Oct 3 2007 11:05AM
Excited about this year's edition of the fall classic? We certainly are. Every year the playoffs tend to cement a hobby legacy or unceremoniously tear one down. Who could forget Miguel Cabrera's heroics in 2003 or Byung-Hyun Kim's implosion in 2001? Naturally, collectors will be watching October's most seasoned players -- Jeter, Big Papi, Clemens and Soriano. But who else might stand a formidable chance of influencing their card values with a magical postseason performance?
To that end, we've taken the liberty to dissect, analyze and rationalize the players we believe are the hobby's most volatile heading into the postseason.
Potential Values on the Rise?
Jimmy Rollins 1998 Bowman Chrome RC - $8
Rollins is a prime candidate for NL MVP but his card values, especially his 1998 Bowman Chrome RC, fail to reflect his contribution to the city of Brotherly Love. Rollins unceremoniously joined Curtis Granderson, Willie Mays and Frank "Wildfire" Schulte this season as the only players in major league history with 20 stolen bases, 20 homers, 20 triples and 20 doubles in the same season. Yet remarkably, his RC values never moved. Stationary at just $8, Rollins could make his RC values grow by as much as 50 percent with a solid showing this postseason.
Phillies Honorable Mentions: Cole Hamles and Chase Utley
C.C. Sabathia 1999 Topps Traded AU - $80
Sabathia, a menacing force on the mound, is one of a handful of viable AL Cy Young Award candidates. Couple that with the fact that the Tribe is going up against the vaunted New York Yankees and C.C.'s ability to affectively shut down the Bronx Bombers on prime-time TV may have collectors racing to the internet to scoop up his only first-year certified autograph card.
Indians Honorable Mentions: Victor Martinez, Fausto Carmona, and Franklin Gutierrez
Micah Owings 2005 Topps Chrome Update AU RC -$20
This kid can flat out hit. But wait a minute, isn't he a pitcher? Yes, the right-handed hurler earns a living working off the mound but it is his offensive prowess that has received the most notice. Owings' 8-8 record becomes a mediocre footnote when compared to an offensive stat line -- .288 AVG, 4 HR, 3 doubles and 12 RBI -- that was produced during limited playing time late this year. It wouldn't be shocking to see Owings utilized in pitch-hitting roles frequently throughout the playoffs, invoking vivid flashbacks of a younger, pre-HGH Rick Ankiel.
D-Backs Honorable Mentions: Chris B. Young, Stephen Drew and Eric Byrnes
Carlos Zambrano 2000 Topps Traded Autographs - $150
After a rough start to the season, Big Z bounced back nicely and posted an 18-13 record. Now, imagine a scenario where Zambrano takes the hill for Game 7 of the World Series and pitches the Cubs to victory against the dreaded New York Yankees. Enough said.
Cubs Honorable Mentions: Ryan Theriot, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee
Matt Holliday 1999 Bowman Chrome RC - $12
Holliday's impressive season is eerily comparable to that of last year's AL MVP, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. Both players spearheaded a spectacular second-half push which culminated with them leading their teams into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. Holliday finished the regular season atop the NL in hitting (.340 average), RBI (137), hits (216), total bases (382), extra base hits (92) and doubles (50). His 36 home runs were good for fourth in the league. His six Rookie Cards issued in 1999 average out to a mere $6.33 apiece in HI book value, or less than the price of lunch.
Rockies Honorable Mentions: Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Hawpe, Jeff Francis and Garrett Atkins
Values Poised for a Potential Postseason Slide?
Boston Red Sox
All Dice-K Matsuzaka RCs
Few pitchers have experienced more collecting hype than Matsuzaka this season. Rookie Cards of the foreign-born star immediately started selling for unimaginable figures as soon as they were pulled from packs. Even a ho-hum year statistically couldn't squash much of the collector optimism. But a poor showing this postseason? You betcha. If Matsuzaka takes the hill and gets pounded this October look for many of these one-time buyers to quickly turn into sellers. Red Sox nation is a fickle, unforgiving place that can either over inflate a card's value or crush it.
Bean Town Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett and J.D. Drew
New York Yankees
Alex Rodriguez 1994 SP Foil RC - $175
A-Rod's cards experienced a rebirth this year. His most recognizable and most valuable RC spent quite a few months parading between various positions on the Beckett Baseball Hot List. After slugging 54 home runs and virtually locking up the AL MVP award this season, collectors expect A-Rod to produce this postseason. If he or the Yankees struggle, collectors could find the values of his iconic card falling from its current 52-week high.
Bronx Bombers Honorable Mentions: Joba Chamberlin, Melky Cabrera and Shelby Duncan
-- Kevin Haake