Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Post That Has Been Waiting For A While

Back in August, I posted about how my one-bedroom apartment is not conducive to a baseball card collection. I asked for input on how everyone stores their collection, and this turned into a contest, asking other bloggers to post about their card room. Finally, I asked my readers to read these posts and vote on their favorite.

P-Town Tom won the contest! He was slightly more excited to win my contest than he was to see the Cubs win the World Series (at least, that's what I tell myself). Tom's room is great, as were the other contestants. This was probably my most popular post!

A few weeks later, I asked Tom a series of questions about his "card cave" (see what I did there?!). I did so with the intention of starting a new series on my blog. That didn't happen - at least, not yet. I would love to do it, I just haven't had the opportunity.

Regardless, I want to share that information with you now! Also, be sure to read all the way through. I have information about a new contest after Tom's tour!!!

Your name: Tom Olson

Blog Handle: P-town Tom

Your blog (with address): Waiting ‘til Next Year…  (http://tilnextyear-tom.blogspot.com/)

A little bit about you:  I’m a high school math teacher and coach of a junior high girls softball team in the fall and varsity boys baseball in the spring. I’m very much a numbers guy and a bit of a neat freak. I’m more of an introvert with my personal life and sure-fire extrovert at work. I love pizza, craft beer, being active and anything that has to do with baseball.  No kids, but my loving wife and I share a house with three cats.

Why/when did you get into collecting?  Once upon a time there was a ten year old boy who was invited to his best friend's birthday party.  Each guest was given a brown paper bag fun of trinkets from the local dollar star as a party favor.  At the bottom there was a rack pack of 1988 Topps. His first baseball cards.

Fast forward one year to the summer of 1989 and the same boy now has a bedroom full of 1989 Topps and Donruss; he has declared his favorite player to be Ryne Sandberg.  His sister has claimed Andre Dawson and has a slightly smaller collection.  Dad is working on the 1989 Fleer set and chuckles at the F-Face Billy Ripken card.

Mom? She likes the higher end Upper Deck set and has nearly a handful of Griffey rookies stashed away.  Mom favors Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams... something about long hair and tight pants.  In short, the house is more or less one big baseball card storage box.

It was something the whole family did together.  How cool is that?

What do you collect? I have always been a set builder, but I try to only build one current year set every year. There are no self-imposed limits on older sets.
I also have official player collections of Ryne Sandberg, Kerry Wood, Dan Vogelbach, Kosuke Fukudome, Brooks Kieschnick and Karl Olson.
Lastly, the Cubs are my team and I’ll keep one copy of every Cub card I can find.

Show us your card cave! Please label pictures with numbers, then offer a brief description for each picture.
Below are pictures of what one sees when they first enter the 12.5' by 14' room.

There are bobbleheads on the shelves in the upper left corner and baseball movies on VHS within the black shelving unit on the floor. Hugo likes to steal my little stuffed dog wearing a Cubs shirt, which is right next to my Chicago Bear wearing Joe Maddon glasses.

This is the other half of the exterior wall which contains the garden view window. My card sorting table is in the foreground, which contains many stacks of basketball cards from an inherited collection. (Anyone want some basketball cards?) You can get a better look at the table here. I spend a lot of hours on the green two-seater, as you can probably tell by the cushions.

For the record, the stop light works! I also have some ivy along the ceiling of the room to give it a little of that Wrigley feel. If you look closely along the baseboard on the right you can see a blue speck. That's one of my wife's Dove chocolate wrappers that we give the cats to play with. Simple pleasures.

Here's a shot of the closet, which is pictured in the right of the above two pictures.

 There are lots of baseball related things hanging on the wall I could point out, but instead I'll point out the hanging black cape, which I've used to dress up as "Math Man" on a couple of occasions. I'm a nerd, I know.

On the left are all of my non-Cubs cards. Binders of complete sets and monster boxes of others. There's a shoe box on the top, which houses all of my favorite non-Cub cards and just below that is the shelf where I keep cards that need to be sorted into my trade box for specific bloggers. It's pretty empty right now, because I made a concerted effort to get things in order before the school year started. Go me!

The right half of my card closet is all Cubs cards. My Sandberg binder, the FrankenSet binder and many others are housed here. On the the shelves above the binders are my Cubs monster boxes, which contain all of my unique Cubs cards including vintage, junk wax, modern cards, autos and relics. The very top two shelves are where all of my packaging supplies are stored.
One of my summer projects was adding in three wood shelves to each side of my Card Closet. I'm much happier with the usable space I have now.

The green chest contains more completed sets and all of my basketball and football cards from early collecting days. It's actually the mother in-law's toy chest from her childhood. On top of those are two 2,400-count boxes of cards to be dispersed among my blogging brethren. The trade boxes! They're not in the closet because I'm in and out of them so frequently.

The above shot shows my Brandon Hyde (1st base coach of the Cubs) jersey and my homemade bat rack, which I'm really proud of. One of the bats was what my mom and her siblings played with when they were kids and the one on the far right is my fungo for when I coach spring baseball.
The door is flanked by the recliner and bat rack on one side and this corner on the other side. Hanging from the ceiling is my Fear the Fleer entry for Thorzul's Nightmare on Cardboard 2013 contest, which I couldn't part with.

 The "Go Cubs Go" is a hand painted sign from Grandfather. A scratching post for the cats is in the room... you know, because of cats. Of the two cabinets on the wall, the right one is the fuse box and the left one looks like this:

 My wife bought this cabinet at a garage sale and re-purposed it to store some of my collection. I use it to keep dust off my favorite bobbleheads, autographed baseballs, pictures and ticket stubs.

Lastly, we have the
television stand which I completed about a year and a half ago. It houses baseball singles organized in boxes, a couple of binders, DVDs, books and bobbleheads. I absolutely love this piece.

We've come full circle!  I really enjoy spending time in my man room. I could be sorting cards, ripping packs, building trade packages, or perhaps just kicking back with Gus and watching the Cubs.

It's my place to get away from the real world and be a care free kid again. 

Show us your favorite piece of memorabilia in your card cave! I have plenty of autographs on cards, baseballs, and bats, but that’s not what my mind went to first. I have an old bat my mom played with as a kid (mentioned previously), which was what I thought of first. But I took a stroll around the room I found something else that means more to me than a bat I never swung.

This was my parting gift from my college baseball coach after I played four years of baseball at Eureka College, a Division III school from Ben Zobrist’s home town. Sure, as a team we went 31-119 over four years, but it was so much fun. I went from middling bullpen arm to closer by the end of my freshman year. I lost most of my sophomore year to arm surgery. I was the #2 starting pitcher my junior and senior years. We had spring trips, crazy superstitions, and probably more fun than was allowed. I look at this framed picture and the memories just come racing back.  Good stuff.

Show us your favorite card! This card takes me back to the days before adulthood. It was part of my very first peoria chiefs team set. I loved that set, had it in a binder, and had every player's name and face committed to memory.  Eleven year old me was an autograph hound and back then I had no trouble collecting autographs, but I was only after the players. A card with Pete and Harry didn't really draw my interest.

Sometime in the early 1990's my family attended a cubs game at Wrigley Field. I'm still not sure how he did it, but my dad was able to secure a brief moment of time with Harry Caray. My dad had the card with him and Harry's pen reads, "Holy cow! Harry Caray".   Every cub fan knew of Harry Caray.  I was so stoked.

It didn't strike me until much later to ask Pete Vonachen, the "father of minor league baseball", for his autograph.

Fast forward a good ten years or so . . . I was still single, but I had started my career, and I was attending Peoria Chiefs baseball games at a huge clip.  My sister, who was an intern for the Chiefs, would help score my friend and I tickets. We would usually go down to the park, have a couple of adult beverages, look at the talent (on and off the field) and then finish the evening in downtown P-town.  Sometime during the summer of 2002, when I briefly re-entered the hobby, I asked Pete for his autograph. I would always say "hi" to Pete on the concourse.  Even though I was just another fan to him, he was one of those people who I have always held in very high regard: he brought baseball to Peoria and he managed to keep the game I love in Peoria!

It's hard to top a card which has ties to myself as a young collector, my dad, the Cubs, the Chiefs, and Pete & Harry.

Identify two or three of your favorite pieces in your card cave!
I am really proud of the items I have made with my own two hands.
A)    My television stand (link to blog post)

B)    And my coffee table (link to blog post)

Do you have anything else you want to share with us? Please do so here!
Nope, but thanks for the opportunity share what I did!

Thanks, Tom! Your collecting room is amazing. My personal favorite is your piece from your playing days. Really cool!

Now, for the contest!

There were quite a few people who didn't see the post until after the deadline when I ran the original "show us your card cave!" contest. Therefore, I am going to run it again! (Sorry Tom, as defending Champ, you have to sit this one out) Those of you that entered before, you are free to enter again! You can even use the same post if you like. For those of you that didn't participate before, now is your chance!

All you have to do is create a post giving your readers a "tour" of your card cave. When you are finished, post the link in the comments section below! This time, I will leave the contest open though Midnight (Central time) on February 1. Then I will create a post with all entries and open up voting to my readers so they can select their favorite room! The winner will receive a prize pack from me that will be determined based on your favorite baseball team! I promise the prize won't suck!

So there ya go. Let's see those card caves!


  1. Good luck on the second edition of the "card cave" contest. The first one was a lot fun!

  2. This is awesome. I'm sure it was mentioned before, but I didn't know Tom was a college pitcher. Very cool!

    I love that TV stand and coffee table. At some point in my life, I'd love to make some baseball furniture.

    Thanks for the tour and the write-up, Judson!

  3. Glad I could make it this time.

  4. I'm definitely going to have to enter it this time. Thanks for re-opening the contest!

  5. Very cool!! I'll have a card room someday!

  6. I love that coffee table. I'm totally stealing that idea. I lost my Card Cave a couple years ago when my son was born, but I did do a tour of it.

  7. That coffee table is awesome! As for my card cave... here's a link to a post I wrote a few years ago:


    I've added a few bobbles and rearranged some of my binders, but for the most part... it's the same.

  8. Here's my official entry:


  9. I'll enter my card room post from last year -- the "too late to enter" post!


    Not much has changed since then, so it's still applicable!

  10. I finally got it posted


  11. In at the wire!