Summer is heating up and so is Major League Baseball’s 2008 home run race. As the calendar flips to August, 13 players have at least 24 roundtrippers and 25 more have deposited at least 20 balls over the wall. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Adam Dunn and Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard battle it out at the top, with 30 apiece.
Even during the All-Star break the home run handlers made headlines; which given the 15 inning history-making All-Star Game was a feat. Although the lineup didn’t include some of the regular characters the annual State Farm Home Run Derby is known for, the hard hitters were out in full force none the less. After rewriting the Derby record for the most home runs in a single round, with 28 during his first round barrage, Texas’ Josh Hamilton was out-homered in the final by Minnesota’s Justin Morneau, 5-3. Morneau, the only returnee from the 2007 Derby, cracked 22 total homers on the night — and although that was 13 off of Hamilton’s final tally, in the clean-slate final round saw Morneau hit five homers to Hamilton’s three.
With all this power at the plate many collectors are certainly keeping a close eye on the race and an eye open for new and additional cards of these hot hitters to add to their collection. As history has proven, even one stellar season can radically change the value of a player’s card. After an outstanding 2007 season, including National League Player of the Year honors, the Brewer’s Ryan Braun 2005 Bowman Chrome Draft #168 rookie autographed card jumped 200 percent from $50 to $200. With 29 home runs and a number of game-saving plays under his belt this season, Braun is on pace for another strong finish in 2008. In similar fashion, Red Sox speedster Jacoby Ellsbury’s base running skills have resulted in 35 stolen bases; which has him in a tie for third in the league. This comes on the heels of a powerful performance in 2007 for Ellsbury which helped push his 2005 Bowman Chrome #172 rookie autographed card from $50 to $125.
The 2009 Baseball Card Price Guide, from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest, has the answers to all modern era card pricing and identification questions. With more than 375,000 cards, including all regular issues from 1981-2007, plus inserts, parallels and rare variations, there’s a lot of collecting confidence to be gained from this guide.