By Chris Olds | Editor
Plenty has been written about 18-year-old baseball prospect Bryce Harper and plenty has been sold featuring Harper, too.
But until now he’s never had any officially licensed MLB trading cards or game-used MLB memorabilia for the deep-pocketed investors to latch on to.
What’s new? No, it’s not a Bowman baseball card bearing the Washington Nationals logo beside his name — we’ll get that in 2011 — but we’ve got the next-closest thing.
Harper’s first jersey worn in a game as a professional — a Nationals home jersey from his Arizona Fall League debut on Oct. 20 — has hit the auction block at MLB.com and already is commanding attention.
The jersey sits at just $2,535 after 36 bids, a relative bargain so far — though the auction does not close until next Sunday, Nov. 21.
Imagine owning a 1952 Eau Claire jersey worn by an 18-year-old Hank Aaron or a 1965 Tampa Johnny Bench jersey. Or a 1986 Memphis Chicks Bo Jackson jersey … or a 2000 Peoria Chiefs Albert Pujols jersey.
Nearly all of those earlier relics from the past are likely gone — let alone the jersey worn in their very first games — but thanks to the MLB Authentication Program some of these potential treasures will be saved from the anonymity of the equipment manager’s mountains of work.
While this jersey certainly won’t be the last Harper artifact to hit the auction block, there can only be one first jersey as a pro. (Well, unless he wore several during the game … ) And, sure, he’ll also have a first MLB jersey once he hits spring training for the first time — and then the first time he plays in The Show — but you can bet that those jerseys might be a little more important to the player who just might be the next rookie to capture the national headlines on the Nationals.
However, it’sworth stating that the Nationals have changed their uniform designs, so none of those jerseys will look like this one once the No. 1 overall draft pick makes his debut(s).
What will bidding end at? I personally expect it to top $10,000, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.