Friday, March 13, 2009

The Plight Of The Player Collector

Sometimes, players you love go through a pretty radical change, and you are forced to adapt collecting habits to fit it. Either they get traded, they go to jail, or in some cases they switch their auto or something about their allegiance to the collecting public. It really sucks for the player collector in many of these instances because you are either left with a player on a team you don’t like, or nothing if they go to jail. With the auto, a very important part of player collector's collection, you have to adapt, especially if it goes from one of the most expressive to a give up.

First I want to talk about a trade or free agency. With a trade, it wasn’t anything the player did directly (most of the time) that you have to deal with, and it can be tough to figure out what to do. Free agency is player directed, but the result is the same. If you are that player's collector, but didn’t live in the city he was from, or had no ties to the team, it should be easy to swtich things up. You may have to put up with mismatched swatches for a year or two, but generally things are fine. If you have a tie to the team AND the player, it’s a completely different story.

Lets use KG as an example, because I think he could fall into a few of these categories. KG was my favorite player on the Timberwolves, duh, and both free agency and a trade were possible at one point. There were probably a lot of KG fans outside of MN, so it wasn’t as big a deal for them. KG gets traded to one of my least favorite teams, and I am stuck with team allegiance to the wolves, but signed memorabilia from a Celtic. I ended up letting both player and team allegiances stand and kept my stuff, but that didn’t mean I didn’t try to get rid of it a few times out of anger.

With Jail, it’s the other side of the pillow altogether. With those types of situations, its tough to like or collect a guy that is a bad enough person to do something requiring jail time. At that point, you might be stuck, it may be time to fold it up and move on with your collection.

For this ill use Michael Vick, because he seems to be at the forefront of all of this, and he has a lot of people who collect him. If you look at his stuff, he went from being one of the more valuable players to someone with little to no value. The falcons quickly moved on to Matt Ryan, which gave falcons collectors someone to bank on from here on out. The Vick people, well, they are out of luck.

As for people and their auto, for us second worlders, this is key. I could love Chris Johnson all the live long day, but I am never going to get a card that is worth my time. For that matter alone, many people may avoid him. I know it would be tough for me to collect a guy with as much of a give up auto as that is. What makes it a slap in the face partially, is that he signs much more completely on the certified stuff I see on eBay. If you can sign for people face to face, but you cant do it on cards, I think it says something about what you think about collecting. Again, that isnt necessarily a bad thing, a la Dirk Nowitzki signing TTM, but its not necessarily a good thing either.

Peterson recently switched from a full auto to a give up, and for people like me, its tough collecting decision to make. My gut says that the give up isnt as good and I shouldn’t buy it, but my collecting tendencies make me want to go after new stuff. Funny enough, about six months ago, I got an email from someone saying this was going to happen, and I shrugged it off at the time. I think from now on, ill stay away from his give ups on stickers, but make an exception with on card shit. Sadly, he has also switched his IP auto as well, which makes me question what he was thinking.

Personally, its really about how much you are willing to tolerate. If Peterson wasn’t a Viking, I probably wouldn’t collect as much, but that is the nature of the NFL. Its become expected that players wont stay with their team their whole career. Its also pretty much expected that eventually players will develop a primadonna attitude and give up on the fans. There are always awesome stories, but more than a few times players have become enemies of the collector before becoming a sympathizer. Hopefully every door that the players close, somewhere they open a window.


  1. You've been speaking to my collecting lately. I used to collect Vick, but I have a bulldog and love bull breed dogs and it has nothing to do with tough guy bullshit. Imagine how that went for me. I'm also a Lions fan and we all know sucky teams turnover all the time. Guys I'd want to collect like Jeff Backus don't have cool cards. Ah well, at least Barry Sanders needing money has really opened up a lot of products of him.

  2. Yeah, I can imagine. I think the Vick thing was pretty harsh to accept. I know most people love dogs, and to see the way he treated them was hard to accept. He proved that maybe he has more problems than most people.