Crush, Kill, Destroy, Stress

Man.  Deadlines and real-life work can be a huge time suck…all that work just to pay some bills and a mortgage.  My apologies for being less available on the blog here.  I was really hoping to be more inclined to write daily…well, not daily but at the very least weekly, and that hasn’t happened.  But, hey I’m here and spring training baseball games start on Sunday.  It’s a great time to be alive!  (despite the title of this post).

I’ve mentioned many times that I deal with stress in a very specific way and that way is to sort cards…who woulda guessed that having read my blog over the years.  With that in mind, when I have moments to myself and can duck down to the basement, I sort…crush, kill, destroy, stress…or more appropriately…sort, organize, sleeve, file…maybe that’s a better title.  Less depressing.

How do I sort and collate you ask, well let me tell ya! 

PREFACE:

For me, organization is critical but consistency is vital.  I like to begin with a general idea or template for what the overall collection would look like together then move forward with a plan that hopefully satisfies all the known requirements.  That involves lots of deep thinking whilst drinking bourbon.  The ideas flow way better with brown water, you know. 

For this blog post, I’ll be focusing on stars and Hall of Fame players for baseball.  I’ve done the same for football and basketball players as well as team sorting.  Those may come at a later date if there’s more interest in how I do what I do.

STEP 1: Materials

I’ve decided that space between my cards is important.  I like to give the rows some room to breathe and grow as my collection grows.  Having room also allows to be able to grab the cards as I need and look through them without having to pry them out with a shoe horn.  The best material I’ve utilized for this is foam core, white in this case.  Now, foam core isn’t really great for the environment long term, I know.  Living in Portland, I’m constantly reminded of the horrible things I learned growing up in Texas, but at least I’m aware and try my best.  I do lay the boards out in a way that utilizes the whole sheet as efficiently as possible.  Whenever I have scraps I always find uses for them and am able to make something from them rather than tossing them in the trash can. 

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I typically buy 30” x 42” x 1/8” sheets and start marking them up with guidelines spaced out to 2 3/4″ along the 30” side (14 columns) and 3 3/4″ along 40” side (8 rows).  That gives me 112 pieces with some scraps that work well for shipping or spacing out other projects you may have.

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***If you’re unaware of foam core, don’t want to be presumptuous, It’s easy to find at any art shop as well as most grocery stores.  Everything I purchase is from Blick Art Supplies here in Portland (they’re a national chain so find your Blick!)*** 

STEP 2: Labels

The next step is the label creation.  For this process, I use Adobe InDesign and have created a layout that lets me type in a name easily and move on to the next one.  This does take some time the way I have it set up, but I like it and it works.  Plus, I don’t really update this very much after the initial setup.  I had actually created these labels prior to purchasing a printer and did them on 100lb white card stock.  I wanted something a tad more rigid that would be great long term.  In hindsight, I don’t think this was necessary and regular paper works fine…plus it’s easier to cut.

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Next step was to, very lightly score the top and bottom line above the name.  This part is going to be folded over the labels, so the scoring makes it easier to get a nice bend…told you, I was particular about these things.  Next I cut the columns out, then cut the rows out of each column.  That worked best for me…this part does take some time and patience.  Music or a great podcast helps make it move forward quickly…so, definitely do that…also, bourbon.  Four Roses works best with Queens of the Stone Age.

STEP 3: Adhesion

Third step is the attachment process of the labels to the foam core.  I used white masking tape for this.  You can find this fairly inexpensively at just about any store that has a hardware department or an art store.  Mine came from Blick.  I set up strips of the tape on a cutting mat, following the lines for a nice alignment then cut off the jagged ends.  Next I cut the tape to a length that would be able to wrap around the foam core one complete pass, 6” seem to be a perfect length.

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After the tape has been cut and the labels are stacked and ready to.  Start taping amigo!  Make sure you get the tape tightly wrapped around the four sides and that it hangs down enough so you don’t see the tape.  My goal as to not have any visible tape when I look through the cards.  The very tiny amount of thickness on the tape also provides a bit of space for each card as well.

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Then voila!  You have a Cardboard Hog label!  And it only took 4 weeks!  Just kidding…this is a great Sunday afternoon task if you’re so inclined.

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APPENDIX: Sorting

Now that you’ve got the labels ready to go, it’s time to get your cards sleeved and in the boxes.  I like to use the 5000 count boxes for this activity since it holds the most amount of cards.  It does tend to get a little heavy, but also requires fewer boxes…so, just weigh what you want and need.

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Hopefully everyone is doing this, but I just want to remind you that your cards should all be in penny sleeves…that is if you care about them.  Especially mid-90’s cards.  I’ve lost so many great cards as they’ve turned into bricks.  Leaving me with spotted hall of famers and snowy, beautiful cards like this gem.  Penny sleeves are cheap…like, a penny…or less if you buy in bulk.  Don’t be cheap.  Protect your cards!

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NOTES: Revisiting

I like to revisit these boxes every few months just to get an idea of what I have and to add new items.  It’s an awesome way to work through your collection and reflect on all the time and money you’ve spend collecting pictures of young men that do sports better than your or i. 

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It’s also just a great trip down memory lane.  These boxes contain cards from my childhood.  I’ve had most of them since they came out and when I started collecting back in ’85.  That time to sit back and reflect on those simpler times helps me put things back into focus.  I tend to get caught up in the worst of the worst of a moment.  It’s easy and I’m sure most of us do it.  Taking a step back and realizing that all things pass and life keeps moving forward is important and something we should all be doing periodically, no matter your medium.  Take the time to tell the people around you how much they mean to you and never be too proud to apologize for things you’ve done and are not proud of.  Life is precious and can be great.  Taking the time to enjoy small bites of how you got to where you are today are important.  Even if it means you painstakingly create a label system that can be solved with an off the shelf solution for a quarter the price and time.

Thank you for reading and hope you have a wonderful day!

-Cardboard Hogs

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One of my all-time favorite MC’s is Pharoahe Monch.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that a few times on here, but it needs to be restated over and over.  He’s phenomenal.  I first heard him in the group Organized Konfusion.  Their first album was excellent and I highly recommend you listen to it, but for me?  The second album was beyond amazing STRESS: The Extinction Agenda.  Here’s the video.

Collector seeking Autographs

I used to be an autograph seeker in my adolescent years.  Cards and a fresh sharpie in hand, fighting my way to the front in hopes of getting an illegible scribble from the baseball stars of the 1980’s.  After a while i build up quite a collection that i’m proud of and like to look back on every once in a while.  San Antonio didn’t have a major league team in San Antonio (AA San Antonio Dodgers though!), but my mother…being the most amazing working / single mother that she was (and still is…) would take me to Arlington a couple times each summer.  We’d mostly go the Rangers games rather than the Astros in Houston…i guess i’ve always been an American League guy…or maybe it was those horrific rainbow sherbet jerseys…the trips each year would include the Yankees, of course and maybe the Blue Jays or Mariners.  Looking back, we went to quite a few Mariners games as a kid and now i live in the PNW, it’s like it was fate or somethign?  My mother is an incredibly generous and giving person, and she always went out of her way to make sure i had what i needed, and most times what i wanted.  Even if it was a terrible idea.  Like sitting in an open air stadium under the relentlessly pounding late afternoon sun of Texas in July and August.  It was a brutal request from an only child after driving for 5 hours, but she obliged, albeit with some resentment in her eyes…but hey, i’m an only child :)!!

As i got older and realized i could maximize my inventory while minimizing my road trips through through the mail autographs, or TTM as every single one of you kids out there reading this knows.  I did this for a couple of years and had some success, check out the page of autographs HERE.  DOIT!!

As i got even older…and was able to finally get that Rickey Henderson auto i always wanted…but can’t seem to find anymore…shit…i’ll dig it out.  Anyways, after that autograph, i decided to stop asking adults for their signature.  Seemed kinda silly of me i guess…not sure why, maybe it was that i was starting to get older than the people i wanted autographs from?  Maybe I was a little embarrassed?  Maybe it was simply the asking for something and being shy about it?  Not really sure.  That said, i have nothing against collecting autos…especially if they have some kind of story associated with them.  Unfortunately, the cards below have no great story other than they are what i pulled from the box i picked up at Brian’s shop.  Here they are!  There are 5 of them and they are nice pieces to have in the collection for now.  You gotta wait for these guys, some of them never pan out and other may take a couple of years to get there…so enjoy.

16-bd-will-benson-auto

Will Benson – Cleveland Indians – 1st Bowman Card16-bd-robert-tyler-auto-227250

Robert Tyler – Colorado Rockies – 1st Bowman Card 227/25016-bd-dylan-carlson-auto-316499

Dylan Carlson – St. Louis Cardinals – 1st Bowman Card 316/49916-bd-ben-bowden-auto

Ben Bowden – Colorado Rockies – 1st Bowman Card16-bd-anfernee-grier-auto

Anfernee Grier – Arizona Diamondbacks – 1st Bowman Card

Actually got to see this guy play a couple of games last year in Hillsboro for the Hops.  He was the 39th pick from Auburn in last years draft, so there is some hope that he could find his way to the big leagues in a year or two.

The jumbo box included a couple other cards of note that i was pretty excited about.  This lovely Griffey Jr. card, which could have been posted in my previous post on Sons and Fathers…doesn’t top Gavin’s 1/1 auto, but not a bad looking card to have…and Bo Jackson…

16-bd-ken-griffey-jr-draft-history16-bd-bo-jackson-draft-history

These Bowman Chrome cards are really nice cards to hold…but do smell a little bit like syrup as Sooz mentioned in a very cool and random tweet a couple days ago.  Speaking of Yankees…Here are the last two cards i wanted to share.  A couple of guys i have high hopes for this year that came through via trades Cushman made out on, or at least the Yankees fans hope so.

16-bd-gleyber-torres16-bd-justus-sheffield

I apologize for the fingerprints on that Sheffield card, not only do they smell like syrup…they love to grab hold of anything that touched the surface.  So much grit!

I hope you had a good MLK day and took a moment to understand the importance of his life.  Normally, this is where i post a music video that ties in to the cards or story of the day but i wanted to post something appropriate for the day rather than the post.  I listened to this while i was at work today and…well, you should listen to.  And in case you question why #BlackLivesMatter, it’s very thoughtfully explained and passionately addressed by Dr. King.

Autograph collection

One of the things i’ve noticed about the blogs I follow is the vast collection of through the mail autographs.  When i was a kid, i was totally addicted to this…especially growing up in San Antonio where we didn’t have a major league baseball team.  We did have the San Antonio Missions who were the AA affiliate for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the time, but they played games on the other side of town and it seemed like a really long trip to see guys i didn’t know.  So, one summer i got the great idea to take all of my doubles and cards i wasn’t too attached to and send them to players.  I did this for 2 or 3 summers starting in 1987 and was fairly successful.  I was only 11 at the time and didn’t have the foresight to track who i sent to or how long it took, but i was pleased with most of the players that responded.

AU Eric Davis AU Paul Molitor

I remember spending a ton of money on stamps, almost to the point that i wondered if it was really worth it all.  For me at that age, getting mail was always exciting, especially when it was in an envelop i had addressed to myself.  There would be weeks when i would come home to a card a day.  Pure excitement for me at the time.

Going through these cards really brings back a lot of good and awkward memories of my childhood.  I was an only child and never had a large group of friends, so i put everything i had in to my hobby.  I think that’s why it’s still with me to this day, it’s always been something that i could focus on and really enjoy…and get lost in.  There is something very child like about collecting cards as we all know, and it’s also a little therapeutic at times.  It’s been a ton of fun going through these cards and trying to remember how i came about them.  Some have been personalized and some rubber stamped.  Some players sent out pre-signed cards and kept the ones i sent…either way, i was always happy to receive something new from a major league ball player.

AU Mike Schmidt AU Bo Jackson

As i’ve gotten older, my pursuit for autographs has waned, other than pulling them in packs/boxes or buying them to fill player collections.  Plus i’ve felt awkward asking for an autograph of someone 15 years younger than me.  Much respect to those though that still work to get autos, believe me, i understand the thrill of the auto!

Some of the cards are also a little sad as the players have passed on for various reasons…way too soon for these guys.  Makes me feel really lucky that i was able to have something they were a part of before their untimely passing.

AU Kirby Puckett AU Derrick Thomas

Best of luck to all the through the mail auto collectors and hope you enjoyed some of my cards in this post.  I plan to post some additional cards in the future, but am continuing to post them on my cardboard hogs tumblr account…please feel free to visit and always feel free to leave a comment or two here.  I would love to hear your feedback and know that good collector folks are reading!

thanks!