The modern hobby is a complicated beast, with parallels and fancy card finishes and 1/1 cards and relic cards and, in general, so many nooks and crannies it will make your head spin.
I don’t pretend to understand all the nuances of the new-card market, though maybe I’ll get there someday.
And, while all that whiz-bang might be dizzying, the sheer volume of choices just about guarantees you’ll find something that appeals to you if you pick around long enough.
For oldsters like me, one of the really fun aspects of opening a pack of cards from the last twenty years or so is that you might find just about any player inside thanks to all of the throwback issues and inserts that have popped up over the years.
That includes legends of the game from my childhood and before, making the new cards feel like home. And, of course, sets like Topps Heritage and Archives even roll out some of the designs we remember.
One marriage of old and new that I came across recently is the 2013 Topps Museum Collection Al Kaline card.
Find 2013 Topps Museum Collection on eBay (affiliate link)
Find 2013 Topps Museum Collection on Amazon (affiliate link)
Kaline, of course, is Mr. Tiger, having graced the Detroit outfield for two decades.
And the 2013 Topps Museum Collection?
Well, that’s a sequel to the 2012 issue of the same name, itself a continuation of the 2011 Marquee set.
Each of these was a 100-card issue released only to hobby outlets and featuring greats from the (then) present and past.
The Museum Collection was all about the chase, as each box contained four packs, each offering up five cards. And inside each was either an autograph or relic card — hunks of jerseys or game equipment.
There were parallel sets, too — Green, Red, Copper, and others.
While those chase cards grabbed all of the limelight, that left a lot of “common” base cards to languish on the secondary market, which they have for the most part. Today, you can find Kaline and most of the other dudes in this set for around a buck each, provided you’re not looking for a flashy parallel and are content with a raw copy.
For me, these cards call to mind the designs of 1940 Play Balls or 1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes — a decent amount of design elements, but done in an understated way and with subdued coloring.
Add in solid photography, impeccable player selection, and cheap prices (again, for the base sets), and you have “new” baseball cards even old dudes like me can understand…and appreciate.
Holiday Hobby Hots
Of course, if you want a true Al Kaline “relic,” you won’t do much better than a real game-used bat, like this one offered up on eBay …
Check out the full eBay listing here (affiliate link).