Imagine my surprise when I heard a Stephen Strasburg card was going for 16 grand on ebay. Actually, that’s a little misleading. When I first heard of this I assumed some guy had listed the card at $16,000, but was going to reel in a grand total of zero bids. Then I clicked on a link, and what did my eyes see? Eighty-five bids and counting, and a price north of 16 dimes. I’ve been out of the game for a while as they say, but I wasn’t aware that there was a new card printed these days that was worth 16 bucks, let alone 16 grand. But it seems that Bowman’s grand idea, combined with Stephen Strasburg hype has sent the price of this card through the roof. Strasburg, who has been compared to everyone from Mark Prior to Nuke LaLoosh can now claim a little bit of Honus Wagner territory.
I rode the wave of baseball cards straight into the ground. Back in the day when my Canseco and Strawberry rookies could have brought me a pretty penny I was a pretty avid collector. There is something about opening a pack of cards that is oddly satisfying. It’s not unlike peeling the foil off a piece of candy. I suppose it still has an appeal for some people, and the guy auctioning off this Strasburg card got it from a regular pack. That’s good fortune, but then again, anyone still buying baseball cards probably deserves a bit a luck. I think the majority of my cards have become landfill fodder, but I still have some complete sets, and a binder full of all the cards I thought had potential in 1992. Apparently I was very high on Phil Plantier.
I suppose I keep them now mostly for nostalgic purposes. I don’t have nightmares about reliving the whole, “I used to put Mickey Mantle rookies in my bike spokes,” scenario. One of the reasons those cards are so valuable is because most of them were destroyed or beaten to death by kids who probably got a lot more entertainment out of them than I ever did. I think I just mostly looked at mine, and checked my Beckett’s guide which was filled with prices you could never get for a card. The pricing was similar to the Price is Right. Actual retail price of the grill you just saw at Home Depot for $299….$1100!!! I remember winning a raffle at a card show when I was a young kid, and I took the Dwight Evans rookie card, whose price I had just looked up, over to another dealer. He offered me about 10 cents on the dollar. Pretty harsh reality check.
Anyway, this Strasburg card really blows my mind. I suppose anything that is one of kind has value, but after this auction ends someone is going to join the Nationals as entities heavily invested in the arm of Stephen Strasburg. I’m going to hold off making a bid, but I might start devising a plan to get that Bryce Harper Bowman Chrome Superfractor (that’s actually what the card is called) in 2011. Too bad I don’t have the first clue where to buy a pack of baseball cards.