Set Registry


Don't Hate the Player: Player Sets Popular on the Registry

By Joe Orlando



hen the PSA Set Registry first started about 16 months ago, we anticipated growth in the obvious area – complete sets produced by the manufacturer. What we did not anticipate was the steady but unquestioned interest in completing player runs. From Mantle to Jordan, for some collectors, the player is where the fun begins.

Babe Ruth
1933 Goudey Babe Ruth – Photo courtesy of the Brian Seigel Collection

As a young collector, I had my share of favorite teams that I followed throughout the season. When the game of baseball changed, however, so did I as a collector. What am I referring to? Well, it became difficult to keep my team loyalty when my favorite players seemed to move each and every year to a new team. For me, the focus became player loyalty. Even though my collection was mainly comprised of vintage items, I still had my modern favorites.

Speaking of vintage items, many pre-1980 collectors didn't have to worry so much about players jumping from team to team throughout their career. Many of the most popular players of all-time performed for one team and one team only. Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax and Roberto Clemente all played for one team their entire careers. These four legends just happen to be four extremely popular choices on the Registry.

Mickey Mantle
1954 Dan Dee Mickey Mantle – Photo courtesy of the John Branca Collection

There were others, in the vintage era, that played for a few different teams but the frequency was low overall compared to today. Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan, Jimmie Foxx and even Babe Ruth moved around a bit during their careers. Does that fact hinder their great popularity in any way? The answer is absolutely not.

Getting back to the Registry, like some fans who tended to follow a particular player instead of a team, some collectors choose to collect individual players as opposed to the complete sets that come from the manufacturer each year. These collectors do not want to be bothered with the commons; they just want to own the stars.

Ted Williams
1954 Wilson Franks Ted Williams – Photo courtesy of the Don Louchios Collection

For other collectors, the interest in collecting player runs may be in addition to collecting full, annual sets. Take, for instance, the collector who won the PSA Set Registry award for Best Overall Collection of the Year in 2002 – Marshall Fogel. Fogel really enjoys the chase of the complete set and the difficulty in finding tough commons. Fogel also enjoys collecting cards of his boyhood idol, Mickey Mantle. For Fogel, a 1952 Topps set is a challenge and no doubt fun to assemble but a 1952 Topps Mantle is special all on its own.

For those of you who are either new to the Registry or for you veterans who may be thinking about completing a player set, there are two choices available for each player. The Registry offers a Basic Set and a Master Player Set for each player. The Basic Set will only include the mainstream/basic cards manufactured during their career. Now there are some exceptions, like the 1948 Leaf Babe Ruth card (produced after his playing days). Certain cards, based on their popularity and mainstream acceptance, are included by popular demand.

While the Basic Sets will usually satisfy most collectors, featuring many of the most popular cards of the featured player, the Master Set is where the advanced collectors will find a huge challenge. The Master Sets include a checklist of every card, not just the mainstream ones, for that particular player. The Master Set includes cards such as league leaders, combo cards (ones featuring more than one player) and, really, any card featuring that player. If PSA grades it, it's part of the set and this is where the competition on the Registry is taken up a notch.

For example, finding a nice 1954 Bowman Mantle or Williams is hard enough but now the registrant will need a Dan Dee Mantle or a Wilson Franks Williams to complete the Master Player run. Many of the regional or specialty cards are extremely difficult but, if you really like that player, then the chase can be very rewarding – that is if you can find that elusive card.

Roberto Clemente
1955 Topps Roberto Clemente - Photo courtesy of the Don Louchios Collection

Now, as we talked about, we know how tough some of those regional or specialty vintage cards are. Some of them are nearly impossible but, when it comes to modern Master Sets, it's volume that overwhelms the collector. For you Mantle collectors, consider yourselves lucky. To complete a Mantle run, even the Master Set, there are still a limited amount of cards needed for completion.

Yes, you may need a 1964 Topps Stand-Up or a very elusive Stahl Meyer example but at least your checklist doesn't look like a small novel! Imagine completing a Kobe Bryant or Cal Ripken Jr. player set – yikes! There are so many cards needed in the post-1980 era, especially for the really popular players. In some cases, there are more rookie cards of some modern players than total cards of some vintage-era players.

Kobe Bryant
1996 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant

For those of you who choose to collect player runs and compete on the Registry, this can be very fun and rewarding. Many collectors tell me that they learn quite a bit from assembling player runs. Again, most collectors have seen the mainstream cards produced by Topps, Bowman, Fleer, etc. but how many of you have ever seen or heard about a 1961 Topps Dice Game Willie Mays? The Master Sets force the collector to learn more about EVERY card that features their favorite player, not just the well-known ones.

It will be interesting to see how the player sets develop over time. We are constantly adding cards to the existing sets and creating brand new players sets altogether. While the crux of the PSA Set Registry will no doubt be the manufactured sets from Topps, Bowman, Play Ball, etc., Player Sets provide a nice alternative to the collector whose loyalties lie with the players they love to watch or read about. Good luck with all your player runs.

The Leader Board

Vintage Baseball


1887 Allen & Ginter (N28) - Stonegate

1888 Allen & Ginter (N29) - T-206 King

1888 Goodwin Champions (N162) - Michael Olenick

1909 Dockman & Sons Gum (E92) - Robert J. Utley

1909 Philadelphia Caramel (E95) - T-206 King

1909-11 T206 White Border - Don Louchios

1910 Contentnea First Series (T209) - T-206 King

1910 E93 Standard Caramel - Jim's E93

1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder - Mike Murray

1911 T205 Gold Border - The Smith T205 Gold Border Collection

1911 Williams Baking (D359) - Frank's D359 Set

1912 C46 - T-206 King

1912 Plows Candy (E300) - John Branca

1913 National Game - Charles M Merkel

1913 T200 Fatima Team Cards - Michael Steven Nicolaou

1913 Tom Barker Game - Charles M Merkel

1914 Cracker Jack - Peter Garcia

1914 Polo Grounds Game - Jeff's Polo Ground Perfection

1915 Cracker Jack - Charles Merkel

1916 Tango Eggs - SW

1928 Fro-joy Babe Ruth - John Branca

1933 Delong - Don Louchios

1933 Goudey - Charles Merkel

1934 Goudey - Don Louchios

1934-36 Diamond Stars - Charles M Merkel

1935 Goudey - 707Sportscards - LTD - 1935 Goudey #1 Set

1936 Goudey - Splonge's 1936 Goudeys

1936 S & S Game Set - SW

1938 Goudey - Marshall Fogel

1939 Play Ball - Don Louchios

1940 Play Ball - Bernie Carlen

1941 Play Ball - Don Louchios

1948 Bowman - Charles Merkel

1948-49 Leaf - Charles M Merkel

1949 Bowman - Charles M. Merkel

1949 Bowman PCL - John Rumierz

1950 Bowman - Charles M. Merkel

1951 Bowman - John Branca

1951 Topps Blue Back - Charles Merkel

1951 Topps Red Back - Charles Merkel

1952 Bowman - Charles M. Merkel

1952 Red Man Tobacco - RGOLD

1952 Topps - Charles Merkel

1953 Bowman Black & White - Marshall Fogel

1953 Bowman Color - Andrew Kaplan

1953 Glendale Hot Dogs - All Marty's Stuff

1953 Johnston Cookies - Mrichards 1953 Johnston Cookies Set

1953 Red Man Tobacco - RGOLD

1953 Topps - Anthony Fioto

1954 Bowman - Barry Bilder

1954 Dan-Dee Potato Chips - Charles M Merkel

1954 Johnston Cookies - Old Man

1954 Red Heart - Stonegate

1954 Red Man Tobacco - RGOLD

1954 Topps - Marshall Fogel

1954 Wilson Franks - John Branca

1955 Bowman - Midnight Cowboy's 1955 Bowman Set

1955 Red Man Tobacco - RGOLD

1955 Topps - Marshall Fogel

1955 Topps Doubleheaders - Ron Hobbs Family Collection

1956 Topps - Marshall Fogel

1957 Topps - K Romano

1958 Dodgers Bell Brand - Griffins

1958 Topps - Marshall Fogel

1959 Fleer Ted Williams - JH 1959 Fleer Ted Williams Set

1959 Topps - JTM's 1959 Topps

1960 Dodgers Bell Brand - KHT

1960 Fleer - 707 Sportscards - LTD - HOF Set

1960 Leaf - Davalillo

1960 Leaf Large Portrait - 707 Sportscards - LTD - The Big Head Set

1960 Morrell Meats - KHT

1960 Nu-Card Hi-Lites - Phil Messmore

1960 Topps - The 1960 Meilander Collection

1961 Chemstrand Iron-On Patches - 707 Sportscards - LTD Cloth Patch Set

1961 Dodgers Bell Brand - KHT

1961 Golden Press - The Harrington Collection

1961 Morrell Meats - KHT

1961 Nu-Card Scoops - Phil Messmore

1961 Topps - The McBride Gold Collection

1961-62 Fleer - The Harrington Collection - All Time Greats

1962 Topps - Howard Tiss / Superior

1963 Bazooka ATG - Steve Lucas

1963 Fleer - Stonegate

1963 Topps - The Duke of Mint

1964 Topps - JH

1964 Topps Giants - thegemmintman

1964 Topps Stand Up - Don Louchios

1965 Topps - MastroNet

1966 Topps - Baseball - Vintage Corvette - 1966 topps

1967 Topps - jwmerrill's 67's

1967 Topps Who Am I? - 707 Sportscards - LTD

1968 Topps - Revere's Finest '68 Set

1968 Topps 3-D - Charles Merkel

1968 Topps Game - World's Best

1969 Topps - Basic - Ron Hobbs Family Collection

1969 Topps - Master - Ron Hobbs Family Collection

1969 Topps Decal - Jeff's Sticker Shock

1969 Topps Supers - Robert L. Earhart Collection

1970 Kelloggs - thegemmintman

1970 Milton Bradley - Robert L. Earhart 1970 Milton Bradley Collection

1970 Rold Gold Pretzels - Herb Watson tied with Alfred W. Thomson - Rold Gold Pretzels

1970 Topps - Chris Renaud's 1970 Topps Baseball Set

1971 Kelloggs - Mick's 1971 Kelloggs Baseball Cards

1971 Topps - RGD98's Baseball

1971 Topps Greatest Moments - The Shane Leonard Collection

1971 Topps Supers - Robert L. Earhart 1971 Topps Supers


Modern Baseball


1972 Kelloggs - 3-D Dreamer

1972 Kelloggs All Time Greats - Mick's 1972 Kellogg's All Time Greats

1972 Topps - FB - 1972 Topps Collection

1973 Kelloggs - King Kellogg '73

1973 Topps - The Wetzel Collection

1973 Topps 53 Reprint - A&J Collection

1974 Fleer Baseball Firsts - 707 Sportscards - LTD - The Finest

1974 Kelloggs - Where's Yaz??

1974 Topps - The Dogs 74 Set

1974 Topps Deckle Edge - TC collection

1974 Topps Traded - Wetzel's 1974 Traded Set

1975 Topps - Frank's Funky 75's

1975 Topps Mini - Chris Renaud's 1975 Topps Mini Set

1976 Kelloggs - Spirit of 76

1976 Topps - John Bouffard's 1976 Topps set

1976 Topps Traded - Wetzel's 1976 Traded Set

1977 Kelloggs - King Kellogg '77

1977 Topps - Montgomery Collection-PSA

1977 Topps Cloth stickers - Luke's 77 Cloth

1978 Kelloggs - King Kellogg '78

1978 Topps - Guy's 78 Topps Set

1979 Kelloggs - King Kellogg '79

1980 Kelloggs - King Kellogg '80

1980 Topps - The 1980 Topps PSA Baseball Set

1981 Kelloggs - King Kellogg '81

1982 Kelloggs - King Kellogg '82

1983 Kelloggs - King Kellogg '83

1984 Donruss - DAF Collection

1984 Fleer Update - The Alderman Collection

1992 Kelloggs - Qualitycards

1993 Finest Refractor - Lucky 13's 1993 Finest Refractor PSA 9 Set

1994 Fanfest Roberto Clemente Commemorative - Michael Disfarmer's 1994 Clemente Fan Fest

1994 Flair Hot Gloves - seinbigd

1997 Bowmans Best Atomic Refractor - The Francis Collection

2001 SP Legendary Cuts - The Dalton Ventures Collection- 2001 Legendary Cuts

Bob Griese Basic Set - Jeff Barker's Bob Griese Basic PSA Set


Specialty Baseball


1909-11 T-206 White Border HOF Players - Honus & Friends

1933 Goudey HOF Players - Don Louchios

1940 Play Ball HOF Players - Davalillo

Hall of Fame Managers - Pawlus Collection

Hall of Fame Players - Pawlus Collection

Hall of Fame Players - Post War Rookies - Ken Matteson

Hall of Fame Yankees - Pawlus Collection

Al Kaline Basic Set - Melissa and Dad's Kaline Set

Al Kaline Master Set - Melissa and Dads Master Al Kaline Player set

Babe Ruth Player Set - John Branca

Billy Williams Player Set - KP's Billy Williams Collection

Brooks Robinson Player Set - Kurt Coltrane Collection

Carl Yastrzemski Basic Set - Doug Rivard - Yaz Collection

George Brett Basic Set - pebblyjack's Basic George Brett Collection

Gil Hodges Player Set - Block Sportscards, Inc. — Lawrence Block

Hank Aaron Player Set - Doug Rivard - Aaron Collection

Harmon Killebrew Player Set - Larry Hess Killer Collection

Jackie Robinson Player Set - Don Louchios

Jim Palmer Player Set - Robert's Jim Palmer Collection

Joe DiMaggio Player Set - Don Louchios

Johnny Bench Basic Set - Jasper's JB Memorial

Lou Gehrig Player Set - Don Louchios

Mickey Mantle Basic Set - Marshall Fogel

Mickey Mantle Master Set - Marshall Fogel

Mike Schmidt Basic Set - Phillies Phan's Run of Mike Schmidt Cards

Mike Schmidt Master Set - Phillies Phan's Run of Mike Schmidt Cards

Nolan Ryan Topps Player Set - The Conforti Collection

Pete Rose Basic Set - Oil's 4192

Roberto Clemente Player Set - Marshall Fogel

Robin Roberts Player Set - Roy's Roberts Player Set

Rocky Colavito Player Set - Tagbr's Colavito cards

Roger Maris Player Set - Marshall Fogel

Sandy Koufax Basic Set - Marshall Fogel

Sandy Koufax Master Set - Marshall Fogel

Stan Musial Player Set - Marshall Fogel

Steve Carlton Basic Set - onlyme_63

Steve Carlton Master Set - onlyme_63

Ted Williams Player Set - John Branca

Thurman Munson Player Set - D, J. Walla

Ty Cobb Basic Set - Don Louchios

Willie Mays Player Set - Marshall Fogel

Willie Stargell Player Set - Steve's Excellent Willie Stargell PSA Collection

1909-11 T206 Ty Cobbs - Marshall Fogel tied with Honus's 1909 WS Foe - Ty,Old Man

1933 Goudey Babe Ruths - Don Louchios tied with Jays Babes

1933-34 Goudey Lou Gehrigs - Don Louchios

1951-Present MVPs - JM Linnens's MVP's

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers - Marshall Fogel

1956-Present Cy Winners - J.M. Linnens Cy Young Winners

1959 Topps Los Angeles Dodgers - Tagbr's 1959 Dodgers

1961 Topps All-Stars - McBride 61 All Star

1961 Topps New York Yankees - Robert McBride

1963 Topps Los Angeles Dodgers - Marshall Fogel

1965 Topps Los Angeles Dodgers - Tagbr's 1965 Dodgers

1968 Topps Detroit Tigers - Dave Jacobs 1968 Tigers

1975 Topps Cincinnati Reds - Emmet's Big Red Machine

300 Great Baseball Cards by Mike Payne - John Branca