Featured Cards: 1979 Topps Burger King Phillies #22, Greg Gross; 2004 Upper Deck R-Class #23, Kevin Millwood; 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot #98, Carlos Ruiz; 2007 Upper Deck/Majestic Phillies Alumni Night Vintage Phillies #VP-7, Garry Maddox; 1939 Play Ball #37, Virgil “Spud” Davis
Exactly one year ago, I started this blog in anticipation of adding the 14,000th Phillies card to my collection. My plans were to engage in the typical activity of most team-oriented baseball card blogs: share my collection, talk about my favorite sports team on the planet, tell some personal stories about how I compiled my collection, and offer up my opinions about new baseball card releases as they arrived. I feel comfortable with my progress on all those fronts, and I will continue to do those things.
However, I made a decision in the middle of February that completely changed the overall complexion of 14,000 Phillies, and I am happy I did so. One of the things that quickly frustrated me after actively returning to the hobby in 2009 after a six-year semi-hiatus — during which I still collected a few select sets and inserts, but overall didn’t pay much attention to the hobby as a whole or many of the developments in the industry — was the difficulty in finding the specific information I wanted about all the Phillies cards I missed out on over the years. Until my hiatus, I obsessively maintained a rather extensive series of Excel spreadsheets that cataloged both every Phillies card I owned and every other known Phillies card in existence. With the ridiculous number of sets and the even more ridiculous numbers of inserts and parallels of all stripes, I found it very difficult to fill in those gaps to my liking. Yes, there were numerous reliable sources to gather much of this information, but frequently I found the need to cross-reference to confirm information and even then occasionally I was unable to find the information I wanted.
This is what fueled my decision to create The Phillies Database Project. While virtually any collector can find online nearly all the information I’ve compiled, there’s no one source that contains all the pieces of information I assemble. If something like this is/was already being done for Phillies collectors, I couldn’t find it. I like the idea that I might be helping others by freely putting this information out there, in this format. Unfortunately, the Project is not a simple matter of just posting checklists online — while I do use templates, some of the HTML formatting and can be problematic and/or tedious. It’s going to be a long slog — especially given how quickly I have to work just to keep up with the new sets as they appear. However, I feel as though I’ve hit a comfort zone with the rate at which I post the checklists. That doesn’t mean I have any idea how long it will take before I have everything online. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to find that I am still playing catch-up when 2020 rolls around.
There is one additional slight change I am contemplating as to how I post the checklists, and it involves the “Additional Information” portion, wherein a try to give helpful information that might not be readily accessible to casual/new collectors. Thus far, I’ve mostly stuck to factual information and mostly avoided commentary. However, the posting of a checklist is often when I notice things about a set that strike me as worthy of comment. I could continue to just post those thoughts as separate posts, but I find intriguing the idea of inserting a new section in each checklist which I utilize just for that purpose. I would try to keep the commentary brief (no more than a few sentences), and if I am unable to do so, then I would likely separate it into its own post.
Finally, in a not entirely unforeseen coincidence, as of this afternoon my collection actually stands at 15,999 cards. I received card 14,000 in the mail on May 5, 2011 and there’s an incredibly good chance that 16,000 will arrive in the mail tomorrow. Yes, that will mean I added 2,000 cards to the collection in just one year. I attribute this mainly to the period where I took a far more low-key approach to collecting. Over the past year, I’ve been busily acquiring a significant number of cards issued from 2004 through 2009. In addition, I’ve been reacquiring a large number of vintage cards that I had to sell for financial reasons in 2004 and then in 2007. Keenly aware of the current count and the upcoming anniversary, I did increase my buying a little more than I should have over the past few weeks in an effort to make this happen. Now that it has, I plan on being content for the next few months with just keeping up new material. I blew the budget (by more than I care to admit) to make the 2,000-card mark for the year, so ratcheting back the spending is something of a necessity. That, however, will not have any impact on my ongoing work on The Database Project.
Tomorrow, provided it arrives in the mail, I’ll post card #16,000.