Monday, August 29, 2016

The 20-Year Checklist: 7th Inning Stretch Update

Some of you may remember I began a difficult project last year with a very precise deadline. I challenged myself to complete the once-impossible-seeming Beckett Ken Griffey, Jr. Tribute checklist from 1996, and I gave myself until December 31st, 2016 to do it. The year is definitely winding down, so I figure it’s time for a progress report.

When I started I noted that there were 727 cards on this list (I was counting check boxes) when in actuality there are 769 total cards. So my figure of 570/727 or 78.4% should have read 570/769 which in actuality put me at 74%.

Luckily that didn’t matter much as I’ve made a ton of progress (more than someone with a newborn ought to). I’ve been keeping up with new Griffey adds on COMC, and I kept a very detailed list of eBay followed searches. The result is that I am now a whopping 96% complete the full list.

I have full-page scans at the bottom of this post if you're curious...

Look at all those checked boxes!

There are only 28 cards left to get over the next 4 months and 2 days. That’s 124 days or one Griffey every 4.43 days. While I do have leads on a half dozen or so of the remaining Griffeys, and none of those I need are particularly expensive, some of them are proving rather tough to find. Here are the real bears of the final 28:

From eBay

I expect this to be the most expensive card left to get. There are estimated to be about 700 of them floating around, and in 1994 numbers that’s a damn small amount. The only one I’ve seen available is a PSA 10 on eBay for $325.00. I’m going to hold off on that and try for a loose one.

The one I have

At 1:36 packs and in a checklist of 450 cards, pulling an AP of one of the four Griffeys from ’95 Pinnacle was a rare feat. I’ve got the base card which is historically the priciest of Junior’s cards within a given parallel. The other cards are two checklists (one of which has three other popular players on it) and the totally badass Swing Men subset. We’ll just see how this one pans out.

The much easier-to-come-by silver versions

If I had to guess what the final holdout is going to be, I would guess one or all of these (the Gold versions, I mean). The most annoying thing – they’re just game cards. As baseball cards there’s nothing especially great about them (the back is contest rules for goodness sake). They’re not even super expensive – they’re just super scarce. I suspect I’m one of the only idiots looking for them.

Parallels like these are proving to be some of the toughest gets. Take the 1996 Ultra Gold Medallions, for example.

This was the year Gold Medallions really started to mean something. What’s silly about this is that I already have what is far and away the toughest one to find: the 1:2440 pack Hitting Machines insert (not on the list, but come on). The rest of these pale in their relative rarity. Really, it’s not even close; and yet it’s these significantly easier finds that I’m having the hardest time tracking down.

On the other end of the spectrum are a handful of cards that are not particularly rare at all – it’s just that nobody is bothering to sell them.

This O-Pee-Chee redemption jumbo is one of them. I already have several of the much rarer gold foil version, but the crappy regular has been eluding my collecting crosshairs all year. I suspect someone out there has it and isn’t bothering to sell it because they figure it’s not worth the effort.

Then there’s the 1994 Upper Deck Jumbo Checklist #4. Look on eBay and there are dozens of every other card in this 4-card checklist…well, checklist. But #4? There is only one, and dude wants thirteen bucks plus seven bucks shipping. He’s dreaming.

And the 1995 Stadium Club #521 Extreme Corps 1st Day Issue! GAH! Now 1st Day Issue parallels have never been particularly easy to find, but I have literally every other 1st Day Issue card from every other year including the more expensive base cards, and this parallel I’ve never cared for is the one giving me trubs.

Don’t let these cards fool you, though. While it’s true that numerically this project has been a rousing success (I’ve averaged one new Griffey from the list per 3.4 days, which is ahead of my original goal of one per 3.5 days), what those numbers don’t take into account is that the remaining checklist is the most challenging part. Which brings us to prediction time.

Refractors! Finally knocked these out just this month...

Will I be able to finish this thing off? Honestly? Probably not. The numbers may look favorable in black and white, but the truth is that with every card I land the average scarcity of the remaining cards goes up dramatically. If I had a few more months I would be more optimistic. I just don’t think I’m going to be able to find every single one in this final stretch. It won’t be for lack of trying, but I cannot control the supply.

The last of the '95 Select Artist's Proof Parallels! I was
beginning to lose hope for this one...

On the other hand, will I ever finish the list? Yes, I will. Regardless of whether I get past the finish line before my self-imposed deadline, I am confident it can be done. It may end up being a 21, 23, or even 40-year checklist; but dammit, I’m going to make it happen in my lifetime. Then I’m going to rent a time machine (cheaper than buying), go back to 1996, and show 15-year old me that it is, indeed, possible. I’ll also show him how bald he is going to get. It’ll be a bittersweet day for him, that’s for sure.

Here's the remaining list which I pretty much have memorized now:

1. 1993 Finest All-Star Jumbos #110
2. 1993 Upper Deck Iooss Collection #WI13 Jumbo
3. 1994 Collector’s Choice #634 Up Close & Personal Gold Signature
4. 1994 O-Pee-Chee All-Star Redemptions #8 Jumbo (regular non-foil)
5. 1994 Signature Rookies Flip Cards Signatures #AU5 /500 (w/ Craig and Ken auto)
6. 1994 Signature Rookies Flip Cards Signatures #AU4 /1000 (w/ Ken, Sr. auto)
7. 1994 Signature Rookies Flip Cards Signatures #AU6 /500 (w/ Ken, Sr and Jr. auto)
8. 1994 SP Holoview #12 Red
9. 1994 Upper Deck All-Star Jumbos Gold #1
10. 1994 Upper Deck All-Star Jumbos Gold 125th Anniversary
11. 1994 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Checklist Jumbos #4
12. 1995 Collector’s Choice You Crash the Game #CG8A 7/2 Gold
13. 1995 Collector’s Choice You Crash the Game #CG8B 8/24 Gold
14. 1995 Collector’s Choice You Crash the Game #CG8C 9/15 Gold
15. 1995 Collector's Choice SE #261 Checklist Gold Signature
16. 1995 Donruss #340 Press Proof
17. 1995 Pinnacle #304 Swingmen Artist's Proof
18. 1995 Pinnacle #447 CL Artist's Proof
19. 1995 Pinnacle #450 CL Artist's Proof (w/ Bagwell, Piazza, Thomas)
20. 1995 Score #447 Platinum
21. 1995 Score Rules #SR1 Jumbo
22. 1995 Stadium Club #521 Extreme Corps 1st Day Issue
23. 1995 Upper Deck #100 Electric Diamond Gold
24. 1995 Upper Deck Predictor #R45 RBI Leader
25. 1996 Collector's Choice #310 Gold Signature
26. 1996 Ultra Home Run Kings #6 Gold Medallion
27. 1996 Ultra Power Plus #3 Gold Medallion
28. 1996 Ultra Prime Leather #6 Gold Medallion



I'll continue logging my progress with the list via the "Official Griffey Want List" tab at the top of this page, even if it takes us into 2017 (which is pretty likely at this point). Here are the full-page scans of the want list at the time of this post.

Fifteen-year-old me is excited out of his mind.

Thanks for reading!

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