Market for A-Rod Collectibles Shrinks

Steroids impacting the world of sports collectibles is nothing new. Just look at the lack of demand for (and value of) Mark McGwire collectibles. Same thing goes for Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and even Roger Clemens. Simply put, people aren’t going to buy collectibles from athletes with tainted numbers.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees third baseman

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees third baseman

Of course, the most recent admission of steroids comes from Alex Rodriguez. This admission is particularly damaging to baseball and sports collectibles as many fans viewed A-Rod as the last great hope to break Bonds’ home-run record legitimately. A-Rod was, in many ways, the poster child for clean, steroids-free success in baseball.

Until last week.

Even though the results were from five years ago, the fact that A-Rod took steroids is a crucial blow to the sport. No longer does baseball have that hope that the home-run record will be taken back by a clean player. More importantly, this latest steroids admission just further sullies an entire era of players. Unless evidence comes up to the contrary, people are going to cast a skeptical eye toward any player from this period, and that’s the biggest shame of it all.

So, what does this mean for A-Rod’s collectibles?

If history is any indication, the demand for A-Rod’s memorabilia is going to decline drastically. The reasons for this are simple.

1. Parents aren’t going to spend hundreds of dollars on collectibles of a known steroids user for their kids.

2. A-Rod likely won’t get into the Hall of Fame, drastically reducing the value of his collectibles.

3. A-Rod’s numbers are tainted and meaningless. In short, they no longer add value to collectibles.

4. Many sports memorabilia shop owners refuse to carry pieces of known steroids users.

Just do a quick check on eBay to see how collectors are responding to this. Some 795 A-Rod pieces are up for sale, and most of them are sitting there with no bids or interest.

Alex Rodriguez 1994 Foxes card

Alex Rodriguez 1994 Foxes card

Another A-Rod Foxes card

Another A-Rod Foxes car

Two cards from A-Rod’s days on the minor-league Appleton (Wis.) Foxes. To learn about the one on the left, click here. For the one on the right, click here.

And it’s not just because fans are holding some high moral ground. It’s because collectibles from the steroid age are more and more proving to be poor investments.

That’s why I think A-Rod’s positive test doesn’t just affect him—it affects this entire era. Fans and collectors are starting to see how widespread the problem of steroids is/was, and they’re going to respond accordingly.

How will they respond? By buying collectibles from the pre-1980s. Players like Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Roger Maris, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and many others will now be held in even greater regard as the value of the numbers they put up and of their collectibles sharply increases as the modern era takes yet another black eye.

So, if you’re looking to make an investment, look to the past. Until this steroids issue gets taken care of once and for all, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sinking my money into any player from recent times.

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  • Brian Kiernan

    This is unfortunate. I hope many young people see this and don’t make the same mistake.

  • Charles Toggett

    So lets get this straight. You forecast gloom and doom for A-Rod’s cards and the best two card examples you can use are two of his LEAST collitible cards when a Fox player? Right.

    • Gregory Watkins

      Charles, the images in Eric’s post were aquired by the content department. When we look for images, we first go to our sister site,, to see if those vendors have items we can used to illustrate an article. In this case, the items we found were from Rodriguez’s minor league days. So that’s why those particular cards were used; not to make any editorial comment about the value of those items.

  • Tim Meyer

    Lets just see what A.Rod does this year. He is one of the best players to ever play the game with or without steroids. You can blame the players but I would blame the amount of money these players are getting for all the steroid use. If there was a cap on what players could make like $1,000,000, players would stay with the team that drafted them and would not take all these steroids. A.Rod has had some great years with the Yankees while not taking steroids so just how big of a part did steroids really play in his numbers?

  • Tim Meyer

    All this steroid stuff also tells me just how great Ken Griffey Jr. was by hitting all those home runs while never taking steroids. If Griffey had taken steroids, he would never had missed so many gamed while with the Reds and would probably be over 800 career home runs. A.Rod should use this opportunity to help clean up the game once and for all. I hope he hit 45 or 50 home runs and puits all this crap to rest. Steroids were not banned when most players took them so can you blame the players for taking them to beef up their numbers so they can make millions of dollars more on their new contracts? T

  • Tim Meyer

    I meant to say you can’t blame the players for taking ropids to make more money. Blame has to go to the owners, agents, and the game itself. Players in the old days had off season jobs to help feed their families since they did not make millions of dollars. If salaries were like they are in todays game, the old players would have been taking them as well.

  • Eric

    @ Charles–Those images were added in during editing, not to serve as the examples for the lack of demand in interest in his collectibles. Hence the “795 pieces of eBay” with little interest.

    @Tim– agreed 100% about Griffey.

  • Sandra Lee Stuart

    Charles — You should also check GoAntiques for Alex Rodriguez items for sale. That’s where the two minor-league cards were found. And they were about it for Rodriguez collectibles.

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