There's something about the New York Mets and journeyman players as of late. In 2011 and 2012 it was R.A. Dickey. In 2013, the role belongs to John Buck. Following a torrid start for the Mets, collectors may want to start digging through their common boxes in search of John Buck rookie cards as interest starts to rise.
New York is Buck's fourth major league team since his debut with Kansas City. And that comes after being drafted by the Astros, who sent the catcher to Kansas City as part of a three-team swap that involved Carlos Beltran. Buck has also played for Toronto and Miami.
Heading into 2013, Buck's career high for home runs was 20. Within the first couple weeks of his stint with the Mets, he was nearly a third of the way there. He has also a major force in pacing the team's offense, driving in runs at an equally torrid pace.
Collectors have seven different John Buck rookie cards from 2001 to chase. Most are extremely affordable, however there are a couple of exceptions. But even then, you're not likely to spend too much. From an investment potential, don't expect a meteoric rise. He's already in his 30s so even in a best-case scenario, Buck will likely have a few strong years. That said, there's still room for some short-term gains, similar to Dickey last-year. And should Buck continue to put up strong numbers, the leveling-off point will likely be higher than they're currently at.
John Buck Rookie Card Checklist
The 2001 Bowman John Buck is and will remain an affordable rookie card. While it's one of the more popular base Bowman sets of the new millennium thanks to Albert Pujols, it's still base Bowman. That said, visually, it's one of the nicest John Buck rookies.
Without a doubt, 2001 Bowman Chrome is the top John Buck rookie to get. That said, there aren't too many on the open market. Hailing from a set that's regarded as a legitimate classic, it's the catcher's only card that can be considered an autographed rookie and not an insert. It's also numbered to 500 copies. For those not familiar with the set, it's also worth noting that all 2001 Bowman Chrome rookie cards are Refractors.
Part of the set's Phenoms subset, the card comes numbered to 625. That said, there are only 525 rookie cards as the first 100 copies are autographed. Given the lack of attention for both the 2001 Donruss Class of 2001 set and Buck (up to this point), these don't show up very often. It should be considered one of the better autograph rookie card alternatives.
The 2001 Donruss Elite John Buck rookie is a bit of an oddity. Offered as a redemption, the card says there's a print run of 1000 cards. In actuality, there's less than half that. 2001 Donruss Elite Extra Edition cards were blind redemptions that promised those who got one a number on the checklist. At first, no names were released. Collectors also had to pay a hefty $5.99 shipping fee. After the redemptions expired, the final print runs were announced and Buck came in at 416 cards.
Perhaps the most straight-forward Josh Buck rookie card, it's also one of the few where collectors can get a clean look at his face versus one that's obscured by a mask or shot as a profile. A low-end option, they can probably be found in common boxes. A Gold parallel comes with a little more shimmer and a numbered print run of 2001 copies.
2001 Topps Traded came with both base Topps and Topps Chrome cards. The two-sets-in-one concept produced nearly identical checklists. In typical brand fashion, think of Chrome as a souped-up take. It does carry a premium over the base Topps Traded card, but all things considered, it's still very cheap. There's also a Retrofractor parallel that is essentially a regular Refractor with an old-school style back.
The 2001 Topps Reserve John Buck rookie comes numbered to 1500 but has an ungraded version. Released at a time when professionally graded cards were really taking off, 555 of each 2001 Topps Reserve rookie were slabbed and graded by PSA to be inserted as a box topper. The graded versions also have a label that's signed by the featured player. So while there are 1500 copies total, about a third of them are have the special autographed slab.