Does performance = market value for Stan the Man

We need to start this performance with introductions for the non-baseball fan.  Stan Musial (Stan the Man) is one of the greatest players in the history of baseball - 3,630 hits, three world championships, three MVPs, seven batting titles, twenty seasons as an all star..  Musial was a line drive hitter, he led the league in doubles eight times,  who didn't have that slight uppercut swing that produces a natural home run king like Ken Griffey, Jr. (Musial and both Griffeys are natives of Donora, Pa).  All Stan the Man did was smash line drives so hard and so often that he hit 475 home runs without even trying.  He looks just as good in the spotlight of recent statistical innovation - 8th on the all time WAR (wins above replacement) list, top 5 in all four of Bill James's Hall of Fame indicators.

Joba Chamberlain is a young Yankee pitcher who generated a lot of interest with a heater that reached 100 miles per hour when he was a rookie, an outsize personality and a little controversy over how much he should play and whether he belonged in the bull pen or starting rotation.  Joba has personality and performance potential, but he hasn't really accomplished much, especially compared to a player like Stan Musial.  Michael Kaye and John Sterling are Yankee broadcasters who are popular with Yankee fans.

At a silent auction for charity in  Northern New Jersey recently, three autographed baseballs were for sale, one signed by Musial, one by Chamberlain, one by both Sterling and Kaye.  What were the minimum prices?  Part of this depends on supply – Stan  is a popular and accomodating star who has signed a lot of balls.  Part of it is like real estate, location matters and New Jersey is Yankee territory.  Part of it is fame. Despite his performance, Stan the Man is considered the most underappreciated baseball star of all time.  The fans who remember him are starting to dwindle and he didn't emit the kind of Ruthian aura that keeps a reputation alive with fans who have never seen him.

Allowing for all these factors, one baseball is signed by Musial, one of the ten best baseball players ever, one by Chamberlain, who hasn't done much, and one by two announcers, what are the minimum prices?  Chamberlain - $175; announcers - $175; Musial - $150 – OUCH.

Does a niche like sports collectibles teach us anything?   If you can achieve greatness, at anything, should the world somehow remember?  Stan is a balanced and happy guy, a successful GM after his playing days, a man who doesn't need external recognition of his performance to thrive.  This is really the fan's loss not Stan's.  Still, it says a lot about fame, and maybe something about value.  It's not too late for Stan to start using Twitter, but should he?

There was one silver lining. Of the three autographed balls, only Stan the Man's sold that night.

Photo Credit: shgmom56