The last time Stephen Strasburg took to the mound for the Washington Nationals and his team did not win was late last season. The last time Strasburg lost? That’s last season, too.
And the last time collectors seemed to truly care about his cardboard? … Arguably that might have been about six years ago.
Don’t look now, but the guy who owned the hobby in the summer of 2010 and owned the Washington Nationals’ hobby dollars (at least for a while) until some guy named Bryce Harper showed up just might be on the rebound and a compelling buy as a successful 2016 season builds.
Strasburg recently locked in on a long-term deal to remain a National, so that’s a plus for his cardboard. And, unlike his hard-throwing teammate Max Scherzer, he has more than a few iconic early cards to chase — with or without ink.
When his first prospect cards and autographs arrived in 2010 Bowman, they sparked a frenzy that probably can’t ever be achieved again for his cardboard — especially dollar-wise — with pricey Superfractor sales but a frenzy for anything showing him in a Nationals uniform. That led to plenty of wax boxes ripped, even more wax boxes made — and then it all went poof with a season-ending arm injury.
His first Rookie Cards (you know, with the logo) arrived later that year. His Allen & Ginter mini was a short-printed standard release that remains a popular one no matter what his record may look like (and it’s also impossible to find centered) thanks to set collectors. His rarer ink and Chrome autos are still often priced with 2010-era expectations when it comes to asking prices, but are still impressive when looking at completed sales.
For those of us who remember the frenzy — and the letdown — of 2010, it’s interesting to see.
So far this season Strasburg is 7-0 with a 2.80 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 61 innings. That’s the lowest ERA of his career (save for a five-game season in 2011) and he’s on pace for a strikeout mark that would be among his career bests. The reality here, though, is a championship and what it might mean for his cards.
Strasburg, Harper and Scherzer would be the guys looked at first with a ring. We all know how strong Harper’s cardboard is now after an MVP so would his cards have room to grow more? Maybe, but Strasburg has more. And both of those players are only found on MLB cards as Nationals, so they’ll probably be hotter than Scherzer.
There’s plenty of games to play, but it’s interesting to see what their cards might look like come October.
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