30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Tried So Hard

Why don't we have more Blog Bat Arounds?  It's a brilliant concept that gives all of us the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions on a single topic.  

Last week, Nachos Grande asked us...

What's the hardest set that you have ever collected or tried to collect?

Three baseball sets came to mind...

Set #1:  1981 Granny Goose A's

Depending on how you approach this set, it was either very easy or very difficult to build.  On one hand, if you don't consider short prints as part of sets... then I picked up the 14 card set above with one click of a button.

However, I wasn't satisfied with that.  I really, really, really wanted the hard to find Dave Revering short print too.  Call if California dreamin'...

Back in 1981, Revering was traded to the New York Yankees and rumor has it that most of his cards were destroyed.  But a few cards slipped through the cracks and were distributed to collectors which created a pretty rare collectible.

It took a few years and some patience, but I finally added one to my collection for $11.49 (free shipping) off a local guy who posted his copy on eBay and my 1981 Granny Goose set was officially complete.

Set #2: 1988 Kenner Starting Line Up

Back in the 90's, I was 100% into the Kenner Starting Lineup craze.  Remember the crazy people who stood in line waiting for stores to open, so they could get first crack at the new figures?  Well... that wasn't me.  But I would go to Toys R' Us and Kaybee Toys on a regular basis looking for stars I needed.

A few years ago, I came to the realization that the figures took up too much space, so I decided to focus on the cards that came inside of the package instead.  That's when I decided to build the inaugural baseball set, which consists of a whopping 124 cards.

There was a brief two to three month period where I searched eBay on a daily basis in an effort to complete this set.

It proved challenging for two main reasons.  It was hard finding certain guys who were distributed in their local regions only, which led to the second problem... cost.  Smart vendors research what they own, so they price these cards accordingly.

Unfortunately, I refused to pay $5 for a Buddy Bell or Kevin Seitzer card, so I waited and waited and waited.  Then I found a guy who listed reasonable priced lots on eBay with the cards I needed, which meant I only need one more card:

I have no idea the Nolan Ryan is so pricey, but it is.  I refused to pay sellers ridiculous prices, but when I was down to just this card... I bit the bullet and purchase two copies for $20.  It's a little more than I wanted to pay, but it was worth it to complete the set.

Set #3: 1998 Donruss Signatures Significant Signatures

The final set took me seventeen years to build, although to be honest... I didn't originally think I'd ever actually own the entire set.  It started out with me picking up singles I wanted.  But at some point, I realized I have more than half of the set, so why not collect them all?

The Duke Snider was the final piece of the puzzle.

Or was it?  Technically there are still two more cards I'm trying to track down:

#1:  Catfish Hunter (signed in blue ink)

#2:  Billy Williams (non-redeemed)

According to Beckett, Catfish signed some of his cards with blue Sharpie too.  I've seen plenty of black signatures over the years, but the blue signature has eluded me.

Billy's story is a little different.  Donruss chose his autographed card to be the Sandy Koufax redemption card.  Collectors who pulled a Billy Williams autograph could send it in for the Koufax autograph.  Solid trade, right?  When collectors received their Koufax, they also got their Billy Williams autograph too.  Donruss stamped the Williams with the word "redeemed" on the back to prevent collectors from sending it in again.  I'm looking for one of the Williams cards that was never redeemed.

Both of these cards are proof that you can't always get what you want.  I'm actually content with the cards I have now... but if either of these cards pop up with a reasonable price tag, I'll snag them.

Until then... why don't you join the fun and respond to Nacho Grande's question...

What's the hardest set that you have ever collected or tried to collect?

Happy Wednesday and sayonara!


  1. I was blown away by that signatures set when you posted it before, and I'm blown away again. What a checklist!

  2. That signatures set is awesome. Love the SL as well

  3. Do I see multiple Ryans and Koufax's? Man! I made an attempt at the 2005 Upper Deck Signature Decades. I have a good number but there are cards I've never even seen come up on ebay. And there are 1/1's. I have a nice Schmidt. It's a great looking set with a diverse checklist.

  4. Great post! Glad to see another blogger get in on the Bat Around. I was crazy about Starting Lineups as a kid and have a true appreciation for what you put together there.

  5. I feel so weak in the face of such awesome set building!

  6. Man those sets look awesome.

    Personally I've only assembled two sets in my life. One was the 2012 Sega Card Gen base set, another was the 2014 Topps Star Wars Rebels masterset. I've pretty much given up on the rest lol.

  7. The Starting Lineup set would be a fun build. Like you I was a big collector myself.

  8. Brian & Mark - Thanks! It was fun putting it together and it's one of my favorite sets.

    Hackenbush - I have two different Ryans. There's a regular and a refractor version. There are three Koufax cards. He has a Brooklyn card, an LA card, plus I found an unnumbered version as well. There's also supposedly an unsigned version floating around of Koufax too.

    Kin - I really wish there were more Bat Around posts and topics. Kinda like I wish there were more Kenner SLU's out there to chase down.

    B Man - Thanks Brady!

    Zippy - Wow... both of those sets are pretty impressive. Any time you chase down a master set, you can consider it an accomplishment.

    Matthew - It's a awesome set. If you're looking for a bigger challenge, try to complete the 1989 SLU set. That's a toughie.

    1. Well, who's to say we can't come up with bat around topics? Even if they are subjects that have been touched on in the past, there are always new bloggers. For example, "how did you get into card collecting?"

      I'm sure it's been done, but I've never seen them. I just think the whole thing is a great idea.

  9. I did buy a lot of GG Chips in summer of '81 trying to build that set...we knew Revering was rare because of the trade but am pretty sure I found one in a bag 'o chips. Everyone wants that Rickey H card now! Great Sungha Jung video; wasn't aware of him until Jason Mraz started featuring him during some of his concerts...amazing!

  10. I had so many of those SLU as a kid. There were some that I never chased after because I am certain they were only available to specific regions.

    I also remember having 3 Cal Ripkens because I was always breaking his arm to make diving plays. Oh to be 7 again.

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  12. I had thought about building that Significant Sigs set at one point, it's b-e-a-utiful! There is a photo variation on the Ozzie I have seen with him in a home jersey, not sure if you're chasing variants or not but theres one on the 'bay right now at a pretty good BIN price.

  13. mr. haverkamp - i don't think i ever got any gg cards from bags of chips, but i remember seeing them here and there in friends collections. i'm glad the rickey is finally getting recognition since it's a really cool "early career" oddball issue

    collecting cutch - that's awesome that you actually played with them. i opened mine up and displayed them on a shelf in my bedroom and tossed the cards aside. these days it's the other way around

    patrick - if it's the refractor version of ozzie, i have it. i'm not sure why it didn't upload the first time around, but my website has been updated:


  14. That Significant Signatures set is incredible! Congratulations on putting it together.

  15. Snorting Bull - thanks... it's definitely a cornerstone of my collection.