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Commentary: Rangers might not be lone-star team after World Series win tonight

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

It’s no secret that, on cardboard, the Texas Rangers have one player who stands out from the rest in the hobby and on the national stage — that’s Josh Hamilton.

While a win tonight in Game 6 of the World Series just might change that for the long-term — and we’ve seen signs of success with some of the team’s younger stars’ cards and memorabilia of late — there was another sign that the Rangers are still a team with more potential hobby stars than established ones when Steiner Sports offered a Texas Rangers autographed baseball to the masses on Thursday.

It wasn’t an autograph of All-Star second baseman and 30-30 Club member Ian Kinsler. It wasn’t an autograph of slick-fielding All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus. It wasn’t a ball signed by ALCS MVP Nelson Cruz because of his countless home runs. It was an autograph of team CEO and president Nolan Ryan.

Don’t get me wrong, Ryan is no slouch in the hobby — there’s plenty of love for the all-time strikeout king — but one can’t miss the amount of air time that Ryan is getting during the World Series while not playing at all. And that also now includes Steiner’s commercials for the signed World Series baseball ($99.99 plus shipping). That’s a tad unfortunate.

The Rangers are, without a doubt, a team with plenty of players whose cards are undervalued and guys who could be gainers down the line should they win it all and continue to play into the postseason in the future. Examples? You could grab a Derek Holland first-year Bowman Chrome certified autograph for less than $10 the night of his gem in Game 4. Mike Napoli? Well, let’s just say that catchers don’t get a lot of love.

A World Series title, though, could change that for several of this team’s players — and right now they’re quite collectable because they are affordable.

A good part of this, though? It might not cost Steiner (or Topps) an arm and a leg to get deals for commemorative team-signed items or World Series collections done — that’s something that’s becoming more and more of a challenge as the divide between millionaire’s autograph fees and what the common man can reasonably afford, and in turn purchase, continues to grow.

A win for the Rangers will be exciting to watch on cardboard — however long the interest lasts … as we collectors are a finicky bunch — but there’s no doubting that a title for this franchise, one that’s been around for 50-plus years as the Senators and Rangers, will be one step closer to claiming what still might be an elusive thing in football country.

What’s that?

The heart of Texas.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

8 Comments

nathan crandell

I dont know about your comment that catchers dont get a lot of love. Throughout the years I think catchers have gotten plenty. In fact one of the hottest young stars (Buster Posey) is a catcher, I may be a little exaggerating but he is the most popular young star that isnt Harper or Strasburg (which are only popular because the are very young rookies).

Posted October 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Posey is more an exception than the rule. He was surprisingly hot a year ago.

Posted October 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
card opinionator

Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Piazza. If they have the cards, they get the love. I think you could have better said Napoli has not yet been a hobby hero, and does not have a base of key cards or collectors. And that could change quickly.

Posted October 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
Jon Chuckery

I agree with Chris about catchers (see how I can be fair and balanced! LOL!), but would use Napoli for that argument. Napoli is the guy on your softball team that can hit but you cant afford to put him out in the field so you stick him behind the plate. How many vintage collectors go out looking for cards of catcher’s not named Yogi Berra…even Bench doesnt hold the collecting love of players in his era and he is the best ever at his position. Take Piazza who you could argue is the best HITTING catcher of all time…his 1992 Bowman when compared to other guys in the set is a pretty good value at $20 when you compare that to Hoffman and Delgado who go for $10 ea

Posted October 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink
john paul

i am a collector who loves collecting catchers. and not just because i played catcher in the day. i agree alot of them are undervalued, however i disagree that they don’t get alot of love. you can’t watch t.v. 15 minutes without seeing mr. mauer, posada and varitek don’t really even deserve alot of cardboard value, but as for love, i’d say they got it! carlos santana is awsome, jesus montero is gonna be a phenom, barring some unforseen problem or injury (knock on wood), and you already mentioned my favorite buster-bus! he plays like bench and hits like mantle! at what, 24? i think there was a bit of a draught in the way of the superstar catcher inbetween the original “pudge”, carlton fisk and posey (70′s-now). there have been alot of mediocre catchers or, i should say good defensive catchers without alot of stick power. piazza and i-rod would be the only two i can really think of that were good both defensively and offensively. i think the wave is coming back around, and i’m likin’ it! let’s see all the new yogis, cochranes, munsons, benches, and fisks this great game can muster! i, for one, got nuthin’ but love for ‘em!

Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
David Johnson

Other popular catchers are Berra, Bench, Piazza, Fisk and of course my top 2 favorites: Ivan Rodriguez and Gary Carter. That being said most hobby love has nothing to do with position, but everything to do with production (mostly HRs and strikeouts, however there are exceptions for extremely high batting average, stolen bases, wins, etc).

Posted October 27, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

Go look at the values for those Hall of Famer RCs for catchers and compare them to others from same timeframes … catchers don’t get the love.

Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
Nick Tegeler

I hope to see the value of their autos go up because I oulled a Kinsler auto out of my Topps Lineage box about a week or two ago. I also have a Topps Tribute Josh Hamilton auto from last years product.

Posted October 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

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