Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Look Back at 2014 and my Collecting Goals for 2015

Well, 2014 is now over and I can reflect on the year that was, as far as my collection and blog are concerned.

I met my goals for 2014 as follows:

  • I started the year with 96 Hall of Fame signed baseballs and ended the year with 107.  My goal was to add 10 baseballs and I exceeded that by 1 ball.  I added huge names like Mickey Mantle (ball #100) and Sandy Koufax, and I also added a tough to get name in Joe Gordon.
  • As you can see above, I met my goal of making ball #100 something special.  I'm glad I have Mantle out of the way.  I doubt I will get as huge a name this year, unless something falls into my lap.  We'll have to see what unfolds this year.
  • I met my goal of completing at least one of the Topps sets from 1993 to 1997 by completing 1993 and 1996.
  • I didn't really add my 1993 to 1997 set needs to my wishlist, but I still consider that goal met, as I am one card away from finishing 1997.  I will add 1994, probably later today.  I haven't even started 1995, so that wasn't a real goal.
  • I made significant progress with my 1948 Bowman, 1959 Topps and 1969 Topps sets.  I am just about done with 1948 and 1959 and knocked out some key cards in 1969.  I have knocked off cards here and there from my 2013 Emerald set, and I still intend on completing it.  My friends from Instagram have helped tremendously on that one.
  • I did knock off 5 cards from my Top Ten Wishlist.  I will be adding new cards to the list today, some harder to get than others.  The cards I got this year were: 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra, 1952 Topps Bob Feller, 1953 Topps Satchel Paige, 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson RC and 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan.
  • I did continue the relationships that I had established in 2013 and added a ton more.  In no particular order, I added new regular trading partners: Max, Noah, Caleb, Scott F., Anders, Josh, Kaleb, James, Michael A., Sam, Jet, Michael S., Drew (ultimatecards_), Joey, Carson, Jackson, Kyle, Jake, Blaine, Robert, Ben/Jake, Jack, and a ton more that I am forgetting at the moment, sorry.  I have filled my side desk up with note cards with everyone's name on them so I can continue to add to piles and keep track of who is getting what.  I have also started a notebook for trades so I no longer lose track of what someone offered me and what I offered in return.
  • Finally, I feel like I was able to continue to provide good information on cards, the Orioles and the Hall of Fame.  I know a lot of my posts this year were about trades and incoming mail, but I still feel like I have thrown in the occasional tidbit about a past player or something to that effect.
Let's take a look at a few key moments from the blog for 2014:
  • I listed my goals for 2014 on January 1 and as stated above, I did pretty well on them.
  • On January 18, I was able to finally show my collection to my dad.  He was in town visiting with my mom and finally had time to take a look at my card room, my signed baseballs and other things I had posted.  I got a call from him a few days later, and he said that he had been thinking about my collection all that week and how impressed he was by it.  That totally justified all of the work I had put into all of this - to be able to captivate the attention of people I care about, who don't necessarily share my enthusiasm for baseball.  That was a big moment for me.  I was really happy that Dad liked my collection.  It really meant a lot to me.
  • On February 1, I went to Fan Fest with my buddy, Scott.
  • On February 6, Ralph Kiner passed away.
  • On February 22, I posted about my first (successful) trade on Instagram.  This was with my buddy, Kyle, whom I still enjoy talking to.  We haven't traded much in the last several months, but we continue to talk as friends, and I send him the occasional Phillies care package.
  • On May 5, I pulled the Bowman Chrome Jose Abreu auto.  One of the rare times I actually pulled a hot card from a pack.  I turned around and sold it for $165 on Ebay and I don't regret that at all!  I used the money to get some big names for my set needs.  You can see that post here.
  • On May 22, I posted about my first trade with my, now, good friend, Max.  He and I became friends very quickly and now we talk nearly every day.  I have helped him expand his Cubs collection and we have even discussed meeting up at the National Card Show this year.  I look back on it and I am so glad that I met Max, as well as the other guys from Instagram.  I didn't like it (trading on Instagram) but after my first trade with Kyle, continuing with deals and conversations with my friend, James, then onto Max, I was reassured that 99% of the people (most of them young teenagers and pre-teens) are good people and legit traders.  I have always had a soft spot for kids and any chance I can get to help them improve their collections and their knowledge of the hobby, I will take it.  I now do Skype group chats/forums with several of the guys I trade with regularly, and those chats have led to a bunch of deals.  It sure beats the hell out of online forum trading.
  • On June 7, 2014, I treated my mom to her first MLB game.  This was an early birthday present for a milestone birthday that I won't mention, since you shouldn't reveal a lady's age (and she would smack me, hahaha).  Mom got to see the Orioles beat the A's in a controversial series where the media really turned on Manny Machado.  Hopefully he learned from the mistakes that he made.  I'm glad Mom enjoyed her trip and I hope we can do something like it again.
  • On June 16, we lost Tony Gwynn.
  • On July 1, the Orioles designated Nolan Reimold for assignment, effectively ending his time with the Orioles.  He would later be picked up by the Blue Jays, then the Diamondbacks.  Now, a free agent, Nolan may see himself back with the O's in 2015.  I would enjoy that, but I know he wants a major league deal (and I hope he gets one).
  • On July 19, I posted about my vacation.  I lost my camera, but that didn't stop me from enjoying a great time with fellow bloggers Dustin (who's wedding we attended) and Andrew (who is one of my best friends).  I really enjoyed meeting these guys and we, as a family, had a great trip.  I also learned that it is a LONG freaking drive from Memphis, Tennessee to Winterville, North Carolina.  Next trip we take, I'm flying, dammit.
  • On August 17, I got the pieces in place to begin my next vintage set, 1967 Topps.  I look back on some of the vintage sets I completed and wonder "how did I even start this one", well, it is really easy to pinpoint where I started this one.  Thanks Rob!
  • On September 16, for the first time in 17 years, the Orioles earned the AL East Championship.  This was such an awesome moment for me, since I was a senior in high school the last time the Orioles were on top of the AL East.
  • On October 3, 2014, Chris and I attended our first MLB Playoff game when the Orioles defeated the Tigers in front of a packed house at Camden Yards.  I still get chills when I watch the video of Delmon Young hitting the go-ahead three run double.  Oh man, that was so amazing.
  • On October 15, I broke the "No Crying in Baseball" rule when the Orioles were eliminated by the Royals.  I'm over it now, and I'm still happy for my friend, Jack, who was able to attend a couple World Series games in Kansas City.  He even sent me a Royals Rally Towel from the World Series that I will keep in my collection forever.  He didn't have to get it for me, and I know he wasn't rubbing it in my face.  He was just being a good friend, giving me a little piece of the World Series, since I couldn't yet experience it for myself.
  • On October 17, Brian Roberts announced his retirement.  This was big for me, because I was able to experience his entire career.  From his call-up in 2001, to his final game in 2014, I was a big Roberts fan.  I have packed up my Roberts PC, but he will always have a special place in my collection.  Thanks for the memories, Brian.
  • On November 18, I posted about a trade I completed with Noah.  This trade was right at the beginning of our group Skype forums, along with Scott F., Max, Michael and Caleb.  I don't know what I would do without these guys.  Yes, I do, I would get more work done, haha, seriously though, I appreciate the guys letting me be a part of their group, letting me be the "parent" of the group, and keeping everyone in line.
  • On December 3, longtime Oriole Nick Markakis left the O's to sign with the Braves.  I was a bit sad when it happened, then, later, we found out that Nick was to have corrective spinal surgery for a herniated disc.  While the Braves feel confident that he will be fine, the O's erred on the side of caution, knowing all too well that the spinal fusion surgery isn't always successful.  Sad to see Nick go, but I think it was necessary, at the price he was getting from Atlanta.
So, 2014 was a pretty good year, I think.  I'm glad I was able to meet up with fellow bloggers Scott, Ryan, Dustin and Andrew during the year.  Each of those guys is a good friend of mine and I know we will keep in tough throughout 2015.  Now, to close things out with my goals for 2015:

  1. Add 10 more baseballs to my Hall of Fame ball collection.  This would put me at 117 to close the year.  This, obviously can be done, so I will tackle this number again in 2015.
  2. Acquire 5 cards from my Top 10 wishlist.  The wishlist will be updated tonight to include new cards, as well as the 5 holdovers from 2014.
  3. Attend the 2015 National Sports Card Convention in Chicago, IL.  Yes, this is a sneak peek at my vacation plans for 2015.
  4. Do a better job of keeping track of and responding to blog related emails that I receive.  I have tried really hard to continue trade discussions with folks who have emailed me, and I intend to continue to do so, but I know a few have fallen through the cracks.  For that, I apologize.  Please keep on me about it, and I will make trades and such happen.
  5. Meet and complete trades with 10 new people that I haven't talked to before today.  I think Instagram and the blog will help me with that, for sure.
  6. Continue to add to and expand my spreadsheet on google docs showing the cards I have so it is easier for folks to see which cards I already have.  I have Chris Davis, Nolan Reimold and most of my Brooks Robinson PC added and maintained.  This should help tremendously with trading.
  7. Complete the 1948 Bowman and 1959 Topps sets.
  8. IF 1948 and 1959 are completed, start one 50's set and one 60's set (1967).
  9. Complete the 1994 Topps, 1997 Topps, 2012 Topps Update, 2014 Topps Update and 2014 Topps Chrome sets.
  10. If 1994 is complete, start the 1995 set.
Thanks so much for sticking around for this mega-long blog post.  Thank you to all of my friends and family who read this blog and stay interested in what I'm doing with my hobby.  It means the world to me, and I love you all for wanting to be a part of it.  Thanks again, God bless, and to all, have a safe, healthy and happy New Year!

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