Clayton Kershaw began the 2014 season with a seven-strikeout effort in 6.2 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia as part of MLB’s Opening Series. He ended it in disappointment as he again was unable to get past the St. Louis Cardinals in the postseason.
Between the bookend starts, Kershaw was historically great, which led to his third Cy Young Award in four years and an MVP Award, among other accolades. Despite missing one month, Dodger ace led the Majors in wins, complete games, ERA, ERA+ and WHIP.
Kershaw claimed his fourth straight ERA title, becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to do so. He’s also placed himself in elite company when it comes to memorabilia, via Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider:
I think he’s probably on the Mount Rushmore right now of guys who attract the most collector interest,” said Sports Collectors Daily editor Rich Mueller.
Another reason Kershaw items have become a hot commodity is due to the expectation of what lies ahead:
He has been so spectacular that you realize this is a guy who’s going to be around for a long time,” Mueller said. “You look at Sandy Koufax, who retired in 1966, what he accomplished in his short period of time. Kershaw, if he stays healthy, is going to surpass some what Koufax did, which is unconscionable.”
As much a philanthropist, alongside his wife Ellen, Kershaw’s personality and how he carries himself off the field is also a draw:
The fact that Kershaw’s a very likable, charity-minded, regular type-of-guy helps his profile,” Mueller said. “Fans like to root for guys like that, and collectors also gravitate to players that they appreciate and feel they can put away without worrying about what they do off the field.”
Fanaticsauthentics.com currently lists an autographed Kershaw baseball for $199.95. For an autographed baseball in a case with a commemorative NL Cy Young Award card the cost jumps to $259.95.
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