Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Digging into the Box II: The Many Ways to Skin a Cat

There's an old saying that goes something like "there's more than one way to skin a cat."  While the original meaning of the phrase (and how it came to be) is unknown to me, the sentiment definitely rings true whenever you are handed (or purchase) a box of cards.

For me, here are the various ways to "skin the cat."
1.  Open the entire box at once, ripping through packs like a kid on Christmas morning.
2.  Open a few packs a day, prolonging the experience
3.  Open one pack a day, turning a box into a month-long event

After figuring out how you want to open a box, you then have more ways to "skin the cat."
4.  Throw all the cards (minus hits/inserts/team or player collections) into a big pile
5.  Carefully sort and collate all the cards to collect
6.  Carefully sort cards by team for trade bait

So, by my count there are at least six different ways to skin a cat - at least if you define "cat" to be a box of baseball cards and "skin" to mean open.  Mathematicians love to make definitions like that so it's all good.

Anyhow, this all goes back to the giant box of cards that my brother recently sent me.  Granted, this wasn't a box in the sense of box full of unopened packs (though there are a few of those in the box), but rather, this was a box full of random cards.

Whenever I get something like that, I tend to gravitate towards option 2 and then option 5 in terms of how I want to skin the cat.  Thus, this is the third post (of quite a few I'd guess) where I show off some of the cards from the box.  This time around, I grabbed another small stack of cards (about 50) and decided to go through those and see what might show up!

As usual, I find countdowns to be the best way to tie together otherwise totally unconnectable cards, and so without further ado, here's the top 5 cards from this randomly selected stack (which ended up about 50% Reds and 50% other teams by the way).

#5:  1988 Topps Rookies:  Billy Ripken

An All-Star card of the "other" Ripken.  Poor Billy, he had no shot at fame and fortune when compared to his Iron Man brother.  He did get at least one Rookies insert card so there's that (and he also had a lovely error card that isn't safe for work - Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about).

#4:  Fleer Stickers (1990)

As a kid, I loved, loved, LOVED, getting stickers in my baseball card packs.  I used to stick these things everywhere - especially on this plastic "cabinet" that I had that I used to sort my cards by team.  I can still picture that thing covered in team stickers...though I no longer no what happened to the cabinet.  Maybe it's still residing in my parents' attic?  While I obviously like this sticker because it features the Reds' sweet running man logo, I also really dig the Astros' logo.  That's some quality that Houston should really bring back!

#3:  Chad Krueter

This card doesn't mean a heckuva lot to me, but it did catch my eye because of the apparent United States flag lying on the ground behind Krueter.  As I look at the card more and more, I can't decide it the flag is actually some sort of design on the on deck circle or if it's an actual flag.  I also can't tell if this card is a canned shot (which would support the whole US flag on the ground theory) or actually from game action (in which case it must be the on deck circle design).  Either way, a card of an otherwise forgettable player made me pause and take notice so it's a winner in my book!

#2:  Barry Larkin

Anytime I get a Larkin card, I'm happy - though this one didn't finish #1 in the countdown since I actually own it already (and, in fact, I've written about it in my ongoing Barry Larkin Collection).  Even so, it's a fun card that was designed to be part of some sort of game that Upper Deck concocted.  Maybe someday I'll take the time to try and see if I can track down the rules of that game...not today though!

#1:  Billy Hamilton 2014 Topps

Other than 2014 Topps Heritage, I've steered clear of all 2014 cards this year!  As such, getting the Reds from this year's set is a great thing for me!  I chose Hamilton to be the poster boy for my 2014 Reds' collection since he pretty much sums of the Reds thus far...  Plenty of potential but nowhere near enough offense to actually be a good team thus far.  I do like that Topps' rookie card photo for Billy has him stealing a base, there couldn't possibly be a better image for Hamilton!

That's it for this dip into the gigantic box of cards.  I am curious though how you all choose to skin your (baseball) cats.  Do you rip through everything at once?  Do you set some aside for later?  What's your plan of attack?


Tony L. said...

I follow the golfer's version of opening baseball cards -- Grip it and Rip it. I open them all up, look through each pack, and stack them up as I go. I pull my Brewers out in my first rip and set them aside, then the second time through is to sort them into teams, put the inserts into top loaders and sort by team, and scan anything I find interesting. I haven't gotten to the point of where I scan everything.

TTG said...

That's the Twins' logo in that on-deck circle, isn't it?

View From the Skybox said...

I usually rip 75% of the packs, then guilt myself into leaving the rest. I hate opening those last packs because they're like a security blanket. I have a weird fear of having the itch to rip wax and not having anything to rip.

AdamE said...

I would put everything else in life on hold until I went through the whole box.

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