling act sometimes!

  5. Cool project. Last year, I gave up fantasy baseball. But the year before, I used the blue chart (the kind you hang up index cards w/vocabulary words on) in my classroom to post my daily lineup. I didn't have any particular rules, but it got to be a pain in the butt. And by the time end of the school year activities arrived I quit updating it altogether.