Lidle's Death Continues Sad, Greedy Pattern for Hobby Opportunists
Oct 12 2006 9:43AM
by Kevin Haake
In last night's ALCS game, there was an autographed jersey from Cory Lidle's days with the A's hanging in the Oakland dugout, apparently a symbol of respect from the Oakland franchise. Thankfully, the jersey was in possession of the A's field personnel and not some hobby opportunist.
From the Message Boards . . .
The Beckett community sounds off on the Lidle tragedy
Just like when any other athlete dies, his stuff will make an immediate surge in price and die down within the next week or so. A quick search on eBay will confirm the incredible amounts people are willing to shell out for stuff that wouldn't have sold for 5% of what it's fetching now.
I know I'll probably get bashed for this, but oh well. I just purchased four of his ‘98 Topps RCs on Sportlots for 18 cents each, and have every intention of making a profit on them. I'm very empathetic for his family, but I can't believe that anyone here would pass on an opportunity to make a huge turnaround like this.
The value of Corey Lidle's cards will skyrocket for the near future. It always seems to happen when a celebrity passes away. I currently don't own any cards of Corey Lidle, but I can't blame people for listing his cards right now, and trying to make a profit. I'm sure I would do the same thing.
-- ScarlettJ.+BarryZito75 fan
My personal feelings: The people listing his items on eBay right now to profit off of his death are the scum of the earth. Yeah, I get it, this is a country that's all about making a buck and that's why we are supposedly the "best country in the world," but people (not just Americans, but most humans in general) seriously have no morals, no heart, no soul. It's a shame that good human beings like himself, Kirby Puckett, Buck O'Neil (although he doesn't apply in this situation, he lived a great life to the fullest) leave this earth early, while pieces of trash get the satisfaction of not only living a full life, but profiting off other's deaths. Yeah, they may be harsh words, but I don't care. For the sellers who listed items prior to today, this does not apply to them in the least. But for those who are putting BINs up "$199 autographed card RIP *rare*", or "his last card ever made while he was alive," karma will bite you . . .
Remember, this is a capitalist country and where any opportunity exists to make a buck for whatever reason, so be it, I'm not one to judge. Food has to be on the table, gas in the car, a roof over your head . . . I mean, it's human nature . . .
I have some common cards of [Lidle] from box breaks. Also have one or two auto'd baseballs. I talked to my sons about it and they thought it would be good to box all of our Lidle stuff and send to his family. Having a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, I truly feel for his 6-year-old son. I tried to convey to my kids how this would give his son a chance to have some items of his father.
Brings back memories of the tragic death of former Arizona Cardinals defensive back Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. Every one clamored to profit off of his death on eBay, the same as what is going on today with Lidle's passing. I, personally do not have any Lidle cards, but if I did, I adamantly would not be trying to benefit off of his death. I have had plenty of opportunities to "legitimately" profit on cards with my Florida Marlins Rookie Card collection, but have passed them up as I consider myself a true collector. In my opinion, profiting off tragedy gives the hobby a bad rap.
Among all the mass confusion and what I would call hysteria surrounding Lidle and his collectibles is the fact that he left behind a widow and a young son. The only question I pose to everyone is: Would you appreciate someone profiting from the death of your wife, son, daughter, nephew or husband? I feel that if you would still say yes after that, you would need to check to see if you have any humanity left.
I looked through my commons and the only thing I found was his 06 Topps Heritage base. I put it up on eBay . . . if it sells I plan to donate the money it gets and match it with my own money to donate to whatever charity they name to send donations to. I'm a bit creeped out by everyone making crazy amounts of cash off a tragedy. [It] reminds me of those "Support Our Troops" bumper stickers they sell at gas stations with nothing at all actually going to the troops. Just my personal opinion, but I figure the stuff is selling like crazy. Why just let it sit in the box and go back to 5 cents in a week or so? Grab the crazy money now and do something good with it.
Yesterday's tragic death of Lidle, the Yankees' pitcher who apparently piloted his single-engine plane into the side of a New York City high-rise apartment building, sparked a sad selling frenzy on eBay and other online collectibles sites.
Even before Cory Lidle's death was confirmed, opportunists had purchased all of Lidle's cards that were offered on eBay with a Buy it Now price.
Forty-six Cory Lidle card listings were available on eBay just one hour after the news of his death. Soon after, there were more than 800 listings as dealers and collectors rummaged through their common boxes in anticipation of a big payday in the wake of tragedy.
Last night on Beckett's online Marketplace, which has the largest online card inventory for sale in the world, the Lidle inventory was completely depleted. And the top searched item on Beckett Marketplace yesterday? You guessed it, Cory Lidle. Orders surged near 5 p.m. EDT when news of Lidle's crash went national.
"We got cleaned out of hundreds of cards instantly," says David Sliepka of Beckett.com. "Lidle was our top search, tripling a standard day's top search."
It's a sad pattern that the hobby has seen before with the passing of Dale Earnhardt, Payne Stewart, Kirby Puckett and now Cory Lidle. What collectors must realize is that there is no honor in buying these items now. It's an irresponsible knee-jerk reaction that reinforces the unscrupulous behavior of a select few who are looking to make a quick buck.
Granted, many of these initial listings and Buy it Now offerings were live before Lidle's death in anticipation of a long Yankee playoff run. Collectors' emotional reaction to Lidle's death is understandable, but what we as a collecting community shouldn't tolerate are sellers capitalizing on an athlete's death.
Case-in-point: 8-by-10 autographed photos of Lidle had sold on eBay for $15 two weeks ago. Now, many of those same photos are listed and selling for five times the amounts that were established just two weeks ago. Obviously, autographs increase in value when the signer no longer is able to sign. But goosing the price five times higher overnight seems wrong.
Autographed baseballs of the veteran hurler had closed previously for $22, only to be elevated overnight to the astonishing price of $150. Furthermore, Lidle's only two Rookie Cards, 1998 Topps and Topps Chrome have a lowly book value of a dollar. Before Lidle's death, these cards were in quarter boxes nationwide, now they can be found listed on eBay with an absurd $150 Buy it Now price.
Lidle never had any certified autographs or game-used cards produced by any of the licensed Major League Baseball manufacturers. This strange hobby anomaly is because Lidle was a replacement player during the 1996 players' strike, which automatically banned him from MLBPA membership. Lidle's lone certified autograph card can be found in the 1996 Best set that remains unpriced due to market inactivity.
For an alternate opinion of the Lidle story, see Collecting Lidle: Another Perspective