Strasburg Rookie Cards: Boom or Bust?

Stephen Strasburg was destined for greatness. He was the number one over all pick in the Major League Baseball draft in 2009, and given a then record $15 million dollar contract by the Washington Nationals. Strasburg's every move was reported on by ESPN, and sports card collectors were salivating at the chance to buy Strasburg rookie cards.

Savvy card collectors were already well aware of Strasburg. He was the only collegiate player on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, and, much like Mark McGwire in 1985; he had rookie cards out that year.

Collecting and speculating on rookie cards is nothing new.  Just recall the boom and then bust of the mid-1980s and early 1990s. Individual players had been in high demand before, McGwire, Canseco, Griffey Jr., and Barry Bonds all had periods of incredible collector demand, followed by a crash in prices. But nobody had the incredible effect on card collecting that Strasburg did in 2010.

Since Strasburg was hyped even before he entered the big leagues, there was no real chance to get his cards cheap. As the date drawer closer to his debut with the Nationals, prices were hitting four digits for some of his autographed rookies.

He was down right dazzling in his early games, setting a club record for strikeouts in his debut. A one of one card of his sold for $20,000 in September of 2010. Then he hurt his arm and was done for the season. His cards leveled off, but collectors were certain he would bounce back. Nearly all of 2011 was also spent on the D.L., and his cards started to plummet.

If you were ever going to get in on the Strasburg rookie cards craze, now might be the time to do it. He is poised for a big season this year, and his cards are finally somewhat affordable.

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