Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Theme Week: Better Know a Blogger (Mark from Collector's Crack)

Welcome to Better Know a Blogger Theme Week (week 2) here at Nachos Grande.  About a week or so ago, I put out a call to any interested bloggers to answer a short questionnaire that I had prepared.  The goal of the questionnaire is for all of us to get to better know some of the various personalities on the blogs!  I hope you find this Theme Week as much fun as I did - and hopefully you'll learn something about your fellow bloggers as the week progresses!

Before I get to today's Better Know a Blogger, I would be remiss if I didn't wish my younger brother a happy birthday!

1. Your name (or alias):  Mark E. aka cynicalbuddha
2. Your blog website:  Collector’s Crack, The Yount CollectorThe Rollie Fingers Collector,
3. What kind of collector do you consider yourself (team collector, player collector, set collector, etc.). Why do you collect that way?
I consider myself all the above.  I collect Brewers and Packers team sets. I’ve loved putting together my Topps Baseball and Football flagship sets and really enjoy Allen and Ginter.  I also have some great player collections, mainly Robin Yount, Rollie Fingers, Brett Favre, Frank Thomas, and Reggie Jackson.
4. In your opinion, what could the major card companies (Topps, Panini, etc.) do to make your style of collecting better for you?
I think the worst thing that’s happened to the industry is the advent of exclusivity.  In the end it might be the undoing of the hobby.  The other thing is this shift to more high end sets. I keep hearing from Topps and Panini we need to get kids more interested in collecting, but everything I see them doing is contrary to that.  Most adult collectors have a hard time paying $100 for one pack of cards let alone kids.  And while stickers are fun and cheap I don’t see that leading kids back to the hobby.  I really miss the day when companies would put out more than one set per sport that I wanted to collect.  Sure I’ll grab singles and team sets for most issues, but that doesn’t make me want to buy packs.
5. What is your favorite part of your collection?  This could be one specific item, or a binder of cards, etc.
I think the favorite part of my collection is my Robin Yount player collection.  It’s something that thanks to finding eBay in 2002 has really become a focal point to my collecting and my interest in the hobby in general.  This year alone Robin has 226 cards (that includes all the parallels and super rare cards) issued for him.
6. Most of us have a favorite song that we like for no good reason – heck, it might even be embarrassing.  Do you have a favorite baseball card that might fit that bill?  
My secret shame is my love off the oddball sets. Specifically the non-sports sets, especially the late 80’s and early 90’s stuff.   Movie cards, TV shows, comic cards, military (Gulf War) stuff, Garbage Pail Kids, that kind of thing.  Stuff you found for 25 cents a pack at the gas station, love that stuff and thanks to Topps overproducing almost everything from that time period it’s all still really cheap.
7. If you were forced to part with your entire collection except for one card, which card would you keep?
I think that would have to be my first Robin Yount rookie card I ever owned.  For me growing up a Brewers and Yount fan that was my holy grail and back in the last 80’s his and George Brett’s 1975 Topps cards were going for $200-250 way out this kids league, but I remember being at a card show on base over in Germany and meeting a guy who sold me Yount’s rookie for a price I could afford.  Sure the card wasn’t near mint, heck even now it’s not even the nicest Yount rookie in my collection, but it definitely holds the most sentimental value.
8. Many of the blogs (including my own at times) seem to decry Topps’ lack of vision and creativity.  Can you think of something creative that could be done for an upcoming card set?  
I think the first thing Topps and Panini need to do is scrap their set formulas. Especially for Topps flagship baseball.  If you look back at the set since the Eisner group took over in 2008 it’s been almost a carbon copy of inserts.  Sure the theme and designs change, but it’s been practically the same set over and over again.  Panini is guilty of this too not just year to year, but during the year a lot of its sets look alike, same numbering, same checklist, same rookie insertion, same lame cropped player put on generic foil card back ground.  I think Panini needs to start trying to make its own brands too, not just relying on its legacy of brands that it acquired when it bought Donruss.
9. What is your profession?  How did you end up there?  If you are in school, what do you plan to major in and/or what job do you hope to get after graduating?  
I’m a habitat biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  I moved up to Alaska back in 1998 after I graduated from college to work as a Fisheries Observer out on commercial fishing boats and have been up here ever since.
10. What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?  Why?  
That’s a tough one. If I had to pick a place overseas I’d say Thailand was hard to beat.  If I’m talking about the US it’s a toss up between the Grand Canyon and the North Slope of Alaska.  But all three have the same why, all are absolutely beautiful.
11. Many of us have favorite foods or customs that are somewhat local to where we live.  Do you have any such things that you particularly love?  A website link to specific products would be spectacular.  
Up here in Alaska and especially in Anchorage nothing is bigger than the winter carnival Fur Rondy and the Iditarod sled dog race.  It’s a great break in the long dark winter and really a lot of fun. I know most people don’t think of visiting Alaska in the winter time, but the end of February first part of March are a great time to be up here.
12. Do you have any other hobbies besides card collecting?  
I have a large comic collection, but I wouldn’t say I’m a current collector of the funny books.  I also collect elongated pennies, Lego minifigures, $1 casino chips and patches.
13. Tell me something interesting about yourself (that we haven’t covered in the first twelve questions).
I have a large garden in my backyard and 5 chickens.  And I blog about all that too, from time to time.

As always, a big "thank you!" to our latest volunteer Mark in my Better Know a Blogger series!  Mark certainly has a ton of blogs that he writes - I have no idea how he finds the time to keep them all up-to-date.  Heck, I know I have enough trouble with two blogs (this one plus my LEGO blog).

Speaking of LEGO, Mark and I have completed a number of trades that have involved LEGO in some shape or form.  You can actually add another blog to Mark's list - his LEGO blog is always worth a read.

Mark's baseball answers were right on the money for me.  I think he's absolutely correct in that the major card companies need to keep kids in mind (and not just with stickers or fake tattoos).  I remember being a kid and being wowed by stuff that Pacific put out - it wasn't necessarily for kids...but it was bright, shiny, and different!  Seriously, a Christmas tree ornament in a pack of cards?  Right on.  Topps, Panini, et al. need to work on that.

I also have to say that I'm intrigued by the fact that Mark is a biologist working in Alaska.  I knew he lived in Alaska thanks to my semi-regular mailings to the great northern state (and one of the few states I've never been to I might add).  I did not know what he did though...and it's of particular interest to me since my youngest brother is currently in graduate school working on his master's degree in Biology!

Thanks for the thoughtful answers Mark - and as I've been saying for awhile now, there's still plenty more episodes of Better Know a Blogger coming up soon!

4 comments:

Tony L. said...

Great read, as always. Since Mark is the more established Robin Yount collector on the web, it was an even better read for me!

Joe Frecker said...

All of these profiles have been interesting, especially to a blog reader with no blog himself. Chris, do you or any of these other "set collectors" need a partial set of 1989 Topps or 1990 Fleer? If so, contact freckerj(at)xavier(dot)edu

cynicalbuddha said...

Hey I'm famous! Yeah starting that many blogs was a terrible idea. Except for maybe my Yount and Minifigure blogs, I'm really starting to like those more and more. And I have to say I'm really enjoying this series. Great idea Chris!

Mark Hoyle said...

Great interview. These are very interesting

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