Epic Cards: 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols Rookie Autograph

First, this was a big night in Game 3 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. Albert Pujols decided to go yard 3 times which tied a record for most homers in a game with Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth. His 6 RBIs also tied a record with Hideki Matsui and someone else…I can’t remember off the top of my head. And his 14 total bases is a new World Series record.

What is the most expensive card of “The Machine” or as I now dub him, “Senor Octubre”? That’s easy, the 2001 Bowman Chrome rookie autograph of his. There are only 500 copies of this autographed rookie card which means whenever one hits the market, there are some serious looks at it. These things can sell up for up to 5 figures, especially on a night where he put on a show like last night.

Now don’t go out there buying boxes and boxes of 2001 Bowman Chrome baseball. These were only available as redemption cards which have expired long ago. No one really knows how many of these are out on the market, but I’m guessing that number is less then the 500 made.

I know that I would much rather put my money towards one of these cards then a Bryce Harper rookie autograph which is coming out on the 10 year anniversary of the release of this great modern day card.

 

Show and Tell: 2006 Bowman Chrome Jon Lester Rookie Autograph

I thought adding a little show and tell post every now and then would be fun. I will post a card that I own, write about it, and just have fun with it.

This show and tell is about my favorite card that I own. My favorite card I own is not my most expensive card. It’s not the oldest card I own. For me, my favorite card is the card that means the most to me.

When I watched Jon Lester come up from the minors and pitch, I knew that he would be something special. He had a great live fastball and a nasty change and curveball. I was mentioning him with the likes of Johan Santana and everyone laughed at me. Maybe it was part of the hometown bias since I was a Red Sox fan, but I kept watching him and rooting for him. Then came the news.

Late in 2006 Jon Lester was diagnosed with lymphoma. I was shocked and surprised. Cancer in a 22 year old? I had just turned 21 and that hit me pretty hard. I couldn’t believe this pitcher I had been following through the minors was just diagnosed with cancer. I was thankful to see it was treatable but I was still sad for him. The days and months went by as I read every last piece of news about his recovery and attempts to kill the cancer inside him. I wanted to send a get well letter but his family wished to keep it private, so I just kept up the positive thoughts.

I had only one card of his at that time. I had a 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premiers Jon Lester card. It was his first card made and really his true rookie card. But I wanted an autograph. I scoured eBay for a week or two while building up money and finally found one in my price range. For just under $20 at the time I grabbed this card, 2006 Bowman Chrome Jon Lester Rookie Autograph Refractor:

As you can see, it sits front and center in my baseball card case of my favorite cards. It’s been front and center in my collection since the day I received it.

Needless to say, Jon Lester made a full recovery from lymphoma and no one fan was happier then me. I was so excited to see him come back and pitch again one day. I remember watching the highlights of his return on ESPN and the way the crowd stood behind him with a standing ovation. I believe I was standing too, just watching the highlight. He was back! And boy was he ever. Within a year he would throw a no-hitter and clinch Game 4 of the 2007 World Series against the Rockies. All after beating cancer. How cool is that?

Last year, I finally had the opportunity to watch him pitch in person. For my birthday, I was given tickets to a Mariners – Red Sox game up in Seattle. The one in five chance to see him pitch paid off. I made sure I had a Jon Lester jersey to wear and went to the game, had great seats too. I was able to see in person why he is one of the premier pitchers in the league as he struck out 10 and gave up 1 run. The Seattle Mariners Sasquatch sat in front of me and wasn’t happy all game. But I was.

If Jon Lester could come back from cancer to do the things he did, what could the rest of us do?

Note: This post is loosely based off an article I wrote for Sports Card Forum in July 2010.

2011 Bowman Bryce Harper – The Hype Needs to Stop

Since everyone else is talking about 2011 Bowman Bryce Harper, I’m going to make a simple post about it.

I understand Bryce Harper was the number one pick and is projected to be a great hitter and a great player. But the prices for his cards are absolutely outrageous right now. Why are people paying such high prices for someone who hasn’t stepped foot in the Major Leagues yet? It’s like signing bonuses given to players after the draft or the guaranteed money the NFL gives newly drafted players. You are overpaying for someone who no one really knows how they will produce, it’s a giant gamble.

People are paying HUGE numbers on these freshly produced Bryce Harper sports cards. A simple eBay completed listings search will show you how much people are really selling these for. Just the other day, the 2011 Bowman Bryce Harper Red Version 1/1 was pulled and is expected to get between $7,000 and $10,000. Does this tune sound familiar? Anyone remember last year? Stephen Strasburg lit up collector’s eyes with money when they pulled one of his cards. Prices grew even more after his major league debut in which he struck out 13. Prices took a hit from reality when it was discovered Strasburg needed Tommy John elbow surgery. The Nationals GM just stated yesterday that Bryce Harper will not play in the majors this year. But prices are still out of control.

The way the hobby market works is that there is an initial price surge on cards for prospects when a product comes out. These prices will slowly come down as more and more come into the market. If he is still tearing up the minors, the price will finally flat line at a number, probably still kind of high. If he starts struggling, prices will dip a very small bit. The day he is called up the majors, the price will rise again and if he has a monstrous first game, prices will rise a bit more. The thing is, with Bryce Harper’s hype machine, prices may never reach that initial surge that people paid and are paying right now. That is unless he does something absolutely crazy like breaks DiMaggio’s hit streak or hits .400 his first season.

People are overpaying for Bryce Harper and the people lucky enough to pull his more rare cards are making a killing because of these idiots spending so much money. I thought everyone learned last year with everything surrounding Strasburg, but I guess not. This is just too crazy, it’s boggling the mind.