Friday, November 29, 2019

Top 5 Cards; Fergie Jenkins

Greetings viewers. I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing Thanksgiving.

While I wasn't able to enjoy any of yesterday's football games, I had a great holiday, celebrating with family members whom I haven't seen in quite some time and food: lots of terrific food.

Nowadays, it's challenging to even mention Thanksgiving without talking about Black Friday at the same time. Whereas stores, even a few years back, opened around 9:00 or 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving, I've seen ads over the last few days for stores opening as early as 2:00 pm the same day.

Aside from buying a reduced price phone case from a store near me, that's going out of business, I didn't partake in Black Friday, not that I've done so significantly in the past.

That said, there's one part of this mega shopping day that might lure me in over the weekend. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I might end up purchasing Baseball cards over the next few days.

Currently, eBay, Amazon, and, most notably, COMC are all having sales along with all the major wax distributors like Blowout cards.

Because I was in the area, I tried the Walmart card aisle today in hopes of snagging the 2 Donruss Optic Basketball mega boxes that I saw while purchasing Topps Gallery last weekend.

Given how much the prices have risen on that stuff, particularly the Holo rookies, I'm kicking myself for not picking those up instead. Alas, you live and you learn.

While I contemplate what, if any, Black Friday Baseball card purchase I'd like to make, I have my first top 5 cards post in ~2 weeks to get to. Today's subject is Fergie Jenkins, a silver tier player collection with 81 cards; I chose my favorite 5.

#5 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game
Topps' monopoly in the Baseball card industry may have robbed us of glorious cards like the Fleer Greats of the Game set, but it's the company's laziness and lack of quality control that irritates me more.

Because they don't have any competition in terms of licensed cards, Topps can practically do whatever they want without any repercussions. Furthermore, their quality control is pretty poor because, as I mentioned before, there's no competition to force Topps to step up their game.

If only Fleer never had their licensed revoked or Panini was given the right to use MLB logos in the first place. Then, we'd have more cards like the one above.

#4 1975 Hostess
If I were to take part in COMC's annual Black Friday sale, I'd certainly take the opportunity to pick up some 70s Hostess singles for my player collections. I don't have a ton of these at the moment, but I'm always looking to rectify that, especially because of how much I love oddballs.

The '75 Hostess design isn't something to look twice at, but the powder blue Rangers uniform heavily enhances the otherwise ordinary card. Plus, there's just so much to love about these Hostess cards, despite how plain the set design might be.

#3 1971 Topps
Top 5 cards posts of legends from the 1960s and 1970s are both more enjoyable to write and better received by the viewers, so it's a no-brainer for me to choose a Hall of Famer for one of these posts when I'm out of ideas.

I originally intended to write about the Donruss Optic Basketball boxes today, but since I was unable to get my hands on them at Walmart, I turned to a trusty top 5 cards post.

Seeing this 1971 Topps card makes me all the more excited for the release of 2020 Topps Heritage. The following year, moreover, is when my favorite Topps set (1972) will be replicated.

#2 1973 Topps
For a very short time in the 1970s, the Chicago Cubs' jerseys featured the player's number on the front in addition to, I believe, the back. Though I've seen a few of these uniforms in the 1973 Topps set, I don't recall seeing any others.

I'm a lot more knowledgeable about the Red Sox than I am about the Cubs, so I'm not sure if these uniforms were just a 1-year thing or not. Regardless, I love the contribution to Fergie Jenkins' 1973 Topps card.

#1 2005 Fleer Tradition Club 3000
I recall that my Dad, back in 2005 upon the set's release, bought 2 of these Fleer Tradition Club 3000 inserts. One featured Bob Gibson, the other Fergie Jenkins.

As soon as my memory was refreshed surrounding these cards, I knew that the Jenkins insert had to earn the #1 spot on my list. I don't have any terrific vintage card to challenge it nor a modern one to dethrone it.

The border, color combination, photo, and background all contribute to a beautiful card overall, one that I'm proud to place at the top of this countdown.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Highlights From Round #2 of Gallery

It may not bring the most value as far as Baseball card releases are concerned, but Topps Gallery, nevertheless, remains one of my favorite products to rip, year after year.

I opened the first of 2 blaster boxes a couple of days ago in a full recap on the blog, breaking down each pack card by card and sharing my thoughts on what I pulled.

Now, I'm overviewing what came out of blaster box #2, but in a recap instead. Whereas I listed each card I pulled last time around, I'm only overviewing a select few today.

The magnificent artwork and various techniques, no matter the year, remain consistent for every Topps Gallery release. From the super-realistic shot of Christian Yelich to the abstract background of Jonathan Villar's card, the artists' different styles are quite evident.

2 of the cards in the photo above (Harper and Villar) were done by artist Dan Bergren, an artist who I recognize from past Gallery sets for his more abstract approach to the cards. I also admire the work of Kevin Graham who created Yelich's and Guerrero Jr's cards.

I don't have much to do with the world of art aside from Topps Gallery if I'm being honest, so I appreciate that the set introduces something that I know very little about into my world.

As far as I'm concerned, the release of 2020 Topps Series 1 will spell the beginning of my Fernando Tatis Jr "super collecting" days, for the 20-year old will no longer be considered a rookie upon the set's release.

Thus, I'll finally be able to buy individual Tatis Jr cards online without breaking the bank rather than counting on pulling them from packs. I did, however, have nice luck with blaster box #2, for I pulled his base card and the artist proof parallel.

Injuries may have limited his rookie campaign, but Tatis has already established himself as one the most well-rounded players in Baseball at just 20 years old.

If he keeps it up, he could outshine both Alvarez and Alonso as the top rookie from this year's class.

These Gallery Heritage inserts seem to run at 1 per blaster box with Trea Turner coming out of blaster box #2.

Even though he just played a part in leading the Washington Nationals to their first-ever World Series victory, I know practically nothing about the 26-year old. I just recall him being very well thought of back in 2016 when he, along with Corey Seager, was a rookie.

Since then, however, I haven't heard all that much about Turner, though the artwork remains magnificent.

Of course, no matter what kind of Baseball card purchase I make, I'm always on the lookout for how many Red Sox cards I ended up with. In the case of this blaster box, I'd say I did pretty well, landing a Mookie Betts base card and a J.D. Martinez high number SP.

Both cards are brilliantly designed and have their strong points, but the attention to detail used by the artist of Martinez's card (like the shine on the helmet) elevates it to a slightly higher level.

But the Red Sox mojo didn't end there as, like is the case for all inserts, I pulled one of the Master & Apprentice cards out of my 2nd blaster; it just so happened to feature Ted Williams and Mookie Betts, a picturesque duo of Red Sox outfielders.

This artwork differs from that of the base cards and while I don't necessarily prefer it, I like how it contributes to the wide variety of styles in this set.

Now, I have to decide whether the card will go towards the Williams or Betts player collection.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Frankenset Page #72

I originally foresaw myself completing the 74-page frankenset series by the end of November, but it appears as if the series, which has been around since March of 2018, will continue into the very beginning of December before I wrap it up.

Page #72 is the 3rd to last of 74 unique pages included within this frankenset. Since I've been averaging about one of these a week, the series won't wrap up until the first few days of December.

Encompassing cards #640-648, page 72 spans just 3 decades of Baseball history (the 1970s, 80s, and 2010s). Let's begin the page, starting with another stellar combo card from the 1980s.

#640 1984 Fleer Bench & Yaz
1983 saw the careers of Baseball superstars, including Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski, come to an end. Combining for 32 All-Star game selections and 3 MVP awards, these 2 Hall of Famers were some of the game's brightest stars throughout their respective careers.

Fleer, a company that never shied away from making combo cards, produced one to highlight Bench & Yaz in their 1984 set. If you've seen my past few pages, you know how much I love cards like these.

#641 1988 Donruss Stan Musial
During the late 1980s, Donruss would feature puzzle pieces in each of their packs that would combine to form 1 cohesive puzzle that emulated a card in the set.

That card was always a specialty card of a Hall of Famer, and in the case of the 1988 set, that player was Stan Musial. Other subjects included Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron.

While I admire the idea of recognizing the game's greats, there must've been a better way for Donruss to do this rather than placing puzzle pieces into packs that didn't have much to do with the actual set.

#642 2015 Topps Alex Wood
Alex Wood hasn't faired too well since the Dodgers-Reds trade that sent him along with Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to Cincinnati last winter. In his first season with the Reds, the 2017 All-Star posted a 5.80 ERA in just 35 innings pitched.

Currently, the 28-year old is a free agent, and while he's coming off injuries and a poor 2019 season, there are a plethora of teams that could benefit from adding a respectable starter to their rotation.

#643 1988 Donruss Keith Hughes
It's not ideal for there to be 2 cards from the 1988 Donruss set on 1 page, but at least Keith Hughes' uniform is pretty interesting to look at. Otherwise, this card wouldn't have a whole lot to show for itself.

#644 1982 Fleer Rollie Fingers
Fleer has been the MVP of frankenset page #72 thus far. First, we had the '84 combo card of Bench and Yaz. Now, a highlights card commemorating Rollie Fingers' 1981 season.

Even though the photo quality of 1982 Fleer leaves a lot to be desired, this set has delivered some amazing cards for my frankenset, including a Big Red Machine combo card of Driessen, Concepcion, and Foster.

#645 2016 Topps Danny Santana
The major award winners were announced well over a week ago, but I haven't really deemed it necessary to discuss them on the blog. There weren't any huge surprises, though I was pleased to see Rocco Baldelli take home the AL Manager of the Year.

Granted, the Twins faired pretty poorly in the playoffs, but their 100-win season came as a shock to Baseball fans everywhere, including myself, for I didn't even predict they would make the postseason.

#646 1983 Topps Jim Essian
I'm not 100% sure, but the chain-link fence in the background of Jim Essian's 1983 Topps card leads me to believe that this photograph is from Spring Training.

Even without that part of the background, this card still has a whole lot going on. From the pink and yellow borders to the 2 different shades of blue being worn by the Mariners players, it's no wonder why '83 Topps is one of my favorite Flagship sets.

#647 1976 Topps Ramon Hernandez
The above 1976 Topps card of Ramon Hernandez isn't in the best condition which is likely why the card is apart of my frankenset instead of my '76 Topps Flagship binder.

Speaking of that set, I'm down to just 39 cards needed to finish it up. Ideally, I'd track down the remaining cards during COMC's Black Friday sale and have the set completed within the next week or so.

#648 1987 Topps Barry Larkin
Barry Larkin's 1987 Topps card is the first thing that comes to mind whenever I think of the 12-time All-Star. Everything about it, from the wood borders to the Reds' away jersey, is practically engraved in my mind.

I've been collecting Larkin for quite some time now, but for whatever reason, he has yet to even reach silver tier status. Even though he's a Hall of Famer, Larkin doesn't seem to get much love from modern-day card companies. Either that or I never seem to come across any of them.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Par For the Course

2019 is the 3rd year of Topps' revived Gallery product and to be honest, the cards and caliber of the set are starting to become par for the course, and I mean that in the best way possible.

The same can definitely be said in regards to the Topps Stadium Club revival; the first few years (2014-2016) were revolutionary, for the photography was at a level unparalleled by any other Baseball card product.

Meanwhile, no set comes close to matching the gorgeous art that makes up the 200-card Topps Gallery set. It's just that there's only so much you can do with a release that places more emphasis on the pictures than the design.

While the base designs have become slightly repetitive, the breathtaking artwork more than makes up for it. This Walmart-exclusive is one of the most enjoyable products to open year after year, and the price point is quite reasonable as well.

I've mentioned in the past that there's no Walmart within 10 miles of my house, but that hasn't stopped me from acquiring Gallery in the past. When I found myself within proximity to a store today, I decided to take the chance and stop by.

Luckily for me, it paid off, and I grabbed 2 Gallery blasters: 1 for today and one for later on, either tomorrow or Monday.

Pack #1 (Exclusive Artist Proof parallels)

#102 Mike Yastrzemski
It's odd for me to type the last name "Yastrzemski" without the name of a certain Red Sox legend in front of it, but his grandson, Mike, has proven himself to be one of the top rookies of 2019. His 21 homers and 55 RBI in just 371 at-bats highlights his potential.

Aside from the gold foil stamp in the bottom right-hand corner of the card, I don't think there's anything that differentiates the artist proof parallels from the base cards. If Topps was looking for bonus cards to include in the blasters, something a little less ordinary would've been nice.

#6 Shane Bieber

#109 Shaun Anderson

#98 Vladimir Guerrero Jr
The artist proof parallels do little to wow me, but at least I ended up with one of the better names on the checklist. Vladimir Guerrero Jr may not have lived up to the hype in his rookie season, but that's usually challenging to do.

He still put up very respectable numbers during his age-20 season, and when there's a new class of rookies to take the pressure off his shoulders in 2020, he'll have a stellar sophomore season.

Pack #2

#137 Jose Ramirez

#54 Pedro Avila
Each year, there's a handful of different artists that work on the Gallery base cards, and I always find one whose work appeals to me the most. This time around, that artist is Kevin Graham who painted Vlady Jr and the Pedro Avila card above.

Graham's work is very realistic in that the drawings look like they could just as easily be photographs with an added filter. The more real the players appear, in my opinion, the better.

#HT-32 Gallery Heritage Paul Goldschmidt
Each year, Gallery Heritage pairs a vintage Topps design with beautifully-done drawings to create one, cohesive insert set that never fails to impress me. This year's design, the 1965 Topps set, isn't one that I'd expect to see. That said, the '65 design ranks as one of my top-10 favorites Flagship sets.

Just looking at this one card makes me wish that Gallery Heritage was its own product, for I'd love to see what Topps' artists can do if given a larger checklist for this brilliant set. Whatever set Heritage is replicating in any given year, have Gallery do the same.

Or, better yet, have them start from the very beginning, pairing iconic designs with brilliant artwork.

#69 Corey Kluber

Pack #3

#148 Rafael Devers
If I remember correctly, Gallery didn't feature any landscape-style cards in either of the past 2 releases, so I find it interesting that Topps is starting to include them in the 3rd year of the brand's revival.

Adding landscape-style cards to the Gallery set gives this product yet another unique element and one that I hope is somewhat common throughout the entire checklist.

#35 Mitch Keller

#MA-AA Master & Apprentice Hank Aaron & Ronald Acuna Jr
There are a couple of insert sets common to each year of Gallery, but there are also 1-2 inserts that are unique to any given year. In the case of 2019, those cards are the Master & Apprentice inserts, a set that seems to feature 2 superstar players from the same team, one past and the other present.

If Hank Aaron was compared to Ronald Acuna Jr in an insert set like Topps Heritage Then & Now, I'd be a little upset, for I don't feel that the 2 are equitable (yet). However, the name of Master and Apprentice suggests that Aaron has something to teach Acuna, a more accurate comparison if you ask me.

#40 Josh Naylor

Pack #4

#92 Willson Contreras
There are landscape cards, and there are action shots of catchers in their gear behind the plate. Then, some cards combine these 2 factors and add spectacular artwork to the mix.

The result? One of my favorite base cards of the entire blaster box and one that could, potentially, rank among my favorites from the entire set. That's how much I love Willson Contreras' base card.

#HT-27 Gallery Heritage Blue Parallel Manny Machado
The odds of pulling one of these Gallery Heritage blue parallels are pretty tough (1:411 packs), so I was super stoked to land one of these gorgeous cards, even though I'm not the biggest Machado fan.

The card, like everything else in this set, is stunning, and I like the way the blue border pairs with the color of Machado's cap. It's also fairly low-numbered (#10/99), so there's definitely something to be said about that.

#13 Brendan Rogers

#43 John Lester

Pack #5

#136 Freddie Freeman

#25 Shohei Ohtani
I'll use Shohei Ohtani's card, the front of which is at the top of this post, to showcase the card backs from 2019 Gallery. As is the case with previous sets, each month of the player's previous season is broken down on the back of the card.

In Ohtani's case, Topps showcases only his batting statistics, so while Ohtani excelled in April and August, he struggled in July.

#79 Kyle Freeland

#125 Garrett Hampson

Pack #6

#129 Jose Altuve
I've been keeping up with the latest information and rumors surrounding the Houston Astros' 2017 cheating scandal, but I don't have a clue what MLB is going to do in response to this rule-breaking.

I've heard there are talks about banning Houston from the 2020 playoffs, but I believe that would just give them an incentive to throw their games and get a high draft pick in 2021.

Whatever ends up happening, however, I don't think it'll be pretty.

#71 Jose Berrios

#109 Autograph Orange Parallel Shaun Anderson
An autograph numbered out of 25 copies (#2/25) is not something you see every day, let alone out of retail, so I'm extremely happy with how this blaster box has gone so far. First, the Machado insert parallel, now a numbered rookie autograph.

I'll be honest, I'd never heard of Shaun Anderson until I pulled his artist proof parallel card, but given that the odds of an autograph orange parallel are 1 in every 1,000+ packs, I can't be disappointed whatsoever.

I also learned, via the back of the card, that he was the Red Sox's 3rd round draft pick back in 2016 before being traded for Eduardo Nunez the following year.

#4 Lance McCullers Jr

Pack #7

#47 Matt Chapman
The landscape cards from this set, more so than the standard ones, are superb. Enough said.

#34 Daniel Ponce de Leon

#MP-9 Masterpiece Francisco Lindor
There have been a ton of trade rumors circulating in regards to Kris Bryant, Mookie Betts, and Mr. Smile Francisco Lindor, some of the game's biggest stars over the last few seasons.

Personally, I can't picture Lindor anywhere but Cleveland, and I don't think it makes sense for teams to trade away any of the 3 superstars listed above. At least, not until the trade deadline rolls around and they don't feel like a playoff push is a possibility.

#113 Domingo Santana

Pack #8

#116 Yusei Kikuchi

#143 Manny Machado

#200 Johnny Bench SP
One would think that a plain white background would be to simple for a set like Topps Gallery but amidst all the bold colors, it's rather refreshing to see something a little more basic, and this Johnny Bench SP fits the bill.

Plus, the 100th-anniversary patch from 1969 can be seen on Bench's sleeve, so we even know what year this drawing is supposed to emulate. If I could only get one SP from the entire box, I'm glad it's a retired player who I also collect.

#22 Jalen Beeks

That does it for my 2019 Gallery blaster. Overall, I'm ecstatic about how well I did; I walked away with a low-numbered autograph, an insert parallel, a HOFer SP, and a ton of beautiful base cards.

You only get 32 cards for $20, so this set may not be for everyone, but if you appreciate the artwork as much as I do, I'd highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Top 5 Relics/Autographs: Cincinnati Reds

The top 5 relics/autographs series hasn't been a regular occurrence on the blog like the frankenset and standard top 5 cards posts have been, but I still appreciate having these posts as an option for when I'm looking for a post idea.

I've also refrained from making too much progress with this series so that I can (possibly) accumulate more cards for these countdowns, thus boosting the quality of the lists.

For instance, I held off on creating a Cincinnati Reds top 5 relics/autographs post until today, and 2 of the top 5 cards were brought back from The National. Had I rushed and written these posts more frequently, the quality of the cards in the countdown wouldn't be as high as it is if I wait a little longer.

When I began this series over a year ago, I started out with top 5 Red Sox and Cubs relic cards, 2 posts that I'd like to update soon to feature autographs and/or expand the number of cards featured.

I also have to have a fair number of cards to consider for one of these posts, hence why I've only done them for a handful of teams thus far. Now, the Cincinnati Reds are about to join that group.

The list features 3 relic cards and 2 autographs, highlighting some of the greatest players in franchise history. Let's begin with #5, a jersey relic from a pretty well-known catcher, perhaps the greatest to ever play the position.

#5 2016 Panini Diamond Kings Masters of the Game Johnny Bench
I might as well get my sole complaint out of the way immediately; I think the jersey relic is a little too small. That said, I believe that collectors take relic cards, particularly those of Hall of Famers, for granted.

The jersey piece on this card, however small it may be, was worn by Bench in an MLB game, and he's a top 2 catcher of all-time alongside Yogi Berra. Not to mention, Panini also did a pretty nice job with the overall design of the card.

I realize that autographs are where it's at and that no one pays all that much attention to relics anymore, but it's important, from time to time, to take a step back and realizes how much history and significance these overlooked cards contain.

#4 2005 Fleer Tradition Cooperstown Tribute Johnny Bench
And so the list begins with back-to-back Johnny Bench jersey relics with this one being from his home uniform. For whatever reason, my relic/autographs bins have a ton of 2005 Fleer Tradition relics, featuring Hall of Famers and then-active stars like Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez.

The Cooperstown Tribute design is near-perfect for its subject set, and I'm thrilled to have a reasonable number of these cards in my collection. Though they're not serial numbered, these relics are some of my personal favorites in my entire collection.

#3 2000 Upper Deck Legends Legendary Signatures Dave Concepcion
This Dave Concepcion autograph was produced right around the time of the first autographs and relic cards, and I think Upper Deck did a pretty sensational job. After all, this card is from the very beginning of the relic/autograph era.

For starters, Concepcion's autograph is beautiful, and Upper Deck was smart to have him use a blue sharpie even though the card was produced before the autograph soared in popularity. I'm also a huge fan of the black and white filter, particularly how it pairs with the simple card design.

While the autograph may not be groundbreaking, Upper Deck did an excellent job considering that this card is almost 20 years old. It just so happens that, as time went on, companies perfected this art.

#2 2006 Topps Heritage Flashbacks Stadium Seat Relics
The stadium seat piece on this card is from Crosley Field, the tiny home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1924-1970. Throughout its existence, the ballpark was among the smallest in the game in terms of capacity, which never topped 30,000, and field size.

Midway through the 1970 season, the Reds moved to Riverfront Stadium where they'd achieve a great deal of success, including a World Series appearance later that season and consecutive Fall Classic victories in 1975 and 1976.

Stadium seat relics aren't as common as jersey and bat pieces, but I, nevertheless, appreciate the history and context that they provide.

#1 2018 Topps Luminaries Home Run Kings Black Parallel Frank Robinson
This gorgeous Frank Robinson 1/1 on-card autograph was the crown jewel of my Dad and I's trip to the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago earlier this year, and as long as I collect, it'll rank as one of the greatest cards I own.

Certainly, a card of this caliber didn't have any trouble claiming the #1 spot on the list. The Luminaries design, however expensive the cards are, is beautiful, and Frank Robinson's signature is one of the best that I've ever seen.

It's challenging to see the full beauty of this card without looking at it in person, but the longer I stare at it, I notice more details that help make this card one of the prized possessions of my card collection.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Another Player Collection Tiers Update

Over the last couple of years, my process of organizing and categorizing my player collections has grown increasingly complex, though it's also provided me with more insight as to where each player stands in comparison to all the others.

Initially, I started by creating a complete inventory of all the cards of players I collect on Google Sheets with one spreadsheet designated for each player. Each row lists the year, card number, set name/info, and the team name. This process is repeated for every card of all the players I collect, and that number can be anywhere from 8-460.

Next, I introduced the idea of player collection tiers roughly a year ago. Using this process, I list all of my PCs in one Google Sheet from largest to smallest and, along the way, sort them by 4 separate tiers: Platinum (200+ cards), Gold (100+), Silver (50+), and Bronze (49>).

Through the player collection tiers, I'm able to see where each player collection, by the total number of cards, ranks in comparison to all the others. For example, I know that Fergie Jenkins, a player collection with 81 total cards, is #74 on my list of PCs.

Last April, I wrote an update on player collection tiers in which I detailed the changes that occurred since I began this endeavor. Considering how much has changed over the last several months, I figured it was time to craft an update once again and that this could be a reoccurring post a few times a year.

Unsurprisingly, Nolan Ryan remains #1 on the list by a long shot and, to be honest, I don't believe that any of the other player collections will ever catch up.

Ryan's 482 total cards (excluding a small handful that I haven't added in yet) beat Ken Griffey Jr's 280 soundly for the #1 spot on the list. Since there's no real competition rivaling Ryan's #1 spot, I'm instead looking to make steady additions to the player collection.

Specifically, I'd like to have 500 total Nolan Ryan cards by the end of the year, a goal I set for myself back in January.

Ken Griffey Jr may trail Nolan Ryan by over 200 cards for the #1 spot, but there's always a fair amount of competition between him and Greg Maddux to see who will earn the "runner-up" position.

When I updated you all on the player collection tiers back in April, Maddux occupied the #2 spot on my tiers list, but he has since been usurped by Griffey.

At the moment, Maddux trails KGJ by just 3 cards to round out the top 3. After that, there's a pretty significant drop (~30 cards) before the #4 PC, Manny Ramirez.

Last time, the platinum tier, reserved for player collections with 200 or more cards. had just 7 players, but that number has grown by 3 in the subsequent months. Vladimir Guerrero and Randy Johnson have added their names to the list, cementing each of my top 10 player collections at 200+ cards.

With these two additions, the closest I am to adding another player to the platinum tier is both Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg at 180 cards. Even though I come across their cards somewhat often, it'll be a little while before the top tier expands to encompass 11-12 players.
The gold tier, featuring players with totals anywhere from 100-199 cards, has grown to include 35 members over the last few months. Specifically, I've seen a fair number of active players cross the threshold as of late.

The additions of so many active players to the gold tier are somewhat surprising, considering that it used to be Craig Kimbrel, Joey Votto, and Miguel Cabrera not too long ago. Now, that group includes Anthony Rizzo, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen, and Buster Posey.

At any given time, there's always at least 1 player on the cusp of moving up to another tier, whether it's silver, gold, or platinum. At the moment, Evan Longoria is the closest to making this happen at 99 cards, just 1 away from becoming the 46th PC to reach 100 cards or more.

I thought this would happen following my previous trip to the card show, but the Longoria card that I picked up (shown above) was a duplicate. Thus, I'll have to wait a little longer before the 3-time All-Star moves up.

The more progress I make with this endeavor, the higher the bar is raised for players to achieve a certain ranking on my list of 260 player collections. For example, to make the top 100 out of all the players that I collect, a PC has to have at least 62 cards.

Still, players are moving up the list constantly, and players have been consistently reaching the silver tier mark of 50 cards since my last PC tiers update. Currently, 84 of my player collections find themselves between 50-99 cards.

Of course, the majority of my player collections (135/264) are part of the bronze tier, meaning I have fewer than 50 cards of that player. Since this tier encompasses more players than any other, there's an extensive range of players who are apart of it.

Some, like Wilbur Wood and Mickey Lolich, may never move up enough to join the silver tier simply because of how few cards have been produced of these 70s pitchers. 

Other guys' totals, like Alex Bregman's, have increased since I began collecting them, and it's only a matter of time before they reach 50 and maybe even 100 cards.

In fact, there are roughly 30 players within 10 cards of silver tier status, so needless to say, I don't think that the overall growth of my player collections is going to plateau anytime soon.