Young: The irrational allure of baseball cards and Ken Kendrick’s collection

From SABR member Geoff Young at Crooked Scoreboard on March 28, 2016:

Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick’s Ultimate Collection of baseball cards ordinarily resides at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, but in March and April of 2016 he put the collection on display at the Phoenix Art Museum.

The collection offers not only a trip back in time but also a window into how we view objects and assign them value based on factors that may have nothing to do with said objects. What we see in Kendrick’s cards is what we see in ourselves.

Perception is a hell of a drug. Baseball cards are nothing more than small cardboard rectangles covered in ink, and yet some have been exchanged for millions of dollars.

Those dollars are small paper rectangles covered in ink, so maybe the idea of something without obvious intrinsic value serving as a proxy for real value isn’t so far fetched. We can convert dollars into food and shelter, which help sustain life. Why can’t we convert baseball cards into dollars? Why can’t baseball cards serve as a proxy for the proxy?

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 29, 2016. Last Updated: March 29, 2016.