2014 Hobby MVP
I did not give out this award last year, but decided to add it to my list of end of year accolades. I went through and made some criteria and had a few different players I considered for this award. There is the obvious choice, Derek Jeter, but collectors had ample notice that he was leaving the game at the end of the year and his retirement did very little to move the needle on his card market. Jeter was popular and would still be popular if he were playing this year, or he had just picked a random day in the middle of the year and walked.
Instead I decided to go with Madison Bumgarner.
I quietly dabble in Bumgarner cards. He's a North Carolina guy and it's hard to pass up cards of a pitcher that talented. We had the 2014 Postseason, but this was Bumgarner's third successful trip to the postseason. During the past World Series appearances the price of Bumgarner cards would bump up a little bit around the time of the World Series and then just fall back down into Earth. During the 2012 season I picked up an ordinary Madison Bumgarner autograph and spent about $7 on the card.
Prices on Bumgarner cards were still selling for less then $10 at the beginning of the year. This card is now selling consistently for more than $20. Harder to find autographs of Mad Bum are even pricier now. One of my favorite Bumgarner cards of all-time is his 2010 Topps National Chicle autograph. Not the world's best set, but the Bumgarner autograph in the set is awesome.
At the time this set released I went out and got a bunch of the autographs including the Bumgarner. This was one of the more expensive autographs in the set at the time and cost me about $15 shipped. Like his Topps autographs, it has had it's fluctuations, but is now selling for more than $30. Sure, there could be a dip in some of the prices of Bumgarner cards, but the guy is 25 and has 3 World Series rings. Bumgarner could have a pretty uneventful rest of his career and his cards will still always have decent value because of his work over in the postseason over the last five seasons. 2014 helped to cement Bumgarner's place in the deep end of the baseball card swimming pool and made him my 2014 Hobby MVP.