Over the course of my life, I've gone back and forth on the issue of gathering autographs. On the one hand, they're cool as special little bits of memorabilia. On the other, they're nothing more than things written in ink. And unlike, say, paintings, or the Declaration Of Independence, authentic autographs can be easily reproduced. When you really think about it - and I mean really think about it - autographs are kind of silly. Having a player's autograph isn't like hanging out with him over drinks. Having a player's autograph is simply being in possession of an object that the player thought about for maybe two seconds.
Autographs you obtain in person can at least, I suppose, be accompanied by a sense of accomplishment or a story. Those require that you come in some kind of contact with the player. But autographs that you purchase? This is where I get completely lost. I've bought autographs before when I was young, but I was young. When I was young I bought 17 rolls of Bubble Tape at the store. Where's the thrill? Where's the thrill in owning something that can be reproduced or approximated with a flick of the wrist?
Which all brings me to this Stephen Strasburg autographed baseball card.
$34,600. Monday has seen the price increase by several thousand dollars, and there are still another seven days to go. $34,600, for a cardboard picture of Stephen Strasburg, with his name on it in ink.
Stephen Strasburg is very, very good. Don't get me wrong. He's as talented a pitcher as any I think I've ever seen. But Stephen Strasburg is going to sign other cards. Lots of other cards. He's going to sign lots of everything. Who in his right mind would ever drop five figures on one of the first of what will end up being countless Stephen Strasburg autographed baseball cards?
Here are some things you could get for $34,600:
- A 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse
- 2,947 Drew Storen autographed baseball cards
- 16200 Plymouth Ave, Detroit, MI 48227
- 34,600 rolls of Bubble Tape
- 38.6 hours of Stephen Strasburg's 2010 Major League service
You very well may find this card to be a worthwhile purchase. But if you find this card to be a worthwhile purchase, you are one of the bidders. You should get back to the auction, bidder.