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With Orioles In Contention, Collectors Take Notice

September 13, 2012

By Ray Schulte, Schulte Sports Marketing & Public Relations

Early during the 2012 MLB season, few fans and collectors would have predicted the Baltimore Orioles would be contending for a playoff spot in September.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter is a two-time American League Manager of the Year, who instills confidence, demands accountability and creates a winning attitude. He has the uncanny ability to help players and everyone around him maximize peak performance.

Manny Machado autographed baseball
The Orioles are changing the losing mindset fans have endured for 14 consecutive seasons. Showalter and general manager Dan Duquette have worked overtime to field a team to compete for the American League East championship.

Players such as right fielder Nick Markakis, catcher Matt Wieters and center fielder Adam Jones have proved to be core players, who have been instrumental in defining the style of play that has captured the attention of so many fans and baseball people throughout the country.

In addition, starting pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman, as well as closer Jim Johnson, have played roles in keeping the team in the playoff hunt.

Collectors love success. When a player becomes an All-Star or wins a Gold Glove, a batting title or a Cy Young Award, collectors start buying their signed photos, trading cards, signed replica jerseys and/or game-used bats. When a team wins a World Series or playoff series, the players' collectible stock rises.

In addition, highly rated young players such as Orioles third baseman Manny Machado and 2011 first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy have attracted collectors, who anticipate both will be future All-Stars or potential superstars.

With success, both Machado's and Bundy's signature value (autograph cost at a public show) and game-used equipment will continue to rise. The risk of players not reaching their potential, getting hurt, being traded or having a lousy year affects the value of their signed and unsigned collectible memorabilia.

Recently, SchulteAuctions.com auctioned a Manny Machado signed official Rawlings baseball, which PSA/DNA authenticated, for $138. Depending on how the Orioles and Machado finish the season, the value of his signature baseball could increase. 

Buck Showalter is the odds-on favorite to win the 2012 American League Manager of the Year award after keeping Baltimore in contention all season long. Should Showalter win that award for a third time, his collectible value would increase as well.

As the Orioles are contending in September, Baltimore collectors are anxiously waiting to see how far the team will advance. It's been a long time since Orioles fans and collectors have had this much reason to be optimistic.

Olympic Athletes Becoming More Mainstream

U.S. Olympic athletes are getting more respect from mainstream sports and entertainment collectors. More and more athletes are participating in public signing shows and are being included in trading-card, photo and other collectible manufacturer's licenses.

MAB Celebrity Services, a New Jersey-based show promoter, recently secured a number of high-profile Olympic heroes to sign at the Chicago Sun-Times show, Nov. 16-18 at Chicago's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Bo Snelson

The athletes will include Bob Beamon, Dick Fosbury, Nancy Kerrigan, Shannon Miller, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Bruce Jenner and Mark Spitz, to name just a few. For more information about the show, visit mab-celebrity.com.

In addition, Panini America released licensed trading cards featuring Beamon, Bart Conner, Tommie Smith, Fosbury, Greg Louganis, Billy Mills and other notable past U.S. Olympic athletes. Visit PaniniAmerica.net to check out the entire American Heroes-themed release. 

Follow Ray @Twitter.com/SchulteSports and e-mail him at Ray@SchulteSports.com.

Issue 177: September 2012