Monday, August 20, 2012

ULTIMATE WANT LIST

GOOD LUCK FINDING A DEAL ON A MICK.

Far from it for me to advise you what cards to collect. After all, it's a personal thing. What I like you might hate and vice versa.

But can we agree on what players should be represented in a well-rounded collection?

It's a broad question. About as broad as Cathy Moriarty in her Raging Bull prime. But it's a question nevertheless I'm going to try to answer with no consideration given to current-day players because their careers need to play out.

DO FANS OUTSIDE ST. LOUIS REALIZE HOW GOOD HE WAS?
  • HANK AARON: If the real all-time home run leader's not in a binder or sandwiched between two thick slabs of screw-down plastic, you have a sinkhole in your collection. Unlike other legendary players, Aaron's issues are affordable in lesser conditions and well worth it. 
  • ERNIE BANKS: Great ambassador of the game, Banks popularized his "Let's play two'' line, unable to hide his joy for playing. He was the eternal kid on the diamond. 
  • JOHNNY BENCH: The greatest catcher has a lot of issues so it's easy to add a few Benches to your stack. 

I'D SAY SNIDER CARDS ARE A BIT UNDERVALUED.

  • YOGI BERRA: Other than a couple manager cards, I don't have a Yogi player card. That has to change. He's known for some funny as hell quotes, but his stats are deadly serious.
  • ROBERTO CLEMENTE: His cards aren't cheap, but with careful shopping, you can nab one and cherish it a lifetime.
  • JOE DiMAGGIO: Likely a pipe dream to own a '40 Play Ball, but if I ever see one at a garage sale, I'm pouncing.
  • LOU GEHRIG: Sub '34 Goudey to the above

MY HANDS SHAKE WHEN I HOLD HIS CARDS.

  • KEN GRIFFEY JR.: The '89 Upper Deck card is one of the hobby's most significant. 
  • SANDY KOUFAX: Any book about baseball in the '60s has a chapter on the dominance of Koufax. I'd even offer that like Willie, Mickey and The Duke, your collection needs to include Sandy, Bobby (Gibson) and The Franchise (Tom Seaver).

UPPER DECK'S GAMBLE PAID OFF BIG.
  • ROGER MARIS: Even though he's not a Hall of Famer, you won't find Maris cards in the bargain bin. Still, his performance in '61 when he set the all-time single-season mark for home runs makes his cards historic.
  • STAN MUSIAL: One of the game's true nice guys and one helluva player, Stan the Man played with a quiet grace and determination. His cards can be had fairly cheap. 
  • SATCHEL PAIGE: This is another guy I will add one day. He was a terrific pitcher and showman. One of the rare players who was a star in the Negro Leagues and the majors.


ICONIC CARD OF THE IRON MAN.

  • CAL RIPKEN JR.: The '82 Topps Traded card is expensive but the gold standard of well-rounded collection. The Topps multi-player rookie card adds a nice 1-2 punch. Also, don't buy just the Traded card; get the entire set. There are some nice cards in there (Ozzie Smith and Reggie Jackson to name a couple).
  • JACKIE ROBINSON: Nothing more to say.
  • PETE ROSE: I could give you 4,256 reasons why, and because he played so long, he has almost that many cards to choose from. I love the crew-cuts on the '60s cards; yet, I have exactly zero Rose '60s cards.


CHEAP WAY TO ACQUIRE 3 TITANS.

  • BABE RUTH: We all can dream, right? I doubt I'll ever add a '33 Goudey, but I can guarantee you I'll always be on the lookout for one. To anybody who has the Ruth-Gehrig Murders' Row stalwarts in their collection, mi congratulo voi.
  • NOLAN RYAN: Plenty of issues to choose from, but the '70s cards would be nice additions to anyone's collection. Still need the '70, '71 and '72 cards.
  • MIKE SCHMIDT: The best third baseman ever. (I hate to admit this being a Brooks Robinson fanboy, but facts are facts.) Schmidt did his damage playing in the player-grinding cauldron of Philadelphia. And he hit 548 home runs. Plenty of cards to choose from.

WHETHER BOB OR ROBERTO, CLEMENTE
RESONATES WITH COLLECTORS.


  • WARREN SPAHN: Horribly underrated, he is the all-time leader in victories for lefties (363). His cards can be had on the cheap.
  • TED WILLIAMS: Possibly the greatest hitter ever, The Splendid Splinter had a lot of cards, and his manager issues are downright cheap, so there's no excuse not to have him swinging away in your collection.
  • WILLIE, MICKEY AND THE DUKE: Not long ago, I purchased a 1960 Duke Snider. It was my first Snider and was happy to finally add a card of Flatbush's finest to my Mayses and Mantles. The three N.Y. center fielders ruled the game in the '50s and no talk about the trio can end without debating who was better.  
  • CARL YASTRZEMSKI: The last player to win the Triple Crown, he's had a lot of cards, but the '60s carry the most weight and something my collection lacks.

IT WAS ALWAYS A SUNNY DAY
WHEN BANKS TOOK THE FIELD.

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