Jackie Bradley Jr.’s hitting streak puts focus on his cardboard

Jackie-Bradley-Jr.-2012-Bowman-Chrome-autoHe’s been known since Day One to prospectors because he’s got one of the most-unique autographs in the game.

You know, one where you can often read every single letter.

But it’s on-the-field work that has people watching Jackie Bradley Jr. — he’s on a streak that’s getting his cardboard some attention and could help usher him into the mainstream. The Boston Red Sox outfielder enters today’s doubleheader against the World Series champion Kansas City Royals with a 22-game hitting streak.

Jackie-Bradley-Jr.-USA-autoWith home run records seemingly out of reach, hit streaks could become a summer pastime for fans following the game daily. Joe DiMaggio‘s record 56-game hitting streak has stood since 1941 and only five other players in the history of MLB have reached 40 — so it’s not a given that any streak will get to elite status — but when a streak reaches a certain point it’s worth watching both as a fan and a collector.

Bradley’s streak is the longest in MLB this season — he’s the only player to reach 20 games so far — and, realistically, it could be gone today. But a hot run is something, particularly in a large market, that can’t hurt his cardboard. He’s got nearly 600 different baseball cards and more than 150 of those are certified autographs. His earliest ink comes in several 2010 USA Baseball sets from Topps, while his Bowman Chrome debut (for MLB cardboard) came back in 2012. On eBay, rarer parallels of his early autos have been strong sellers.

Bradley is hitting .333 with six home runs and 31 RBI in 38 games with the Red Sox this season, which is his fourth in the majors. He’s got a .233 average for his career.

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