The Strasburg Superfractor Has Beckett Written All Over It

Because its so rare that I get worked up over something that happens in the hobby, I think its only natural that I comment on the recent sale of the Strasburg superfractor to Razor entertainment for a little over $21,000. This card sure has generated a lot of press, including national media outlets, and when I read about the sale on Blowout, I became awfully frustrated with the guy who paid the original ridiculous price for a ridiculous card. Of course, my frustration with Beckett followed suit, as well.

When Power, an accountant, purchased the Superfractor for 16,000 dollars, there was so much shock in the sale that a lot of us were questioning the motives of a guy who had just come back to the hobby. It didn’t look like he knew anything about the card, and really didn’t even look like he knew anything about cards in general. Then, after a high(er) profile interview on ESPN, he relisted the card, much to the dismay of all the collectors who originally supported him (and those who didn’t). The card sold again for much more than he originally paid for it, but much like everyone expected, the sale did not go through. The card was eventually sold to Brian Grey and Razor for around 21K to be used in an upcoming product as the holy grail.

Beckett, in all their infinite wisdom, decided it was worth their time to check in again with Power, this time to find out why he gave up on his investment so quickly. Personally, I could have told you the reason in one sentence, but they decided it was worth about 20 pages. Its pretty obvious to me that even Power understood that keeping a card like that was not going to be worth his time, thanks to the extreme popularity and potential surrounding Stras’ first few starts, and decided to get his money back plus some. However, Beckett thought that it needed more than a simple explanation, and showed just what the hobby can do to a new collector. The problem with that is not what Power experienced as a person who bought one of the most high profile cards on the planet, its what Beckett brought to his door, and that’s what I feel bears discussion.

First off, Power sites negativity as a main reason for his resale of the card. To that I want to call shenanigans, and offer this commentary. I mean, I just don’t understand what he expected to happen. Did he think that hundreds of people were going to praise him for choosing a baseball card over a new Honda Accord or something like that? With fame comes haters, and those haters have nothing better to do than try to make you feel like you are a douche. Haters are only successful if they get to you, which is why just about every person who has a hater posse just ignores them. I don’t even read comments from my hater posse anymore, I actually have a special spam folder set up for them. What is the point?

Secondly, why would you complain about how many messages you get when you are the one who gave that initial interview? Power easily could have remained in the dark, keeping the card he “had to have.” Instead he went on the main hobby news source, ESPN, and just about every other place to talk about his buy. If that isnt asking, scratch that, BEGGING for attention, I don’t know what is. My favorite part of this is that Beckett seems to take an omniscent narrator stance on this whole thing, like they had nothing to do with the negativity surrounding the card. If anything, I would say they are responsible for most of it. They presented Power like he was some sort of folk hero, and then did even more damage by giving the card the grade they did. In fact, I would say most of the negativity, at least now, surrounds Beckett’s biased grade of the card rather than Power himself. Maybe he needs to talk to them about the bad press rather than whining about how negativity spoiled his hobby rebirth.

All of that is just par for the course for Beckett, and I guess that Power really doesn’t have the hobby experience to know that. Five years ago, maybe this would have been a much different situation, but Beckett has done so much over that period of time to soil their reputation, that its become more commonplace to hate Beckett than side with them now. I remember when I first discovered online collecting and how many people loved each and every box break that Beckett did. These days, that’s not even close to the case, and I still laugh when people snark at a big pull with “those boxes were meant for Beckett.”

Hell, just writing this post has made it tough to avoid another huge rant on the grading business or Beckett in general, and I think that is just a testament to the polarization that Beckett propagates in this hobby. You either are or you arent, and its really too bad that Power didn’t have the forsight to realize that the Beckett “aren’ts” and fame stalkers wouldn’t let him have a pass. I guess that’s what you get with 15 minutes of fame, and for our friends in Texas to take a “hands washed” stance on it like they did is completely stupid. Nice job again Beckett. Even nicer job Mr. Power.

A “Super” Great Superfractor Auction

Im confused. Why in god’s name would anyone want to grade a superfractor? I just don’t understand the point, especially when the card is not available anywhere else. People often argue protection, but if that is the case, why even get it with a grade? When you factor in that the guy who graded the Stras superfractor needed a little “help” to get the 9.5, its really not worth the risk, when all you can do is damange the value of the card rather than help it, in most cases. That is all after the inherant risk of sending a card like that through the mail to begin with.

This auction is a great and hilarious example of that. The Jason Heyward superfractor 1/1 out of 2010 Bowman was one of the biggest pulls of the entire print run and this is the second time its been posted for sale. Despite the fact that its his THIRD chrome card and SECOND auto, people out there still want to pay thousands for it for some god forsaken reason. In the auction mentioned above, the buyer is also going to get a Strasburg Auto which looks to be graded a 9.5 legit instead of a “9.5,” something that looks to be driving this auction even higher than it normally would. That isnt the funny part though.

The funny part is that the Heyward was stupidly submitted for grading and came back with a 9. That’s what you deserve when you try to use a system that shouldn’t be used. It was almost an 8.5 from what it looks like on the auction description, so maybe the seller got a little “lucky” with this card as well.

Guys, I seriously hate the grading system to begin with, as stated numerous times on this site, but I do think its even more ridiculous when someone thinks that a grade on a superfractor adds more to the card than just an ugly slab. That’s where line should be drawn.

Jason Heyward Superfractor Hits Ebay

2010 Bowman has created a hype machine like no other. Said hype is mostly a result of Stephen Strasburg, as expected, but there are a few other guys contributing to the success. One of those guys is Jason Heyward who is all but assured the rookie of the year as long as his current pace continues. Hell, maybe even if it doesnt.

Well, his best card out of 2010 Bowman is up on eBay as we speak, and it is already garnering large amounts of attention and large bid amounts. Heyward is primed to be the next Andruw Jones (the good Andruw Jones), and this card may come close to that modern card ceiling much like the Strasburg super did. I find this completely ludicrous, especially considering this is his THIRD chrome card, and SECOND autographed card. It would be one thing if this was the first, but it is far from that.
I am not going to restate my beliefs on prospecting when it comes to EXTREME high dollar cards, but I think this is an exception considering how many other versions Heyward has had. I guess I must be in the minority to think that spending this kind of money on a card like this superfractor is one of the dumbest things a collector could do, no matter how rich they are or arent.

EDIT: The OTHER Chrome Superfractor Heyward is also on eBay and it should easily eclipse the current one.

Starlin Castro Superfractor Ridiculousity

I just posted about how ridiculous the sale of the Strasburg superfractor was getting, but this completed auction is almost that much more ridiculous. Starlin Castro is the shortstop for the Cubs that started off hot and is probably in contention to be ROY if Heyward slips. Despite his hot start (21 hits in 60 ABs), its only a small sample size. That small sample size obviously has done nothing but spark hype in his cards, with this one topping the astounding list. Seriously, the money spent on this card is so out of touch, that I dont actually understand how someone could pay that amount for it, even if they had the money to spare.

I mean, just because you can afford to buy a golden, diamond encrusted cell phone, doesnt mean it is worth your time to do so. I think this falls under that same category. Go ahead and spend a couple bills on a few Castros if you are a Cubs fan, but there is no reason to spend thousands. Even if he becomes the next all star shortstop, its not going to do much for these cards. In fact, he almost has to reach Jeter or A-Rod popularity levels to make up for the amount of money this person spent.
Dont get me wrong, I completely understand prospecting, but this is NOT prospecting. This is being stupid.

A Comment On Superfractors

When it comes to 1 of 1 cards in this hobby, there have been more mistakes than successes. Obviously the quad logo auto 1/1s in Exquisite are one thing, but they go all the way down to the 10,000+ 1/1s in Topps Moments and Milestones. One specific type of 1/1 has trancended the normal contructs of value surrounding base parallels, and I know that many people buy just to seek them out. Back in the 1990s, when refractor technology made its play, Topps literally put every possible design into its different parallels. Then they started numbering them. Then they started numbering them REALLY low. Then they made the granddaddy of all chrome cards, the 1/1 golden ticket Super-fucking-fractor.

Dont get me wrong, the idea of the Superfractor doesnt bother me one bit. Having a 1/1 parallel in a set built on the success of the different variations of the cards actually make sense. Its the look that I just absolutely hate. The cards look awful in my opinion, they always have, mainly due to the fact that the whole card is printed on that gold atomic mega refracting x-fractor board. Why not just put a nice gold border on it? How about using the gold atomic mega refracting x-fractor board, but only for the outside of the card?
Listen, I know you chromies are going to crucify me for this post, and I understand that the card itself is an icon even with the weird cardstock, but I just cant see myself ever going after one. After seeing the potential for gold bordered cards with the gold refractor autographs that are inserted in this year’s product, it has become clear how awesome a 1/1 like that could be. Instead of putting up with a player pic you cant see, you now have a really sleek addition to the parallels of the base set.
I am not kidding myself with the idea that Topps may actually change the look of the Superfractors, but I will say that its disappointing each time I see a card look like this: