Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Whales and Sales (Blog Bat-A-Round)

So, Tony from Wrigley Roster Jenga proposed a Bat-A-Round about "white whales" and most wanteds.

I can do that!

While I have a list of my Top 10 most wanted cards on the right side of Cardboard History, those are reasonable cards...or at least 9 of them are. The Jeff Gordon from 2003 Press Pass Signings not so much.

But those aren't the cards that I would say are the "white whales". The cards that I don't think I'll ever be able to add to my collection.

The first card that sprung to my mind is the 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan. It's NOT his rookie card, despite what Beckett will tell you. But it is expensive. I have had ample opportunity to buy this card, but I could never bring myself to spend that kind of money on one card. As a set collector, it's the one card that will keep me from completing the 1986-87 Fleer set, although the Akeem Olajuwon card is also more than I can currently do... I'm four away from the set. EDIT to add: I checked my records and I have the Akeem already. I forgot! I'm missing #4 Danny Ainge, #31 Julius Erving, #57 Jordan and #59 Albert King.  As a set collector, it's pretty frustrating and disheartening to know I'll never be able to complete the sets.
Here's a scan which was posted to the Trading Card Database:

1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Front

But even that is not the be-all-end-all. I have about 1000 different Jordan cards already. If I never get this one, then I never get it. Jordan's still well-represented in my collection.

Lately, I have shifted my focus more to my project of getting every person who ever got an NBA card into my collection. This is a bit more challenging, but it's been more rewarding already. There are some players who only got regional promos which by nature are hard to find. It lets me feel more like a true historian of the game, rather than just a simple collector.

There's one person who has been giving me trepidation, because he only got one card...literally, a 1/1. However...he's not a person actually involved with the NBA. He's a college coach, a fairly famous one, but still...he's not an NBA person. Jim Valvano. Yet, he was in an NBA set, so for now he's in the list of people missing from my collection.
Do I count him? He's in an NBA set, but he's not NBA. He's not the only non-NBA person to appear in an NBA set, but none of the others are hard to find...and most of them appear in my collection already anyway. (For example, Topps put Chrstie Brinkley and Jennifer Lopez into NBA sets in 2005-06. Jay-Z as well but as he once owned a portion of the Nets he counts as NBA to me)
I think, if push comes to shove and he's the last one left, that I would consider the project complete without that single 1/1. That calls into question, should I actually count the other non-NBA people that have been shoehorned into NBA sets? The first was in 1991 when Will Smith was given a card in a Stay in School subset. Right now, to me if they appear in an NBA set they count, even if they have absolutely nothing to do with the NBA. But I've been debating how I want to tackle that topic and it's led me to another line of thinking that I plan to put up a post talking about later in October.

I cannot show a scan of the card because I have never seen it. What I do know is that it's a cut signature.

That's not even mentioning the players who only got cards in the 1948-49 Bowman set, which are out of my price range. I may be a set collector at heart, but I know completing that set is something I can't even dream about.

Interestingly, I am coming up short on a White Whale for NASCAR. I finally got a Jeff Gordon autograph which is my first thought. I was lucky enough to pull Dale Jr.'s from a pack. With NASCAR only getting cards beginning in 1988 there's not a whole lot of vintage to chase, aside from the 1971 STP set. If Press Pass ever did a cut autograph of Wendell Scott, that would be it for sure, but I'm not sure if they ever did. I know they did for Tim Richmond, Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki, which would be pretty high up on my list too, all of them.

For non-sports I'm not sure what it would be. The first set from 1879 perhaps, but since I can't even remember the topic I'm not sure if it would really matter all that much to me other than being the first non-sport card ever. For a long time getting even a single Tobacco card seemed like an unobtainable goal, and now, with the right resources and some dumb luck, I have more than 100. Getting into the 1800s was another goal and I accomplished that this year as I don't know what I would say is it for Non-sports right now.
For hockey, I'm still too new to really be chasing any specific cards yet, but everybody knows the 1979-80 Topps and O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky cards, both of which are well out of my price range.

And yes, the title is a reference to 1955's Rails & Sails, one of my favorite non-sports sets.


  1. Hey, thanks for taking part! That MJ card is definitely priced out of my collection, as is anything signed by the Rainbow Warrior - they make excellent white whales! As for your NBA quandary, I would handle it the same way I do my all time Cubs collection - they had to be official. Only players who played in an MLB game count towards that collection, even if they had a Cubs card otherwise. I feel like it doesn't count otherwise. But, that's just my way of seeing things.

    1. it was fun to write about. I got Jeff's auto for only $13 so never say never!

      I am thinking that I'm going to leave it on my list, but not really worry about the people who have no NBA connection but got NBA cards if I get them, great, if not, I'm not going to consider the project incomplete without them.