The month of May will likely go down as one of the greatest as it relates to my Jose Canseco collection, which began way back in 1990. My first step was moving my 1,500 card collection back into Ultro Pro pages and a binder as my two XXL boxes of top loaders had spun out of control. While I like the ability to look at every card separately, protected in a penny sleeve and top loader, it was causing mayhem. As a 16-year-old, as my collection was pushing 150 cards, it was easy to remember every single card I owned. As I flirted with four digits, however, and hit my mid-30s, my memory began to fade. Now with nearly 1,500 cards, I was buying 5-10 doubles per week.
With my collection now neatly organized in a binder, I ran into another problem. Over the years, while writing articles for Wax Heaven, I’d pull cards aside and would forget to put them back. This caused several key cards from my collection to go missing, including iconic releases from 1994 Finest, 1997 Flair Showcase, and even beloved Pinnacle cards. In one week, I bought 61 cards off Sportslots and another 20+ on eBay and can now say I have every single Jose Canseco card from 1984 to about 2000. From 2000 and on, is the years I will begin to slowly tackle as The Hobby became fixated on game-used relics and certified autographs and simply cut back efforts on design.
Below are scans of two cards produced by Fleer and released in their Flair Showcase brand. I don’t give Fleer a lot of love because my heart has always belonged to Pinnacle Brands but in the mid to late 90s, they were producing cards that looked better than anything by Topps and Upper Deck … and if you were to point a loaded weapon to my head, I’d probably say even nicer than Pinnacle. The two scans below won’t come close to doing this brand justice. You have to feel the card stock, examine the card under natural sunlight, and even take a look at the back of the card, which featured some of the prettiest, full stat card backs of all-time.
Now, I find myself facing a huge dilemma. I’m done with 90s cards and all I have left to venture into are modern trading cards and to be completely honest, they don’t do much for me. Even Jose’s 2018 cards by the official brand of baseball, Topps Company, have left a bad taste in my mouth. His brand new 2018 Tier One card, which is a week old, is really just a retread of every other Canseco “hit” by Topps. Quite frankly, I am completely bored by what I’m seeing and every active baseball brand is to blame, not just Topps. This isn’t me knocking the state of collecting, this is an old school collector who just completed a puzzle which took 28 years and isn’t excited to start a new one.
The card below comes from 2016 Panini Pantheon and is basically every single modern card I am missing wrapped up in one. The double relic (most come with one, some with three), the sticker autograph, which ensures your player never touched and probably even looked at your overpriced card, and in Panini and Leaf’s case, the awful airbrushing of team logos and colors. Sadly, 90% of these cards have an asking price of $30 or more despite the fact that there is an endless amount of them with no end in sight. There is absolutely nothing special to me about this card, especially since Panini re-releases it every single year under a new name.
With the exception of some major, rare and hard to find inserts like 1998 Donruss Crusade, it appears my Jose Canseco collection is nearing the end of the road or at least going into semi retirement. I just don’t see the point in spending my hard-earned money on half-assed cards with zero effort in design that rely solely on a tiny piece of a bat that in all likelihood was never even used in a game. Besides, just how valuable is a game-used relic when card manufacturers will continue to pump out the same thing, realistically, for another decade or more? With the exception of some Topps products, I will be done collecting after I complete the early 2000s cards I am missing.
I am okay with this. I made it nearly three decades. Longer than Jose’s baseball career. My collection outlived great companies like Pinnacle Brands, Fleer Trading Cards, even the licensed work of Upper Deck baseball cards. I am in no way going to stop writing or Tweeting at the torrid rate I have been as of late. I love trading cards and I love collecting. It’s just that cards like the Panini Pantheon you see above are just not enough to keep me coming back day after day. Maybe things will change in 2020 but more than likely, it’s time to stop OR at least find a new player to collect.
Anyone heard any good things about this kid Mike Trout?