TonyGwynn AutoThis post is just going to be about the joy or collecting.  It’s about the fun of the hobby and why I got into it. It can be easy to get wrapped up in drama and the negative sides of the hobby like grading scandals, bad behavior of autograph seekers, and so on and so forth. It’s importat to remember why we love this hobby and why we  got into it in the first place. I want to hear those those stories from collectors. Why did you start? What is the best part of this hobby for you? What do you like to collect the most? Who are your favorite players?

Walter Ioos Jr

I’ll start. I got into collecting as a kid in the early 90s, very late 80s. For a lot of people the late 80s sets are their set – 87 Topps, 89 Topps, etc. For me it is probably 1993 Upper Deck baseball. I was really into collecting then and the photography just spoke to me. It nearly inspired me to try for a sports photographer career. Specifically this was because of Walter Ioos, Jr. photos and the subset in 93 UD. I actually managed to get his auto through the mail a couple years back. The 93 set is my favorite. I’m working towards completing the set and an refocusing on getting more of those cards signed. I’m trying to get as many signed as possible but it will be tough with the big names in there especially Griffey.


Alex Rodriguez signed this in person at Spring Training. Took a full minute or more to sign it. I’m never parting with it.

Autographs are my other favorite thing to collect. It’s befause I went to Spring Training for several years in the early 1990s and had such a blast there. I met players like Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Paniagua, Lou Pinnella, Tim Davis, Joey Cora, and got one of my favorite autos in Dave Neahaus. I was one who’d get up at 4:00 while in Peoria to get to the parking lot and hope for an auto. I’d be there at games with cards and a ball. It was and still is my passion. It’s connexting with the players and that experience that drives me. Baseball has always been my haven and safe place from negative, oppressive thoughts and cards and autos always calm me down and bring me back. So that’s why I do this. Autos and cards are reminders and triggers against that. I think that’s probably true for a lot of us in different ways.

In the past year I’ve been focusing more on getting into vintage cards as they represent the history of the game and I’ve met people online who have been amazing helping me get into it. I’ve started looking to buy collections from others and going through them as oppose to buying a lot of new stuff. So if you’re reading this and have a collection to sell or trade I’m interested. I’m looking for any vintage from Hank Aaron’s to commons from 1976 Topps. I’m also looking for 90s inserts like Artist Proofs, First Day Issue, and others. I’ll take anything Griffey. But I just love going through collections and and sorting through storage boxes.  I’d much rather spend $5 on a box of junk wax that may have something in it than $5 on beer or towards a bad movie ticket. It’s calming and fun and who knows what’s in there. At the very least there are often cards of guys who sign through the mail.

Thsts my other focus these days. Through the mail or TTM is easy to do and helps me be a kid again. If you want to get started I recommend visiting SportsCardForum or SportsCollectors.net (also known as SCN). SCN is $15 a year and well worth it. Be sure to include a self addressed stamped envelope and write a nice hand written letter. One more piece of advice, never send anything you wouldn’t want to lose! Anything can happen to mail and does.

That’s really my focus for collecting. First and foremost I love collecting autographs. Not necessarily the big names but I’ll also look for just nice looking signatures on well designed cards with great photos (like Topps Stadium Club). Next I’m into looking for more vintage and buying collections that have cards from the 70s to 200s.  Then I’m looking for Twins and Mariners, in particular the 95 team.

So that’s my story (parts of it). What’s yours? What do you love about the hobby? Why did you get into it? We all like hearing these stories and sharing them can only help us remember the joy in this hobby and the great people in it. Please comment on this blog post or respond to the pinned tweet with your story. After the Fourth of July holiday I’ll come up with some giveaway for a random response. It’ll be something fun and nostalgic and if possible related to your response. when responding use the hashtag #hobbylove.

Have fun and happy collecting!


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