Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Grand Illusion

"Welcome to the Grand Illusion, come on in and see what's happening. Pay the price, get your tickets for the show...But don't be fooled by the radio, the tv or the magazines, they show you photographs of how your life should be. But they're just someone else's fantasy...just remember that it's a grand illusion and deep inside we're all the same."~ Styx's The Grand Illusion

One of the frustrating parts of being a player collector of an athlete whose final game was over twenty years ago is how to approach post-career cards. In my case, that would be with cards of Dale Murphy.

My collection still has some holes in it of items from Dale's playing days: some are tough finds, others I have in my Braves team set binders (and want to get second copies for the Murphy binder) and I'm undecided on what to do with sets such as O-Pee-Chee and the Tiffany sets.

As it is with many of Dale's contemporaries, the number of cards produced of #3 after his retirement exceed the number from his playing days. Many of those cards are from sets I do not care for. Sets like Tribute, for example, I find totally unnecessary. Countless parallels- yawn. So what's a completest to do?

When it comes down to it, I'm fine with not having every card of Dale Murphy out there. The notion of being a 'Super Collector' is hogwash. Am I any less a fan because I don't have every card of his? If I collected everything available would my life be somehow more complete? No, it wouldn't. Don't buy it into the lies, my fellow collectors.

I'm sure I sound like that vinyl record you have that skips every time you put it on the turntable, but I refuse to join the crowd who want nothing to do with unlicensed cards. Just because something is unlicensed doesn't mean it's an inferior product. 

One of my most recent Murphy purchases:


I love the look of 2012 National Treasures; such a classy look. Yeah, it's your typical white jersey swatch, but the relic cards I do pick up are more about the photo and design, not the swatch itself.

Sure, the Fleer Mini pictured below has the team logo in the bottom right corner- but for me the photo is always the focal point on a card, with the design a close second. Especially when talking about a player collection. I do not see an 'A' on the helmet or much of anything, other than a very small bit of the script, on the jersey.

The next Panini card isn't a recent addition- but it has been sitting in my photo folder for some time, so I figured it was time to break it out.

Who is this Dale Murphy guy- and what team does he play for? Sorry, I can't tell you; the front of this Topps card doesn't indicate his employer.

I have featured the City Hall card from Home Town Heroes in a previous post and don't understand why collectors complain about it....

when they don't have a problem buying these. We have an appetite for them, you might say. 

This Playoff Prime Cuts card is actually on my wantlist. I can understand why someone might be turned off by a sticker auto.

After all, we all know on-card autos are much more appealing. Well, the signature on this Scherzer card (found on eBay) does kind of suck- but at least it has, er...logos?


  1. This is why everyone should simply collect what they want to collect and not feel like they have to compete with some theory of the "super" collector out there who has every parallel ever blah blah blah.

    I personally don't find the Panini cards attractive and I don't seek them out actively (read as: I'm not buying them myself, generally speaking), but I certainly count them in my player and team collections. I couldn't care less about most sticker-graphs and relics, but, again, I'll take them when they come my way because usually that means someone has cared enough about me to think of me when they find one of those.

    All that does not and should not be read to say my likes and dislikes are any more important than anyone else's. The "Sick HITZZZ" crowd loves the high-end stuff, and if that high-end stuff is making Topps money and keeping them in business to issue their loss-leader base cards, then I'm all for it.

    Good post, my friend -- you got me thinking and arguing.

  2. Excellent post! In the 90s, I was a type of super collector. The increase in parallels frustrated me and quickened my collecting burnout. I returned to the hobby this past year, surprised by the Topps monopoly. I wasn't a Topps fan previously and had no desire to buy an unlicensed product. I got over that rather quickly. Cereal cards and other oddballs have long been my favorites, so why not? I've discovered Panini's produced some very original cardboard. Cooperstown Collection and Hometown Heroes are two of my favorite releases. Our hobby has room enough for all collecting types and not one is above the other, be they a team set collector or the high dollar relic and auto collector. I hope to see Panini licensed, and for Upper Deck make a real return to the hobby.