As I have been organizing my card collection, I have been putting aside cards of players I have long admired and been a fan of. Some players I rooted for for years as I watched them play. Others I never seen play a down or hit a fastball, but I know of their exploits and became a fan by reading or watching video of them play.
With all the cards I've been putting aside, I soon realized that I need new binders, pronto!
So, what am I collecting these days?
Obviously, the main team I collect and will always collect are my beloved Yankees, I was a Yankee fan before the dynasty years, remained a fan when Donnie Baseball was the only reason to turn on WPIX to watch a game. If I collected nothing else, would still collect the Yankees.
Then there are my Jets. They stink, They can't seem to get any traction going as a franchise. For every step forward they make, they then take 2 steps backwards. I love this team. They are right under the Yankees in terms of my affections. I think if the Jets ever win a Super Bowl, I would break down and cry like a baby.
Next would be the Knicks. I've watched this team since Michael Ray Richardson played at the Garden and Hubie Brown was coach. I have seen such prolific scorers as Bernard King, Patrick Ewing and now, Carmelo Anthony wear the orange and blue. I have stuck by this team when they were terrible in the 80's and when I used to go to games and hear Fire Isiah chants. I have complete faith that Phil Jackson will build a winner and soon too,
Finally, is my Islanders, who are having a terrific season. They currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division behind the likes of John Tavares, Brock Nelson, Kyle Okposo, Jaroslov Halak and Frans Nielsen. I remember watching the likes of Clark Gillies, Billy Smith, Butch Goring, Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy winnnig 4 consecutive Stanley Cups. I think this team is going to be good for a long time.
Now, for the players I collect. I warn you, it's a long list.
One of my all time favorite Yankees and the Yankee I followed during the dynasty years, Tino was the first player I started collecting. 427 cards later, I am still collecting Tino. I see new cards all the time and I now will be able to start adding new Tino stuff to my collection. And yes, I do collect his Mariner, Cardinals and Rays cards also.
I have always like Teixeira from his days with the Rangers. I had wanted to collect his cards, but I held back because he wasn't a Yankee and he killed the Yankees with a home run one afternoon. But as soon as he signed to be a Yankee I was on eBay looking for his cards. Here's hoping he has a bounce back season in 2015. God knows we need him.
3- Derek Jeter
How can you not collect The Captain? This guy is our generations Joe Dimaggio. He always played the game the right way and won. My Jeter collection is also the largest player collection I have with over 550 different cards and counting. The Yankees are going to look so different next season without "El Capitan" at shortstop.
I have always been a Mickey Mantle guy. I just never really started a Mantle PC because I pay bills. Mantle cards are among the most expensive so, as much as I liked Mickey, I passed on starting a PC. Funny thing, as I was organizing my massive Yankees collection, I found inserts, Home Run cards, reprints, chrome cards and other goodies in my collection already, so I put them aside and voila, instant Mantle PC. Unfortunately, there will be no adding vintage Mickey Mantle cards to my collection anytime soon and that is fine with me. I am quite content in adding his newer cards to my PC. Just like the next guy...
My Clemente PC is the smallest one I have and that's only because I haven't actively searched out his cards, but that is going to change soon. Like Mantle, I cannot afford vintage Clemente, so I will make do with his newer cards. The one vintage I do want is his 1973 Topps card and that's only because I owned that card and had it stolen by a "friend". I will have it back one day.
Say what you want about Pennington. The fact remains he was a leader on the field and the guy won when he was healthy. Case in point, The Jets dump him in favor of Bret Farve and he goes on to win the AFC East as a member of the Miami Dolphins, which caused many a sleepless night. There was a time when all I did pick up was Pennington cards. I still do to this day.
As a Jets fan, collecting Broadway Joe is a must. Aside from the '65 Topps card, most vintage Namath is pretty affordable. I have a 2 vintage Namath pieces in my collection, the 1971 Topps game card and the 1971 Topps Pin ups mini poster (Thanks Mark). I will be looking to add more, Boy, I want that Namath Mego figure.
I have always loved the story of Chrebet making the Jets as an undrafted walk on. The only thing that went right during the Ritchie Kotite era, Chrebet would be an integral part of the Jets offense for years until he had to retire due to multiple concussions. Meeting Chrebet and having a small conversation with him while he signed my football was one of the highlights of my year.
Arguably the greatest Jet ever. The man was, in my opinion, one of the top 5 running backs to ever play the game. When the Jets stole C-Mart from the Patriots, I danced and I don't dance. I just started the Martin collection when I realized I had a lot of Curtis Martin cards. He was a player I really liked during his playing career, I had the cards, boom. Curtis Martin Collection.
You guys had enough? Or are you thirsty for more?
10- Patrick Ewing
My all time favorite Knick. I remember watching him play in Georgetown. Those Georgetown/St.John's games were wars and I remember Ewing being right in the middle of those games. When Dave Debusschere ( Another Knick I contemplated on collecting) banged his fist on the podium when the Knicks won the right to draft Ewing, I was ecstatic. During his time in NY, Ewing was the man. He should have at least 1 ring, but John Starks forgot how to hit a basket in that fateful Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals.
The Boss is my all time favorite hockey player, As a kid, I watched him score 50 goals in 50 games and win 4 straight Stanley Cups, I always felt he was just as good as Gretzky and may have come close to Gretzky's final goal total had Bossy's back not given out on him. One of my favorite memories was playing pond hockey as a kid with my Mike Bossy stick. I wish I still had that stick.
12- Martin Brodeur
After Bossy retired, I kinda lost interest in hockey. Marty bought me right back in. Watching a sniper shoot a puck at Brodeur and then seeing the look of disappointment on his face when Marty made an impossible save was pure enjoyment for me. I watched Brodeur win Stanley Cups like I had watched Bossy previously. I went to games just to watch Brodeur in net and I was at the game in which Marty became the NHL's All Time Winning Goalie, which was a thrill. Seeing Brodeur in a Blues uni is just not right to me, but I will still collect his cards.
13- John Tavares
The newest Islander star and the best damn hockey player in the Tri State area. Yes, I would take Tavares over Lundqvist. Tavares is going to be a superstar in the NHL once it's all said and done. My Tavares collection is small, but I have no doubt it will grow and grow quickly.
So, as you all can see I have gone completely mad. How can I expect to collect all these players AND the teams I collect? Well, that's the fun part. Trying to figure it all out. I will probably at some point have to drop a player or three. But I won't anytime soon, so let the card hunt begin!