By Larry Canale
For the first time in baseball history, a player has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with a unanimous vote. As you’ve heard, that man is Mariano Rivera, the classy, role-model-perfect relief pitcher who set a record with 652 saves during his 19 seasons. Big Mo never won a Cy Young Award (though he placed second in the voting in 2005), yet there were no “nay” votes among the baseball writers who determine Hall of Fame inductees. Now that’s how you close out a career!
It’ll be interesting to see how much Rivera’s HOF status affects his memorabilia value. He’s never drawn the prices reserved for everyday sluggers like Mike Trout or even big-name starting pitchers. But… he was a lifelong Yankee, and with his unanimous selection to the Hall, we’ll see more demand than ever—along with, no doubt, some lift.
Right after the Hall of Fame announcement on Jan. 22, a bidder spent $1,099 in a Buy It Now sale for a framed and signed Rivera jersey. And we’ve seen other Rivera-signed items sell at lower prices; an autographed glove brought $999, for example; and another signed jersey fetched $900.
As for cards, the one Rivera item drawing consistent four-figure prices—his 1990 Diamond Cards issue—didn’t even come from a major manufacturer. The card features a scrawny-looking kid who was so new to the minors that there were no stats on the reverse side. Three separate listings of that card (each graded PSA 10) brought prices of $1,500, $1,300 and $1,175.
Perhaps the Rivera card most poised to spike upwards is his 1992 Bowman. In recent weeks, it’s been modest, selling for $250 to $450, or $500 to $650 if autographed. While it’s at least from a major manufacturer, it does have a drawback for some collectors: It pictures Rivera in street clothes rather than a baseball uniform.