Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My HOF Binder

I've been slowly procuring cards for my Hall of Fame Binder for about two years now. Usually when I go to a card show I'm hyper-focused on the following three items:

  1. Checklist of cards to finish a set
  2. Cheap trade fodder
  3. If room in my budget remains, then a couple of vintage cards for the HOF Binder
I've reached the point where I have a card to represent 93% of the players enshrined in Cooperstown. Part of the fun is trying to "upgrade" cards when and where I can. Upgrades can be a tricky thing, thus I have my set checklist on my phone at all times so I can cross check details when needed. Here's an example of a "busy" section of my checklist.
 Red is bad as it means I need a card of that player.  Orange denotes I have a card, but it's a modern day card and I'd really prefer a card from the player's playing days, which are mentioned in the far right column. Names highlighted in yellow are of players who I should be able to find a vintage card to upgrade with, for the right price of course. Green. Green is good! It means I either have a vintage card or I'm just happy to have a card in general, like Leon Day's 1993 Ted Williams Card Company baseball card. 

Vintage is wonderful, but prices for middle to high grade vintage are not. Long ago I accepted pin holes, paper loss, fading, rounded corners and creases into my collection. For instance, my 1960 Topps Stan Musial is beat to hell, but I got it for a price I could afford and I couldn't be happier. It's mine and I LOVE it. Someday I'll add a Mickey Mantle to this collection... it would merit a grade of -3 from PSA or Beckett, but it'll be mine! lol

I don't have many rules for my collection, but I do have some preferences:
  • Vintage whenever possible.
  • Players in uniform with the team they represent in Cooperstown, when possible. There's a column for "team" in my spreadsheet, but I didn't include that in the above picture.
  • I love cards with full career stats, but I also seek out rookie cards and earlier cards of players during their younger years. Yes, these two things are mutually exclusive. I'm a complex man.
  • I'd prefer that no two cards on any given page are from the same set. This is a tough one to follow for some pages depending on the players and their place in the baseball card world.
So, with out further adieu, I give you the first of look at my Hall of Fame binder. 
Most of the players on this binder from childhood have plaques in Cooperstown, so I thought it was the perfect fit.

Here's page #1.
I have placeholders for the years the players were elected. This allows me to add cards for new electees at the back of the binder and I don't have to reshuffle cards if I were sorting alphabetically by last name or some other method. 

1994 UD - Diamond Legends, #174 -- Ty Cobb
I'm pretty content with this card.

1996 UD Collector's Choice, #502 -- Walter Johnson
Another card I'm very happy with. 

1960 Fleer, #2 -- Christy Mathewson
 For the record, I'm ecstatic about finding this 1960 Fleer card in the dollar bin at a card show. It's not a T206, but it's still pretty sweet!

2011 Topps - 1932 U.S. Caramel Reproduction -- Babe Ruth
I'd like to upgrade this Ruth card if possible. Let me be very clear here: I will NEVER own a vintage card of Babe Ruth, but something that looks old-timey and has full career stats would be nice. 

2010 Topps - Vintage Legends Insert -- Honus Wagner
 This Honus Wagner really bothers me. I love the color photo and the full stats on the back, but the modern day look to the card clashes with Honus. Honus wears high socks... modern is not his thing.

1992 Conlon, #528 -- Nap Lajoie
 Conlon is nice, but a bit over represented in my binder.

2003 UD SP Legendary Cuts, #122 -- Tris Speaker
I'd like to find another card of Speaker as I'm not a fan of the design and he looks to be at the back end of his career. 

So, there we go. The first installment of my new HOF Binder Series. My goal is to continue to post a page each week until I finish with page 37 or 38 in September. 

I hope you'll enjoy this closer look at one of my favorite binders!


  1. That looks like a really fun project! It might be hard to find one from his playing days, but Ruth is still featured prominently in vintage sets - The 1962 Topps set, has that subset, for instance, that might be both affordable and hit the eye appeal.

    Conlon collection is certainly the easy way out for some guys, but at the same time, you know that the picture will be among the best available from that era.

  2. Hey, I have that exact same binder! As far as the binders themselves go, it's easily my favorite out of the ones I own.

    I'm a big fan of this project, and I can't wait to read the rest of your posts! I especially like the placeholders for each HOF class, as I constantly seem to discover guys who were either inducted way earlier or way later than I would've thought.

  3. This is a good idea for a binder. I've been kind of dumping all vintage HoF cards into a binder as a way of showing samples of sets without having to think too hard but I like the idea of picking just one and going by induction year.

  4. Like everybody else who has commented so far, I love this project, and am very glad that you're finally showing the pages.

    And I agree with Brian about the '62 Ruth's, you'd have multiple options there, I'm partial to card #138 myself. As for Tris, he has some affordable options in both the 1961 Fleer, and 1961 Golden Press sets (so does Honus).

  5. You are much more methodical about it than me! I started one for my son a long time ago, and it was supposed to have 1 card of each player...but has turned into much more than than that in terms of quantity.

  6. Very cool project... and great use of that awesome Topps binder.

  7. Love the HOF binder idea. Have the exact same project in progress. And yes thank god for Conlon.

  8. I'm new-ish the HOF area of collecting and having a lot of fun building this out. I haven't really dipped too far back in time yet unless I already had a player's card from earlier in my collecting. Thanks for sharing this; it's instructive to see how others are doing it.

  9. This is a great project, thanks for showing it off!