I've kind of fallen into an Anagonyean vortex of indecisiveness so I'm just writing this to work out my ideas. I've been thinking of collecting runs of favorite players active years and displaying them in a nice 12-pocket binder. My idea is to have 3 brands from a player's career lined up letting you watch the guy age as your eye moves across the page. Was thinking Jeter, Trout, Pujols, Ichiro, maybe a couple others. I made a little chart for the more prominent sets that have had longevity for my own reference. Pretty sure it's correct but let me know if I missed something.
My brain is telling me they need to be consistent for all players. But the only 2 sets that have been constant for a long time have been base Topps and Bowman, so I'm a little torn on the third set for most players, and I'm not sure if Bowman or Bowman Chrome are even the sets I want. There are problems with just about everything else, mainly players not being in every set every year. Only 2 sets span Jeter's whole career, but I could go with one thing for 1993-2000 and the use Heritage for 2001-2014, but it feels wrong. Pujols and Ichiro could include Topps and Bowman, but they weren't in Heritage that year, sadly. Trout is also a little problematic because he wasn't in 2010 Bowman/Chrome and the 2009 version is a little outside my budget right now, and I wouldn't put that one or his 2011 Topps in a binder anyway. Same with Ichiro and Pujols and their Bowman Chrome rookies. I'd rather not use Topps Chrome because it looks the same as Topps.
Jeter: 1993-2014 Topps, 1993-2014 Bowman, 2001-14 Topps Heritage, maybe Stadium Club predating Heritage?
Trout: 2012-2019 Topps, 2012-2019 Topps Heritage, 2012-2019 Finest or A&G? And maybe 2010-2011 Pro Debut/Heritage MiLB?
Ichiro & Pujols: 2001-2019 Topps, 2001-2019 Bowman, 2002-2019 Finest?
Griffey: 1989-2010 Topps, 1989-2010 Bowman, 1989-2010 Upper Deck
It's all very frustrating but that frustration is kind of what makes it a hobby.