Every sport has them. Players that are loved solely based on where they grew up, went to school, or even spent a summer back in the day. I’m talking about hometown heroes. Often the most beloved hometown heroes are the ones from the smallest towns or the ones with best story and not necessarily the most productive careers.
But, what I never quite understood is why collectors from the bigger cities don’t collect these players the same way the small-town collectors do. Technically, based on solely numbers, there would actually be more chances to find cards of a player in a small town than there would be in a bigger city. In turn, that would seemingly make chasing their cards a more exciting challenge seeing as the bigger cities should have collectors chasing the same amount of cards. It’s just basic percentages.
Take my personal experience as an example. I’m from Grant Town, WV which is a town near Morgantown, WV, otherwise known as the home of Jedd Gyorko, current starting second baseman for the San Diego Padres. He’s a local guy through and through. He grew up here and played four years at West Virginia University. And from my experiences at shows and such, the collectors here can’t get enough of his cards! They love him. They wanna know how he’s performing every day.
In contrast to that, I went to Point Park University with Don Kelly, current super-utility player for the Miami Marlins and Butler, PA native, and I remember other students in our classes not even realizing who he was and he was sitting five feet away, including myself. However, in all fairness to me, I had cards of him, knew the name, etc but had no idea he was from the Pittsburgh area (where we went to school), so I had no idea to even look for him at that point. From a collecting standpoint though, there were many times in school and at card shows when I would ask people if they knew who Don Kelly was and the answer was usually “no.” That has never been the case with Gyorko.
All I’m trying to say is that a hometown player should be treated the same no matter what the size of their city or town is. They’ve made it to the bigs and should be applauded (and even collected) for their hard work and dedication. Nobody knows when you’ll have a “hometown boy” to collect so enjoy it while it lasts.