The Thrill of Appearing on Your First Baseball Card

The Thrill of Appearing on Your First Baseball Card

USA Prospects ImageCan you image being in high school and finding yourself on a baseball card? A trio of young prep players already making a name for themselves in the game and in the hobby were featured guests on Cardboard Connection Radio on Wednesday, January 30. Gosuke Katoh, Alex Jackson, and Kyle Dean all reside in Southern California and are on individual paths to fulfilling their dream of playing in the majors. They spoke candidly about the thrill of discovering their cards and their futures.

Gosuke Katoh, the oldest of the three, has committed to UCLA. He is also a projected draft pick in the upcoming MLB Amateur Draft this coming June. When asked about the looming decision to be made if he is in fact a high draft pick, Katoh coolly responded, "I am just focused on playing and can't worry about what I can't control." Wise beyond his years and easier said than done, it's clear that his parents have kept him well-grounded through this process. Gosuke Katoh's first trading card was made as part of the 2012 Bowman Perfect Game set. It is available in signed and unsigned versions and is currently trading for between, $10-$20. The ones on the market were among those handed out at the event and not inserted in packs.

Katoh isn't the only member of the Rancho Bernardo High School baseball team garnering interest from the collecting community. Teammate Alex Jackson is considered by many to be the top junior prospect in the nation. Jackson had his card produced while playing at the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago this past summer and is featured in the 2012 Bowman Under Armour set. Like Katoh, it also won't find its way into packs until he is drafted and signs.

Incredibly humble for someone with so much talent his first thoughts on seeing himself on a trading card were, "Cool and weird at the same time." His card is tougher to find, particularly the autographed version and has recently sold for $20 and $60.

Kyle Dean is just 15-years-old but already a member of the USA 15 and Under National Team. His recent appearance in the 2012 Panini USA Baseball Box Set gained him some instant notoriety in the hobby. He has a base card, autograph and autographed jersey card available.

When asked what it was like to represent his country playing the baseball, he replied, "[It's] an incredible honor because you aren't just playing for your country, but your family and friends as well."

In addition to his USA Baseball box set cards, Dean has autographs in 2012 Panini Elite Extra Edition. His autographs trade in the $10 range.

Regardless of what the future holds for these young athletes, few people have themselves immortalized on cardboard, let alone as a teenager. So keep an eye on these names in the years to come.

Catch the full interview with the trio, as well as the rest of the episode of Cardboard Connection Radio here.

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Rob Bertrand is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby. He is one of the site's most accomplished writers, as well as the co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.

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