I'm not sure about you guys, but I'm often overwhelmed with all that I have to do with baseball cards. Thankfully, it hasn't reached the point in which it affects my joy of the hobby, but there's always something to do, both a good and bad thing.
Especially for the last year and a half, I've always found work to do with my cards, ranging from moving cards to boxes, putting sets in numerical order, organizing the card room(s) of my house, keeping relic cards and autographs protected, and of course, the online player collection inventories I've worked so diligently to complete. And it's likely I'm just scratching the surface with what I've been getting done.
Occasionally, the abundance of tasks to perform and even the sheer number of cards forces me to improvise for the time being. Usually, this means placing stacks of cards in temporary homes until I can find full-time spots for them to go.
However, these temporary spots all too often become permanent as I start to lose track of what's where leaving them to be found by a slightly more organized version of myself a couple months later.
This kind of thing is exactly what happened to me earlier this week when I was organizing some stacks of doubles from 2005 Bowman Heritage and 2010 Topps 206. I opened up a drawer of one of my plastic storage drawers and found my National Sports Collectors Convention exclusive sets from all the way back in August.
Somehow, I had never, until today, shown these here on the blog. Again, it connects back to how difficult it can be to stay organized in what has become a pretty crazy hobby.
4 companies produced cards to commemorate this years' National Sports Collectors Convention in the form of exclusive sets, ranging from 4 cards all the way to 10. In most sets, multiple different sports were represented even if the company didn't have the licensing rights.
As was the case for Leaf who, although not possessing the licensing rights for any of the 4 major sports, unless I'm mistaken, chose 4 sports legends to recognize in their set. Although the no logos with a bland design is a turn-off, I've never seen a set with Allen Iverson, Bo Jackson, Brett Favre, and Mariano Rivera all together, so I'll give Leaf some credit for creativity.
The same thing could be said for Upper Deck's product, who went with basketball, tennis, and a golfer despite actually having the Hockey license and being the main producer of Hockey cards in today's sports card market.
At least, in this case, Serena Williams and Tiger Woods don't require any airbrushing of logos, nor do Michael Jordan and LeBron James, both of whom are not shown in NBA jerseys, specifically chosen so that airbrushing would not be necessary.
Although I'm slightly unsure if I would have preferred this set to the alternate option for Upper Deck, using actual jerseys without team names or logos showing, but I am certain of one thing; the inclusion of Ben Simmons with 4 future Hall of Famers in their respective sports is puzzling.
It just seems weird to include someone, in any sport, coming off a rookie season alongside Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Clearly, only Topps has the MLB license, but that didn't stop Panini from rolling out 4 high-caliber MLB rookies in their 10-card National Exclusive set, 1 of whom, Shohei Ohtani, would go on to win 2018 AL Rookie of the Year.
The other 3, Hoskins, Albies, and Devers, each had their own struggles in 2018, not to say Ohtani didn't. However, they each finished with some remarkable stats, especially for rookies. Hoskins drove in 4 short of 100, Albies was an All-Star with 40 doubles, and Devers won a World Series while going yard over 20 times in limited at-bats.
They didn't just stick to baseball, however. Panini, known most for their extensive number of basketball and football sets, included the top 3 picks in the NBA and NFL drafts respectively, starting with the Phoenix Suns #1 pick, center DeAndrew Ayton out of the University of Arizona.
Marvin Bagley III went 2nd in the draft and Doncic, an international player from Slovenia, went 3rd and was later traded from the Hawks to the Mavericks. Truth be told, I think this is the first time I've talked anything but baseball on the blog before.
Basketball happens to be my 2nd favorite sport, but I haven't found the same passion for Basketball cards as I found for Baseball which is why I'm not collecting cards of NBA players, yet.
As for Football, Panini did the same thing as they did for the NBA; include the top 3 picks from this years' draft. No, I don't understand why, despite Bagley being picked before Doncic and Barkley being picked before Darnold, their positions were swapped in the set.
Similar to the NBA set, the NFL top picks were shown in their college jerseys rather than their brand new pro uniforms.
I'm not quite sure how Baker Mayfield has panned out for the Browns so far. I only know that they're managing to pull it together and win a few games this year. I don't follow Football as much as I do Basketball, but I recall that Mayfield wasn't the ideal #1 pick in the draft, forgive me if I'm wrong.
Ultimately, as much as I appreciate all these sets, I attended the National for Baseball cards, meaning that the set that was geared more towards me was Topps' exclusive cards. As you could see from the card at the top of this post, the subjects of the set are all Cleveland Indians players, and the set itself is 1983 Topps.
Recent Hall of Fame inductee Jim Thome was one of the players included as was Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber, arguably the 2 best current Indians players, or at least toss-ups with 3rd baseman Jose Ramirez.
Kluber is a 2-time Cy Young award winner who's also finished 3rd in the voting twice. On the other hand, Lindor just turned 25 a couple days ago and is already one of the best shortstops in the game, and that's a bold statement.
Finally, we have 2 retired Indians greats rounding out the Topps set and the entire group of exclusive cards from this year's National. I don't have a huge knowledge of Indians history, but Bob Feller and Omar Vizquel are certainly fantastic choices for the set. Combined with Thome, Lindor, and Kluber, I don't think anyone could've chosen a better balance of players, or even a better 5 Indians to be represented in the set.