November 25, 2008

Guy Completes YSL Set

I stumbled upon this on and sadly, it maddened me instead of being happy for the guy. It's ok, I will finish it someday. Here is the article from Beckett for all to snarl at with me:

Collector Completes Upper Deck Yankee Stadium Legacy Collection

By Chris Olds
11/21/2008 2:28:22 PM

Tommy Baxter, a 36-year-old precast concrete specialist from Little Rock, Ark., has accomplished something no one else in the world has been able to do: put together Upper Deck’s gigantic, 6,661-card Yankee Stadium Legacy Collection.

Baxter, an avid Cubs fan, is the first collector to piece together Upper Deck’s enormous insert set, which pays tribute to every single Yankees home game ever played at the historic venue since its doors opened on April 18, 1923.

“I’ve put together plenty of Upper Deck sets in the past, so I figured this was just one more to complete,” said Baxter, whose 11-year-old daughter, Madeleine, helped him sort the thousands of cards. “I really didn’t take it seriously at first, but once I got through that first series of inserts, I knew I had to finish it.”

That first series appeared in Upper Deck’s 2008 Series One Baseball set, which released on Feb. 5. That’s when Baxter got started. The cards were found one in every four packs. Within two weeks he had collected 200 of the YSL cards; he only had 6,461 to go.

Nine more Upper Deck baseball products were released during 2008 that each contained various YSL cards from the overall set. Baxter’s feat, therefore, is a study in patience and persistence. It was also an expensive pursuit for the single parent of one.

“I would estimate I spent a little more than $15,000 putting this set together,” said Baxter, who mentioned he finished the set the night before Halloween. “I remember it was a Thursday, since those were the days we’d collate the cards. Madeleine would go through and sort the cards every week. That night we knew we had this thing licked.”

It would have been sooner, but despite his best efforts with buying and trading the cards with collectors from as far away as Taiwan, there was one single card that kept eluding him: No. 4,272.

“It had Ron Guidry on the front. I couldn’t find that card anywhere. Nobody had it,” Baxter said.

He was recording each of the YSL cards online at Upper Deck’s ownthelegacy site. He was watching his numbers climb almost every day, but No. 4,272 was nowhere to be found. In the final week of October, though, he received the card from collectors in New Jersey and Florida.

“I couldn’t find that card for seven months and then I got four of them within the same week,” he said.

Once he had the complete set in hand, he quickly packaged up his work and shipped it off to Upper Deck headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., for verification. Today Upper Deck staffers Chris Carlin, Terry Melia and Carrie Peterson certified the contents of Baxter’s shipment.

“All the cards are in,” said Carlin, Upper Deck’s hobby marketing manager. “Tommy’s accomplishment is incredible. He’s the first person to complete the set, so we’re ecstatic and very happy for Tommy and Madeleine.”

Baxter’s prize for completing the entire set of insert cards is multi-tiered. He and his daughter will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City in the spring at which time they will take in a Yankees game at the new venue and meet Yankees captain Derek Jeter. In addition, since 2008 marked the final MLB season in the old stadium, Baxter will receive 81 additional YSL cards chronicling the last campaign which brings the grand total of games played (and cards produced) to 6,742. And, of course, he will get all of his cards back to display proudly at home.

“You know, I was never really been a big Yankees fan, but I did always admire Don Mattingly,” Baxter said. “I liked his work ethic and I guess I always had a penchant for guys who could hit over .300 every year.”

Upper Deck still has four openings left for any other collectors who are able to piece together the entire Yankee Stadium Legacy Collection. The word is there are a few people who are just single digits away.

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