Friday, January 30, 2009

This Frog Got Boiled

Do you know the story about a frog in boiling water? It's said that because a frog is cold-blooded, if it is placed in a pot of cold water and then the water is gradually heated, the frog will boil to death without even moving. It never notices the change in the water temperature

Well, this team-
collecting frog has been boiled in an individual player-collecting pot. Let me explain:

I have always been a set builder, both Cubs team sets and Topps complete sets. This is due to the fact that when I started collecting, Topps was the only game in town. There weren't really any individual player collectors because each season it was one or two cards at most for a star.

When I got back into the hobby, I was surprised (shocked) at how many cards were available for players, especially the stars. I looked at the possibility of collecting a player or two, but decided it was going to be too much of an effort.

So I would stick to team sets. I decided to add to my collection of Topps, Donruss, and Fleer Cubs sets by putting together sets from Upper Deck, Score, and Pinnacle, companies that didn't exist when I took a break from collecting. Over the past two weeks I have been receiving most of these team sets and adding then to my Cubs team master spreadsheet. When all is said and done, I should have over 3,900 individual Cubs cards from these six brands.

I was playing around with the spreadsheet and I did a sort by player's name. I was floored when I tallied up the totals of some players:

I have 102 Sammy Sosa cards! I know it isn't anywhere close to the total that is available, but the fact that I have over 100 of any player just blew me away. In contrast, I have 25 Ernie Banks cards, and he was with the Cubs several years longer than Sammy.

Here are just some of the Sosa Cards

And here are ALL of the Ernie Banks cards

Other totals of recent Cubs stars:

Kerry Wood - 49
Mark Grace - 78

Ryne Sandberg - 95

Compare the above numbers to totals for some star players from my earlier collecting days, numbers that I was more used to:

Fergie Jenkins - 15
Billy Williams - 17
Ron Santo - 19

Apparently, without knowing it , I have become an individual player collector too.


  1. That's a great Banks collection! I've always been a fan of his cards for some reason. I'm trying to complete a collection of his base Topps cards and am only missing his rookie, 1963 and 1971 cards.

  2. This is precisely why I stay away from most stuff issued after 1989... and even '89 had too much to deal with in my opinion!

  3. Full disclosure: The 54 Banks card is from the Archives set. I just haven't been able to pull the trigger and pick up the genuine 54 card. It will probably be one of the last things I add to my collection unless I can luck into a good deal on ebay.

  4. I love seeing a player's entire career worth of cards, and that picture is akin to the Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Ryan, and Aaron reprint cards that Topps did in the late 90's.

    I wish they continued that program, honoring one player a year. The Banks cards look awesome.


    JayBee Anama