By Chris Olds | Editor | Commentary
I’ve always felt that there is a disconnect in the hobby with championship-winning players who aren’t home-grown.
In other words, when a player like Cliff Lee or Josh Hamilton lights things up for a team like the American League champion Rangers — but have Rookie Cards from several years ago picturing them with the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays — they just don’t carry the kind of maximized appeal when it comes championship time.
With Game 3 of the World Series under way as I write this, it’s a battle of largely home-grown Giants (at least among the players who should be of most interest with San Francisco collectors) vs. the Rangers, a more liberal mix of home-grown and acquired players among their hobby stars.
Among the Giants reared down on the farm are Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum (though his RCs are lacking some hair), Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Brian Wilson — and his beard — and Pablo Sandoval (though he’s not as popular has he might have been previously with all of his bench time). And that means they are all pictured as Giants on their Rookie Cards or first Bowman cards, which should carry the most appeal when (or if) a World Series title comes.
For the notable Rangers hobby-wise, only Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Julio Borbon, Mitch Moreland (the Game 3 hero so far), C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hunter, Neftali Feliz (though acquired by trade I don’t think he had any actual Braves-adorned MLB cards) and Colby Lewis (though he is on his second tour of duty in Arlington) appear on their RCs or key early cards as Rangers. (And I was being nice there as some of those guys aren’t exactly hobby targets … but I digress.)
For the casual fans who might jump on the bandwagon — the people who might have enough buying power en masse to generate some movement sales-wise and, in turn, on card values — might not be as interested in a Hamilton card where he’s not wearing the red, white and blue of the Rangers. Same for Lee, though it’s obvious given the recent jumps on his 2002 SP Authentic RC that many a collector doesn’t care that Chief Wahoo adorns his cap on that card. Meanwhile for the Giants’ two biggest hobby stars — Lincecum and Posey — it’s all readily recognizable on cardboard. (Well, again, except for Tim-mah’s hair…)
But with a championship, I personally see the Giants’ cards being bigger winners on cardboard — just because they are all home-grown and seen in the team colors that fans can associate with them when it comes to their ultimate success and their ultimate achievement.
Sure, there are always exceptions — David Ortiz comes to mind (a Twin as a RC, a Red Sox icon in the postseason) — and Hamilton obviously is the franchise name in Arlington.
But I’d like to know what you think.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.