America may be a baseball mecca unlike anywhere on the planet, but because of a lack of focus, the value of American players is more widespread across all levels of the league. With Japanese players, there are so few, many of them obtain ridiculous value because of the thousands of Japanese collectors out there who chase them. With less supply comes higher demand and higher prices for premium cards, and right now, there is no more premium player than Ichiro Suzuki.
Here is a sampling of some crazy prices:
Its almost a perfect storm that Japan’s most popular baseball hero is now going to go to America’s most popular baseball team, as a recent trade is sending the future hall of famer to the New York Yankees. As can be expected, a cavalcade of collectors are now in the market for Ichiro’s few autographs and high end cards, as his presence in the hobby has been relatively limited for a player of his caliber.
Right now, Brian Gray of Leaf has to be one of the happiest people on the planet. As the exclusive provider of autographed Ichiro cards
, Leaf now has a stake in the game that cannot go under appreciated. Gray paid an unprecedented price for the right to include Ichiro’s autographs in his products, and what had already paid off in spades, is now primed to be even more important.
Additionally, now that he is a New York Yankee, it may garner that much more of a focus from international collectors that already have deep pockets. Cards that were once affordable to some, may now be unaffordable for all but a small percentage of the collecting public. This is obviously a bad thing for everyone looking to buy in, but a great thing from those who originally were willing to pay a premium for one of the game’s greatest players.
Ichiro is getting on in age and is entering the twilight of his illustrious career, but his impact will be one that will forever be remembered. Successful Japanese players are rare in the major leagues, and even someone like Hideo Nomo is still a hero despite a mediocre showing. What will that mean when all is said and done for a guy that may be the only member of both the Japanese and American Baseball HOF? What about now that he will spend time in NY?
Wow, that is tough to believe.