Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Starting to Lineup a new collection

Looking back at the last 14-15 years of my card collecting, or in other words, since I returned to card collecting, I see that a good 60-70% of my focus has been on cards that were produced before I was born; which, shockingly, feature players who mostly played (or who had their prime years) before I was born as well.

I'm sure that there's many reasons for this, my love of history, bigger personalities, less gentle play, etc., but I think the biggest reason is that, despite having never seen the majority of these guys play, I just feel like I can relate to them more as people. I'll probably get into this more in a future post (one that'll feature a baseballer whose prime was during the 30's), but basically it's just a lot easier for me to identify with folks who farmed or worked another job during the offseason, and who didn't have every whim catered to, than it is guys who are making fifty million dollars a year, and having every need (and vice) catered to. Not to mention too, maybe it's just because of my mindset, but it doesn't seem like a lot of the modern athletes have very interesting life stories. I know that there's a few occasionally who do, but for the most part, they're just boring people, who are getting paid a lot of money to play watered down versions of what were once better sports. That being said, I'm still human, and still a collector, and like most modern humans (primarily those in the West), and collectors, I find myself being drawn to the days of my youth. Nostalgia after all, much like cocaine, is a helluva drug.

I'm not one of those people who think that the sports, and the athletes who played them, during my formative years were the best that they've ever been, as lot of the above applies to them as well, but still...

[Note: I was too lazy to get this card out of it's binder prior to posting, so I swiped this less than desirable image from the TCDB]

I have a number of player collections, mostly on the basketball side, for guys that I grew up watching, which has satiated my collecting itch for the last few years -- but now that my old set collecting ways seem to have returned, player collections haven't been enough. Of course, for me that presents a bit of a conundrum, as there are no shortage of set designs from my youth that, honestly, I'd be quite content if I never saw again. And even the sets that I do still have some affinity for from that time period feel like old hat, undoubtedly because I've already collected them a few times over the years. And at this point, I'm not really interested in collecting them again. 

At some point last summer I was putting a few cards away, one of which was going into the Scottie Pippen binder, and it was while flipping through those pages that I came across this 1992 SLU card, that quite honestly, I'd pretty much forgot ever getting. Seeing it again at this stage of my collecting life seemed to trigger something though. Something of the nostalgic variety.

I never owned a lot of Starting Lineup figures as a kid, maybe a dozen or so at best. G.I. Joe's and Hasbro WWF figures were pretty much at the center of my toy universe during the early 90's, but I did briefly flirt with them back in '92 and '93, which I can remember only because all of my dozen or so figures, both baseball and basketball, came with a black and hot pink card. Those figures, and their accompanying cards, are long gone, but I never forgot that design; and how much I liked it.

It seemed too daunting at the time, but I even briefly thought about trying to collect just the '92 sets six or seven years ago when I found Scottie at a show. In retrospect, I definitely should've started collecting them at that time. Something something, living and learning, right?

Fast forward a few more years and I started getting a few cheap SLU cards from various years (most of which I was seeing for the first time) on COMC for player collections, which really started piquing my interest in them; namely that it might be fun to try and build a set or two. Not too long after that, Chris, started posting about the figures (and their cards) more often than he previously had, which exposed me to even more cards that I had never seen before. It was just too much to resist!

It took a while for me to realize it, but familiar names and faces, on unfamiliar card designs, is apparently the exact thing I had been looking for; i.e. something from my early years that I haven't already collected at least once before. Sold!

And since I can never do anything in moderation, I am now (as of a few months ago) officially collecting somewhere around 20 different SLU card sets (6-7 basketball, 6-7 baseball, 4-5 football).

I think that the bulk of my collection so far is currently sitting in my COMC account, which I'll be requesting the shipment of sometime in the next few weeks -- in the meantime though, I thought it might be fun to show off what I currently have in hand (or binder). All of you 'baseball or bust' types will be SOL though, as aside from the Bo up top, all of my baseball (and football) SLU's are in my COMC account (mass exodus beginning in 3, 2, 1... πŸ˜ƒ). 

Kareem here came from COMC a few years ago, and judging by how many copies are on the site now compared to then, it's the one card in this post that I overpaid for. That happens sometimes, it's not the end of the world. I can't even remember what prompted me do so at this point, but I bought a lot of 6 packaged figures on Sportlots 7-8 years ago. I know the price, with shipping, was less than $20 at the time, but other than that, all of the other details are a bit fuzzy. Anyway, Larry here was part of that lot. I sent the figure to Chris a few years ago, but obviously I kept the card.

I can't remember if these ever made it onto the blog or not, so if they have, apologies. Spud and Dee came from Sportlots a few years ago, and up until now were part of their respective player collections. I did have the Shaq figure to go along with his card, but that was another one from that Sportlots lot that I sent to Chris. Prior to this, the card had been residing on one of the back pages in Hakeem's binder.

I don't why the switch was made, but the lovely black and hot pink design of 1992 was the last time that the NBA would use unique designs for their SLU cards for a number of years; they wound up just using regular cards with the SLU logo on the front and a different number on the back. None of the other sports did that, much to their benefit. These two came from one of my old COMC folders of stuff that I still haven't gotten around to showing on here. At the time of their purchase, they were for their respective collections as well. I hadn't really planned on collecting any of post-1992 basketball sets, but there were a bunch of 50-75¢ cards from the '93-96 sets during this past Black Friday sale, and well, I just couldn't pass them up for that price. So, I guess I am now collecting those as well.

A few more from that old COMC folder (which by the way is also where that wonderful Bo at the top of the post had been sitting, in digital form, for the last few years). I really hate to take Cliff out of his collection, as it took me a long time to find an affordable copy of this card. Hopefully it won't take me as long to find another one.

Onto some more recent non-COMC gets...

I got this card on eBay a couple of months ago for $1.25, which I thought was a pretty good deal (all of the white crap on it is from my scanner tray). One curious thing though, looking at the TCDB checklist for this set, I don't see this particular card on there. The Admiral does have a card in there, but it ain't this one. I've had so little time for computering as of late that I still don't know what the deal is, but I'll figure it out at some point.

I made a small purchase from Hoody's Collectibles on the Beckett Marketplace back in November. I want to say that there were around 15 cards in that order, 8 of which were SLU's. 

The 1988 set is not one for the budget-minded collector, meaning that I have zero chance of ever completing it. I might've had a chance if I had started it fifteen years ago, but not now. Even with that in mind, I'm still gonna try and get them where I can. I'll probably have to go the off-grade route if I ever want to try and get some of the rarer ones, but if that's what it takes, that's what it'll take.

Nothing will ever top the lovely black and hot pink design of 1992, but I find myself really liking the 1990 design as well. Every sport looks good on it. Having zero recollection of them prior to one of Chris' posts, I'm not sure if I ever even knew that the 1990 figures came with two cards. One regular, and one for the player's rookie year.

The scanner crud returns!
It was kind of nice to be able to get both cards for Joe Dumars and Chris Mullin. In the future though, I should probably scan these with rookie year card on the left. It looks a bit off this way.

These three guys were pretty good at the basketball. I just won the yellow rookie year card for David Robinson the other night on eBay, so I now have three completed players from this set.

Well, that's it for now. As mentioned, I've got a bunch sitting in my COMC account, two on their way from eBay, and I think one or two sitting in my Sportlots box (including one of a guy whose name rhymes with Cycle GordonπŸ˜„). I think I have enough sets to chase now, and barring any major windfalls, I'm pretty sure that I won't be taking on anymore sets after this.

On an unrelated note: I don't know if everyone saw it or not, but after like a four or five year hiatus, Raz, has started posting again. If you weren't aware and have a few moments to do so (and of course are inclined to want to do so), it might be nice to go welcome him back. He mentioned that he might be giving it another go, and comments usually help determine whether someone is gonna stick around or not, so... you have the power!

And on a second, and final, unrelated note: Brian, also posted the other day for the first time in over a year. He wasn't very clear as to if he was planning on planning to return or not, but either way, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to give him the 'welcome back' treatment as well.