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The perils of collecting villains and miscreants

From a strictly collecting standpoint, sports villains like Barry Bonds, Mike Tyson and Ty Cobb invariably leave fans with a decision when it comes to their memorabilia: Sure, they’re famous, but do we want any part of their cards and collectibles? For the most part, the answer to that question is, “it depends.”

So you’re sitting in a tavern somewhere, minding your own business, revising your card want list and mulling over your next memorabilia purchase, and suddenly the door to the place swings open. In walks O.J. Simpson, Barry Bonds, Mike Tyson and Ty Cobb (yeah, he’s been dead for 46 years, but we’ll use our imagination). In most people’s opinions, the colorful quartet represents, in order: a suspected killer; an accused cheater; a rapist/all-around law-breaker; and an ornery, mean, S.O.B. who might challenge you to a fight at any moment, even at his advanced age of 120.
You’re a big sports fan and collector, and this is quite an assemblage of luminaries. Besides choking on your beer nuts, what do you do? Hide under the table? Call your therapist? Run up and start dishing out high-fives? Start searching for a camera phone?

And do you ask for any autographs? And if so, who would you ask?
These guys are, or were in their time, villains — people we love to hate, and athletes that are arguably as famous for their misdeeds as they are for their prodigious athletic talent. Would you want their signatures? Would you want to even shake their hands?

To be sure, villains and bad guys have always been a part of American sport, from Cap Anson to Conrad Dobler to Michael Vick. And while it may be a bit unfair to include Terrell Owens in the same discussion as Tyson, or Bonds in the same sentence as Simpson, they are all sports figures that elicit boos from a good share of our sporting fandom.

From a strictly collecting standpoint, these types of figures invariably leave sports fans with a decision when it comes to their memorabilia: Sure, they’re famous, but do we want any part of their cards and collectibles? For the most part, the answer to that question is, “it depends.”

“I think you have different categories for these guys,” mused Bill Goodwin, a vintage card expert and former show promoter. “You have the O.J.’s of the world, and then you have other guys, who may be cheaters and bad guys, but not felons or murderers.”

Following is a rundown of some of the most legendary sports villains of the past century, and how they stack up among collectors today.

O.J. Simpson
“I think it would be very morbid to collect O.J.” said Goodwin. “It’s like autograph collectors who write Son of Sam in prison to get his autograph, or (Charles) Manson. I put it in that same category.”

Simpson is clearly the captain of the all-villain team, even before his latest incident involving stolen memorabilia and a confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel room. The arrest left many wondering why Simpson would risk getting in trouble again with the law over collectibles that aren’t in demand.

“Note to the Juice: Nobody wants your autograph!” laughed T.J. Schwartz, owner of Porky’s Baseball Cards in Woodland Hills, Calif. “Nobody wants him!

“Actually, I will say this — first and foremost he was one of the best running backs ever and a Heisman Trophy winner. You can’t ever take that away from him. Anybody putting together a USC (collection) or a Heisman piece, or something on the best running backs of all-time — they have to include O.J.”

Most dealers and collectors simply steer clear of O.J. cards and memorabilia altogether. Most collectors are clearly turned off by Simpson’s past, and many dealers, store owners and show promoters don’t want to put up with the static they get from carrying his collectibles.
“I won’t stock his stuff myself. It’s just a personal thing, from his murder trial,” said Gil Lyne, owner of Kryptonite Kollectibles in Janesville, Wis. “People want to distance themselves from him … People would always be coming in the store and joke about his stuff and make comments about it, and I got tired of talking about the O.J. trial.

“I see his rookies (cards) now and then, but that’s about it. I think a lot of guys are like me and just made his stuff disappear.”

Memorabilia dealer Alan Rosen says dealing in O.J. material these days is simply not good business, and most hobby professionals know it.
“His cards and memorabilia have virtually stopped selling completely,” Rosen said. “When you hear ‘O.J. Simpson,’ you think criminal, not football player. I haven’t sold one piece of O.J. material since (1994). People offer me autographed 8x10s, but I just don’t think that’s the right thing to do — sell an autograph like that. The money you make is because they are notorious. Those people are interesting, but I think it’s wrong to make money off that.”

Simpson’s top card is his 1970 Topps rookie, which books at about $80 in top condition. His game-used Bills jerseys have fetched between $1,500 and $3,300 in recent years, and signed off-the-rack jerseys go for $100 to $125.
His public signings are rare, and show organizers won’t touch him.
“With everything happening to him, interest in his cards is spiking a little bit,” noted Tuff Stuff football card pricing analyst Bert Lehman. “That tends to happen when a retired player is in the news. The prices eventually come back down once all the media attention is gone. There are a lot of O.J. cards on eBay right now.

“It’s hard to say if his cards will just fall back to previous levels, or even lower. That might depend on if he goes to jail or not.”

Mike Tyson
As exciting and spectacular as Tyson was at his peak in the mid-1980s, he is known more today for being a tragic figure living under a dark cloud. That doesn’t translate into much demand for his signature or memorabilia.

“It just strikes be as being a very said situation,” said Goodwin. “You just have this feeling that that story is going to end very tragically.”

Boxing collectibles have never approached the major pro team sports, particularly baseball, when it comes to values or popularity, but the market for Tyson collectibles appears particularly soft, considering he was a heavyweight champion not that long ago and the most famous fighter of his generation.

“(Collectors) hate him,” scoffed Rosen. “There are not many collectibles about him. Now, when you get into Marciano or guys like that, there is a lot of good stuff, but there is not much Tyson to collect.
“Once you get in trouble and have that (criminal record) going against you, you’re done.

Some of the more noteworthy Tyson items that have passed through major auction houses recently include a fight-worn robe from his amateur days ($6,904 through Leland’s), a “fight-used” protective cup ($665 through Leland’s) — now there’s a conversation piece — and a signed marriage license and certificate ($1,253, Leland’s). Authentic signed 8x10s can bring $50 to $100 and a signed boxing glove will fetch in the neighborhood of $200.

“He never got to the pinnacle long enough to get to the point — and I hate to even compare him to Muhammad Ali or somebody like that … He was never even close to that,” said Goodwin.

Tyson pleaded guilty to drug possession and DUI charges Sept. 24 and could be facing more jail time. They are just the latest entries on a lengthy bad guy resume than has included rape, assault, ear biting, bankruptcy, failed marriages, various driving offenses and a scary face tattoo.
“The first five years of his career he was probably the greatest fighter since Muhammad Ali,” lamented Schwartz. “Then somebody flipped a switch and turned him into a psychopath. He’s an absolute embarrassment to all of sport.

“If he died tomorrow, his autograph would probably go up. But guys like that don’t die young, they just serve more jail time.”

Michael Vick

There is a sharp division of opinion when it comes to the severity of Vick’s crimes. Backers of the fallen Falcons’ quarterback say activities such as dog fighting that are viewed as abhorrent in most parts of the world are accepted and understood in others, and that Vick is a victim of regional and cultural differences. Either way, Vick has gone from the NFL’s brightest shooting star to a league outcast, and collectors aren’t going near him.

How cold is Vick? The biggest hobby news came when a Missouri woman paid $7,400 in spirited bidding on eBay for 22 Vick football cards that had been chewed up and slobbered on by two dogs. The money was then donated to an animal shelter. Several dozen similar auctions quickly followed.

In late July, Topps, Upper Deck and Donruss Playoff pulled all Vick material from their remaining product lines for this year, including all his memorabilia and high-end memorabilia and autograph cards. “It was a pretty easy decision,” said Donruss Playoff marketing director Scott Prusha.

“It’s definitely hurt (dealers), especially if you’re sitting on any of the big stuff from his rookie year — like I’ve got boxes of SP Authentic from his rookie year,” said Lyne. “He was one of the big guys in there.

“I hear a lot of complaints (about Vick) now. I just had a guy buy a box, it was something that came out earlier this year, and said, ‘Hey, I got a bunch of Vick stuff, oh great!’ Everybody knows they’re pretty much junk now and you can’t do anything with them. I don’t have any of his stuff now, either (in the store).”

Vick didn’t help his cause in collectors’ eyes when it was revealed Sept. 26 that, in addition to his indefinite suspension from the NFL after his guilty plea to dog-fighting charges, Vick had tested positive for marijuana — a violation of his bond conditions — during a random drug test. He was scheduled to be sentenced for the dog-fighting charges in December, but could be doing time sooner and get an even longer suspension from the NFL due to the failed test.

Even before the dog-fighting saga and drug test, Vick’s bad guy reputation had been growing. In 2004, he was the target of a civil suit by a woman who claimed he had given her genital herpes. The case was eventually settled out of court. In November of 2006, Vick made an obscene gesture to Atlanta fans following a home loss to New Orleans. And in January of this year, Vick was detained at the Miami International Airport after possessing a water bottle with a hidden compartment. Test results showed no illegal substances in the water bottle and Vick was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Vick items were very strong in the hobby until recently. His off-the-rack jerseys were hugely popular among kids and among the NFL’s best-sellers, signed footballs were fetching $400, signed mini-helmets were going for around $80, and game-worn jerseys — from both college and the NFL — were bringing between $850 and $1,900. Signed game-worn jerseys have brought even more.

Lehman noted that many of Vick’s cards have fallen by 50 percent or more, however, in recent months. His SP Authentic rookie, for example, has dropped from $1,500 to $1,000.

“Nobody wants Vick’s cards right now,” said Lehman.
Even if Vick makes a miraculous comeback following his suspension and prison time, Goodwin doubts he will ever approach the collectibility he had to collectors before his recent travails. “I don’t think so. He certainly won’t have any universal appeal,” he said. “He’ll probably have cards again if he’s a starting quarterback, but he may be be viewed more as a common than a star.”

Schwartz isn’t so sure. He thinks the public may be more forgiving in the end that it seems at the moment.

“I think what he did was heinous. But even though what he did was disgusting and tragic — that he killed those dogs — I can’t compare it with people who killed other people or raped women,” he said. “I think, absolutely, Michael Vick will be back in collectibility. What he did was stupid and scummy and wrong and he should be suspended and pay the penalty, but I just can’t put in the same group (as some of the other villains), personally.

“At first I didn’t think he’d ever play football again, but now I do. I think he has a good avenue to get back into people’s good graces.”

You can argue all day about how much of a “bad guy” he really is. Bonds has never been convicted of any crimes, apparently never failed a drug test, never hurt any animals and never gambled on any baseball games.
But has any player ever been booed more? Hannibal Lecter, Al Capone or Freddie Krueger could stroll to the plate and not get jeered like Bonds when he is on opposing turf. Entire forests have been destroyed to make all the signs fans use to taunt him.
“Bonds is unsellable,” said Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen, one of the most famous sports card dealers in the country. “He’s unliked as a player. He’s unliked as a person. He’s nasty, and he’s a cheater. Other than that, he’s fine.”
Is he the greatest living ballplayer, or Darth Vader in cleats? And how will collectors view him in 20 years, or 120 years?
“I just think he’s forever branded and will always be associated with the steroid era of baseball,” said Tuff Stuff baseball card pricing analyst Joe Clemens. “Since he broke the home run record, there’s been very little boost in his key cards. I bumped up his ’86 Topps Rookie Traded to $25, and I bumped his ’86 Donruss rookie from $20 to $25, and that’s basically the only boost his cards got.

“Bonds is in the same group as McGwire, Sosa and the other players who have reached these big milestones – the 500 home run group, or whatever. Collectors have just not gravitated to them. McGwire’s ’85 Topps Olympics card, when he hit 70 home runs, just took off and was $200-$225 at its peak. We have it priced at $20 now. Now Bonds has what is supposed to be the most important record in all of sports, and there has just been very little activity.”
“Back in the day when McGwire and Sosa were doing their thing, we were getting calls every day,” added Gil Lyne, owner of Kryptonite Kollectibles in Janesville, Wis. “Now we don’t get a single call about Bonds. I don’t think I’ve sold any Bonds stuff at all in the past two years. I used to be able to sell his medium-priced stuff and his rookies, but in the last couple of years, that has really diminished.”

Bonds’ memorabilia might not be overly popular for a player of his stature, but the good stuff still isn’t cheap. His game-worn jerseys have fetched between $6,500 and $8,300 in the past few years, and game-used gloves have gone for more than $5,000. Signed baseballs can be found for $150-$250, and signed bats often get around $300.

The big news recently, of course, was fashion designer Marc Ecko buying the record-breaking No. 756 ball for $752,467, and then, after a fan vote, deciding to give ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame with an asterisk branded on it.

“I think his record will be broken in a few short years,” said Bill Goodwin, vintage card expert and former show promoter. “I’m sure A-Rod will break it. So things will be different with him.”

Bonds has been stingy with his signature and game-worn items in recent years, pedaling much of his material on his own website. He has been an infrequent public signer — a trend Goodwin sees continuing long after his playing days.

“With all the baggage he brings and being difficult to work with, you’d want to have a real outcry or demand for his autograph before you’d bring him in to a show,” he said.

Bonds will seemingly always have a rabid fan base in the Bay area, however. Shop owners there have no trouble moving his cards and memorabilia, and the slugger’s collectibles might become even hotter in the future after the team announced it will not bring him back next season.

“Barry Bonds in the second-best player to ever put on spikes,” said veteran dealer and hobby columnist T.J. Schwartz. “I don’t care what he took.”

Pete Rose
Another figure who causes a sharp divide between the love-’ems and the hate-’ems is Pete Rose.

So what do we make of the man who collected an astounding 4,256 hits?
“His stuff still sells, big-time,” said Schwartz. “Pete’s been in my store many times because he doesn’t live far from here. We sell a lot of his stuff. His rookie cards are still $1,000 items. And the truth is Pete is a scumbag and a gambler, but fans love Pete Rose. They love him!”

In general, Rosen has found that collectors give Rose the benefit of the doubt. He played for 21 seasons, so there are plenty of items to be had, and seemingly plenty of people willing to buy them.

“Collectors know he should be in the Hall of Fame,” Rosen said. “It doesn’t offend most of them. Hey, I just bought a bat with 75 signatures on it, and Pete Rose was the only non-Hall of Famer on that bat. But he belongs there.”
Because of his banishment, Rose hasn’t had a mainstream card issued since his 1989 Topps card, which is valued at only 75 cents. He has not been included in the wave of relic, memorabilia and signature cards that have been so popular among collectors in recent years. His 1963 Topps rookie is currently listed at $900 for an Excellent example in Tuff Stuff’s price guide.
“It has actually gone up $50 in the last year,” noted Clemens. “My personal opinion is his rookie card would be more valuable if he didn’t have this black cloud of gambling hanging over him. If he was elected to the Hall of Fame and was coaching or working in baseball like Hank Aaron is, it would certainly have a positive effect on his collectibles.”

A lower profile probably wouldn’t hurt, either, when it comes to signed items.
“Pete’s kind of done his own self in with his collectibles stuff,” said Lyne. “I go to Vegas a lot, and every time I go, he’ll be set up someplace doing autographs. I’ll be in a mall or walking down the street, and I’ll be like, ‘What the heck, there he is again.’ ”

“As far as his cards, a lot of times people pick stuff up looking for price appreciation, but his stuff’s not going anywhere, I don’t think.”
Rose game-used bats have brought between $500 and $3,100 at the big auction houses in the past few years. A signed game-used Reds home uniform from 1973 brought in $3,530 and the baseball from his 3,500th career hit went for almost $2,500.

“It’s not hard to get a Pete Rose autograph,” said Goodwin. “And a lot of it, obviously, is because he needs the money.”

Ty Cobb
Modern bad guys who are holding out hope that someday they will be embraced again by Joe Sports Fan can certainly take heart in Cobb’s legacy. The fact that he was, by all accounts, violent, high-strung, combative, tormented, ultra-competitive, racist and just plain irritable certainly hasn’t hurt his place among the modern fan and collector.

Anything Cobb-related occupies rarified air in the hobby. Some of the values are truly eye-popping:

— A 1913 Boston Garter Cobb card went for $97,750 in a Hunt auction in July.
— A pristine 1911 T205 Cobb Gold Border card brought $84,000 in an
August Mastro auction.
— A game-used bat from 1917-21 graded A9 by MEARS was hammered down for $72,000 in April 2006 through a Sotheby’s/SCP auction. Several other game-used bats have traded hands in the past few years, with prices between $40,000 and $60,000 apiece.
— A single-signed baseball went for $20,880 at an April 2006 Robert
Edwards event.

And it’s not just the old stuff that goes for big money. Cobb’s modern relic and signature cards, although very scarce, are worth their weight in gold. His 2002 Topps Tribute Signature card (two were produced) has sold for $4,725 at auction, and his 2002 SP Legendary Cuts (also 1 of 2) Signature card brought $5,500.

“Ty Cobb is in my top 10 of all time, and he’s in everybody’s top 10. His memorabilia goes through roof whenever you get it,” said Rosen. “He was the biggest Jew hater in the world. He hated blacks. He was a gambler, a drinker; but back then, that was private life.

“Maybe in his generation it was held against him, but try to sell somebody a Ty Cobb collectible right now, and it has no bearing whatsoever.”

So, how is it that a guy so reviled by teammates and foes alike during his playing days gets such a free pass from today’s fickle collectors. After all, this is a guy that had countless fights — including one dust-up in the stands in New York when he went after a handicapped heckler who had no hands (Cobb was subsequently suspended), and another where Cobb pummeled and choked an umpire in a postgame fight under the stands — who once slapped an elevator operator, then stabbed a night watchman who tried to intervene and who died with few friends, two failed marriages and children who didn’t even speak to him.

“What he did, he did more than 80 years ago, which only proves that if you wait long enough, Bonds will be popular, too,” said Schwartz. “Cobb proves you can be an (expletive deleted) and still be popular.”

Added Goodwin, “It does matter, and he was probably one of the most disliked players in the history of the game. “I don’t think anybody liked him, but they respected his ability. I just think you have got to put people in the context of when they played. Cobb played at the turn of the century, and that doesn’t make his actions right, but it does make it more forgiving in the eyes of collectors.

“Would Ty Cobb be the same person if he played today? The answer to that question is no.”

Added Lyne, “A lot of (the values) are because of the rarity of it. And unless you look into history, you don’t know about (his problems). We just don’t know about him today.”

Clemens agreed, adding “I don’t think a lot of modern collectors know many details of his life. But they do know he’s regarded as one of the all-time greats, and the bottom line is anything from that era, there is a lot of demand for it.”

Shoeless Joe Jackson
Here’s where it really gets dicey. Many baseball fans will look at his .385 batting average and errorless play in the field in the 1919 World Series and wonder how the guy could have ever been accused of throwing the Series. Still, there was enough evidence that Jackson took bribes that, even though he was not convicted in a court of law, he was banned for life from baseball and never played again professionally after the 1920 season.

Even a hint of such impropriety today would get a ballplayer blacklisted among collectors, but the fact that Jackson played in a bygone generation and is somehow looked upon as a legendary figure who got the shaft has made him perhaps the most collectible player the game has ever seen.

“He’s so collectible because it’s almost impossible to find his stuff,” said Rosen. “His rookie card is $40,000, $50,000. He’s notorious, but he’s one of the best who ever lived, and in that era, they didn’t make a lot of memorabilia. Just an original picture of Jackson in uniform is worth thousands of dollars.

“He’s even more collectible because of what he did. If you look at guys from his era like Christy Matthewson and Cy Young — most people don’t who they are. But they all know about Shoeless Joe.”

The fact that Jackson was apparently a functional illiterate who rarely signed his named makes his signature extremely rare. His wife ghost-signed his name for many years following his playing days, and even her signature fetches $200 or more.

When it comes to cardboard, Jackson is certainly near the top of the charts. A PSA 8 example of his 1915 Cracker Jack went for more than $38,000 in 2006. His 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jackson E145 cards are currently valued at $15,000 and $12,000, respectively, and his 2001 SP Legendary Cuts Debut Bat card, which has a piece of a game-used bat, lists for $350.

“From a modern cards perspective, there are very few of his memorabilia cards, but the ones that are out there do very, very well,” said Clemens. “With guys like Ruth and Mantle, their bat and jersey cards have really come down a lot, but with Jackson, there are so few cards out there, and they are very strong on the market. It has a lot to do with supply with him.”

So is there ever a chance that this tainted figure from the dead ball era, who has since become among the most pursued prizes among serious hobbyists, will ever fall from grace? Not a chance, according to Schwartz.

“Shoeless Joe never did anything wrong to this day. He’s one of the greatest players to ever lace them up, and he should be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “I’ve never heard a guy say ‘I’d like to buy this Shoeless Joe thing for $10,000, but I won’t because he gambled.’ All the guys from the turn of the century are the most collectible guys around. They were racists and slave owners, but it was so long ago, and nobody knows about it.”

The Second Tier

Dennis Rodman
Rodman probably did more to jumpstart the tattoo revolution than any man, and he made it OK for very tall men to wear rainbow hairdos and wedding dresses.

“The Worm” was a defensive whiz, a rebounding machine, a five-time NBA champion and one of the most memorable flakes the game has ever seen. He was suspended multiple times in his career, lost a $200,000 settlement after kicking a photographer in the groin during a game, dated Madonna, briefly married Carman Electra, arrested in domestic disputes, became a reality TV star in Great Britain and wrote a book called I Should Be Dead By Now.
So where does the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and six-time rebounding champion rank among collectors?

“People still love the bad boy,” laughed Schwartz. “People still collect Dennis Rodman. He didn’t kill anybody … he’s probably popular because of his lifestyle. He parties a lot. I don’t think collectors care that much about his cards. His ’88 Fleer rookie is, like, $20. But people want to get a picture and an autograph because of who he is.”

People who have an affinity for the Chicago Bulls glory days of the 1990s have helped keep Rodman reasonably collectible. His 2003-04 Upper Deck Esquisite Limited Logos, Exquisite Number Piece Autos and Patch Autos go for $400, $300 and $250, respectively. His Fleer rookie, after going as high as $30 when the Bulls were winning championships, has dropped to about $8, but his autograph memorabilia is still reasonably pricey. A game-used Lakers jersey from 1998-99 recently sold for more than $1,000, signed basketballs go for about $150 and a signed Sports Illustrated is about $25.

“My feeling is that it helped during his playing days that he was a flake getting 20 rebounds a game,” said Tuff Stuff basketball card pricing analyst Steve Bloedow. “But once he was done with basketball and not in the news or in a dress, he has become more of an outcast and not many people really care about him.”

At the very least, Rodman was a very good player who got close to that imaginary line between attention-seeking screwball and true bad guy. Either way, he made himself easy to remember.

“He was goofy, but it was a good goofy,” said Lyne. “He never really got in any trouble, and he got a lot of licensing agreements and stuff for himself for a while. He did bring attention to himself and whatever brand you were putting him on.”

Terrell Owens

The T.O. Show seems to have calmed down a bit recently in Dallas, but the past five years have made the unpredictable wide receiver a lightning rod for criticism and a symbol of all things selfish and annoying in pro football.

He’s been suspended, argued with his coaches and quarterbacks, made a spectacle of himself after touchdowns (and whenever else the opportunity arises), sparred frequently with the press and also played some pretty amazing football when the spirit moves him. So far, he hasn’t crossed the line and fallen into the collecting abyss. But he’s close.

“In general, collectors don’t like T.O.,” said Tuff Stuff football card pricing analyst Bert Lehman “When he was having great years in Philly and the Eagles went to the Super Bowl, demand for his cards did not increase much, if at all. He just has a way of turning people the wrong way, including collectors.

“The fact that he plays for the Dallas Cowboys helps add more collectibilty to him, but in general, collectors don’t like him.”

Cowboys collectors had no trouble ponying up $3,800 and $3,100 for a pair of unwashed game-worn jerseys last year. His game-worn 49ers jerseys have fetched close to $2,000, and autographed balls go for between $100-$250.

Bobby Knight
Considering he is the winningest college coach ever, collectibles for the “The General” are relatively scarce. He doesn’t do many public signings, but apparently has no great aversion to signing his name, either.

“People just don’t collect coaches. They really don’t,” said Schwartz. “Unless the coach is a former Hall of Fame player, like Isiah Thomas or somebody.
“You don’t see Bobby Knight at shows, but you don’t see any coaches. They’re not gonna draw.”

There will never be a shortage of Knight detractors. His questionable social graces, run-ins with his players, battles with the media and in-your-face coaching style leaves little gray area — you either love him or you hate him.
If you love him, signed basketballs can be found for $75-$100, signed 8-by-10s for about $30 and signed copies of his book Bob Knight: His Own Man for about $60.

Honorable Mention

Ron Artest
There is plenty of fluctuation in his memorabilia. His game-worn jerseys have brought anywhere from $190 to $600-plus. A signed gamer will fetch more. For an all-star type player, his cards get little attention, probably because he has been suspended multiple times for bad behavior, including a league-record 73 games, plus playoff appearances, for going into the stands two years ago in Detroit.

Al Davis

The overlord of the Raiders keeps a pretty low profile these days. He doesn’t sign much, and his days of stirring up trouble with the league and fellow owners seem to be behind him, at least for the time being.

“He’s just weird. He’s just a bad owner. Nobody cares,” said Schwartz.
Still, his signature is scarce enough that it brings more than many Hall of Fame players — $300 on a football and up to $500 on a helmet. A signed 8x10 is worth about $150.

Tonya Harding
Positively no interest in the all-time villainess of the Olympics, although you can get a signed skate for $39.99 on eBay.

Floyd Landis
Cycling doesn’t really lend itself to collecting, but the demand for an autograph for this Tour de France hero-turned-goat is certainly minimal at the moment, following his recent two-year ban from cycling and overturned
victory in the sport’s biggest event.

Landis appears destined to join names like McGwire, Sosa, Rafael Palmiero, Ricky Williams, Ben Johnson and Marion Jones on the short list of notable athletes who will be remembered as much for their ties to illegal drugs as they are for their athletic achievements.

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