Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Holiday Haul

When I was young, Christmas was prime season for adding baseball cards to my burgeoning collection. Mostly it was parent-financed trips to Toys-R-Us where I filled up on packs of 1991 Score, then to the card shop around the corner, where I'd go a bit wild on a complete set or two from the bargain table. 1989 Topps, 1991 Donruss, that sort of thing. One year I got a (very heavy) 250-count box of Ultra Pro 9-pocket pages, and though they're not as crystal clear as they once were, many of my 1993-1994 cards are housed in those pages to this day.

Maybe that's why I'm still so into the hobby, and why I still gravitate toward the same sets that I collected then. Topps Black Gold and Collector's Choice Silver Signatures and such.

Of course, as an adult, I'm fortunate enough to be able splurge when the opportunities arise, like a trip to the antique mall (still more to come on that), or a nicely-priced Mickey Mantle card.

Still, my family members are awesome, and more than willing to indulge this hobby of mine. My girlfriend gave me a coffee table book of the 100 Greatest Moments in Baseball History, along with a framed print of US Patent #1668969. Great decor for the room were most of my cards reside.

And like she did on my birthday, my Mom took another glance at the old Eight Men Out list.

1994 Donruss #629 Jeffrey Hammonds
This was the only card missing from my box of 1994 Donruss, a slight incompletion in a hand-collated stack of Series 2 that came from the same trip as that Mantle card. Combine that with the Series 1 I already had, and you have a complete set of 1994 Donruss, the first set to introduce a brand new Rated Rookie logo after many years of sameness.

That's sort of the story in general with pre-1994 Donruss. Other than their debut 1981 set, everything else was pretty much the same for over a decade. They slowly adopted new trends in the card industry, finally changing the card back in 1992 by adding photos, and then nixing the middle name in 1993. But when 1994 rolled around, it was entirely new, completely on board with gold foil, full bleed printing, and fairly limited stats on the back to accommodate all that photography.

It was so novel, and it remains my favorite Donruss set, even if I don't get to know Jeffrey Hammonds' middle name. He finished midpack in Rookie of the Year voting in 1994, and even spent a season as a Rockie.

Though I'm not much for "collecting goals" like I've seen across the cardsphere this week, the satisfaction of completing a set never seems to get old, especially when a generous family member helps you along your way. Thanks, Mom, and Happy New Year!

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