As I sit here writing this on January 1, my head still sore from all that stiff pink Topps gum I shoved in my mouth in the midst of last night’s revelry, I am overcome by the sincere desire to be a better baseball-card collector in the coming year.
So to that end, here are my collecting resolutions for 2016.
Acquire an autographed David Wright card
I have a small and somewhat random collection of autographed Mets cards, ranging from Bill Pulsipher to Tom Seaver with Keith Miller in the middle, but I don’t own a single signed card of the Captain. It’s time to right this wrong, and a bear market for his signature will make it a relatively painless transaction.
Complete my 1970 Topps set
OK, forgive me for getting all grad school up in here, but I began putting this set together more than 10 years ago due to the Proustian resonance of these cards, the first ones I ever purchased as a small child. Something about the austere gray borders, script player names, and blunt, blocky team appellations reaches deep into my core and strokes a nerve. I’ve been two cards short of completing the set for going on five years now, and I admit that I’ve taken odd comfort in the persistence of the unfinished quest. But mark my words, Pete Rose and Frank Robinson— I’m coming for you…
Complete my T206 Brooklyn set
Bill Bergen, batting variation– the mere existence of such a card is powerfully ironic, given that Bergen was one of the most horrendous hitters in the history of the game. Now granted, he played from 1901 through 1911, when the ball was made of a cured goose liver and bats weighed 37 pounds, but he still managed just a .170 average and two home runs over the course of 3,228 plate appearances. So this is hardly an in-demand card in the legendary T206 tobacco set. But for some reason, while I’ve picked up three of his fielding-variation cards (and for those of you inclined to go down such rabbit holes, I have a Piedmont, an Old Mill, and a Tolstoi), I haven’t managed to snag a single one of Bergen wielding his mortal enemy: a bat.
Experience the life-changing magic of tidying up
This is my baseball-card closet:
Now, on the surface of things, it doesn’t look too bad. But really each and every 800-count box in the pile is a hodgepodge of a mishmash of a potpourri of a salmagundi. I need to find some kind of organizing principle– be it team, manufacturer, year, player hair style– roll up my sleeves, and bring order to chaos.