Entering the Hall of Fame for baseball, or any sport for that matter is an incredible feat. But, while it is a career-defining moment for players, it can be an excellent opportunity for card investors as well. It is a great idea to consider undervalued future baseball Hall-Of-Famer cards as investments.
Today, we will be examining how Hall of Fame status influences card value and some future Hall of Famers that are undervalued today.
While the actual induction into the Hall of Fame has little impact on the value of a card, the skill and popularity to get there do. The lack of movement price-wise following a player’s election to the Hall of Fame exists because appointments to the Hall are rarely a surprise.
Most players who reach the Hall of Fame are expected to be inducted. Think of someone like Cal Ripken. Was anyone surprised when he was inducted? Therefore, an immediate bump doesn’t always materialize. Instead, their price often already reflects their quality upon entry.
However, don’t think for a second that entry into Cooperstown doesn’t have a price effect. Hall of Famer prices remain high and often appreciate over time. Unfortunately, most other veteran’s cards do not.
When investing in prospect cards, investors are gambling on the idea that the prospect will do well and make it into the majors. In most cases, if a prospect winds up becoming a Hall of Fame level player, the return on investment will be huge.
High draft picks are likely to generate a significant amount of buzz, and their cards will be in demand. An example of a highly valued prospect who has yet to swing a bat in the majors is Adley Rutschman. Although, sure, the buzz around the young catcher has diminished somewhat, a signed refractor of his went for $1,700 just last month.
Meanwhile, you can get an Andre Dawson rookie card auto for 100$. As a reminder, Dawson was an MVP, Rookie of the Year, eight-time All-Star, and eight-time Golden Glove winner. On the other hand, Adley has done precisely nothing in the bigs (so far).
As an investor, don’t fall for this fallacy. After all, most prospects either don’t pan out at all or end up becoming average players. Few become superstars, and often the biggest players seem to come out of nowhere.
The smart play is often to pursue a guaranteed Hall of Famer, especially when they are undervalued.
Before making the Hall, some players tend to have lower-priced cards due to them being under the radar. For whatever reasons these may be, it makes some players excellent investment opportunities before their prices correct.
I will be determining the status of the “future Hall of Famer” through the Baseball References monitor list. The formula can be found here, with the gist of it being a score of over 100 represents excellent odds to make the Hall.
|Player||Most Recently Purchased Topps PSA 10 RC (flagship unless noted)||Population|
|Albert Pujols||$3,050 (Traded)||223|
|Mike Trout||$3,250 (Update)||5,403|
|Miguel Cabrera||$655 (Traded)||1,865|
|Clayton Kershaw||$1,335 (Update)||921|
|Max Scherzer||$300 (Update)||1,100|
Max Scherzer is a prime example of an undervalued player. His score of 154 makes him a lock for Cooperstown. However, his rookie cards aren’t too expensive. A PSA 10 recently sold for $301.
An additional example of an undervalued player is Yadier Molina. He is easily headed to the Hall of Fame with an impressive score of 166 per Baseball-Reference. However, you can get a PSA 10 of his rookie for around $800.
The chances are that a Molina or Scherzer rookie will be worth significantly more than an Adley Rutschman or even a Wander Franco in ten years. Therefore, invest accordingly.
Not all players are absolute bargains to buy. Some cards have exorbitant prices, either from player popularity, recent hype, or some other strange event that sent their prices to the moon. This section will only be focusing on veterans; you won’t find any overvalued prospects or rookies here.
Justin Verlander is a phenomenal player and a lock for Cooperstown. However, his card values are inflated relative to the other Hall of Fame level players on this list. Over the past few months, some of his cards have been rapidly increasing in value. For example, his PSA 10 rookie card went for $1,100 in May, after selling for a little over half that the month before.
Why are his cards worth more than Max Scherzer? Is he a better pitcher? Maybe, but it is a close call. He certainly isn’t almost four times better. Justin is a bit more glamorous and is married to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Kate Upton. So his cards are ‘sexier.’
Therefore, it is hard to determine if his cards are a worthy investment. But Justin’s cards hold value for other reasons. He is good-looking and plays for the Yankees. That may mean less if he retires after a disappointing career.
Like with every investment, you are taking a risk. Even when it looks like a “sure thing,” there is always the chance the investment goes awry.
The risk increases exponentially when you decide to invest in prospect cards. With their whole career ahead of them, a whole host of factors could decrease the card’s value. So while prospects have to potential to have an incredible ROI, they also possess significant risk.
But, as Thomas Jefferson says, “With great risk comes great reward.”