The updates have been lacking, but my two main excuses are 1) The holidays, and 2) I've been so busy sorting cards! I am quite sure this comes as a relief to everyone, but I have not given up on this project. I'll give a quick update and then reflect on what it means so far.
I gathered all my baseball cards (and 15,000 seems like it was a good guess) and sorted them back into years. Then, true to my word, I sorted the 1988 set into teams and put them all into one binder - I even found that I have the traded set and added those cards. I like the set, and being able to read so much about it at the absolutely wonderful 88 Topps Blog makes up for the fact that this just wasn't a set that I spent a lot of time with. I am being drawn back to my original card collecting heyday of 1976-1982. I just loved those cards when I was a kid - and some of the cards certainly look the worse for it. I found the 1978 George Brett card I used to carry around in my vinyl wallet like it was a photo of my then non-existent children. It is thoroughly wrinkled and frayed, but the profile of #5 with the bulge in his cheek (chewing gum, right?) and the All-Star badge in the lower right corner made this the most sought after card of my childhood. I actually remember being on the school bus and trading for this exact card, though I don't remember what I had to give up to obtain it. Since the kid on the other end of the transaction was so much older, I'm sure the term "highway robbery" was mumbled by those observing the bargaining.
After reminiscing about the long lost Brett card, I then went on and finished sorting the 1981,1982, 1983, and 1984 sets. This took some major efforts since a lot of the good cards were in another shoebox that I had forgotten about and had sat untouched inside another box containing newspapers and sports magazines that has followed me around for about 10 different moving days. However, no amount of searching so far can explain why every Jim Rice card from every set is missing. Obviously at some point I put them some place separate from all the other cards for some reason that I don't even vaguely remember. I've looked in so many places that I have become resigned that they are gone. The rest of the cards will still go into binders, but I'll leave a scrap of paper in place of the missing Jim Rices. I have deduced that it must have been a Red Sox phenomenom since Fred Lynn is also missing from two of the sets.
Inexplicably, a few cards are missing from all the sets - even the couple of sets I bought at a baseball card show my dad took me to in the 1980's. Some of them might not actually be lost, but might simply in the wrong pile due to missorting. But no amount of sorting mistakes can account for a depressing string of missing Jim Rices. However, I have decided to wait until I am done with all the sets before I call off the search and start looking to replace them.
Speaking of replacing, I went and looked on eBay for some 1970's cards. It turns out that instead of appreciating in value, the prices have simply gone off a cliff. I remember Wade Boggs' rookie card being sold for $60 or more back in the 1990's. Now I see it sold for $2.25 just this week. My cherished George Brett from 1978 is routinely being sold for 99 cents. This doesn't phase me at all, in fact, it is giving my project a big enthusiastic boost. I might actually be able to go buy all the cards I'm missing with the change I find under the seat of my car. And I certainly am not going to worry about dinging a few corners while I am in the process of putting the cards in the pockets of the pages. I've even started scouting out what it would take to complete sets from 1975-1977, years that I only have 100 or so cards from. This might actually be possible...