If you haven’t heard yet, St. Louis mega prospect Oscar Tavares died in a car accident with his girlfriend in the Dominican Republic yesterday. The news is tragic and the overall effect is damaging, not only to the Cardinals, but also the card world in general. Whenever there is a loss of human or in this case humans life, it’s tragic. They were both very young (Tavares was 22 and no report on his girlfriend’s age but definitely not much older or younger I’m sure) and really trying to define their roles in life.
From the perspective of the Cardinals, they have lost a player who would be on the team for the next 5-8 years if not longer. A player who hadn’t even hit the prime years of his career and was already a major leaguer, able to perform well at a high level in games that mean something (ALCS championship). His loss, while opening an opportunity for another young player, hurts a franchise that was going to build the team around him. Imagine the Yankees losing Derek Jeter his rookie year, or the Pirates losing Andrew McCutchen his rookie season. The affects could be devastating.
From a collector’s perspective, we learn the lesson of why not to invest heavily in unproven talent. A quick scan of eBay completed items has his autographed cards going for over $100 dollars, not to mention the Tavares only collectors that more than likely have thousands of dollars tied up in his cards. This is why I don’t ever collect or invest in prospects. For every Albert Pujols there are hundreds of Ryan Andersons, Brien Taylors or Matt Bushs that flop and it’s just not worth the time or money to see if they become great. For the same price of a Tavares autograph, you could have a Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken autograph. What makes more sense in the long run?
I understand the want of every collector to find the next $2 autograph to flip it to $200, but really the cost of today’s prospects make no sense considering that the have never proven themselves. Or in the case of Tavares, he will never be able to prove what he could have done. It’s a very sad story, both on a human level and on a sports level. The thoughts and prayers from the card collecting universe goes out to the Tavares family and the Cardinals organization.