Friday, January 18, 2008

The Team Collector

There is a certain feeling of confusion when you are a team collector. Frankly speaking, you don't know everything that is out there. There is no definitive resource, that I've found, that will magically tell you every card there is in a set of your favorite team. I'm hoping that someone will come along and make things easier.

Set collectors have it easy. There's a nice big checklist and there is tons of information on the number of cards in the set. If you can count, you can collect. Every once in awhile, a company will skip a number in the set. This could be because of a player failing to sign a contract before the set release or an error that was caught and not corrected. Sometimes the company wants to mirror earlier releases that had the same missing number. Whatever the reason, it's usually widely reported and the set collector adjusts slightly and moves on.

Player collectors have it a little harder. Some oddball releases have your favorite players and you'll never know about it. There are two great resources for the player collector though. Beckett's online price guide features a lookup by player. You will get virtually every set that your favorite player is in, that is in Beckett's system. The longer the player has been in the game, the longer the list is. What a fantastic feature! The second resource is eBay. You go into the card section and type your favorite player in and presto! Depending on the player, hundreds of pages could appear. You just need to weed out the more common releases and you are almost guaranteed to uncover something you have never seen before.

Since players are always moving from team to team and players can be featured in many different uniforms in the same year, the team collector is forced to do the most research. As of 2007, Julio Franco could be pictured on any one of 11 teams depending on the card release. One of these teams is the White Sox. How do I know that a card company isn't featuring a look back to his 1994 year? I don't. Which card of Carlton Fisk will picture him in a Red Sox uniform and which will picture him in a White Sox uniform. I never know until I see the card.

There isn't always an example of the card to see. There is part of the problem in a nutshell. The card companies should work with Beckett to provide a picture of every card for their database. Beckett should continue to allow their subscribers to upload pictures of cards. The contest last year was a big help to the database. I found examples of cards that I had never seen before.

The web sites of the card companies aren't always helpful either. They are usually riddled with mistakes. Once the card goes live, there should be a conscious effort to correct all the information and give examples of each card. I had to call attention to a mistake in Upper Deck's Goudey listing a few months ago. Darin Erstad was listed as being on the Angels, which was wrong. I had the card in hand, which came out of my first or second pack. It took numerous e-mails back and forth before Upper Deck figured out exactly what I was taking about. I literally had to copy and paste the problem and provide a visual fix for them in the same e-mail. I even had to highlight and bold the mistake and correction before Upper Deck knew exactly what my complaint was.

This is one of the main reasons why I try to include every card of a White Sox player in my set reviews. Sometimes I don't even catch all of the players. There should be a better resource out there for each team's rabid collectors. I try my best, but I'm only one person.


¡El Roberto! said...

Here are some checklists you may find pretty useful

maybe its more what your looking for. The football checklists include more cards.

Steve Gierman said...

Thank you, I appreciate the links!

I've seen those and I'm not sure what to make of them. From what I've pieced together, they tend to only focus on the major releases. I find eBay itself to be a bit more reliable when it comes to the newer releases. For most of the older releases and regional releases, there is little information about specific teams, just the players themselves.

hardcle said...

Speaking of corrections, I think you mean conscious effort not conscience.

Steve Gierman said...

Oops! Nice catch!

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