It turned out that I had ten different players that I'd accumulated at least a hundred cards each of within these first 30,000 overall cards. I figured it would make an interesting blog post, at least for me, to take a look at my ten most collected players to date. Let's see who made the list...
#10 - Mookie Betts - 109 Cards
I was somewhat surprised to see Mookie Betts sitting in 10th place, with 109 different cards. I don't really buy any modern unopened packs or boxes of cards these days, but Mookie was someone whom I'd seek out on COMC and other sites for a while there. Now that he's no longer with Boston I'd expect his total to stagnate somewhat, but at least he made triple digits before that happened.
#9 - Manny Ramirez - 110 Cards
Edging out Mookie Betts by a single card is slugger Manny Ramirez. He's a name I was not surprised to see on this list at all. Aside from his long stretch with the Red Sox, he was a hot rookie and young star with Cleveland in the prime of my childhood collecting. His number should go even higher when I get through cataloging the one last three-row monster box of cards still to be transitioned from Zistle to TCDB.
#8 - Wade Boggs - 114 Cards
Wait a sec...
#8 - Wade Boggs - 114 Cards
Ah, that's better. No shocker here. As one of the superstars of the Boston Red Sox throughout the junk wax era, Wade represented Boston in hundreds of sets. My collection of the contact-hitting specialist is varied, with a few real prize pieces (including his Topps RC from yesterday's post, and a sweet TTM autograph from his appearance on It's Always Sunny, courtesy of Gavin!).
#7 - Nomar Garciaparra - 119 Cards
Nomah was my favorite player from the mid-'90s through his departure in 2003. There are so many cards of Garciaparra out there it's not even funny. I wouldn't be surprised to find that I have over 200 Nomar cards by the time I get finished cataloging everything. Still grateful for every one that I get though! Seems like only yesterday I was batting tennis balls in the front yard pretending to be Garciaparra stroking them out of Fenway...
#6 - Dustin Pedroia - 122 Cards
I was very surprised that Dustin Pedroia made the countdown, and in 6th place no less! I really never search out cards of Pedey intentionally, so this is purely a result of my team-collecting habits combined with the fact that Pedroia was a star with Boston for so many years. This Bowman Chrome Bubbles Refractor is a real beauty though!
In case you haven't noticed, the entire first half of this list was comprised of guys who spent significant time with the Red Sox, but we'll get at least a little more varied from here on out.
#5 - Sergei Fedorov - 145 Cards
We take a big leap here, all the way up to 145 cards, for the 5th spot on the list. Sergei Fedorov was my favorite hockey player for a good portion of the '90s. Even though I was a die-hard Whalers fan, Fedorov was such a dynamic force that I just gravitated towards him. Still don't have an autographed card of #91, and they aren't all that prevalent. Someday...
#4 - Nolan Ryan - 149 Cards
No surprise to see Nolan Ryan make the list, in fact if anything I'd have assumed he'd be higher. I have one or two of those Pacific Texas Express sets composed entirely of Ryan cards that I still haven't processed yet, so it's conceivable he could rocket all the way up to the top spot someday, or at least come close. Nolan was my favorite baseball player from the time I first became a fan. When he retired Nomar Garciaparra took up that mantle.
#3 - Xander Bogaerts - 194 Cards
Next up, my current favorite player, for about the last six or seven years anyway. I've really enjoyed watching Xander Bogaerts progress as a player, and was fortunate enough to begin collecting him right at the outset of his career. I've already got enough Bogaerts cards to push him over the 200-card threshold, it's just a matter of how long it takes me to get around to scanning and cataloging them.
#2 - David Ortiz - 206 Cards
The only baseball player that I already have more than 200 cards of is David Ortiz. I'm willing to bet he's probably in the top ten for any Red Sox team collector by default. Big Papi's cards just seem to multiply in the monster boxes I store them in. He was (and still often is) in just about every set for a long while there. I've even got an online exclusive set featuring only Ortiz cards. I guess that's what happens when you experience a ton of post-season success and are regarded as one of the most clutch hitters in franchise history.
And now, the player who wins the gold medal for most cards in my collection. Drum roll please...
#1 - Wayne Gretzky - 223 Cards
The Great One. It should come as no surprise that he sits in the top spot as far as my collection goes. In my personal opinion he's the best player ever to lace up skates, though I understand that it's difficult to compare guys across eras and positions, like Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr.
I would wager without checking that Wayne has more hockey cards produced featuring his likeness than any other human being. I will never turn down a copy of a Gretzky card that I don't already own. I still have many of Wayne's cards from my childhood collection, and have continued to add to that over the years. I'm confident he'll be a top five player for me even once everything is cataloged.
So, those are my heavy hitters in terms of sheer number of cards. I'll probably showcase other players in the future as I hit 100 cards for them, in fact I've got about half a dozen hopefuls that are already within ten cards of the mark.
How about you, who are the most collected players in your collection?