Rookie Card Year: 1997
Investment Rating: 6.0
R.A. Dickey's unlikely emergence as a dominant National League pitcher is one of the feel-good stories of the 2012 season. Not many athletes hit their stride until their mid-30s but that's exactly what the knuckleball specialist has done. And while R.A. Dickey cards aren't likely to bring major riches, they have seen huge gains in recent months.
Drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996, Dickey spent the early part of his career as a reliever. Really, it is a wonder that his career lasted as long as it did as his stats don't show a strong pitcher. After bouncing through Texas, Seattle and Minnesota, Dickey found himself with the Mets in 2010 where he became a full-time starter. After a solid couple of years, Dickey established himself as one of the game's best in 2012. While he has been great all year, his back-to-back one-hitters in June elevated him from cult hero to baseball superstar.
As great a story as the pitcher is, collectors have to be wondering when the clock is going to strike midnight. Thankfully, with a knuckleball as his dominant pitch, it is possible that Dickey could be pitching well into his 40s.
Those looking to collect R.A. Dickey cards have just two rookie cards to track down: 1997 Bowman Baseball and 1997 Bowman Chrome Baseball. Until very recently, both cards could have been found for pennies. From a percentage standpoint, they've soared in 2012. Collectors can now expect to pay $10 and up for the 1997 Bowman Chrome R.A. Dickey rookie.
While this value, and the value of other R.A. Dickey cards, could grow even further over the short-term, don't expect much more growth over the long-term. It's simply too late for Dickey to become an all-time great. However, that won't stop him from being a fan favorite for years to come, which will help keep his rookies from going back to the common box tombs they spent so many years in.
Because the card manufacturers understand there's little appeal for relievers and struggling pitchers, at this point there aren't a lot of R.A. Dickey cards available. That number will grow but as of right now, options are limited. Those wanting autographed R.A. Dickey cards had just one set to look to for a long time, the 2004 Upper Deck USA Baseball 25th Anniversary box set. The card has three different ink versions: Black #/180, Blue #/60 and Red #/10.
Topps has stepped in and added the 2012 NL Cy Young winner's autographs to multiple sets. The also have several different memorabilia cards.
At this point, there isn't a lot of R.A. Dickey autographed memorabilia available. The safest bet, at this point, are baseballs authenticated by Steiner Sports.
Dickey also published an autobiography in March, 2012 titled "Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball."
R.A. Dickey Rookie Card Guide
Looking a lot younger, it's a little ironic that the knuckleball hurler is shown gripping a fastball. Dickey is the latest (and likely last) rookie to emerge from the deep 1997 Bowman Baseball checklist. Besides tons of solid rookie cards, the set is also notable for debuting the black borders that were a staple with the brand for many years. Collectors can also look for the 1997 Bowman International parallel. The foil cards don't carry much of a premium, but they're also not terribly difficult to come by.
The more desirable of the two first-year R.A. Dickey cards, 1997 Bowman Chrome Baseball is almost identical to his regular Bowman rookie. The major difference is that the card is done on chromium card stock. 1997 Bowman Chrome Baseball is a genuine modern classic in the hobby. Parallels include International, Refractors and International Refractors.
R.A. Dickey Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what R.A. Dickey's authentic signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company.
Signed Ball Pricing:
Lowest Amazon Price: $89