Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Placeholder Sets

Quick question here: how many of you wrestle with whether or not to build or pick up a set you're not in love with, just because it'll make a run of years complete? I've been easing off of some (not all, but some) of my completist tendencies even as my collecting interest seems to be shifting toward sets rather than players, but there's still a few sets that I go back and forth on whether or not I should bother with. 

The big ones on my mind right now are '79 Topps and '85 Donruss.

'79's a year that I've just never been able to get into for some reason. I think it's because I got the key card in the set (Ozzie) early, and because in my mind, the Burger King Yankees always made me feel like I was complete on Yankees (even with some of the differences/omissions in the BK set), which would've been my other main hook in the set. I've had other sets from this era grow on me after a while, so I think I'm holding out for that to happen as I come across cards from it, but it's always been kind of a "meh" set for me to date. I'm not in love with '77 and '75 either on the late '70s Topps front (yeah, I know, blasphemy; I think with '75, it's because all the cards I come across from it look ratty), but '74 and '76 grew on me over time and I've always loved '78.

As for '85 Donruss, it was the first year that they used that horrible card stock they burdened collectors with from '85-'91. '81-'84 (yep, even '81; I have fond memories of getting packs while on vacation in Cape Cod as a kid), I range from like to love on, and am collecting. I've got an '86 set too (first factory set I ever bought, though it's far from factory condition now), so '85 keeps nagging at me as a "bridge" set. Plus, you've got some decent rookies (Puckett, Eric Davis, Clemens even if he's destroyed most of the goodwill in the world toward him), decent early-career cards (Mattingly, a great Strawberry and guys like Boggs, Gwynn, etc.) and an Expo Pete Rose, so those are at least a little interesting. That card stock, though...ugh.

Neither of these sets is like one of the late '80s/early '90s sets that you can just pick up for a fiver and be done with if you hit a decent size card show or a card shop that's saddled with a bunch of 'em. They both take a little commitment and a little money to finish (even with the Ozzie rookie out of the way, on the '79 side). Conventional wisdom would suggest that, if I'm not 100% into getting them, I shouldn't, because there's so much other cool stuff out there, but they keep popping back in my mind like the snakes in the pet shop.

(I know I've used this before, but it's too awesome not to use again and again. I should make a custom card of it.)

Will this be me in the end?

Does anyone else out there have a set or three that they're in the same boat with or were in the same boat with?


  1. I have no dog in your set question, but I must comment because Pee Wee's Big Adventure rules and that shot is one of the main reasons why. I'm also partial to E.G. Daily pre-Rugrats.

  2. I have her friended on Facebook (personal account, not fan page, though I still haven't talked to her about anything yet), if that tells you anything.

  3. Also: it's funny that you commented just now, because I'm checklisting my Fleer goods tonight, and I just finished '83. At the top of the '84 pile, staring right at me? Rusty Kuntz, of course.

  4. Don't know what you were looking to spend on the '79 but today there's someone on Craigslist selling one for $75, which is a pretty good price. I know you don't go out to LI but maybe you could get him to ship it to you or something.

  5. I'm about halfway on '79 and I've got a few of the keys (Ozzie, Murray, etc.) so I'm good, but if anyone else wants a crack at it, have at! Thanks, Bo.


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