Apr 8, 2024

Wallet Card + Eclipse

Here's a bit of fun from this afternoon: The solar eclipse was visible as the partial variety here in Virginia. I built a pinhole camera out of a cardboard box and some aluminum foil and and tracked the progression of the eclipse for about half an hour. Near the peak I added my wallet card to the mix, projecting an image of the partially obscured sun into the backdrop of this 1987 Topps Bo Jackson card.

Apr 5, 2024

[Belated] March Updates

I just walked in the door two hours ago after visiting some of the museums in Washington DC. Here's my wallet card making an appearance in the Dinosaur Hall of the Natural History Museum.

I think I was due to post a collecting update here, but I was having too much fun to get it done on time. In the past month I learned new ways to analyze distances (Haversine and Vincenty's Formulas!), something that will soon come in handy for a card-related project that is nearly finished.

Real-world work has been taking up a chunk of time, with my closest co-worker having his schedule upended by a family member's health issues. The result is me filling in for him more often on some pretty high level stuff, so my mental bandwith is getting pulled in all kinds of exciting directions. As much as a I love card collecting, the opportunity to jump right into some professional mega projects is more compelling. Yesterday I hired a new intern to join my team. The guy is coming off winning a hackathon, has a 1580 SAT score, and already has a better resume than most full time job candidates that I see apply for openings. It's going to be a fun summer working with him.

So what have I been up to in the card collecting world when I'm not ingesting too much caffeine and wondering how I ever would have competed with the latest intern back when I was in school?

I wrapped up research into an insanely difficult to find card from 1990 Donruss and posted the results on my primary blog. The card in question is the Aqueous Test Issue of Jose Canseco, which I have come to believe has somewhere around 25 copies in existence. I came across this example by sheer happenstance and luckily did not have to compete for it against some very tenacious Canseco collectors or against a legendary collector of the set who already has a copy. In fact, prior to the emergence of this example the card was considered to be tied with a small number of others as the hardest to find name in this obscure issue. I am beyond excited about this one.

I don't care what people say. 1990 Donruss is fantastic if you can ignore the overproduction.

I sent a letter to former pitcher Bobby Shantz asking him if he had any memories of playing with a distant relative of mine. Shantz is his only remaining teammate and wrote back in March. The arrival of his letter coincided with the arrival of freshly graded cards, the results of which I included in my writeup of Shantz's response.

Early in the month I had a strong urge to open some junk wax packs, but I didn't have any on hand. A search of card shops within a reasonable distance revealed a longstanding one I had never noticed before. I paid a visit and came away with a complete set of 1997 Collector's Choice to sort through. There is a lot of interesting photography in the set, like the shot below of Phillies catcher Darren Daulton playing the outfield.

With all this going on, I didn't write as many card profiles as I would like. My backlog grew a bit after I came across some highly discounted vintage cards. Most were commons, though a few were 1952 Topps high numbers so the term "common" is a bit relative.  I think the ratio of incoming cards to outgoing profiles is going to become more favorable as the year progresses.

All right, let's wrap it up. Here are the card profiles posted for my set building projects within the past month: 

1952 Topps

  • Shortly after the 1952 season concluded the biggest National League home run threats would join forces at Wrigley Field. The Mayor of Wrigley Field (and 1952 NL MVP) showed newcomer Ralph Kiner all the best spots, especially where he kept a hidden cache of tobacco in the outfield ivy.
  • Did they run out of paint for covering up old logos? Topps decided to count the Phillies' minor league home run champ among the Chicago White Sox outfielders appearing in '52 Topps.

1993 Finest

  • A dissatisfied catching phenom and perennial free agent once built a baseball card collection based solely on guys the San Diego Padres had let get away.
  • Coors Field is known for high scoring ballgames, though it is not always the Rockies' bats that account for all the runs. The highest scoring game in team history showed off the baserunning talents of Colorado's speediest player.
  • John Dealt, Went: This anagram of one of the '90s best relievers describes the player who was part of six different teams but only took the mound for four of them.

Feb 29, 2024

CardBoredom: February 2024 Update

It's February, and that means I changed out my ridiculous trio of wallet cards. A group of Ken Griffey, Jr. cards headlined by a now creased 1989 Upper Deck rookie took a trip to Seattle and other points distinctly far from Griffey's former home (he now lives on the East Coast and has a car dealership here in Virginia).  The cards were in a car accident, raced a submarine, flew in some planes, and more in an active year. Things are getting dialed back a bit with 2024's Wallet Cards, though I'm still sticking to the idea that multiple cards can be carried simultaneously as long as they carry a common theme.

I added 11 new cards to the collection in February, as well as upgraded one of the lower grade constituents. A Pudge Rodriguez autographed card that had found its way into the tertiary portion of my collection was sold to a collector trying to complete a signed set, helping pay for some of the new additions. 

Next month I have a few days scheduled away from work and plan to make use of the time to dive into some research projects. I already have a space set aside in a university library and have been preparing a list of resources to be examined. Hopefully I can gather additional details on the baseball card litigation of the 1940s and 1950s, as well as some firsthand accounts of certain baseball-related events from the same period

Anyway, here's what was posted to CardBoredom during February:

1952 Topps:

  • An obscure and surprisingly well-designed card of a backup catcher helped send six fans to the 1953 Yankees-Dodgers World Series.
  • One of the '52 Topps pitchers is shown with a very prominent patch on his shoulder. Its presence indicates a very recent picture.
  • More than half the '52 Topps checklist served in the military. After returning to the major leagues they left behind a plethora of vintage ballfields. I've spent time shuffling back and forth between a few of these and one card in particular serves as a reminder. 
  • An errant throw from a temporary third baseman once killed a spectator at a Washington Senators game.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates of the early '50s were terrible, largely due to an abundance of all-bat, no-glove players. Bill Howerton was one of the most pronounced examples of these athletes.
  • A walk-off triple play is about the most exciting way a game can end. It's even better when the guy batting is a singer in the pitcher's barbershop quartet.

1993 Finest: 

  • The pitcher who ranks 65th out of 65 hurlers in the '93 Finest checklist once recorded a save without throwing a single pitch.
  • '93 Finest is often described as a set with few rookies, despite a checklist containing both winners of the Rookie of the Year Award. A shift two years earlier in how the hobby views rookie cards prevented the 1993 edition from laying claim to some absolute monster rookie cards.
  • Barry Bonds and the Hall of Fame are often portrayed as having a complicated relationship. What if we set aside the whole Steroid Era controversy and just imagined Bonds only facing the pitchers who made it into Cooperstown? Do his numbers turn out any different?
  • The 40/40 Club wasn't a thing until 1988 and only just welcomed its fifth member in 2023. If not for the arbitrary timing of the baseball season we would be talking about a different outfielder and his sole occupancy of the 50/100 Club.




Jan 31, 2024

Cardboredom's January 2024 Update


This has been a fun month. I added three new cards to the collection, none of which I thought I would have a chance at just a few weeks ago. I'm still waiting on the final one to arrive and will hold off on posting about them until all are in hand and proper research has been conducted. One of these purchases took 9 months of back and forth to get a deal done while another has perhaps only 9 other copies in existence. All three are making my annual collecting highlight reel for 2024.

I attended a local card show at the beginning of the month. This is a reincarnation of a small show that set up in a hotel conference room last winter. This year's iteration had moved to an indoor youth sports facility and was located in a concourse between an active soccer field and a kids' cross fit camp. Most of the dealers were actually collectors seeking to thin out collections or make a few bucks on the side to fund their hobby. I saw only two setups resembling a going concern. Things were mixed - my kids had fun finding their favorite Pokemon while nothing matched my admittedly narrow collecting focus. The bargain boxes actually offered variety and I was heartened to see some pretty good cards mixed in with the usual fare. 

While primarily a set collector, I have two retired players for which I actively seek out cards. Jose Canseco was previously identified as a favorite from my childhood. The other player, Charlie Bishop, received a post all of his own this month explaining what kicked off this odd player PC.


I had some fun this month taking my wallet cards on one last spin before retiring them for new ones. There will be pictures posted a in a couple weeks, but in the interim I wrote up a few details about one of my 2022 cards: The 1987 Fleer Barry Bonds rookie. There was also an enjoyable attempt at creating my own wax pack wrappers. I packed them full of goodies and sent them to a few fellow card writers. Most have been delivered at this point, though there are two still awaiting mailing addresses. 

In addition these projects, seven card profiles were posted to CardBoredom in January.

1952 Topps

  • Brooklyn's Chris Van Cuyk may have the been the first ball player caught saying "cheese" for a camera
  • Pittsburgh's Murry Dickson could double as a magician at your next party (though you should watch out for the bank robbers)
  • The Giants needed someone to hold down center field while Willie Mays was in the Army. They called Chuck Diering for the job.
  • Solly Hemus talked his mind...a lot. An underrated ballplayer and overrated talker.

1993 Topps Finest

  • Erik Hanson was amazing for the Seattle Mariners teams of the 1990s. Several ligament injuries later he left the game, but not before scoring a sweet car from Ken Griffey, Jr.'s ever-rotating garage.
  • Oakland's Bob Welch won 27 games in 1990. It may have been luck, but Oakland racked up a lot of victories that year and someone had to be there to earn the credit for it.
  • A lot of people said there would never be another Nolan Ryan when he retired in 1993. That was exactly the moment that Randy Johnson became the Ryan Express.

Jan 1, 2024

December Updates from CardBoredom


 Yesterday I wrote out my quarterly update of what has been going on with my baseball card collection. This included the addition of some really nice examples of '49 Leaf and continued slow progress on the '52 Topps set build. 

The rate at which I add to my set building projects is probably going to slow in 2024, as I am giving up using eBay for a while. eBay recently removed some of its safeguards against fraudulent listings and I expect the quality of listings to deteriorate as bad actors recognize just how much they can now get away with. Sure, buyers can (sometimes) win "item not as described" refunds but having to routinely do so is a terrible way to collect. Anyway, there's a card show coming to my hometown for the first time in quite a while and I plan to visit with its aisles with renewed interest later this month.

While I went silent during another end of year burst of activity at work and the demands of rebuilding an aging deck, I did manage to get some more writing done for my blog.

1952 Topps Profiles

  • Ferris Fain - the drug dealer with the best sabermetric credentials.
  • Dizzy Trout - one of a long line of athletes who decided to fight fans in the Detroit stands.
  • Cass Michaels - beaned by a pitch in 1954, he joined a list of players whose careers were ended by inside pitches

1993 Finest Profiles

  • Tom Candiotti - Did you know he is the Hall of Fame?
  • John Burkett - Now in his 50s, Burkett is putting together another successful pro sports career

Other Writing

Before taking a short hiatus mid-month, I put the finishing touches on a small research project that had been in progress for much of the past year. In 2022 I included a 1985 Topps Mark McGwire rookie among my wallet cards and wanted to know everything there was to know about it. The results of this quest are found here.


Given that this is an end of year post, I want to highlight one of the posts I really enjoyed writing in the last 12 months. Sam Jethroe is part of the 1952 Topps set and his career is often overlooked. He only played for the Braves in a handful of seasons but simply dominated the league's base running leaderboards during this time. Called "Jet Propelled" Sam by fans, his story and all the changes that the jet-themed nickname implied at the time are worth a look.

Dec 1, 2023

CardBoredom's November in Review


It's December! The Christmas tree is up and the deck I keep telling myself I will finish building is not. I tore down the old one and there is now a drop straight down to the ground from my living room wall, so I clearly have to finish the project in the next couple weeks. In the interim, today I just finished automating a ton of tedious reporting tasks for work. Three hours of weekly work now takes less than 45 seconds to complete. That's a lot of free time that can be directed towards writing about baseball cards more productive tasks.

I profiled 7 cards on CardBoredom in November. The collection grew by 15 cards, mostly consisting of a handful of 1990s Jose Canseco items.

1993 Finest Set Building Project

Five of the cards profiled this month were from my in-progress Refractor set build. These include the subject of one of the biggest rookie chases in the late '80s, the forgotten guy who hit 62 home runs in 162 games, and the pitcher that returned to baseball for two seasons after his Hall of Fame eligibility lapsed. I also came across a hidden pun on a 1988 Topps card and related my favorite Rickey Henderson stat.

No new cards were added this month, though I almost nabbed one of the two remaining refractors that have eluded me. I made an offer to an eBay seller that was accepted almost immediately. The seller messaged me that the card was being prepared for shipment and provided a tracking number. Less than an hour later he canceled the transaction, saying the PSA slab that housed it had been badly damaged. Anyone who has ever been around a farm knows how much BS was about to follow. Within the next 48 hours the seller had relisted the obviously undamaged card at more than twice the agreed price, sent me an offer to buy it now, and advertised his Instagram channel. I'm not interested in backchanneling business away from eBay, and I certainly don't want to anything to do with someone who plays these sort of games.

The 1952 Topps Project

I wrote up a pair of '52 Topps commons for the blog, profiling the defensive abilities of Pete Suder and the odd pitching motion of George Zuverink. I actually fell behind my writing schedule by a bit as I added four new commons to the set during the same period.

Nov 5, 2023

An October Update from Cardboredom

It's been a long month. I'm building a deck piece by piece on my own each night after work and that is taking up a lot of the time and headspace I normally dedicate to baseball cards. Construction projects are not my strong point, so this project has involved watching many YouTube videos and making runs across town to Home Depot to get all the components I keep forgetting are necessary to do this right. 

With that in mind, I did manage to get three posts up and running on my primary website Cardboredom.com. Each highlights a different card in the 1952 Topps set I am building.

These include tales of Michey Cochrane's body double competing for a World Series title in a WWII POW camp, the time a Pacific Coast League strikeout champ saw his fortunes implode after Branch Rickey ordered him to change his delivery, and an exploration of the completely made up White Sox logo appearing on Ray Coleman's card.

As far as the collection goes, I added quite a few new cards in the past month. Seven 1952 Topps cards arrived in the mail, six of which pushed the completion percentage higher and one was a much needed upgrade. Three new Jose Canseco cards joined a small  but growing player collection. I even found a replacement for a 1994 Finest Ivan Rodriguez refractor that disappeared en route to me earlier in the year.

I'm waiting for COMC to launch its annual Black Friday special to see if any further additions can be made and to take advantage of any free shipping offers. There are several cards in my inventory there that I want to give to some bloggers who's work I read on a regular basis. Given historical shipping speeds, I hope to have some packages going out in January or early February.

Oct 6, 2023

Hello Card Collectors

I love reading about baseball cards, discovering things I didn't know about them, and seeing others' collections. Blogs came and went as a bit of a fad 10-15 years, supplanted by a migration of many hobby enthusiasts to shorter form social media. A lot of interesting writers made the switch and abandoned their blogs. The upshot of this is the remaining authors tended to be providers of much more in depth coverage of their collection and the most committed to their writing projects. Many of these collectors are on the Blogger platform.

I am late to the party, having only recently set up camp here. For years I have been chronicling the growth of my own baseball card collection at CardBoredom.com. The site is finally approaching some semblance of how I originally envisioned it and it will continue to be the primary outlet for recording my hobby experience. I plan to utilize Blogger as a way to finally reach out to some of the other collectors on the service and to post the occasional recap of what I have been writing about for those that don't want to go directly to another site.

With that in mind, here is what has been happening across my card collection in recent months:

1993 Topps Finest Refractor Set Building Project: I finally found a real Greg Maddux refractor, bringing the completion progress up to 99%. Only Ivan Rodriguez and Don Mattingly remain. I wrote about my impressions of several cards, including an uncorrected error in the set the guy who went hunting for the Loch Ness Monster with Charlie Sheen. I finally posted a guide to identifying refractors. As always, I updated the quarterly Refractor Dashboard with all the latest information about how often these cards are seen.

1952 Topps Set Building Project: 12 new cards were added, as well as condition upgrades for Robin Roberts, John Antonelli, and Gus Zernial. The Zernial card isn't technically an upgrade, as it is in poor condition. The new one just has some paper loss on the back while my first copy has significant scratching across the set's most interesting photo.

Finally, I recently posted a more detailed quarterly collecting update, where you find out more about my budding Immaculate Grid obsession, see a few 1990s Jose Canseco cards, and read about an eBay purchase that never arrived.