Thursday, September 11, 2014

Collecting the Sox: Collegiate Cards

I have an  unopened set of 1992 Topps Traded in my card cabinet. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. After all, many collectors jumped on those sets when they came out for one big reason.

The Team USA cards.

Everyone missed the boat when  Topps released Olympic cards in 1985. We almost all had it figured out in 1988. By 1992, we knew what we were doing. So, I’m sure any number of you either had, or still have this set. The weird part is why I still have this set.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I keep cards for ten years. Well, I keep non-Red Sox, non-star cards for ten years. After a decade, they get cleared out to make room for the new releases. So, when the 2014 sets were released, out got the 2004. Some went to the Phillies Room, some went to other places. Some will find their way to the trash heap. (As few as humanly possible will end up there) So, why haven’t I opened up this set that’s more than 20 years old, taken the Red Sox and gotten rid of the rest?

Because of two cards I don’t know what to do with.

Two Team USA cards.

Of course, I’m talking about the cards for Jason Varitek and Nomar Garicaparra. Two Red Sox icons had their first cards in this set, as members of Team USA. I can’t decide whether or not to put them in my Red Sox binder, so I’m avoiding the issue. It was easier when Nomar was still on the Sox. As a Red Sox lifer, it was easy to include the Team USA in the binder for the only team he’d ever played for. But, that’s not true anymore. It’s not like the Red Sox could lay claim to every card he ever appeared on.The Varitek was even tougher, since he started with the Mariners organization. By rights anything before he was a pro should be a Mariner card, right? But it’s Tek! He’s the Captain. Does anyone think of him as anything but a Red Sox?

It’s not just those two who have questions in my collection. I have a Mo Vaughn card from his days in the Cape Cod League. Obvously, like Nomar, we was drafted by the Red Sox on his way to a stellar career in Boston. But, like Nomar, he then left. Played for a couple other teams. The Mo card used to be in my Red Sox collection. But now?

Obviously, if it’s a minor league card, it belongs to whatever organization the card is from. So, any Varitek minor league cards would not make my Red Sox collection. But, items from his college years are without official affiliations. So, it’s a judgement call. I just don’t know what that call is.

Would a college card make your team collection?


  1. It can, does, and has. Specifically, those two cards you mentioned. I too have a 1992 Traded set. Actually I have 2. One is un-opened, the other has those two cards pulled.

    I had the exact same dilemma. The only thing I could think of doing is starting a "player" binder. Like you, I collect mostly team sets. It didn't make sense to put Team USA cards, minor league cards, college cards, pre/post Sox cards in with my yearly/set collections. So, I started special player binders, just for my favorites. I only have a few, and a player collection (at least in my house) is reserved for only the truly special players. Nomar, Tek, Manny, Pedroia, Ortiz, and a small handful of others.

    Into those binders go two thing: Any dupes I have from my team sets and any pre/post Sox cards (at the front/back of the binder respectively). So, my Nomar binder starts with his two Team USA cards and covers everything through his Dodgers/A's days, up to the present.

    I knew I didn't want to get rid of those cards, I knew I didn't consider them "Red Sox" cards, and couldn't think of any other way to include them in my collection. So, "special collection" just kind of made sense.

  2. Oh, and if it makes it any easier, I haven't ever found an Varitek cards from his two years in the Mariner's minor leagues, I'm not sure any exist. :)

  3. I have both of them in the Sox collectin. As well as a few Cape league cards. Put it in with the Sox.

  4. College cards don't count for me.


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