A few weeks ago the Junior Junkie gave the cardosphere a new inspiration - to create our Best Binder Page.
I don't know how those of you with zillion card collections settled on a final nine, because these were some tough choices to make.
Some of you wrote about trying to decide upon whether to include your highest valued or rarest cards. I took a different route. I chose cards that best represent the things I love about our hobby - the chases, the triumphs and surprises, and most of all, the golden memories that my collection keeps forever fresh in binders and old shoeboxes.
Here is my favorite baseball card lineup. Leading off...
When I first started collecting in a serious way (somewhere around 1990), one of my first chases was autographs through the mail. I sent out a whole bunch of requests for autos and collected a very fair return on the investment.
I received autos from Hall of Famers, past and present players, Dodgers and not. I chose the above Gwynn auto because I had a surprise encounter with him at the All-Star Fanfest when the game was held in Anaheim back in 2010.
Gwynn had just completed a hitting clinic for kids and was hurrying out the back door of the convention center when we happened to cross paths. Always a class act, Mr. Gwynn took the time to give me a warm hello. With Gwynn now playing his games on the diamond in the sky, this card always reminds me of that brief, enjoyable meeting.
This card reminds me of ripping packs and hunting for stars and inserts. Back in '93 and '94, DonRuss was my favorite brand, and Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the top stars to pull from a pack.
This card came from a hot pack that contained the entire 6-card Bomb Squad insert set. These beautiful inserts featured back-to-back photos and bomb-stats of the top 12 home run hitters in the majors. What a lucky catch!
Sir Night Owl included this same card in his binder page, and as our mutual Dodger-collecting genes would have it, we happened to choose two of the same cards for our top nine. Yikes! We better not end up on the same deserted island!
I chose this one because I grew up in the days when Roy Campanella was still alive, and the Dodgers would bring him out onto the field to thunderous ovations on special baseball occasions. Campanella is a connection to the summers of my youth happily spent at Dodger Stadium.
This card also reminds me of the hunt for that one particular card, for the right price, in the best condition possible. I roamed the dealer tables at the Frank & Sons card show for at least a year before I found this one, the perfect Campy for my collection.
Batting clean up, is of course...
My collection and top nine cards cannot be complete without representation by the real Home Run King, Hammerin' Hank. I've got a small collection of Aarons, but this one is the oldest, and perhaps the best conditioned of the bunch.
This Podres card represents several facets of my collecting love. Podres is my connection to the Boys of Summer and my favorite World Series Hero. This card is limited and autographed, two more of my hobby loves.
Most of all, it represents the generosity of the cardosphere in general, and my trading partners in particular. This was sent to me as a surprise by my friend Matt, from Bob Walk the Plank, so it also reminds me of the very real friendships that arise from our love of cardboard.
This is the other card that Night Owl and I chose in common. I picked this because of course, Kid K, but this card also reminds me of the dear friend who gifted it to me.
David (not Laker Dave) works at Dodger Stadium, and over the years he has generously given me tickets to games, upgraded my seats to prime field level locations, given me behind the scenes, private tours - including the underground batting cage where Kirk Gibson hit off of a tee before his WS heroics - and then he handed me this card when he learned I collect. Just wow!
As my profile page here states, I love shiny and fancy modern cards as much as the next guy, but my real love is vintage cardboard. This little gem, a 1933 Goudey, is the oldest card in my collection, and represents the chase of the old gold.
Continuing the trend of southpaw pitchers that I've chosen is this representative of all of the fun that we generate in our card collecting community. We host contests, polls, challenges and group breaks. This Koufax auto is the best card that I ever received in a group break. Awesome!
Batting ninth, but by no means the weakest hitter...
This card represents the hunt at the LCS. Before the bad economy killed off most card shops, it was pretty easy to find them out here in LA, and I would stop in whenever I noticed one while driving around.
This particular time I dropped into a shop in West LA, and I noticed a binder sheet holding the Babe Ruth Special subset. I collect Ruth, as many of us do, and I couldn't believe I found the entire set in one sheet, with a remarkable $20 price tag to boot.
There was no way this entire set cost a measly $20, as these cards fetch a minimum of $20 a piece in half-way decent condition (if you're dealing with price guide folks) - and these cards were all at a minimum very-good and above condition. Here's the page...
That wraps up my Best Binder Page.