Consider Parallel Hell the anti-Wax Heaven. It’s a world full of player collectors trying to swim against the current of the hobby greed that bleeds out of the card companies. There was once a time when all you could find in a wax box of baseball cards was regular issue base card, and maybe 2-3 inserts of your player, if you were lucky enough. In 1993 Topps Finest made it debut, followed by Topps Chrome three years later and the ‘refractor’ became the card to own. Face it, you weren’t a true Ken Griffey Jr. Super Collector unless you owned the 1993 Finest refractor. It was all so perfect then.
Today you need a dictionary, encyclopedia, and color chart to figure out if you pulled an ultra-rare Gold Refractor or a just slightly less ultra-rare Orange Refractor. Wait a minute, why is the Orange selling higher than the Gold? And what’s all this talk about Blue and Red refractors? My brain is about to explode and I haven’t even gotten into the Pokemon-style X-Fractors and mythical SuperFractors.
Trust me, the last thing I want to see is the dullness of mid to late 80’s baseball cards all over again but when will the madness end? There are player collectors who will never reach high percentages of complete collections with all these parallels flooding the market. Somewhere, there is a Michael Bourn collector who has to track down 397 different cards released from 2005-2007. Meanwhile, a Ron Gant Super Collector has just 56 Beckett-recognized cards from his first three seasons in baseball. Guess who will have a better chance to complete his collection?