Saturday, 20 December 2008

Sorting, Sorting, Sorting

OK, I started the immense task of sorting. First of all, to explain. I used to collect baseball cards - not in any over the top way, (no pun intended) but through the years I have managed to hang onto about 15,000 cards. Nothing overly valuable, but heavy with sentimental value. There are mainly Topps sets from 1983-1994 which were complete at one point but now... I have no idea. There are also several thousand cards from 1975-1982 but not sure how complete they are. (well, I seem to remember almost finishing the 1982 set) Back in the day, my brother and I sorted out all of the cards not by year, not by number, but alphabetically! So now there are twenty or so boxes of cards each containing 700-800 cards with nothing in common except that they all start with the same letter of the alphabet. Made for a lot of work then, and impossible to appreciate now - unless you ever wanted to see how many Nolan Ryan cards I have. (38 if you are keeping score at home)
After my own sons got interested in cards (Pokemon and baseball) I felt the tug of nostalgia and went down to the basement and looked through them. What a mess! The last twenty years did nothing to keep the boxes organized. The next thing that happened was that I stumbled upon a couple of cool blogs.

88 Topps Cards

and the aptly named

The Baseball Card Blog

I dreamt of a Baseball Card Renaissance. Not the kind with hundreds of insert cards, or the kind with 20 different rookie cards from 20 different card companies for every player to ever swing a bat. Not the kind that focuses on the cost of the cards and creates kiddie collectors that know how much a card is worth but can't even pronounce the player's name. That is exactly why I put down the hobby in the first place (that and college). What I want to do is create my own historical record with baseball cards. So I decided I would sort all those cards out by year and team and place them in binders - 9 cards to a page. One binder for every year 1975-2008. Each binder will have the teams sorted by the order they finished that year - first the American League and followed by the National League. League Leaders in the front, All-Stars in the middle between the American and National League teams, signifying the division between the leagues and symbolically in the middle, just like the All-Star game itself. Finishing up will be the "future stars", checklists, and any other miscellaneous whatnot.

These cards will be fun to look at. I never understood why baseball card numbering was so random - there is no way to appreciate a complete set if you sort it numerically and I've already done the alphabetical mistake. This time I'm doing it just to enjoy the cards. I'm not going to get bogged down on the condition of the cards or their worth. Stars will be mixed in with the commons, just like on the real teams. It will be fascinating to see the old teams come alive on a page just like I remember them when I watched them on TV and heard them on the radio. Looking at a Hal McRae card will so much more interesting if it is on a page filled with all the his other Royal teammates.

Once I get them sorted out I will hopefully be in a position to finish some of the older sets. Perhaps someone will read this someday and we can work out some trades. I can hardly wait to get going!

Oh, and one last thing. My favorite team as when I was a kid was the Kansas City Royals. Yes, those Royals, the perennial cellar dwellers. But my team was the George Brett Royals that won every year and were actually cool. My appreciation of the Royals has dampened somewhat since Brett retired and they have entered perpetual rebuilding mode. Their arch nemesis was the Yankees, and my intense dislike for them hasn't abated one bit. My new team, the Cleveland Indians seems to have picked up the rivalry right where the Royals left off. The more things change... (the more they stay the same).

So, in sum:

Goal - organize complete Topps sets from 1975-2008 in binders sorted by team ordered by their season finish.
Timeframe: as soon as possible given the real world circumstances.
Favorite team(s):
1975-1994 - the Kansas City Royals
1995-present - the Cleveland Indians

(there's no fair weather fandom here - I just happened to move from Kansas to Cleveland in 1995)

I'll post progress and pictures as I get going. Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Love the alphabetical system.

    I organized cards by divisions and teams. Started with the NL West and the Reds, my favorite childhood team. Then NL East, AL East (Brewers first), AL West (my apologies to a Royals fan).

    In the 20-year period when I stopped collecting the divisions changed. I still sometimes find myself sorting new cards using the old alignments.

    Topps football sets, by the way, have starting doing numbering by position: QBs first, RBs, WRs, etc.