View Full Version : Perfect Card to Invest In - Contest Entry

09-26-2011, 01:36 PM
My brother worked a part time job a number of years ago in a card shop that we would often frequent, the Ball Park. We had been going to this store as a family since they brought me in a shopping cart so I wouldnít knock anything off the display cases. One of the great brick and mortar stores that has closed up over the last dozen years or so. Anyways, whenever he reflects upon this job of his, one story is always retold.
A customer came into the store with a crisp $100 bill. He walked directly to the counter, telling my brother that he wanted to invest that $100 in a single baseball card. Jeremy walked him around the store showing all the cards that would maybe do him well. The Rickey Henderson RC, but Rickey wasnít that popular in the mid-to-late 90s. Some classic vintage like a Killebrew or a Spahn, but those prices had found their niche. While they wouldnít go down dramatically, there was limited upside potential.
Even though my brother took this single-card collector on a browsing stroll around the store, he knew immediately the perfect card to make an investment on. 1989 Upper Deck #1. The Ken Griffey Jr. RC. The pinnacle of the modern card era. In the later days of Griffeyís first stint on the Mariners, this card would hover between $80 and $100. He hadnít become the injury-prone Red he would be just a few years later. Instead of seeing that outcome Ė or even anticipating what backlash all power hitters would get from the steroids era Ė we just saw what the Kid was likely to do. Soon would be 500 HRs. Maybe a run at Marisí single-season record. Then a run at Aaronís unbeatable career numbers. The eventual first-ballot induction to Cooperstown. More so, Griffey had a new teammate at the time named Alex Rodriguez, who looked like he could do some impressive things. Maybe those players together could bring a World Series ring to Seattle. With each of these expected feats, the price of the rookie card would sky rocket. This was the key card to invest in. The card that was the surest bet.
Well, we know now what happened to Ken Griffey Jr.ís career. Still a great one, but one that never matched the potential that we all imagined for him around 1997. It is still a great card to own, and one day it will get back to that $100 threshold that it held for moments a few decades ago. But this begs the question. Who do we invest in today?
People have already lost thousands on Strasburg, and we donít know what his post-Tommy-John surgery career will look like. Those of us that avoided the Strasburg boom-and-bust might be investing similarly in Bryce Harper. Iíve put some dollars this season behind Ubaldo Jimenez (potentially a bad move) and Justin Upton (I think a potentially good move, but maybe thatís because Iím a hopeful D-Backs fan). There are so many great young players to invest in, but if you want to put any real money forward itís a scary thing. Ian Kennedy, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander. They all look like fantastic pitching standouts for years to come. But so did Andrew Miller, Brien Taylor, and Brandon Webb. The sad fact is you can find similar lists of names for every position player.
This is why for me itís so important to be a baseball card collector rather than a baseball card investor. Donít get me wrong, during this months writing contest, Iíve thrown some money at Dominic Brown RCs and bought a Bryce Harper card. I got that card for $20 and told me wife in ten years itíll either be worth $2 or $200 Ė no way to know.
I do have to keep the mindset of a collector though. I put together my sets. I find the cards that stick out to me as memorable Ė even if they are the 40-cent Bo Jackson Score cards. Or the Donruss card of the rookie with the cheesy mustache. Or the card front-and-center on an up-and-coming set called Upper Deck of a young kid with an odd looking S on his hat.

09-26-2011, 08:06 PM
Great read and I still believe through everything the above card will always be one of the most influential cards in sportscard history. Not only is it a Rc of a superstar that accomplished all his numbers honestly in a steroid balooned era but it is also the #1 card of a company that has done so much for this industry. On the who do we invest in now note, Joey Votto ---- still young and I think he will be a consistent hitter like Tony Gwynn.

09-26-2011, 08:10 PM
Great read!

10-01-2011, 08:32 AM
Thanks for the entry, published here: http://www.sportscardforum.com/articles/2011/10/perfect-card-to-invest-in/

10-01-2011, 09:36 AM
Great article. One of my most memorable memories during my kids' card collecting era was driving home from the card shop with my 12yr old son sitting in the front passenger seat of the card holding up the card pictured in your article screaming "I got it" "I got it". Everytime I look at that card in our collection the image of that moment flashes to the front of my mind. I don't care if that card reaches $1,000. I would never sell that card.

10-03-2011, 10:26 AM
I used to collect a lot of baseball cards when I was a kid. That card was real popular during my teenage years when it first came out. Although I don't really collect that much baseball anymore, I mainly concentrate on football and basketball I always wanted a griffey jr rookie and do plan on picking up one soon.