Card of the Day: 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Evan Longoria

For some reason or another, third base prospects have come in bunches over the last two and a half decades. And in this hobby of baseball cards the Hot Corner has been a hotbed for collectors and investors alike. You had groupings like Mark McGwire, Greg Jefferies and Matt Williams; then Scott Rolen, Troy Glaus and Eric Chavez; and now we’ve got Ryan Zimmerman, Alex Gordon, Ryan Braun, and Evan Longoria. There were some other up-and-comers mixed in there. Some studs like David Wright; solid ball players like Travis Fryman. And then some guys who had tons of interest, but eventually just disappeared — Chris Sabo (Note: He is a three-time all-star and world champion. Crazy, huh?) The reason this comes to mind today is because Longoria is one of the hottest players in the game right now.

He homered again Monday night — his third straight with a round tripper — and in doing so he’s built a solid stat line worthy of this season’s American League Rookie of the Year Award. He’s a fantasy baseball superstar, an MLB all-star, a Rays’ fan favorite, and a hobby darling. This 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks autographed card is his best rookie, and it is on fire … again. I picked up this copy (ungraded) at a bargain price of $77 about two months ago. Raw copies are now fetching $130-plus, and if he homers again tonight and tomorrow, it could reach $150, and possibly $200 or more by the end of the season. It’s hard to gauge with chrome rookie cards these days when the “time is right to buy/sell.” Prospectors will argue that the time to sell is right when the players gets summoned to the big leagues. But when it comes to buying as a collector it’s a bit tricky. All the ESPN highlight reels broaden the audience of prospective buyers therefore driving up prices. But the real issue is the Albert Pujols effect. Pujols’ Bowman Chrome rookie card went from a $300 card to $2,500 in just over two seasons. It is this generation’s version of the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr., only bigger, badder and autographed. And so the cycle has been created for these signed chrome rookies of top-notch prospects. They come to the Majors, the card goes up. They produce, the card continues to rise … but eventually plateau. Prime example being the 2002 Bowman Chrome David Wright autographed rookie which has peaked at $600 and then come back down to earth and rested comfortable in the $225-$300. Odd considering Wright’s top billing in the hobby and the game. But back to the Longoria. If you’re a collector and you want this Longo card, just pick a price point at which you feel the card is a must have and take the plunge. After all, you’re a card collector, not an investor. Investors (read: prospectors) typically don’t buy into a card after it’s already peaked twice.

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