Thursday, August 20, 2020

A National Baseball Card Set

Allow me to tell you a tale that illustrates a set-building endeavor. It features adventure, excitement, romance (well, maybe not romance), and frustration. And a cliffhanger--will it ever be completed?

Since my last post six weeks ago, I've probably spent a total of 1 hour with my cards. Our move and renovation proved to be bigger beasts than I anticipated. As of this writing, we have only been living in the new house for about 10 days. We have several big projects that are still awaiting completion and numerous small ones about the house and everything just feels incomplete. My collection is still sitting in the garage, untouched since the boxes were set there a month ago.

 In the midst of all this, I did manage to participate in National Baseball Card Day. More than once, actually. On August 8, I went to my new LCS. I mean "new" in a couple of ways. First, it's now the closest card shop to me, whereas it wasn't before. Second, it has only been open about a year. This card shop, called Venue Sports Cards, is unlike any other card shop I've seen. Phil, the owner, doesn't have a large inventory. There aren't many singles sitting beneath the glass, and there are no monster boxes of cards stowed behind the counter. Neither are there boxes and boxes of unopened material. There are boxes and packs beneath the glass, but it's not a huge selection. It's clean, orderly, and somewhat empty, truthfully. I think business is coming from some grab bags, team packs, and various signed memorabilia for sale. 

When I walked into the shop just before closing time on National Baseball Card Day, Phil was all too happy to give out some packs. I think it helped that I was to be the last customer of the day, because when I bought a box of 2020 Big League (still unopened), he gave me three packs of NBCD cards and three copies of the Pete Alonso Bonus card. I made sure that each pack had somebody different showing on top.

But I didn't get a chance to open those packs for a week. The following Saturday, I stopped in again for another round. This time, he gave me four packs and both the Mike Trout and the Yordan Alvarez bonuses. With seven packs now in my possession, I decided to open them. I discovered something that someone else already put on his blog: there was a predictable order to the packs. My packs all had the highest-numbered card showing on the outside, and the other four cards counted down in order from there. The one exception was John Means at #4 counted down to #1, then a randomly numbered card rounded out the pack. I'm not sure which one it was.


All of this together left me with 26 of 30 base cards and 3 of 3 bonus cards. The set was within reach! With the pattern in mind, I made one more trip yesterday to Venue Sports Cards. I told Phil how close I was to the set and he let me choose another pack. Three of the cards I'm missing are 7, 8, and 9. I found a pack with Miguel Cabrera on the front, #11. I figured the pattern was 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, and BINGO! I would have three of my four missing cards.

Instead, the four cards underneath were 27, 28, 29, 30, then random #11 Miggy on top. So I'm still the same four cards short. Here's the tough pill to swallow: one of the cards I'm missing is Luis Robert. Of course, it has to be the most expensive card in the set that I failed to pull from packs. To thank him for his generosity, I paid more than I should have for one single from the shop. This shiny Aaron Judge, which will be the first serial-numbered Judge in my ROY collection.


 But I'm definitely going to try to finish it off. I've never picked up more than a handful of NBCD cards in a year, so this is a fun chase for me. If you have any extras you'd like to trade here are the four I need:

  • #7-Luis Robert
  • #8-Joey Votto
  • #9-Francisco Lindor
  • #16-Jorge Alfaro

And I have these dupes in exchange:

  • #11-Miguel Cabrera
  • #27-Blake Snell
  • #28-Corey Kluber
  • #29-Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.
  • #30-Juan Soto 
 It's good to be back, even if I'm not doing much with my collection while I get caught up on the house and wrap up the first week of school. When I can get back to it, I have a box of 1991 Fleer, a box of Honus Bonus, and a hobby box of 2020 Diamond Kings to crack open. I was able to pick them all up for pretty good deals. And the Big League from Venue, too. Just a little more time, I hope.


  1. Glad to see you back, have a ton of fun with that Diamond Kings box!

  2. Nice to hear that all the moving and renovation is moving in the right direction (although it is time-consuming). I'd love to help you with those four NBCD cards but I haven't obtained any yet (still quarantining here). Good to see you back.

  3. Can't wait to see your box of 1991 Fleer. I had a lot of fun opening two boxes Johnny sent me a few years ago. Collation was terrible, but I really learned to appreciate the yellow bordered set.

    1. By the way... when you're ready for that PWE... email me your new addy and I'll sent a few housewarming cards.

  4. Welcome back! Hopefully you're getting settled into the new house!

  5. I'm a little bit jealous. I only got a pack each day. They were free, though, so I won't complain too much.

  6. Hey Trevor. Could you send me your address for my giveaway last week? Thanks!

  7. Good looking cards. Good luck tracking down those last cards! Good luck with all the projects.