Recently I picked up a recent copy of Beckett Baseball Card Magazine. While not quite the die-hard baseball card collector I was as a youth, I like to scan this magazine from time to time to see how my favorite stars are doing.
While flipping through the pages in this popular price guide, I discovered something that perplexed me.
Players regularly listed include Ryan Braun, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, Ichiro Suzuki, Ryan Howard, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, Stephen Strasburg and Albert Pujols.
Beckett lists Cabrera as an “unlisted star,” besides Tony Gwynn, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Al Kaline, Roger Maris, Robin Yount and Jackie Robinson. Beckett also lists Cabrera in the same breath as Josh Bell, Liam Hendricks and Vance Worley.
No offense, but Josh Bell is no Miguel Cabrera.
For the record, Prince Fielder does not even make the cut as an “unlisted star.” This All-Star slugger is in fact listed as a “semi-star.”
Now, I know the world has much bigger issues than a ballplayer's cards being listed in a price guide.
Regardless, here is my issue. And this points to a larger problem with a marketplace seemingly geared toward those playing in larger markets.
I understand how supply-and-demand works in the marketplace. Things are only as valuable as people are willing to pay.
I also know, mostly, how Beckett collects data to justify its monthly pricing. Give Beckett credit, it is an incredibly difficult formula to determine who should be listed and how much cardboard is worth.
Lastly, I understand prices in Beckett tend to spike in knee-jerk response to hype and historic baseball feats, like no-hitters and such. The same also responds well to players who lead their teams to World Series titles.
But let’s be honest here. How can Beckett say with straight face collectors are not investing in Cabrera enough to warrant regular listing in this magazine?
If the magazine can justify excluding Cabrera, how?
Surely, Cabrera is well-known throughout baseball for great performance—not just in the Metro Detroit area.
I know Cabrera is well-recognized here in Baltimore. I was at Camden Yards on July 13th when Detroit visited town. Somber silence filled the air every time Cabrera’s name was announced when he stepped to the plate.
“He looks huge even from here,” one Orioles fan said— watching Cabrera all the way from the left-field seats.
Is it because Cabrera's stats do not measure up to those listed?
If Beckett uses this argument as justification, this magazine might want to rethink the formulas is uses.
Cabrera is a lifetime .317 hitter. Still just 29, Cabrera already has 1,734 hits in his 10th year of big league service. Cabrera’s seasonal averages include 30 home runs and 107 RBI a year. His career OBP/SLG/OPS is .394/.557/.951.
Surely Cabrera's achievements dwarf those of Buster Posey, and Dustin Pedroia (minus the World Series rings).
The bottom line is Miguel Cabrera (and Prince Fielder) is one of the most gifted players of the early 21st century.
Cabrera is not only a powerful slugger, but he is a cerebral player who has the rare ability for a big man to hit the ball to all fields—with power. While many big league defenses put on the old shift for players like David Ortiz and Cabrera’s teammate Fielder, the shift need not apply with Cabrera.
Last, Cabrera is also solidifying himself as a steady third baseman. According to ESPN statistics, Cabrera’s .967 fielding percentage is sixth best among those qualified at this position. With time Cabrera will only get better at third base for the Tigers.
If these facts are not enough to warrant Cabrera being consistently listed in Beckett, I do not know what else is.
Frankly, I just do not buy the idea that collectors are not biting at the bit to invest in this future Hall of Fame ballplayer. If they are not, perhaps the same has a golden opportunity to start now.
Because by the time dust settles on Cabrera’s career, he will go down as one of the best players to ever play the game.
It would just be nice to see Beckett give credit where credit is due. This includes not only Cabrera, but Fielder as well.