Saturday, October 3, 2015

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Being original is difficult. Taking ideas and putting new spins on them is pretty hard too. If either originality or redefining old ideas were easy, the advertising industry would never make the money it does -- and even then, many ad campaigns are immediately either forgettable, unintelligible, or stick around for way too long.


A card collector putting together a collection of all the players who ever played for their favorite team is probably a concept as old as baseball cards themselves. Whether it is being an OCD-team-collector or a Frankenset creator of a team's all-time roster (and I know I am missing many, many other blogs outside of Night Owl and Tony Burbs), again, creating a complete team collection in whatever form is nothing new.

And still, I think I want to do one myself.

My "Meet the Brewers" series is one that appeals to the amateur historian in me. I especially enjoy finding out more about the lesser lights who made it to the major leagues -- guys like George Lauzerique and his opinions as a scout about John Elway and Manny Ramirez, for example. 

To go along with that series, I had to do a little research. Because I want to present the Brewers in the order they appeared for the team, I had to use Baseball Reference's boxscore information to create that information. Of course, since this is a baseball card blog, I then turn to my own collection to cards for each player.

For the first twenty-five years of the team's history, the Brewers have made that part of my story easy by issuing books of cards featuring every player ever to play for the team in a four-book series sponsored by Miller Brewing. I recently bought a second set of these four books on eBay so I could start my new project.

The first two books are sponsored officially by Miller Lite, and the third and fourth books are sponsored by Miller Genuine Draft.  I bought these for a total of $24 with shipping included. 

What I did next was basically to disassemble all four books.  The cards are all perforated, so to create my "Brewers in Order" book, they had to be taken apart.

I have put 1970 through 1976 into a binder already.  As you might expect, 1970 had a ton of Brewers debuts -- 45 in all.  When everyone on the roster is new to the team, well, that's what happens.

So, now, it's moving forward with putting this set in order.  After that, the real trick is going to be finding cards for the debutantes after 1994. For at least most of the time -- I think through about 2012 or so -- the Brewers and the local police departments continued to issue safety sets with the cards being in the standard 2.5" x 3.5" size.  

The problem here, though, will be twofold.  First, police sets after about 1995 or so are tough to find. I've got a set from 2000, and I have one from 2012. But, otherwise, it's been rough sledding.  So, that will be one issue.

The second issue, of course, is finding cards for the lesser lights and one-offs. Sure, some of these lesser guys were fancied as prospects for five seconds or so. As a result, I might be able to find them in Bowman sets.  But, finding cards for, say, Neal Cotts or Brooks Conrad as Brewers may be difficult to impossible.

I'll probably end up adopting similar rules to what Tony Burbs at Wrigley Roster Jenga has, preferring cards for the player being active and shown as a Brewer over those from the post-career cards showing the guys as Brewers, etc.  Those rules and the order of precedence for such cards make sense to me.  

It will be a fun project for me, and it will give me something more to do with the nearly 12,000 Brewers duplicate cards that I have already.


  1. I saw one of these books at the flea market a while back, but the guy wanted a lot for it. Whoever came up with this idea was a genius. I wish someone would do this for the Oakland A's. And who knows... maybe one day Miller Lite will end up printing an update set for Brewers fans.

    1. I'm hoping that day will come in 2020, when the team celebrates 50 years in Milwaukee. That would be great.

      As for the price of the sets, they vary wildly on eBay. This complete set was far more inexpensive than any of the previous books I've bought.