Friday, July 27, 2012

Do Olympic Cards Belong in a Team Collection?

With the London Olympics starting up, it reminded me of an important question. Do I put cards of players shown as members of Team USA in my Red Sox collection?

This wouldn’t be a big deal were it not for two players. Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek. They are both major Red Sox stars. If you made an all-time Red Sox team, they would both be on it…probably as starters. They both started their careers with the Sox. Nomar was drafted by the Sox. Varitek made his ML debut with Boston, and never wore another uniform. I’m not talking about Tino Martinez in a Cardinals collection. These are Red Sox players. Unquestionable.

But, not on their rookie cards. Ordinarily, that would be an obvious reason for exclusion. I don’t have any David Ortiz rookie cards in my Red Sox binders. (Or anywhere else in my collection, for that matter.) He’s not a Red Sox player on his rookies. Bleh. That’s clearer though. There’s he is on his card looking at me from his Twins uniform. It just shouts out at you as being wrong.

Varitek and Nomar are different. It’s not a card of another Major League team. Is it more similar to a minor league team? I have Nomar minor league cards in my Red Sox collection. Of course, they were Red Sox minor league affiliates. So, they were clearly Red Sox Organization cards. Not quite the same.

It’s probably closer to a college card. Since both of them were at Georgia Tech at the time, that’s the team they were on. Would I put other college cards on my Red Sox collection? I have. I grabbed a Mo Vaughn card from his Cape Cod League days, and it resides in my Red Sox binder. Although, that’s really a remnant from a Mo Vaughn player collection that has since dissolved. The card was too neat not to hold onto. But, it does give me a precedent…sort of.

So, what’s the standard practice? Do Olympic cards make it into a team collection? Does the player matter? Does the timing of the Olympic appearance matter? Does anything else?

Can I have a 1992 Topps Red Sox collection without two all-time greats? 


  1. I'd say as long as they're not pictured in a competing team's uniform, go for it. So this would rule out the other 29 MLB teams and maybe their minor league affiliates, but not independent league teams or Olympic cards.

  2. I say you get the rookies of your favorite players no matter what the uniform is. It reminds you of how they got to your team. It's the one exception I make as a team collector.

  3. For what it's worth, and being exclusively a fellow Sox collector, both of those cards ARE in my collection.

    I think the Team USA cards are kinda neat, the "best of the best" sort of thing.

    That said, most of them are located in my "players by name" binders, the ones that I don't have enough of a certain product to finish the team sets, and not the "completed team sets by year" binders. If that makes sense, lol.


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