Friday, March 31, 2023

2023 Card Madness 2023: The Final Four

Ever since I was a kid, March Madness always culminated in the Final Four for me. I always paid more attention to who made it to the Final Four than who actually won the championship. We now have our Final Four in both NCAA basketball and Bump and Run's Card Madness. Tomorrow, we'll see who wins the basketball semi-finals. Today, we'll check out the card competition. Today, we have two matchups. Two winners who will face off in the championship round.

Round 4 Semi-Finals: Minnesota Twins vs. San Diego Padres

2017 Topps #227 Byron Buxton vs. 2017 Topps Update #US267 Jhoulys Chacin

If I have a complaint about this tournament, it's that 2017 Topps has been waaay over-selected by the randomizer. Here we have to see it twice. The thing that stands out to me in both of these cards is the way the ball is hanging in the photo. That alone might have been able to push Chacin to victory--he has a perfectly-framed shot with the pitch on its way. But when Buxton has the same thing as he is about to make the catch, I defer to player quality. Buxton wins in that category.

Winner: Twins

Round 4 Semi-Finals: Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals

1987 Donruss #594 Drew Hall vs. 1990 Topps #341 Tim Foley

Well, neither of these two matchups are too exciting, are they? This second one features two Junk Wax Era cards of definite non-stars. Comparing players, Foley has the advantage, as his 5.4 career WAR towers over Hall's negative number. Both photos are a little fuzzy, which isn't uncommon for their day, but Foley's action shot is better than a somewhat doofy head shot of Drew Hall. I don't mind 1987 Donruss and the little baseballs in the border are a nice touch. But I like the comic book colors on 1990 Topps more. Plus, I'm still on a little '90 Topps high from my frenetic set build from scratch last summer. It looks like my Cubbies' run has come to an end.

Winner: Nationals

And with that, our championship round is set. Minnesota vs. Washington. We'll return on Monday to crown our Card Madness champs.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Card Madness 2023: Regional Finals (The Elite 8)

Let's catch up to real tourney time. This weekend revealed the prestigious Final Four college basketball teams for this season. Let's see which MLB teams will be the Final Four of my card collection. A new round means new cards for these eight competitors as they battle it out. Here is an overview of today's matchups.

Round 3: Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners

1997 Topps #428 Matt Lawton vs. 2021 Topps Opening Day #83 Justus Sheffield

Both of these cards leave me with questions about what is going on. Matt Lawton's card seems pretty straightforward at first. But then I wonder about the empty seats. What was this game? Was there really nobody attending it? Justus Sheffield also has an intriguing photo. Where is his glove? What kind of warm-up drill is this? Are those umpires standing in the baseline? Actually it looks like maybe an umpire and a player. Is this pre-game or between innings? I may not fully understand either card, but I can say I prefer the catch in foul territory over the warm-up in these two cards.

Winner: Twins

Round 3: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres

1994 Collector's Choice #209 Raul Mondesi vs. 1987 Leaf  #114 Steve Garvey

Great matchup! Both Raul Mondesi and Steve Garvey are PCs in my Rookie of the Year and All-Star Game MVP collections, respectively. Mondesi has a couple of things really working in his favor: a nice dugout pose is always good. I've always like this Choice set and its little position guy in the corner. Garvey is a nice card, too. He looks so happy just to be playing. It looks like he might be taking BP--there are people just sitting on chairs in the background and I think I see a net behind him. The novelty of Leaf over Donruss is a plus. This is a really hard decision. When I sit back and take the whole card in as a whole, it feels like all the colors and photos and design of  the Garvey just come together better.

Winner: Padres

Round 3: Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Guardians

1993 Upper Deck #38 Ryne Sandberg vs. 1992 Bowman #676 Manny Ramirez

Here's another competitive clash. We have two outstanding players facing off, one in the Hall of Fame and one who could be if not for his behavior. At first glance, the Ryno is kind of a boring card. But the details start to make it: batting cage shot, cool (if not-so-interestingly designed) subset, and a write-up of his charity work on the back (which includes buying tickets to every home game and giving them to less-privileged people). Manny, on the other hand, gets your attention right away. The gold foil border on these 90s Bowman cards are eye-catching. It's a prospect card of someone who ended up having a great career, a true rookie card even. But why did Bowman choose to dress up high school baseball prospects like fashion models in a catalog and use those pictures on their cards? To me, that detracts big time from the otherwise high potential of this card. And given the choice between Sandberg and Ramirez, I choose Sandberg any day.

Winner: Cubs

Round 3: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Washington Nationals

1991 Conlon Collection #244 Johnny Gooch vs. 1994 Finest #342 Sean Berry

These two cards are vastly different. Black and white versus chromed. Coach versus player. 1930s versus 1990s. The only thing they really have in common is the fact that they were produced within three years of each other. A quick glance at stats indicates they had similar success in their playing careers: 4.1 WAR to 4.4 WAR. Ultimately, this comes down to the card itself. As much as I like Conlon cards, it's harder for me to get excited over an old-timer that I had never heard of. It's hard to beat the green Finest. Gooch just doesn't have enough to do it this time.

Winner: Nationals

So there we have it. Twins, Padres, Cubs, Nationals. Our Final Four. I've now done this twice each for football and baseball. This is the first time either the Cubs or the Packers have advanced this far, so I'm excited. Will my team finally be champion of my card collection? Just two more rounds to go until we find out.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Card Madness 2023: Round 2.2 (The Last Sweet 16 Matchups)

With the elimination of four more teams yesterday, we are down to 12. Today will finish off the Sweet 16 round and leave us with an Elite 8. As a reminder, the cards you see today are different from the cards representing the team in the first round. But they are all cards I own. Here is a look at the updated bracket before we move on to the competition:

Round 2: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs

1992 Fleer # 538 Jim Lindeman vs. 2017 Panini Diamond Kings #55 Kris Bryant

Two sets I like here, even though they are extremely different. The picture is essentially the same on both: right-handed batter standing in the batter's box. This comes down to the player, and there's no contest here. Former ROY, NL MVP, fielder of the final out of the curse-breaking World Series--Kris Bryant has the resume to win this one.

Winner: Cubs

Round 2: Cleveland Guardians vs. New York Mets

1979 Topps #705 Indians Prospects vs. 2002 Topps Pristine #56 Roberto Alomar

This is a tough matchup. When cards are this different, it makes judging between the two of them difficult. Both of these cards are in my collection for my special focuses (Alfredo Griffin was a Rookie of the Year; Roberto Alomar was an All-Star Game MVP.) I think Pristine is beautiful and I treasure the one that I have because only have a few. However, Alomar has been banned from Major League Baseball for some pretty heinous off-field behavior and that taints this card. The Guardians (or Indians, in this case) are represented by a multi-player prospect card. Besides the aforementioned Griffin, Tim Norrid and Dave Oliver also make their card debuts here. After winning Rookie of the Year, Griffin went on to a long, productive career. The other two combined for seven Major League games. All of those are Oliver's; Norrid never made it to the Show. But that's a beautiful, black and white, multi-prospect card. I think I'll go with it.

Winner: Guardians

Round 2: Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

2017 Topps Update #US71 Junichi Tazawa vs. 1981 Topps #430 Jim Bibby

This one is a blowout. I don't like 2017 Topps. The picture is dark, with a dark jersey fading into a dark background. Tazawa had a decently-long career, but he wasn't as successful as Bibby. The other card, however, has a nice "All-Star" banner on it. The little hat on 1981 Topps is classic. And I never noticed this until now, but the shape of the cartoon hat is even a pillbox to match the Pirates hat! It's a card I really like against one that I find thoroughly mediocre.

Winner: Pirates

Round 2: Boston Red Sox vs. Washington Nationals

1988 Donruss #41 Jody Reed vs. 2017 Topps  #34 Bryce Harper

Sheesh. Right after I blast a card for belonging to the 2017 Topps Flagship set, another one comes up. But you know what I probably dislike more than 2017 Flagship? 1988 Donruss. This set doesn't appeal to me at all. At least the photo is crisper and cleaner on Bryce Harper's card. And Harper is the better player. In this case, 2017 Topps is good enough to advance.

Winner: Nationals

So that does it for the Sweet 16 round. Looking forward, the NCAA tournament will decide the Final Four this weekend. We'll pick up our own tournament on Monday to catch up. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Would you have advanced teams differently today?

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Card Madness 2023: Round 2 (The Sweet 16 Has Begun!)

We're now in the regional semi-finals. Over the next two days, we'll see eight matchups. Eight winners moving on. In this round, new cards will be randomly chosen to represent each team. In case you've forgotten who our Sweet 16 are and how they got here, I have the Card Madness bracket for you:

Round 2: Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins

2015 Topps #621 Luis Valbuena vs. 1992 Donruss #25 Jack Morris

This is a low-key good matchup. After moving through the first round with a bye, defending World Series champion Astros appear for the first time. Despite being represented by a journeyman infielder, I think the card is a strong shower. First, colorful 2015 Topps is a great look. The photo is a good one, with Valbuena springing up to make likely a long throw to first. The shot, the colors, the design--it all blends well into one good card. On the other side, Hall of Famer (and former BYU Cougar) Jack Morris is on the mound for the Twins. I think I'm in the minority, but I like 1992 Donruss and always have. The photo is weaker than Valbuena's. But dig those stirrups! In a controversial call, I think the aesthetic appeal of these two sets is pretty much a wash. So on the strength of the featured player, Minnesota steals the win here.
Winner: Twins

Round 2: Seattle Mariners vs. St. Louis Cardinals

1982 Donruss #307 Lenny Randle vs. 1991 Fleer #648 Bob Tewksbury


After rolling easily through Round 1--thanks to a strong Randy Johnson card--the Mariners get another nice card to represent them this time. I like the digital "82" in this Donruss set. I like the name on the bat. I love the shot of Lenny Randle making the turn in a double play. The opponent brings a yellow Fleer border. I'm on record saying that I like this set. Bob Tewksbury probably had a better career statistically, but he may not be as well-remembered as Randle and his blowing the ball foul over the third base line. There is no competition in the quality of the photos, though.

Winner: Mariners

Round 2: Los Angeles Angels vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

2014 Donruss #301 Mike Trout vs. 1991 Score #343 Jose Offerman

It's a freeway series matchup in SoCal! The Angels are bringing their best with Mike Trout. He is one of, if not the, best players I've seen play in my lifetime for sure. The problem here is that he shows up on a very weak Donruss card. Panini has done no favors to the Donruss brand, and 2014 is one of the most boring of their boring looks. The Dodgers are represented by rookie phenom Jose Offerman. Well, maybe he didn't play like a phenom, but the hype was there. Back in 1991, I can imagine this was a card to seek after. It wasn't his true rookie card, but it does say "Rookie Prospect" on it. I like Score's 1991 offering, with the black and the white borders probably being my favorite options. Offerman's photo, with the look of concentration on fielding that bouncer beats Trout's. The overall better look of the card and the associated nostalgia are enough to beat out a very "blah" card of living legend Mike Trout.

Winner: Dodgers

Round 2: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres

2015 Topps Chrome #37 Chris Owings vs. 2013 Topps Opening Day #84 Yonder Alonso

Topps Flagships in 2015 and 2013 are two of my favorite of the decade. I think 2015 looks even better Chromified. The curved out diamond in the corner of 2013 is nice to me. The edge might go to the Chrome here. The photos are both typical baseball card action shots, I think I slightly prefer Alonso to Owings' black jersey being camouflaged against the dark outfield wall. So far, there's not much separating the two. This will come down to the player, and I Yonder Alonso will best Chris Owings here.

Winner: Padres

One more day will get us through the Sweet 16 and into the Elite 8.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Card Madness 2023: Round 1, Finalizing the Sweet 16

We'll reach our Sweet 16 a couple of days before the basketball tourney. But I'm not posting this weekend, so when Monday rolls around, both March and Card Madness will have 16 surviving participants. We have 12 already. 

Round 1: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Miami Marlins


2019 Topps Opening Day #129 Justin Smoak vs. 1994 Finest #164 Bryan Harvey

Both of these scans seem to have turned out dark to me. 2019 Flagship (and, consequently, Opening Day) and 1994 Finest are both fine-looking sets. The early Finest sets are kind of cool, even if this one isn't the absolute best. Player-wise, Harvey was better, I think. He once led the league in saves and won the Rolaids Relief award. Ultimately, if I had to choose one of these cards for my collection, I think I take Harvey.

Winner: Marlins

Round 1: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves


1993 Topps Colorado Rockies Inaugural Edition #108 vs. 2016 Bowman Platinum Platinum Presence #PP-26 Sean Newcomb

This one is interesting. At first glance, I might just take a shiny, clean insert and move on. But upon further examination, Jose Lind has a few things going for him. We have the second Rockies Inaugural edition of this tournament. That's a big plus. 1993 Topps is a nicely designed set. Ultimately, the photo is what gets me. A headfirst slide into second base is always a cool picture. But is the throw off? Lind is still standing tall, not really in position to make the tag. The runner, however, is still a couple of feet from the bag. And where is the ball? Is it in the air somewhere out of the frame? In the glove already? Does Lind have time to make this out? There is suspense in the photo that gives it the upset win over my initial reaction.
Winner: Pirates

Round 1: Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles


2019 Topps Heritage #310 World Series Celebration vs. 1997 New Pinnacle #84 Rafael Palmeiro

For the second time in this round, we have a card from my 1997 New Pinnacle set. It's a nice set--very glossy, some foil, full-bleed. And I like the last name only. But it's going up against a pretty unique card. A throwback Heritage. A team card. Black and white. And it's celebrating a World Series-clinching win. Maybe if Raffy had drawn any other World Series card in the set, he would have won. But the actual title clincher? That's a cool moment on cardboard.

Winner: Red Sox

Round 1:

Washington Nationals vs. New York Yankees


1984 Fleer #281 Tim Raines vs. 2012 Panini Cooperstown #96 Phil Rizzuto

Our last matchup of the first round is a good one. Two Hall of Fame players squaring off. For the Nationals (who came up as the Expos here), there is a somewhat run-of-the-mill, forgettable Fleer set. But Tim Raines is a great player. The batting practice shot with the cage in the background scores major points. For the Yankees, Phil Rizzuto is also a good representative. I like the 2012 Cooperstown set, with my favorite feature probably being the little banners at the top that indicate the year of induction. This is a really close matchup between two nice base cards. In the end, I'll take the BP.

Winner: Nationals

And there we have it, folks. One round is in the books. Sixteen Major League teams remain in the running to be the 2023 bracket champion of my collection. How would you have picked these? Is your team still alive? We'll pick up the Madness again next week.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Card Madness 2023: Round 1.3

The NCAA tournament tips off in earnest today. Play-in games are finished. The field is set. My bracket is for Kerry's March Radness contest is ready. And here at Bump at Run, we're still in the first round of the Card Madness competition. I'm not sure if I mentioned this the past two days, but all of the cards in this competition are from my collection; they aren't chosen from the 100,000+ cards that have been made for each team. After two regions have completed their first-round action, here is a look at our bracket:

Let's find four more teams to move on and compete in the Sweet 16.

Round 1: Los Angeles Angels vs. Tampa Bay Rays

2002 Stadium Club #95 Darin Erstad vs. 2001 SP Authentic #22 Dewon Brazelton

Two cards from my first two baseball seasons after high school. Dewon Brazelton shows up on a serial-numbered card (#d/1500), but that's all it has going for it. The card is ugly. What is that sunburst? The background is plain white. The name is too small. I've never heard of Brazelton outside of this card. (I looked him up. He posted a 6.38 ERA in 63 appearances across five seasons.) Darin Erstad, on the other hand, is on a nice Stadium Club card. It's good action shot of running catch in the outfield. Erstad was a good player who put together a long career. This choice is easy.

Winner: Angels

Round 1: Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

1996 Ultra Rawhide #7 Raul Mondesi vs. 2017 Topps Update #139 Luis Castillo

This is a good matchup. Both of these are quality players. They're both somewhat "special" cards, as Mondesi is an insert and Castillo is a rookie. Both of these are part of a complete set I've built. And I'm happy to have both in my collection. Essentially, my decision comes down to this: the Rawhide cards are really cool in-hand, with embossing and texture. And 2017 is one of my least favorite Flagship looks ever.

Winner: Dodgers

Round 1: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers

2022 Topps #275 Ketel Marte vs. 2020 Panini Diamond Kings #93 Tyrone Taylor

Typically, I like Panini's Diamond King release. I like the artistic flair and the feel of the card and the design is usually pretty good at covering up Panini's lack of a license. 2020 is probably my least favorite, though. The blue cloud is swallowing up a blue player on this Tyrone Taylor card. I like the emotion on the Ketel Marte card. Marte is also a better player. Overall, I'd rather have the Marte than the Taylor.
Winner: D-backs

Round 1: Oakland Athletics vs. San Diego Padres

1988 Topps #476 Dave Stewart vs. 2008 Upper Deck X Xponential #X-GM


Dave Stewart was a good pitcher. I think most people would say Greg Maddux was a teensy bit better. I prefer the 1988 Topps design to this Xponential insert. I like the pose with the warm-up jacket on Stewart. Seeing Maddux on the Padres is weird. But shiny/refractory is good. I'm back and forth on this one. I think the Maddux insert is more unique to my collection and Maddux's HOF resume carries some weight. In a tough decision, I'll take San Diego.

Winner: Padres

Today had a couple of close matchups and a couple of easy decisions. One more day of Round 1 will give us our Sweet 16.


Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Card Madness 2023: Round 1, Part 2

Last night, the NCAA tournament played its first two games. Here on Bump and Run Card Madness, we had our first region's worth of games in Round 1. We have 11 more match-ups in Round 1. Since the Phillies have a bye this round, we have three regional showdowns to see today. Here is our bracket as of now:

Round 1: Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs

1981 Donruss #160 LaMarr Hoyt vs. 2006 Ultra Diamond Producers #DP14 Derrek Lee


Windy City rivals square off. The South Siders bring former All-Star pitcher LaMarr Hoyt on his (and Donruss's) debut card. Sweet-swinging first baseman Derrek Lee represents the North Side. I've always liked the early years of Donruss with the year in the corner. It's a good photo with old Comiskey Park in the background. I think it comes out a wash with an insert that has a so-so design. Both were good players. Hoyt boasts one All-Star appearance and the 1983 Cy Young. Lee counters with two All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and a batting title. Even without considering that Derrek Lee was my favorite player at the time this card was produced, Lee's career was longer and more impressive in the end.

Winner: Cubs

Round 1: Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals

2022 Topps Opening Day #24 Franmil Reyes vs. 1995 Ultra Gold Medallion #57 Bob Hamelin 

This AL Central showdown features two players with similar career WAR. Hamelin has a higher OPS, while Reyes hits more homers, but the career WAR is similar. Hamelin gets a point for being in my Rookie of the Year collection and for being a classic Ultra Gold Medallion. But something is so appealing about the Reyes. I think 2022 Topps was my favorite Flagship in a few years. The colors, the quiet celebration, and the design all pull together to make a pretty attractive card. I'm choosing that one.

Winner: Guardians

Round 1: New York Mets vs. Texas Rangers

1991 Topps #60 Frank Viola vs. 2014 Donruss #215 Yu Darvish


This was a tight match-up. Both Frank Viola and Yu Darvish spent at least a few years of their careers with star status. Both had a few subpar seasons, as well. Viola took home a Cy Young, so there's an advantage for him there. 1991 Topps is one of my favorites, while the short-printed Diamond King subset in 2014 Donruss is pretty good, too. The lack of licensing on this Panini card is glaring to me, though. On the basis of hardware, nostalgia, and logos, I give the nod to Frank Viola and the Mets.
Winner: Mets
We're halfway done with our first round. Like the NCAA tournament, we'll have our Sweet 16 by the end of this weekend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Card Madness 2023: Baseball Edition (Round 1)

Last year's Card Madness featured a tournament of NFL teams using randomly selected cards from my collection. As evidence of my impartiality, the Minnesota Vikings were crowned NFL Card Madness champions. This year, I'm going to switch it up a little and hold a Major League Baseball tournament. Here's how it works: I seeded every MLB team based on last season's results. World Series participants Astros and Phillies earned first-round byes. I used the random card feature on TCDB to select one card from each team to face off against the opponent. The judging of the matchup will be subjective, but I may consider the quality of the player's career, the visual attractiveness of the card, the collectibility of the card, or even card condition. I will declare the winner and update the bracket. A new card will be chosen to represent the team in each round. Here is the field:

Which team will be collection champions? Let's start the Madness.

Round 1: San Francisco Giants vs. Minnesota Twins

1993 Topps Colorado Rockies Inaugural Edition #698 Ted Wood vs. 2005 Bowman Chrome Refractor #149 Trevor Plouffe

Neither player here was any kind of star, but at least Plouffe ended up with a positive career WAR (7.2 to Wood's -1.0). The Rockies Inaugural will always be a treasure in my collection, but this card doesn't represent it well. All of the orange and black with a splash of yellow just doesn't do anything for me. Not to mention that the picture is goofy and unflattering. Refractors, on the other hand, always do something for me. If this were a base Bowman card, I'm not sure it could overcome the 1993 set. But the stronger player on a refractor will give Minnesota the win.
Winner: Twins

Round 1: Seattle Mariners vs. Detroit Tigers

1997 New Pinnacle #100 Randy Johnson vs. 2013 Triple Play #27

This decision doesn't take much thought. Hall of Fame pitcher in clean, glossy full-bleed design? Or a middle-of-the-road outfielder on an all-time bad, corny, cartoony, set? I'll think I take Randy Johnson and move on.

Winner: Mariners

Round 1: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Colorado Rockies

2004 Fleer Legacy #43 Scott Rolen vs. 2008 Stadium Club #56 Garrett Atkins

Two horizontal cards squaring off here. I like the Stadium Club look much more than the Fleer Legacy. Everything on the Rolen card looks blurry to me and the border is ugly and obtrusive. However, Scott Rolen had a long, solid career that culminated in a Hall of Fame induction this year. Garrett Atkins had a pretty good three-year peak, but even his best was not much than Rolen's worst. In this case, the player carries the day.

Winner: Cardinals

With the Houston bye, we only have three match-ups on our opening day of Card Madness. Tomorrow, we'll continue Round 1 by looking at a different region.


Monday, March 6, 2023

2023: Year of Project Completion

I tend to collect in projects. Yes, I'm a Packers/Cubs/BYU fan and will always take new cards of those teams. I try to build a set or two in both football and baseball each year. Those are the kinds of collecting habits that many people have and wouldn't interest too many people unless they also liked cards. But I also love to use my collection to curate history that means something to me. It's these projects that actually get a, "That's kind of cool," reaction from my friends who aren't collectors. Some of my projects include:
  • One page of every player on the NFL's All-Decade team (1980s, 1990s, 2000s)
  • The same for the 2010s All-Decade Team, but with different collecting rules for myself
  • One page of every MLB All-Star Game MVP
  • One page of every MLB Rookie of the Year, including at least one card featuring each team they played for in their career
  • One card of every player to ever make a Major League All-Star Game
  • One page of every Heisman winner (in their college uniform)
  • One card (with certain parameters) of every player on the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • A 9-pocket team of every NFL team's best players ever (my Franchise Nine)
  • A collection consisting of the three best players to ever wear each number in Major League Baseball
I've been doing some reflection on my collection as I can see the light at the end of most of these projects' tunnels. Once I have finished my Rookie of the Year project, am I really interested in accumulating more cards of, say, Vince Coleman? Do I really care to have more Jamal Lewises when my All-2000s team is done? If not, where do I focus my collecting interests after a decade of trying to work on specific collections like this?
I don't have the answers. But I do know that my collecting goal for this year is to put as many of these projects to bed as I can. To that end, I've already made two Sportlots box buys this year. 


These assorted defensive backs from the 2000s All-Decade Team filled all of the last slots in their pages. Ronde Barber, Ty Law, and Brian Dawkins--done!

Another 2000s DB, Troy Polamalu, and his Steeler defense teammate, Joey Porter--also done.

Another couple of 2000s defenders--Richard Seymour and Derrick Brooks--have completely full pages now, as well.

Offensive linemen and specialists are the hardest to find. Bears' center Olin Kreutz's page is now complete. Punter Brian Moorman is done. This Larry Allen was used to complete his 1990s All-Decade page. That was the final card needed in that entire binder. Now he still has just one slot in the 2000s binder. Allen's one empty space plus three more on Alan Faneca's page make up all the empty spaces in that binder. Four cards away from a complete All-2000s Team binder!


My 1980s binder has a few more blank spaces. Some of them will probably never be filled, just because there aren't enough cards out of some guys to even fill a full page. These cards polished off Randy White's page and brought Lee Roy Selmon's to within two.

On the baseball side, many of those pages are getting filled, too. Here are two recent award winners in my collection. None of these are base cards, with the gold star parallels coming from factory sets, I believe. The 582 Montgomery was a parallel to be found in packs. Not to be confused with the 582 Montgomery club box set that Topps sold, featuring cards with more than just a foil stamp on them.

Of course, I do still have my team interests. Here are BYU (and SUU) alumni that I picked up from the Sportlots order.

And finally, I can't forget about my various set builds. Speaking of closing out projects, the Bricks and Ivy card kills off my 2016 Topps 100 Years of Wrigley insert set. Done!

So this year I'm going to focus on completing projects. I think I'll be able to polish off the All-Decade Teams, the All-Star Game MVPs, and the Rookies of the Year. They are all down to a maximum of a couple dozen cards needed in the binder (but mostly less than that). Some of them--like the Heisman, Franchise 9, and jersey numbers--are all but finished anyway. That will basically leave me with the NFL All-Time Team and about 600 MLB All-Stars to track down. Even those seem feasible by the end of the year. So where will my collecting attention turn then? I'm not sure. But for now, I know that my Sportlots, COMC, or wherever else shopping will lead me closer to completing these projects each time.