Aber: The top five All-Star Game programs to collect

From SABR member Matt Aber at Seamheads.com on July 10, 2012:

When you have any type of hobby there are different levels and degrees that you can carry your interests to.  Sports always offer a wide variety in general, from casual follower to the beloved degenerate gambler who would put money on anything, to the collector of artifacts and memorabilia.  Of the four major sports, baseball offers the deepest and widest choices for the everyday collector based on the fact that the sport itself started in the 1800′s and that memorabilia, even for current historical achievements, is often promoted heavily.  It is fun to try to identify the niche to fit your interest in the game, and the budget that you have to work from, and learn about the details of what you enjoy to collect if that is the road you decide to go down beyond just taking in a game.  You are limited only by your imagination, creativity and what you find interesting.  Personally my interests are baseball cards and old World Series and All-Star game programs with cover illustrations that are eye catching and tell a story, or conjured up a picture in my mind of something that happened before I was even born.

The collecting part for me goes beyond price discovery and condition of the programs, which is important from an investment standpoint (though for hobbies I believe it is better to purchase for enjoyment rather than for funding an early retirement), but for what visually brings me in and what I would want to display and tell someone about.  In honor of this year’s All-Star Game in Kansas City I thought I would share what I believe are the five best programs out there.  Keep in mind I am not talking about the five most exciting games or most expensive programs, but the five that I would want to show in my own collection if I had the means to purchase them.

In coming up with my top five I looked at the program covers from the last 83 All-Star games to make sure I had not missed any while looking through auction catalogues and e-bay during my time of collecting and researching.  For the astute fan and mathematician the first question that would be asked is – 83 All-Star Games?  But the first one was played in Chicago at Comiskey Park back in 1933 which means the 2012 game should be only number 80.  You would be correct, but as with all things in baseball nothing is ever as simple as it seems.  Follow along with me, in 1945 the game was to be played in Boston but was cancelled due to the countries involvement in World War II and Fenway was given the game the following year.  Fine, but that drops you back to 79 games then and puts you four short and not any closer to the 83 you are looking for.  The Midsummer Classic was actually played twice a year at differing venues from 1959 through 1962, which if it happened today Twitter and the blogosphere would self-combust from all the fans and writers who whine about snubs and who deserves to go, and treat it like the players live and die by the honor like they once did, and not like the mini vacation that so many players embrace it as today.  By adding those extra four games played from ’59 to ’62 it gets you to the magical 83rd game that will be played this year.

Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/2012/07/10/the-top-5-all-star-game-programs-to-collect/

Originally published: July 12, 2012. Last Updated: July 12, 2012.