Bad Hits

Cheap Game Used – Alex Rios

Player’s Name: Alex Rios

Player’s Position: OF

Player’s Current Team: Toronto Blue Jays

Price I Paid for the Card: I got this card off of eBay for 75 cents.

Set it’s from: 2007 Bowman Sterling

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for $10.00.

Why I like this card: Alex is only 26 years old and already has two All Star appearances.  He was slowly becoming a good hitter, but really put it all together last year when he went 0.297/24/85/17.  This year many “experts” expect big things out of him.  What I don’t like is that, besides the shot of his back and butt, we don’t get to see his face.  I thought that was the whole point of cards.  Why have a card that doesn’t show you the player’s face.  Is it that horrific? The other thing I like about this card is the black Jersey swatch.  usually you get a grey or white one.  It’s nice to see a strange color every once in a while.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: Well 75 cents for this card is a great price.  Not only did I end up getting a solid up and commer, but who knows?  Maybe he will take off this year and hit 30 homers. He is off to a slow start this year only going 0.306/2/14 over the first month, but his homer totals always start peaking in late May / early June so keep your eyes open for that.  I think over time if he continues to hit his stride in the bigs, his card might go up, but I think he would have to switch markets to see a dramatic rise in his card values.

Will if ever be worth more? No, I don’t think so. Other than his rookie cards, none of his recent cards have been sought after.  Maybe in the long term we might see some change but I tend to think that his current pricing might remain his only pricing.

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May 1, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , | 1 Comment

Cheap Game Used – Vlad Guerrero / Alfonso Soriano

Players Names: Vladimir Guerrero / Alfonso Soriano

Players Positions: OF – Guerrero / 2B – Soriano

Players Current Teams: California Angels (Guerrero) and Chicago Cubs (Pictured with the Texas Rangers, Soriano)

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $1.25 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2005 Fleer Authentix

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for $15.00, but as you can see I got it much cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: What’s not to like? You get two of the premier hitters in the league jerseys on the same card.  Both are on their way to the Hall of Fame. Vlad in 13 seasons has 2000 hits and 368 home runs. Where as Soriano, who has 231 homers and 231 stolen bases in 10 years, including a 40/40 season may not be a shoe in, but he has some nice credentials.  Plus I love the design of this card.  It’s meant to look like a ticket and actually Steve from White Sox Cards blog wrote about this on Things done to sports cards blog.  But what I really like about this card is the dueling players in the middle of their peaks, and a swatch of jersey from both of them.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: To players at the peaks of their careers, both are monster hitters and I get both of their jerseys on one card!  I’ll buy this card up all day at a buck and change a pop.  You can’t tell me that when they are all done with baseball, this card won’t be worth more.  It has to be right?  I don’t do prospecting but I would be floored if this card doesn’t go up in value.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More that a Minor Star?: Damn I hope so!  Can it ever be worth less than what I paid for it?  I doubt it, but if one or both of these guys head to the Hall of Fame, shouldn’t this card’s price go up?  I would think so.

April 26, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cheap Game Used – Rich Harden

Player’s Name: Rich Harden

Player’s Position: P – Starter

Player’s Current Team: Oakland A’s

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $0.15 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2007 Upper Deck Artifacts

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for a very cheap $10.00, but as you can see I got it much cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: Every once in a while you hear about a pitcher who has the stuff of Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan. The last guy I remember hearing about that was Josh Beckett. But then we started hearing about Harden. I think I followed him ever since he was in AA ball. He was 21 years old when he made his first start back in 2003. I knew he was going to be real good. But something happened to him along the way. It always seems to happen to young flame throwers, the hurt themselves, a lot. In 2006 he got through 9 games, in 2007 he started four games and after just two this year he is back on the DL. Sometimes you get players like Mark Prior, who never seem to overcome it. Other times you get someone like Roger Clemens and Tommy John, who not only come back, but are better than when they left. I hope Harden won’t be labeled a DL guy for the rest of his career (see Mark Prior) and becomes the pitcher everyone expects him to become.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: This card teeters on bad hit status. I think he can be one of the most dominant pitchers in the AL, but then again, he can’t dominate anyone from the disabled list. So is it cheap or bad? For right now I am going with cheap. He is a fantastic pitcher when he is healthy. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he can over come this and not turn into another Ben McDonald. Million dollar arm, but kept in place with a band aid. We’ll have to revisit this one some day and see if it becomes a cheap hit or a bad hit.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More that a Common?:Short term answer, yes, long term, probably. I just can’t see his popularity going up. Prior was popular before he got hurt, Rich is just not that popular, even when he wasn’t hurt.

April 20, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Game Used – Cole Hamels

Player’s Name: Cole Hamels

Player’s Position: P – Starter

Player’s Current Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $1.37 on eBay

Set it’s from: 2006 Upper Deck Special F/X

What it’s Worth: Beckett has it listed for $12.00 but as you can see it is quite a bit cheaper on eBay.

Why I like this card: I got to see Cole pitch in Lakewood, NJ at a Blue Claws game and knew that he was going to be one of those special players. I guess the same could have also been said about Gavin Floyd as well, but we can leave that for another story. Cole though just blew away hitters in the minor leagues. He was so dominant that it was obvious that he should be pitching in the majors. He was just that much better than anyone else on that field. Since I lived in Bethlehem, PA, I also got to see him in Reading and Scranton, PA as well. So when he went to the majors, I watched every game he pitched in. Well we know what he is capable with, when he has a full season 15-5/3.59/1.12, so let’s see what he can do for his career. He is still one of my favorite pitchers to watch (also James Shields). His stuff is electrifying and I think he will only get better.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: OK so I paid for more than a dollar for this one, but I needed it. This is the only Cole Hamels jersey card I have. So he isn’t a upper echelon veteran . . . he has all the talent that he could become one. He is already one of the highest ranking fantasy league guys, so I don’t think he is far off. Like many young pitchers, he just has to keep the injuries at bay (some how). Hopefully the Phillies will not ruin another young arm, but only time will tell.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than an unlisted star?: We shall see. This will be a big year for him. If he can come back and kick some tail, then yes I think he could have a higher value, if he tanks, well, so will his card.

April 16, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Game Used – Alfonso Soriano

Player’s Name: Alfonso Soriano

Player’s Position: OF/2B

Player’s Current Team: Chicago Cubs (Pictured with the Washington Nationals)

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $0.50 on eBay .

Set it’s from: 2006 SPx Winning Materials

What it’s Worth:Beckett has it listed as an unlisted star, it lists for $10.00. As you can see though, it can be had for less.

Why I like this card: I never stopped liking him, even though the Yankees traded him for A-Rod.  He was one of the players, that when I got back into collecting, I had decided that he was going to be one of my targets for game used materials.  He has never really had a bad season, even though he had some bad situations.  I don’t think he’s going to show the wheels he once had, but I can definitely see him continuing his home run pace of about 35 a year.  He has a nice batting average (around 0.280 for his career), which is amazing given his penchant for striking out as much as he does.  At some point when he is older you are going to see some 0.240 averages, just because at some point he won’t be able to catch up to those fast balls.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: There are tons of these cards on the market. I have at least 20-30 of them (not Soriano mind you) but of that variety.  Even still, it is Soriano, the guy hasn’t really had a bad season yet in his career (knocking on wood) and yet, he is not as cherrished as a Pujols or A-Rod.  I think the K’s are what turns poeple off of him, but whatever, 50 cents for the card is a bargain.  I am not sure whether he is Hall of Fame worthy at this point, since he still has over 250 more homers to go and he is 32.  We would have to see a sustained jump in his homer totals to get him to that HOF level.  And to think he was just wasting away in the Japanese League when the Yankee found him.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than an unlisted star?: Probably not, but hey it’s a Soriano card, and he had a 40-40 year.  Not too many guys can say they did that.

April 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Game Used – Bo Jackson

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Player’s Name: Bo Jackson

Player’s Position: OF/DH

Player’s Current Team: None (Pictured with the Kansas City Royals)

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $0.99 on eBay .

Set it’s from: 2004 Donruss Timelines

What it’s Worth:Beckett has it listed as an unlisted star, it lists for $8.00. As you can see though, it can be had for less.

Why I like this card: I always wanted a Bo Jackson jersey card. What makes it better is that it’s a Kansas City Royal uniform. I really loved watching him play when he was at his best and I think that was when he was with the Royals. There was a point in his baseball career, and I think it was in 1989 where he had to be one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. In 1989 he went 0.256/32/105/26 and it was by far his best year. He was 10th in MVP voting that year and hit 2 homers in the All Star game. I smart enough to know that whether he just played baseball or not, he was never going to be a Hall of Famer. It was just so much fun to watch him play. The day he got injured and broke his hip was one of the saddest days in sports for me cause I knew he would never be the same.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: Bo for a buck? How can you go wrong with that? One of my goals, while coming back into the world of collecting cards, was to try and collect jersey cards of every player listed on the unlisted stars/semi stars/minor stars list in the back of Beckett. The unlisted stars are the hardest to find cheap, just because they are the most desirable cards. The fact I snuck this one out for a dollar was great and I got to own a piece of Jackson’s history.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than an unlisted star?: No, he’s not a Hall of Famer and his career is done. There isn’t anything he can do to make his cards go up. At least I don’t think there is.

April 7, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cheap Game Used – Lance Berkman

Player’s Name: Lance Berkman

Player’s Position: 1B

Player’s Current Team: Houston Astros

Price I Paid for the Card: I paid $0.99 on eBay .

Set it’s from: 2003 Donruss Studio

What it’s Worth:Beckett has it listed as a semistar but the card itself is unlisted in the price guide making it worth $10.

Why I like this card: First off, I love the blue jersey. I mean everyone has a white or grey jersey from the Astros but how many Berkman blue jersey are out there. This card was actually sent out to Wax Heaven as part of a trade, but when I did have it, I would say it was one of my most favorite Berkman cards. He is probably one of the most underrated players in the league. Can you imagine if he was playing in Boston or New York, he would have won a MVP award by now. He is only 32 this year and he has 260 home runs. Almost as impressive is the 1300 hits he has. He could make the Hall as long as he keeps up the homer totals and gets to 500, which is quite possible.

Why it’s a Cheap Hit: If he get’s in the Hall, and I don’t see why he can’t stay productive for 6 or 7 more seasons, this could be a steal of a card. If he doesn’t, well, I still got a jersey of a guy who was quite dominant in his era. Plus it’s a blue jersey of a guy that has only worn one once. It’s cool! I will actually try and get another one of these off eBay to replace the one I traded. I like oddball jersey cards. Stay tuned to see a few more that I have.

Will it Ever be Worth Anything More than a common?: In the immediate future, no. In a decade, we’ll have to see about that one. It is entirely possible, that a trip to Cooperstown could get him out of the common bin.

April 5, 2008 Posted by | Cheap Game Used | , , , , , , | Leave a comment