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Note: Michael Jordan's card is for baseball; Data: Alt; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Shohei Ohtani's trading card value has risen 781% since the start of 2021, the highest year-to-date return of any athlete on Alt, a sports card exchange that aims to bring more liquidity to alternative assets.

Why it matters: The trading card market is the closest thing we have to a stock market for sports.

The state of play: On the heels of a trading card boom, Alt and others are building the infrastructure needed to turn cards into a more liquid and manageable asset. Welcome to the era of sports fandom investing.

Between the lines: Trading card values fluctuate based on an athlete's performance and a variety of other factors like events (i.e. trade), awards (i.e. MVP), milestones (i.e. Hall of Fame induction) and market dynamics (i.e. whale buys up a ton of cards).

Data: Alt; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
  • Shohei Ohtani (+781%): The two-way star is becoming a legend before our eyes this season. The media covers him incessantly after his best starts (as we should!), which explains the spikes in the chart above.
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+450%): The MVP frontrunner leads the AL in batting average (.342), HR (22), RBI (56) and hits (82). His value has been steadily rising all season — the breakout year of all breakout years.
  • Matthew Stafford (+206%): The 33-year-old QB saw a spike in his value after he was traded from the Lions to the Rams. New coach, new system, new (and bigger) market — collectors are buying Stafford stock.
  • Michael Jordan, basketball (+131%): The MJ market was a rollercoaster during the pandemic. New highs were reached during "The Last Dance" mania last spring, but prices have cooled down since then.

Wild Ohtani stat to go: Only eight of 142 qualified hitters have an OPS over .950, and only 23 of 121 pitchers with at least 10 starts have an ERA under 2.90. Shohei has both.

Go deeper: Full list of athletes with highest YTD returns (Twitter)

Go deeper

Earnings are lifting the stock market

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The stock market’s recent trend could be described as just going higher — with the S&P 500 setting its intraday record high of 4,257 on Tuesday. Despite bubble concerns and pockets of investing mania, fundamentals are supporting it.

Why it matters: The stock market has rallied almost unabated in the past year, more than recovering all of its early pandemic losses, leading some to question if prices have detached from economic reality and gotten frothy.

How your plumber could lead the electric vehicle revolution

Ford Pro Intelligence gives farmers access to important data on every vehicle – whether gas-powered or electric. Image courtesy of Ford.

Businesses like farmers, contractors and delivery companies — not individual consumers — will lead America into the electric vehicle era, judging from how demand is currently shaping up.

Why it matters: While consumers are waiting on the sidelines to see if the charging infrastructure improves and prices come down, commercial businesses see EVs as a way to boost their productivity and improve operations.

First look: Biden's Georgia blues

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden's job approval rating has dropped to 34% in Georgia, a closely watched swing state he won in 2020, according to a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution/University of Georgia poll shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Biden risks serving as a drag on his party in key Senate and gubernatorial contests.