So, Your Favorite Player is an All-Star. Now What?
Well, it finally happened. You got in on the ground floor of fandom—a young player, up and coming, had all the tools, plus work ethic and a good personality. You thought to yourself, “Hey, I'm going to root for this player just a little bit harder than the others. I want to see him succeed." You bought a bunch of his cards, back when the autographs and game used were hard to come by, but rarely cost you more than a few bucks. You even had the chance to go to an in-person signing and get his autograph for the same price as a few packs of Allen and Ginter at your local hobby shop.
There are very few titles as prestigious or well known as “All-Star." Very good players that haven't yet earned the distinction are deemed “All-Star Caliber." The title becomes a standard prefix, like Mr. or Dr.—especially if it has been earned multiple times. “Oh, Frank, was it? I'm Dan, and this is 10-time All Star Derek Jeter." See how I did that? I'll bet that as you read it, it came naturally, like it was supposed to be there.
The thing is, people know All-Stars. That means, the guy that used to be your player is starting to become everyone's favorite. Your pick is mainstream, and popular. Also, people collect All-Stars. And you thought you could sneak up and steal that eBay auction that hadn't gotten a bid yet. Bah! There's no such thing as an auction with no bids for your player any more. That was a different era. Now he's an All Star.
The card companies get this too. No more simple base cards and parallels. Now it is base card and All-Star card. And parallels. And Inserts. And All-Star sub-sets. And retail only, extra game used (with All-Star jersey swatches), commemorative patches. All the while, autographs become more scarce as the cost of getting them signed by the player escalates. He is an All-Star, after all.
And here you are, looking at a now-massive checklist with glazed eyes—instantly overwhelmed by what collecting your player has become.
And then it his you. Your player is an All-Star—and you were in on him from the very start.