Sunday, December 16, 2012

10,000, Baby



Earlier this year, I embarked on a mission to create a database that tracks my baseball card collection. When I first started this monumental task, I started with an Excel worksheet that simply tracked the name of the player, the year, the card make and its current book value. Simple and efficient, right? Well, yes, but it lacked pizzazz - a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of an organization freak. I love details. In fact, I have the idiom, "the devil is in the details" tattooed on my back. Seriously, here...let me pull up my, uh, nevermind.

My FileMaker Pro 12 database is on the left. I look up the pricing and images in Firefox and then catalog the images on my hard drive so that if my database ever becomes corrupted, I don't have to find all of the images again.
Details, you see, are what keep me sane. Those of you who know me know that I am prone to over-thinking just about everything and if I don't have a project, some sort of mental calisthenics to distract me, I think that I could easily go stark, raving mad. So, that means that I do things such as ripping every single track from 2,000+ CDs to my computer, writing more than 800 pages on my long-awaited book (opus, really) on freshwater fishing, or spending hours on Wikipedia, adding bits of mental jewelry I've amassed to the public collective.

In fact, one of the last conversations I had with my best friend before he died in June 2012, was his amusement over my continual need for a mental diversion. I can still hear him saying, "man, you really do need a diversion, don't you?" Amen to that, brother.

But, I digress.


My love of details en masse made my puny Excel spreadsheet tracker entirely inadequate. So, I started searching the Internet for pre-built database apps specifically devoted to sports card collecting. I found a few, though none of them did it the way I thought it ought to be done, and a couple of them were unbelievably complicated (not from a what the database tracked perspective, but from a how to use it perspective). I tried two or three of them before deciding that I needed to roll my own.

I'll spare you the gory details, but my database tracks the player's name, year and make of the card, quantity owned, the condition, book value, market value, value adjusted for the condition of the card, the team, position, rookie status and hall of fame status. I also include an image of both the card front and back and any pertinent notes about the card or set.

I know...

So, I have spent the last eight months, entering cards, one-at-a-time, into my spiffy database. I am only tracking star players, special issues and rarities. Common player cards are not being tracked. Last month, I crossed the 10,000-card mark and I still have a LONG way to go.

As of December 16, I have 12,500 cards in my precious little database. It's beautiful, man. It might turn out to be my life's work.

I know, I know...