Rather than hearing about the Red Sox winning their second World Series in four years, the amazing run made by the Rockies, or the fabulous efforts of the Sox pitching staff the commentators on Fox spent the last two innings talking about ARod speculating whether he would resign with the Yankees or whether another large market team would swoop in and land the star third baseman.
As a baseball fan I felt that Alex Rodriguez picked the most inopportune time to venture out of his contract option. It would have been like Dwight Howard announcing his refusal to sign with the Lakers while LeBron James was polishing off his second NBA championship. However, even Dwight Howard has better sense than to make a major announcement about contracts and money during another team's championship moment.
I decided to go easy on ARod cards from that moment forward. If I landed a good ARod from a box or pack of wax it was listed and posted on Ebay quickly or tried to trade it for as much as possible as quickly as possible. I was not totally against ARod, but I was not taking on anything else. I eventually whittled my ARod collection down to a single ARod autograph.
1999 Topps Alex Rodriguez Autograph
I made sure that my remaining ARod signature was slightly uncommon, on-card, and featured a cool picture of ARod before the Rangers or Yankees. Before steroids. Maybe. Who really knows anymore. The other ARod card that I could not part with was a copy of his 1994 SP rookie card.
While I really do not enjoy ARod the person, nor the player, his rookie card is one of the iconic cards of my generation of collectors. I also do not really like Mark Prior, but I picked up a copy of his 2001 Prospect Premiers autograph after they dropped below $10. Great card, crappy player. Much as a view Prior's iconic rookie card, ARod fits into the same card. Villain on and off the field, but I am sure that someone somewhere will still value this card:
I actually still own the non-diecut version of this card too. I remember when I could have sold this card for over $100. The non-diecut version for more than $50 about ten years ago. Since then the value of ARod cards has plummeted. I do not even remember what I put into buy this card, I think in the late 90s, but I am sure it was significantly more than the $20-$30 the die cut versions now sell for on Ebay. Non-diecut? Less than $15 and if you are patient less than $10.
So, as bleak as it looks for ARod on the field his cards have already taken a huge nose dive in value by collectors unwilling to pay a premium from a steroids era player. I am sure that many collectors have learned their lessons from taking a bath on Clemens and McGwire cards that ARod will probably never draw a premium from his cards again.
While many collectors might resent ARod for ruining some part of their collection I am taking the swan dive in card values from ARod with a grain of salt. I own three really good ARod cards that combined probably would have totaled more than $300 a decade ago and now they probably would not make half of that today. However, there are a ton of really cool ARod cards out there that I never bought because they were really expensive and I did not want to buy them because I just did not want to pay the price.
In fact, I have been working on the 2000 Upper Deck Game Jersey Autograph set, the unnumbered cards which were in Series 2, for years, probably since 2001. I own most of the set, but I have been missing the Arod and Jeter autographs for years. When I started putting the set together I knew there would come a day where I would either have to give up the chase, or part with $400 to pick up both cards. Now? I actually picked one up this weekend in a trade. Here's a picture my trade partner sent me of my new ARod:
2000 Upper Deck Game Jersey Alex Rodriguez Jersey/Autograph
I probably gave up $40-$50 worth of cards to acquire this card. While it might fall more over the next year, I figure there is probably a limited quantity of this card and picking up the card at a quarter of its anticipated cost is great. I completely understand the disappointment of ARod and how his actions have had a negative impact on the game and the collecting industry, but in the meantime, go find some cool cheap cards and add them to your collection just because....