It seems like he’s been around forever–and his appearance on baseball cards does pre-date 9/11–but he’s still just 29 years old. Now, he stands on the doorstep of history. Miguel Cabrera rookie cards and the 2000 Topps Traded Sets (regular and Chrome) that contain them are now among the hobby’s hottest. He was actually just a 19-year-old Florida Marlins prospect at the time and wouldn’t see the Major Leagues with the Florida Marlins for a few more years. As of Sunday night, Cabrera had comfortable leads in the American League batting and RBI races and appeared poised to win the home run title, thus becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Cabrera appears in both the 2000 Topps Traded and Rookies set and the 2000 Topps Chrome Traded set. The former is a 135-card set that includes one random autograph from one of the featured players per box. Thus, your chances of landing Cabrera are small, but a lot better than you’ll find in some hobby products.
In mid-August, mint, graded examples of autographed Topps Traded Cabrera rookie cards were selling for between $585 and $700. Over the weekend, a Beckett graded 9 with a ’10’ autograph grade sold for $1,250, another went for $1,050 and the cards currently for sale carry price tags ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 for a PSA 10. Those who passed when similar cards were offered–even a few days ago–at $999, are probably going to be kicking themselves if Cabrera continues his Triple Crown run.
The non-autographed Cabrera rookie cards that come out of the sets are all selling and prices have risen from $20-25 in early August to $50 and up. Even if you don’t land Cabrera, you’ll have chances to get an Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Phillips or Michael Young. No, the rest of the set is nothing to write home about, but at current price levels, it has to be considered a bargain. A Cabrera Triple Crown and the likelihood that he’ll break additional records on the way to Cooperstown means high grade examples of that card will hold value. The only caveat seems to be his propensity for off the field trouble. One can only hope he matures in his 30s.
The 2000 Topps Chrome Traded and Rookies sets have doubled in price–even without packing any autographs. Selling for around $30 in late July and early August, the sets are now selling for $60-80 each and are drying up. Mint PSA and BGS 9 graded Cabrera rookie cards from the set are selling for $70-80 each with 10’s going for double that and more in some cases. A BGS 10 example brought $500 over the weekend.