It was my freshman year of college in the spring of 1988.  I walked to a local convenience store to purchase a few necessaries.  While I was checking out, I noticed a box of Topps baseball cards on the counter.  I could not resist.  With the exception of one pack in the spring of 1986, I had not purchased baseball cards since 1981.  That was the year that the New York Yankees lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

I spent the entire summer of 1988 completing that set.  It was the first set that I ever completed.  The years that followed produced a rise in the interest of collecting baseball cards.  Sports collectors conventions abounded.  Unfortunately, many of the baseball cards produced during those years are worthless today.  My entire collection was placed in my son’s closet, never to be thought of again.

I purchased my first pack of baseball cards in 1978.  It was the year after Reggie Jackson’s historic World Series performance.  Like most kids, I stored my baseball cards in shoeboxes, and flipped them against my classroom walls.  Needless to say, they never survived.  So when I saw that Mickey Rivers was doing a signing for Steiner Sports many years later, I did not hesitate.  I immediately purchased his 1978 Topps baseball card, and sent it in.

Mickey Rivers is one of my childhood favorite Yankees.  I could not resist having him sign a 1978 Topps baseball card.  The 1978 Topps baseball set is my personal favorite baseball card set of all time.

When I posted an image of my Mickey Rivers autographed baseball card on Autograph Live, Terrier commented on it.  “That was a great set,” he replied.  “I actually had the complete set autographed.”

I was impressed.  “Even Catfish and Martin and Munson?” I asked.  This gave me a great idea.  Why not have my 1988 Topps baseball set autographed by as many living players as possible?

"Even Catfish and Martin and Munson?"

The 1988 Topps baseball set presents some wonderful autograph opportunities for baseball autograph collectors.

Collecting those autographs has been a wonderful project.  I know that the set will never be completed, but it does not matter.  I also know that the money spent on the autographs will never be recovered.  I do not care.  It is a passion project of mine.  Many of us collect autographs without any consideration of their resale value.  Our money is not being wasted.  It simply means that we are spending our money on a hobby that we enjoy.  It does not matter what the resale value of my autographed baseball card collection is.  It’s my money.  I hope that many autograph collectors agree.

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Comment by Eric Keith Longo on September 30, 2019 at 4:53pm

I agree. It is the reason I cite for doing my own authentication. It is also where much of the fun is! 

Comment by terrier8HOF on September 30, 2019 at 4:54pm

Great blog Mike.......while I did have the complete 78 set signed, I did not put it together like you are doing with your 88 set.  The guy that got me into collecting autographs in 1978 is the one that put the set together.  It took him 10 years to complete.  He used to hand around the hotels and got many in person.  He also did TTM and the response back then was pretty strong.  Once he finished, he decided to sell it and I bought it from him.  Unfortunately I had to sell it ten years ago, a huge regret of mine. Good luck with the rest of the set!

Comment by Mike Shepherd on September 30, 2019 at 5:12pm

I am glad that you agree, Eric.  Investing takes all of the fun out of any hobby.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on September 30, 2019 at 5:13pm

Thanks, Terrier.  That was an amazing accomplishment.  The hobby has certainly changed since then, particularly with TTM autographs from baseball players.  I would love to see the autographed Catfish and Martin and Munson cards from that set now.  Thanks again for inspiring the idea.

Comment by Adam Halloran on September 30, 2019 at 5:45pm

Nice story! I agree completely. Life is short and you have to enjoy it, it doesn't have to be about resale value, but about the love of the hobby and sometimes sentimental value can't be replaced. 

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on September 30, 2019 at 6:02pm

I have found that collecting "wisely" (for me that is inside the personal parameters and criterion set forth in my "qualities" thread and the like) could be viewed as investment :) but not one I'd hang my only hat on.

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on September 30, 2019 at 6:22pm

Here is a link to the "Qualities" thread I just mentioned for anyone interested in adding to it/changing it - the last update. I will put it where it really belongs - my profile. So much has happened in my life since May 2018 it seems like 5 years.

On the Qualities of an Autograph (last rewrite)

When I can think more effectively I will get to the rewrite of this and the Jackie Gleason mega thread. :/ I can't work for extended periods of time so, since the end of last year, all I have been really able to do, other than the framing tips bit I wrote a couple of weeks ago, is help folks here as I can when I can. I enjoy this very much! I try to help at least one person a day :)

Comment by terrier8HOF on September 30, 2019 at 6:38pm

I remember each of those three cards vividly.  Hunter had a very messy signature back then. Barely legible. But he and Martin signed in the mail back then.  The Munson was a rushed version in blue sharpie.  No signature break between his first and last name. 
you are correct in that ttm was a great way to get autos back then. I did it for three years and got a great response in 79, somewhat less in 80 and much less in 81. I gave up after that. 

Comment by Mike Shepherd on September 30, 2019 at 7:02pm

Thanks, Adam.  My sentiments exactly.  Thanks for posting the link, Eric.  Great stuff, Terrier.  I am really glad that I revisited this topic with you.


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