ANGEL REYES BASEBALL CARDS

Angel Reyes was a journeyman relief pitcher who played in Major League Baseball from 1990-2001. While he had a relatively unremarkable career on the field, Reyes’ baseball cards from the 1990s have taken on a life of their own in the collecting world. Let’s take a deeper look at Angel Reyes’ playing career, and examine why his baseball cards from this era in particular have become highly sought after by collectors.

Reyes was originally signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1987. He made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 1990 at the age of 24. In his first two seasons in Chicago, Reyes showed promise as a reliever, posting ERAs of 3.86 and 3.38 in 1990 and 1991 respectively. Control issues plagued him and he walked 5.3 batters per 9 innings over those two years. Following the 1991 season, Reyes was traded to the Montreal Expos along with pitchers Dave Martinez and Dan Plesac in exchange for catcher Joe Girardi.

Reyes spent two up-and-down seasons in Montreal from 1992-1993. He struggled with his command and saw his ERA balloon to 5.45 in 1992. The 1993 season saw some improvement as Reyes lowered his ERA to 4.28, but he continued to battle high walk rates. Following the 1993 season, the Expos released Reyes, making him a free agent. He would sign a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners for 1994.

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1994 proved to be a breakout season of sorts for Reyes. Pitching primarily in long relief for the Mariners, he posted career bests with a 2.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 80 innings. Reyes’ control also markedly improved that year, as he lowered his walks per 9 to 3.3. This performance helped Reyes remain in the big leagues, and he spent the next three seasons pitching effectively out of the Mariners bullpen.

From 1995-1997 with Seattle, Reyes maintained an ERA between 3-4 and averaged over 50 innings pitched per season. While never lighting up the radar gun, Reyes succeeded by changing speeds effectively and keeping the ball on the ground. His pitching line over this three year stretch was a respectable 3.59 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 151 innings.

After the 1997 season, Reyes signed as a free agent with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He spent two seasons pitching for some poor Devil Rays teams from 1998-1999. Reyes continued to provide innings eating out of the bullpen, but saw his overall numbers decline slightly. His ERAs were 4.15 and 4.45 respectively for Tampa Bay.

Reyes had one final stint in the big leagues in 2001, pitching 9 innings for the Cincinnati Reds. He called it a career after that season at age 35, wrapping up a 12-year MLB career. In total, Reyes appeared in 358 games mostly in relief, compiling a 4.14 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over 588 innings. He never made an All-Star team and did not have any standout individual seasons. By all accounts, Reyes had a perfectly average major league career.

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So what is it about Angel Reyes’ baseball cards from the 1990s that has made them such hot commodities to collectors in recent years? There are a few key factors that have driven interest:

Scarcity: Reyes was never a true star player, so his cards were not printed in huge numbers. Many of his cards come from the mid-90s when print runs across the industry were declining from the height of the baseball card boom in the late 80s/early 90s.

Iconic Designs: Card companies like Topps, Fleer, and Score produced some truly classic baseball card designs during this era that have stood the test of time. Reyes’ cards, especially from 1994-1997, feature these very memorable and aesthetically pleasing designs.

Investment Potential: With the rise of online auction sites like eBay, Reyes’ cards have developed something of a cult following. Savvy collectors recognized their scarcity and snapped up what was available to hold. As his cards become even harder to find in high grades, prices have risen significantly based purely on collectibility rather than Reyes’ actual playing career.

Pop Culture Interest: The entire baseball card collecting hobby has enjoyed a renaissance over the last decade with increased mainstream attention. Shows like The Card Shop on the MLB Network have only fueled more people’s nostalgia for the vintage cardboard of their childhoods. Reyes’ cards perfectly fit the era that many collectors and investors focus on.

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So in summary – while Reyes himself was never an elite player, the combination of his cards’ scarcity, iconic designs, investment potential, and the rekindled interest in the entire hobby have all contributed to his cards significantly rising in value. Near mint copies of his 1994 Topps rookie card can now fetch hundreds of dollars, and pristine examples of other key cards from 1994-1997 often sell for several times their original retail price. For shrewd collectors, Angel Reyes’ baseball cards present an opportunity to profit solely based on their collectibility rather than team performance. His cardboard legacy now far outstrips his on-field career.

In closing, it’s quite fascinating how certain players from history have had their baseball card values skyrocket solely due to market forces rather than what they did between the lines. Angel Reyes is one of the better examples of this phenomenon from the late 20th century game. While he toiled anonymously for a dozen seasons, his classic-era cardboard is now highly sought after and shows no signs of slowing down. For collectors and investors alike, keeping an eye on overlooked gems like Reyes can certainly pay dividends in today’s booming memorabilia market.

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