Collecting blues: What to do when your favorite player finds a new team

When you click on links to various merchants on this site, like eBay, and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission.

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

The baseball offseason can make your head swirl as you try to watch all the moves being made. Guys get traded to division rivals while others are signing big contracts to move across the country.

But what happens when one of your favorite players on your favorite team decides to pack his bags?

As a collector, you probably have a decent stash of his cards, including autographs and memorabilia. And that’s where my friend Marie Pecora found herself. She has close to 400 unique Robinson Cano cards with more than 51 autographs in her collection.

The day Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners, I immediately thought of her and what she planned to do with her Cano collection.

Her first response involved some sort of bonfire, but she has since calmed down – kind of.

“When I read the news my initial reaction was well the “value” of my collection just took a hit,” Marie said. “Now I see the upside, maybe his cards will be cheaper in his new uniform. I still love my collection, it has taken years to build and right now I still plan to collect his cards.”

I’ve thought about this before – what if my favorite player left my favorite team? Luckily for me, Derek Jeter will probably die with Yankees pinstripes on. But other collectors aren’t so lucky. Free agency has made it difficult to be a player collector because of how often a guy will likely move throughout his career. In baseball, he could be on three or more teams before his career is over.

If you collect a player that is on another team, it’s easier to cope. However, losing a player from your own team – that usually hurts.

At least Marie doesn’t plan on selling her collection. Although there were probably people hoarding Cano cards who thought they might cash in one day if he ever won an MVP and perhaps another World Series.

“I think the resale value would have been higher as a Yankee if I was tempted to sell my collection, but I am in no way tempted to do so,” Marie, a Yankees season ticket holder, said. “I joked earlier on Twitter about setting it on fire but that was before I had a chance to cool off about it.”

Even so, Cano will not be playing for the Yankees any longer, and West Coast players tend to have a tough time getting noticed unless your name is Mike Trout.

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor at Beckett Media. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here. Follow Beckett Media on Facebook and Twitter.

When you click on links to various merchants on this site, like eBay, and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission.

The Beckett Online Price Guide

The largest and most complete database in the industry. Period. Join the hundreds of thousands of collectors who have benefited from the OPG.

Subscribe Now

The Beckett Marketplace

Over 129 million cards
from 70+ dealers

Shop Now


  1. JonathanI 11 December, 2013 at 18:12

    My collection centers on players that start and finish their careers with my Chicago teams (essentially, no White Sox). This throws a few things off in that the Chicago Bears have more HOFers than anyone in the NFL, but only eight played their whole careers there. This does, however, help narrow down my collection goals. With free-agnecy, this is getting tougher to do with the new guys, but there are still a few out there that started in Chicago, are still playing, and have been only Chicagoans within the four major sports.

  2. rick 11 December, 2013 at 18:28

    I had that card (cano). I found it in a value box right before he got big. I paid 5 bucks for it. Then a couple months later sold it for 60 via paypal! I messed up! But good profit i guess.

  3. kris buonocore 11 December, 2013 at 20:11

    a guy named griffey jr did well on west coast, ichiro as well but it does hurt a lot of the rest. try being a marlins fan, we had cabrera, adrian gonzalez and now stanton who will be gone soon, and we usually get nothing. as a stanton collector and marlins fan i will be bummed, but he should put up better numbers elsewhere and value will go up.

  4. Michael Jauzzi 11 December, 2013 at 20:48

    Wow.. I though this article was about me… not to take anything away from Marie, however I think I am the 3 largest collector of Cano in the country, with over 1095 unique cards with 100+ autos not counting the 20 topps owes me in redemption’s, a ton of plates, rainbows, 1/1’s including the Bowman Heritage RC Rainbow 1/1. It has taken me 5 years to get to where I am, needing about 10 cards numbered /10 or higher from 2003 to 2012. I have the entire collection on the bay, if it does not sell, Marie!!! look me up, I have all you need…!!!! I have moved on to collecting Mike Trout as more than likely the Yanks will open the vault when he becomes a free agent..

    If it does not sell in the lot, I will try breaking it down into smaller lots. But, first I will give everyone a crack at trading for any Trouts you may have… As well as pull aside some cards for those of you who collect other players that share a card with Cano that you need for your own collections… It was fun while it lasted… MJ

  5. Corky 11 December, 2013 at 23:42

    I am on the opposite end of this spectrum, I am a Mariners fan so this is a huge pick up for the team. In the past I have seen Griffey and Ichiro leave. I have always been a Griffey fan so even when he left for the Reds I continued collecting his stuff but when Ichiro left I stopped picking up his cards.

  6. David J 12 December, 2013 at 08:25

    It doesn’t bother me much in terms of my collecting habits. When I collect a player, I collect because I like the player regardless of what team he plays for.

  7. Paul 12 December, 2013 at 08:50

    This reminds me of the Seinfeld bit where he talks about how we cheer for laundry–positive if it’s “our” team and boo if it’s not. My player switched teams a few times and I collected him wherever he went and will continue to do so. The great thing about a team switch is that it usually gives the player more cards than usual so if you are collecting the player, that’s a plus. On the other hand, I’m guessing there are fans of the new team that will gladly pick up cards if you decide to sell.

  8. Paul 12 December, 2013 at 10:22

    I have never been a PLAYER collector, only a TEAM collector. Once a player leaves the team then I no longer pursue his cards. I only want cards of him in the uniform of my favorite team.

  9. John 12 December, 2013 at 13:20

    Here is the thing? If he is your player, why would you stop collecting because he switched teams. If you collect a player, you collect a player. If you collect a player because he is on team X, then you only collect his cards with that team. I collect Ozzie Smith because I like Ozzie Smith. I therefore, have Padres and Cardinals stuff in my collection. If I collected Ozzie Smith the Cardinal, then that’s all I would focus on.

  10. Jason K 12 December, 2013 at 14:35

    Susan, what about the people who will collect him more now that he isn’t wearing the hated pinstripes? There are just as many Yankee haters out there as there are front-running Yankee lovers.

    Yankees are an elite team. But that doesn’t mean they don’t suck.

    • Susan Lulgjuraj 12 December, 2013 at 15:05

      Cano was the example, but the post was about your fave player changing teams. It’s not just a Yankees fan issue. All fans can relate, I think.

  11. Michael Jauzzi 12 December, 2013 at 18:25

    There is a difference in collecting a player and having a super collection of that player. When that player switches teams, in the case of Cano, almost going to literally to the other side of the planet, where the market is smaller, there are less people inclined to collect him and Cano being from the DR with a huge DR population in NYC, it is more than likely his overall collect-ability value will depreciate. When you have a collection valued at $40k+ and if it would take a 30% value hit, that is taking a 60% value hit, based on what it is worth, and what people would actually pay for it. As a Yankee fan, my goal was to collect him and store it away, and give it to my kids at some point, with the notion of him being a yankees legend, the overall value of the collection would have gone up over years passed. My investment was a hefty one, his success in NY will not carry over in Seattle. My goal is get whatever value I can for my collection then move onto another… It’s about the chase…..but I do bleed yankee pin stripes…

  12. Dan 12 December, 2013 at 20:00

    In baseball, I tried to get every Molitor card regardless of Golden Gophers, Burlington Bees, Brewers, Blue Jays, Twins, or non-MLD-licensed.
    Football however, I collect Packers and Packers only. I won’t even buy the ’67 Philly on which Hornung is in a Packers jersey, but “New Orleans Saints” are listed as the team.

  13. Justin Credible 13 December, 2013 at 01:51

    The whole Upper Deck thing I knew from the beginning would be the PERFECT solution and I tip my hats to them.

    I collect Football where… well… good luck in having ANY player stay on the same team because the odds are 0. Thus, if you have their college card? Peyton Manning will ALWAYS be a Volunteer.

    I love those versions plus it’s opened College Football fanatics as well.

  14. dena17 14 December, 2013 at 17:08

    I have been on both ends of this story. I am a huge Konerko fan (won Super Collector earlier this year!) and of course most of his career has been with the Sox so its been easy. My other big collections are Frank Thomas and Mark Buehrle, who obviously left the Sox for other teams. For whatever reason, i have collected all of Konerko’s stuff from the Dodgers and Reds years, but have not been a collector of the Thomas Jays or A’s stuff, nor the Buehrle Marlins or Jays stuff.

    With Konerko’s future in limbo this past offseason i was starting to wonder if i would also shy away from his 2014 stuff if he changed teams. Luckily i wont have to make that decision, but ultimately i guess it just comes down to how big of a fan you are of that player. I would imagine it also matters what team they go to, i cant imagine collecting any Cubs items of any of my beloved Sox if they were to make the cross town journey!

  15. Andre 16 December, 2013 at 04:23

    I agree with Dena17 and others…
    This is where a collectors true colors show… If you are really a fan of any player, you’ll follow them where ever they play. Even after their career. Others are either just along for the ride or are more likely a team collector in disguise. In the end we collect what we feel like, there’s no right or wrong. The only right or wrong may be in how we present ourselves or view ourselves. Which is another topic altogether…

    My question to all of the Cano sellers (due to the move)… What happens if he becomes like the last “great” 2nd Baseman for the yanks…. Traded to Texas for A-Rod… Then brought back last year to the pinstripes a bit rejuvenated?? Alfonso Soriano??? What if in a few years Cano is back with the Yanks to finish his career??

    He will have great career stats with NYY. Which could lead to a team honor… Like a number retirement or something. Most likely won’t happen but you never know… Soriano is back… Griffey Jr went back to the M’s to end his career… Many players do that (or intend to). Kicking him to the curb may be premature.

    Personally, I collect a couple of players (in Baseball & Hockey) and I don’t care where they go. I’m still a fan. I also am a team collector (Baseball, Football & Hockey). For Hockey, I collect the Sabres. Loved Vanek but only as a Sabre. I still respect his skills but I can’t see myself going out of my way to get anything not Buffalo related. At the same time, there’s no thoughts of parting with his Sabres cards. If anything, the trade just opened up a shopping frenzy for me and at discounted prices!! The Sabres fans that are choosing to dump his cards are helping scoop up a bunch of stuff. It takes everybody to make the industry move. I guess, collectors (& others) just have to be real about what things (or people) mean to them.

    Life is a work in progress..

  16. Zeprock 22 December, 2013 at 08:43

    I went through this in 2004 when Nomar Garciaparra was traded from the Red Sox to Chicago. I had well over 1000 unique Nomar cards when he was sent packing. I was heartbroken but then the Sox won the World Championship that October as Nomar’s body broke apart. I thought it was sweet for the Sox to hand Nomar a share of the W.S. winnings however my zeal to collect Nomar’s cards waned. I still collect him but not at all with the intensity that I did when he was a Red Sox. What’s worse is when your favorite player leaves to join your hated rival (Yeah I’m talking about you Wade Boggs, Johnny Damon and Jacoby Ellsbury).

Leave a reply

We use cookies to help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and provide a safer experience. By navigating the site, you agree to the use of cookies to collect information. Read our Cookie Policy.
Accept & Close