Well, it's back. I know some folks have eagerly been anticipating it's return, and I want to thank those who praise me for doing this.
In typical me fashion, it's not about myself, it's about everyone in the card collecting world, especially the FCB Community, who want to be involved in this and take their time to answer the questions.
Without further adieu, I give you [MENTION=12279]banjar[/MENTION] and his awesome Roberto Alomar collection and write-up !
I'm Seth, resident Roberto Alomar collector.**I'm 43 and used to work as an engineer, but last year I started doing humanitarian work.**I live in Lafayette CO, a half hour northwest of Denver.**No wife or kids, but I do have the best niece and nephew in the world.**My other hobbies are bicycling, xeriscaping, and pickin' the banjo.
1) When did you start collecting ______ and why do you collect ______ ?
1989.**I was 14 and my brother was 11.**I think he was the one who picked up the first few packs, but I was quickly hooked.**Like someone said in one of the old collectors showcase posts, collectors are born not made, and that's definitely me.
It took me a while to figure out what to collect.**Opening packs?**Building sets?**Collecting teams?**Players?*Just rookie cards?**I flirted with that rookie card idea for a while, because you know, I could retire early just by hoarding Todd Van Poppel cards.**Or at least that's what 879 different industry hack publications were telling impressionable teenagers like me.**I also thought about collecting sets.**The first badass one I owned was 1991 Stadium Club.**I put them in 9-pocket pages in a 3-ring binder and spent a LOT of hours flipping through them.**I still remember the smell of the cards, like high quality printed material.**Even today when I get a whiff of that in a new magazine, I will stop what I'm doing and enjoy that mini time warp.
Eventually I settled on player collecting.**It just seemed more manageable, especially since we had no money.*My three favorite players were Robbie Alomar, Ramon Martinez, and The Cobra himself, Dave Parker.**So I collected them for a couple years, but as the number of sets and inserts kept growing in number and price, I scaled back to just Alomar.**Even back in 1989 he stood out from the crowd.**This 20-year old kid had just played a full season at 2B and put up good numbers, and there wasn't even any hype about him.**Plus his brother and dad were with the same team, and how cool is that?
So I would scour the LCS's and card shows, an even get trade magazines to read the classifieds.**One of the best things was mail orders from guys who sold rare and oddball cards, like Minnesota Sports Collectibles and Pike's Cards (aka our own [MENTION=2659]tpeichel[/MENTION] !).**Those maildays were the best.**Along the way I found about 450 unique cards, not bad for a dumb kid.
2) What was the turning point in your collecting ____ ? What put you over the edge and made you completely focus on ______ ?
I guess there were two turning points.
First was in 1996.**Mainly I got fed up with the explosion of sets, inserts, parallels, and the hefty price tags that came with them.**It's funny how many other posts I've read where someone abandoned the hobby right in the mid-late 90's for the exact same reason.**Or because they discovered girls.**And even now as I am still chasing certain super sweet cards from those days, I still think it was too much.**Also Alomar got traded to Baltimore, which was a letdown since I was really into those early 90's Blue Jays teams.**Plus I was headed off to grad school.**So into the closet went my PC.**Over the years I would still flip through it on rare occasion with fond memories, but had no desire to get back into it.**In fact I kind of checked out from baseball entirely for many years.**I didn't even know Robbie had gotten into the HOF until I visited Cooperstown in 2013.
Second was in late 2014.**One night I was sitting around the house and pulled out the collection.**I was thinking of a few cards that I could never find way back when, and then it dawned on me that we now have the internet.**Just for the hell of it I started poking around, and actually found a couple of those long-forgotten cards.**One in particular was the 1992 Studio Preview.*It was a blast and all of the old excitement came right back, only this time A) I actually was making a grown up salary, and B) the internet had placed zillions of cards right on my mouse pointer. Uh oh.
So my first major goal was to compile an accurate checklist of every Alomar card produced, no matter how obscure.**I dredged up a copy of my old excel checklist from 1995 - which I still had on a 3.5" floppy disk - and went to work. I downloaded and merged the Beckett, Tradingcarddb, and Baseballcardpedia checklists, and then mercilessly scoured every corner of the dark web to find all the oddballs, variations, and other weird stuff that nobody lists.
What a revelation - both exciting and maddening.**I had no idea that companies had started putting little shreds of uniforms and bats and whatnot on cards.**I was not impressed by this at first, and I'm still not.**For what I've spent on GU cards, I could easily have bought actual jerseys, hats, cleats, bats, and a pound of Skydome dirt soaked with chew spit.**But on the other hand, card companies came up with some truly astonishing cards while I was away.**Extremely creative ideas, gorgeous designs, tantalizing low print run parallels, and so forth.**I didn't really know what I was getting back into, but I knew it would be a fun ride.
And it's been all downhill since.**I mean, here I am blathering on about it to people I don't even know.**Just kidding.**It's actually pretty neat to be writing about my collection where like-minded people might actually read it, and maybe even appreciate it. Thanks for reading this far...
3) What has been the high point in collecting ______ ? The low point ?
High point is probably the same as question #5.
For low point, I'd say any number of moments in the mid 90's when I was steadily getting burned out on the hobby.**Just picking one example at random - the 1994 Pinnacle Artist Proof card.**All these new parallels were coming at me at light speed, each one more expensive than the next, and then Pinnacle**calls a dumb foil stamp an Artist Proof?**It was neither artistic nor a proof in any way, but it was a hugely desirable and expensive insert.**And as a player collector completist (before the 1/1 days), I had to shell out for it.**That surely wasn't the turning point for me getting out of the hobby, but it's something I clearly remember along the way (to Pinnacle's credit the 1994 Museum collection was totally badass and a very worthy parallel. I miss Dufex).
4) What deal did you have slip through the cracks, that you regret ? Why didn't it work out ?
I really haven't had any deals fall apart.**The biggest reason is trouble finding any other Alomar collectors.**I have connected with a few guys who used to collect him, and they've sold me some of what they have left, but that's about it.**I have also found two guys with current Alomar PC's, but can't get much of a response from them.**On one hand I envy collectors of bigger stars who have a network to trade with, but on the other hand the Alomar competition isn't as strong.
5) What's your favorite piece / card in your collection ? Why ?
1992 Donruss McDonald's Autograph card.**These were distributed around Toronto, and included 6 gorgeous gold inserts of 6 Blue Jays. They also included redemptions for an autographed version of the gold Alomar card.**I knew about this one back in the day but of course never saw one.**Then in 2015 I found one through a Canadian classified site, at a pawn shop near Toronto.**After some back and forth I eventually convinced the owner to hold it for me while I sent him a check.**And a few weeks later it arrived in my mailbox.
6) What's your wife / significant other / family think of your obsession (or collecting) for ______ ?
My friends and family generally have an amused acceptance of the fact that this middle aged straight guy is obsessed with collecting small photos of athletic men.**Er, make that one athletic man.**But nobody really cares about my explanations of why that 1995 Ray Ban promo card is so cool.**This is actually one of the reasons I joined FCB.**My Robbie Alomar thread has become my little corner of the interwebs to BS about my cards to people who get it.**Speaking of which, I need to post some new pickups there.
7) What's your white whale or just a card you can't seemingly track down or acquire ?
Beckett lists this mysterious card called "1992 Star Promo".**There was a Star set of the Alomar brothers in 1989, which is very easy to find, even its promo card.*But this 1992 promo card - where is it?**Never seen even a picture of it, or even a mention outside of Beckett.**I'm starting to wonder if it exists.**There are other Beckett-listed cards that are proven not to exist (1997 Zenith Z-Team Sample, 1994 UD Electric Diamond Silver Back, etc), so maybe this is another one?*
In terms of cards that do exist, I'd have to say the same as everyone else - 1996 Select Certified Freaking Mirror Gold. There's a copy on ebay right now but it's in the hands of a hostage holder, so yeah.**I will be holding out for one of the other 29 copies (or whatever the true number is).**Also the 2014 Tek Stripes pattern and 2016 Tek Arrows pattern.**I've had much more luck with Tek 1/1's than those.**Patience grasshopper.**I will find them eventually.
8) Have you met the player you collect and what was the experience like ? (For set collectors, it'd be asking about meeting other set collector's of said set and having discussions with them).
Never met Robbie, and it's a ways down on my bucket list.**Of course if he ever came to a Denver event I would definitely go.**Would be nice to have a 1993 Donruss Elite Jumbo signed, and also some 1998 All Star card, since was MVP of that game at Coors Field.**I think he's a decent guy, and I don't care too much about the controversy he was involved in.**For example, everything between him and Hirschbeck is fine now and they are on great terms.**What it comes down to is that he's still my favorite player, but my collection is more about the fun I have putting it together, and the history and stories of the cards.
9) What is your biggest pet peeve about collecting ______ ?
Only one?!?**Come on [MENTION=3743]AmishDave[/MENTION], I love a good rant more than anything Here are four.
- Topps sole license.**I don't know what Topps is telling MLB to convince them that this is best for fans, collectors, and the sport.**But I would love to be in that room to shout them down, because whatever they're saying is complete garbage.**Get it together MLB.
- The fact that Robbie seems to be in every new set these days - with 15 different colored parallels of every one.**Dude's been retired for 14 years, but here are the numbers of unique cards released in the last 5 years:
2018: 169 and counting
When I started collecting again I kinda tried to keep up with new releases, but I've gotten to the point where I will just pick one or two new sets to chase each year.*And maybe not even that.**I only have 18 cards total from 2018.**I'm now focusing mostly on his playing career.
- Hostage holders. There's a bar in Denver that claims to have the largest collection of Scotch in the world, including bottles from long-defunct distilleries. They are pretty open about the fact that they price shots from these bottles extremely high, so they *don't sell*.**In this way they can continue to show off what they have.**I am convinced many ebay "sellers" are driven by the same thinking.**Maybe some of them are hoping that one-in-a-million dupe will eventually find their listing, but I think vanity is a big driver too. In the end it's a win-win. If they find a buyer, it's a win. If they can keep showing off their treasures, it's a win.
- COMC and Ebay card flippers.**It might be an easy way to make money, it provides nothing of value to the universe except an increase in entropy.
10) How have forums / eBay / COMC helped your collecting of _____ ? How have they hurt ?
Quite a bit.*The internet is the definition of a double edged sword, but when it comes to finding cards, that edge cuts the right way. **I get most of my cards on Ebay.* COMC and Beckett are second.* LCS and the occasional trade/sale with other collectors a distant third.**Would love to find more people to trade with.
11) How much competition do you face in your collecting of _____ ? How often do you check forums / auction sites for your player ?
Only one major competitor I know of, an ebay guy who usually outbids me when we're competing. The good news is that he seems to go after the low numbered new releases, while I focus on the playing career. I'm good with this arrangement.**I check ebay and COMC and Beckett several times per day whenever I'm online.*When I'm not online, I don't worry about it.
12) Any thoughts of ever giving up the collection ?
No way. This is something I will keep working on for the rest of my life.
I have spent more time and money on this collection than any other hobby.**Collecting isn't just a hobby though, it's theraputic.**I can get pretty detail oriented, and have a tendency to fixate on stupid things too much.**But working on this collection gives me a place to funnel all of that OCD into one place.**It's impossible to control everything in your life, and it is destructive to try, but with this little endeavor I have complete control and I can be as persnickety as I want.
I can store and catalog them in a completely organized and precise manner, I can futz with my excel checklist and statistics as much as I want, and I can spend endless hours searching the webs for cards I don't have. I even collect obscure variations of cameos for chrissakes.**But I guess it could always be worse.**I could start collecting "mentions"!**Anyway, the rest of my life really benefits because I don't bring the same micromanagey, fussy approach to other things.*
13) How has the generosity of FCB'ers or other forum / site members helped your collection ? Elaborate.
I've made maybe 20 deals with FCB members and appreciate every one.**I've also tracked down a few wicked cards through some great members at Blowout, but as far as the board itself goes, reading through most BO threads is like reading comments on youtube videos.**It's Triple-U and only brings despair.**So 90% of my activity is on FCB.**The knowledge and generosity and comeraderie of FCB is awesome.**You guys are the best. Seems like a good time for shout outs. [MENTION=4682]RustyGreerFan[/MENTION] [MENTION=7880]elberson[/MENTION] [MENTION=12441]Tfangman[/MENTION] [MENTION=5808]nerdherd020[/MENTION] [MENTION=4111]chief7575[/MENTION] [MENTION=3854]spcollector[/MENTION] [MENTION=2699]togaman[/MENTION] [MENTION=8009]rinkrat38[/MENTION] [MENTION=4464]youseekyoda421[/MENTION] [MENTION=10889]GameJerseyPR[/MENTION] [MENTION=3735]clarkfan[/MENTION] [MENTION=2800]chippercards.com[/MENTION]*@chadgwynn [MENTION=3934]Calripkenjrcollector[/MENTION] [MENTION=22665]mooshoo[/MENTION] [MENTION=1845]gracecollector[/MENTION] [MENTION=7453]mouschi[/MENTION]
Particularly Rustygreerfan.**Right after I joined FCB I found an old post of his with a pic of the 1998 Donruss Preferred Prized Collections card.**I emailed him asking if he'd sell it, and to my utter surprise he just sent it to me. That card would probably fetch $50-$100 at auction, and he just sent it.**I don't have many cards of interest to anyone other than Alomar collectors, but I have tried to repay that generosity to others here and there as I can.**Speaking of which - let's get that "free to a good home" thread going again.
Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Freedom Card Board mobile app