By Michael Bower
Over the years, The Bench has seen some things it never thought would happen let alone become a trend.
But this one takes the cake: high schoolers with their own baseball cards for sale.
Some of the top prep players in the nation could already be found for purchase on eBay, including three stars from the local area.
Poway High sophomore Kyle Dean, Rancho Bernardo junior Alex Jackson and Broncos senior Gosuke Katoh were all surprised to see their recently-made baseball cards going for as little as 99 cents to as much as $59.99 on eBay.
All three agreed it was a little weird seeing their mugs selling on the popular website since they are only in high school.
But all three also agreed it was pretty cool to have their own baseball card. And what high school kid in the world wouldn’t think that?
“I never thought at 17 I would have a baseball card of myself,” said Jackson, who is arguably the most feared junior in the nation at the plate. “But I am not too overwhelmed about it or focused on it. It is just cool to be able to share with my family members and some of my close friends like Gosuke and Dean.”
All three had baseball cards made while playing over the summer. Jackson’s was made at the Under Armour All-American game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Katoh at the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park and Dean’s while playing for the USA 15U National Team.
“It was a really good experience,” said Katoh, who recently signed with UCLA and has a good chance of being selected in the MLB Draft in June. “They took us to a room and all the Topps baseball cards guys were there taking pictures. That was special.”
Dean, who at 15 is the youngest of the trio, had a bit of a different experience. Most of his baseball card photos were taken while practicing with the 15U National Team. He is the only one of the three with action shots on his cards.
“They had us wear our USA jerseys and the photographers were out there taking pictures of us,” said the Titans outfielder, who is verbally committed to USD. “They also did a photo shoot in a room. It was really cool.”
While having a baseball card alone is odd, finding it for sell on eBay was especially shocking for the three up-and-coming stars.
Dean saw his on eBay before he even received the one he purchased from Team USA.
“I didn’t even know about my card on eBay until one of my buddies texted me and posted a picture of one on Instagram,” he said. “So they were for sell on eBay before I even got any of my cards. I was like, ‘Wow. Are you kidding me?’”
Jackson, who many consider the No. 1 junior prospect in the nation, stumbled across his card on eBay while still at the Under Armour All-American game.
“It was actually really weird,” he said. “My roommate and I were talking about how people put cards on eBay so we looked up our names and there they were. It was a shocking feeling that I even had a baseball card, and then to see it on eBay was like ‘wow.’”
Katoh echoed similar feelings. He knew the card being made would be handed out at the Perfect Game All-American Classic, but he had no idea it would hit the open market.
“That was really amazing,” he said. “I am only a high school athlete. It was awesome.”
And while The Bench can promise you all three were extremely humble about already having a baseball card selling on eBay, they were not shy about which card they thought looked the best.
Of course, the following exchange was all in fun.
“I say how good looking I am in mine and how terrible (Jackson) looks in his,” Katoh said with a laugh.
“I don’t really know what to say to that because I do not want to take it too far,” Jackson responded. “But the majority of the people that have seen both of our cards definitely think I look way better.”
Dean had his own opinion.
“I think I look the best,” he said. “But that is a personal opinion. I will let the girls decide that.”
Kidding aside, all three have proven their baseball cards are worth grabbing. And most impressive to The Bench was the way they have not allowed their heads to swell over the situation.
“Not many 15-year-olds have their own baseball card,” Dean said. “I think it is a great thing, but you have to take it the right way. You can’t get all cocky and big-headed. You have to be humble, because if you aren’t, the game will humble you.”
“Personally, I don’t pay attention to it,” Jackson said. “You can’t let it get in the way and affect you from wanting to get better. You have to act like you don’t even have cards, and do what you have been doing and have fun.”
For those card collectors out there, better go grab a few of these three right now. There is a chance that one day the demand will be through the roof.