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Monday, May 28, 2007

Player Focus: Ken Griffey Jr.'s Comeback; King Felix's Return

Back in the mid 90's, when I restarted collecting cards, Ken Griffey Jr. was the hottest player in the hobby, and his 89 Upper Deck RC was a must have for everyone's collection. I remember finding a store that had mint ungraded versions for $55, and I was so thrilled to pick one up and get it slabbed by PSA (it got a 9).

Over the next decade, he spent a lot of time on the DL, and his hobby status fell off the chart (along with Frank Thomas, who was also in the "top 3" at that time). You can now find his UD RC for less than $20 TAC. A very sad sight to see! In April he only had 1 HR, and had a BA of .254. In May though, he has stepped it up, hitting 10 HR and batting .313 (through 5/27). I would love to see him continue this pace, and hopefully his key RC's will be able to regain some of their previous glory. Griffey was the 6th fastest player to reach 500 HR back in 04, and is a definite future HOFer. I think that at these prices, his RC's are a steal.

Felix Hernandez made his return on 5/15 as planned, and in his 3 starts since, he's gone 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA and allowed 22 hits; a far cry from his first 2 outings in April before his injury when he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA & allowed only 4 hits. I'm sure no one expected him to come back & perform exactly where he left off. It'll take a little while to get back into the swing of things. A couple positives for his return are:
  • He still hasn't allowed a HR
  • He hasn't forgotten how to strike out batters; he's actually increased his K's/9IP from 9.53 in his first two outings to 12.21 in his last 3
Since his return, sales for his two key Auto RC's have been quite scarce. I think collectors are holding on to them until he makes a full comeback and boosts prices back up to where they were in April. I saw a Bowman Chrome Auto sell for a TAC of $128 on 5/21 (it peaked out at $220+ right before his injury), and two Bowman's Best Auto RC's sell on 5/19 & 5/26 for $81 & $93 respectively (peaked out at $120+ before his injury). I think that he'll regain his dominant form within the next month or so, and prices will be back on the rise before we know it. In the meantime, I'll be keeping my eye out for some deals to snag!

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