THE DMITRI YOUNG COLLECTION
Born in Vicksburg, VA on October 11, 1973, Dmitri Young proved to be a strong and natural athlete from an early age, a gift he and his brother Delmon received from their father, one of the country’s first African-American F-14 fighter pilots. His passion for baseball and baseball cards coincided from the beginning. By the time Dmitri’s star began to rise during his time at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, CA, the High School All-American had shoeboxes full of cardboard renderings of his big league idols.
“Growing up, I was a big Mets and Braves fan,” Dmitri says. “My heroes from the Braves were Dale Murphy and Bob Horner and from the Mets it was Dr. K [Dwight Gooden] and the Straw Man [Darryl Strawberry]. That’s whose cards I collected as a kid – players like Murphy, Horner, Gooden, Strawberry, Don Mattingly, Orel Hershiser and Bret Saberhagen. I was like any other kid, I’d get cards and play with them and trade with my friends.”
Young was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals as a first round pick and made a rapid ascent to the Big Leagues. Between 1996 and 2008 “Da Meat Hook” starred for the Cardinals, Reds, Tigers and Nationals, posting a near .300 career average, appearing in two All-Star games and winning the 2008 NL Comeback Player of the Year award.
As his financial wherewithal increased so did his desire to build a world-class baseball card collection. Over the better part of the past two decades, Dmitri diligently built and maintained what is widely considered to be the finest quality collection of Baseball Hall of Fame rookie cards in existence. It is a collection that has brought Dmitri as much joy and fulfillment as the game he loves. Much of that joy has come through the friendship he established with longtime dealer Dave Bailey, whom Dmitri calls “The Architect” of the collection. A mutual big league friend introduced Bailey to “D” as he calls Dmitri.
“The first time I met ‘D’ we really hit it off right from the start. We sat around talking about cards till one o’clock in the morning. Pretty soon, I started taking care of his marketing. Dmitri has always remained positive about collecting and the bottom line is that he really loves cards. So he kept calling me on things here and there and eventually he started using me to do his buying.” Bailey’s invaluable guidance in helping “D” avoid many pitfalls of the hobby included preventing “D” from overpaying for cards from overzealous dealers with eyes for his big league bankroll. Wanting Dmitri to have the highest level of comfort, Bailey took the time to teach his new client about cards. “I taught him a lot of the ins and outs of the hobby and the business of cards that only someone who has been involved for a long time knows,” said Bailey. “That really sparked his interest and he finally said that he wanted to focus on one thing. I agreed with him. What we decided to focus on was Baseball Hall of Fame rookies from 1948 to 1990. Our goal was to get as many as we could in PSA 10.” When asked what role Bailey has played in putting together the collection, Dmitri is quick to give the man his props. “It is no secret that Dave Bailey is the architect of this collection,” said Dmitri. “He lays down the groundwork and works out the deals for me. He knows what a fair price is and he knows how to negotiate the deal. At first, I felt like we were both just helping one another out but as we became friends, I know he began to feel this collection was as much his as it is mine.” Both Dmitri and Dave say they have a story that goes with every card in the collection, from simple eBay deals, to weeks- long negotiations, to 11-hour road trips in pursuit of a missing gem.
What Dmitri has accomplished under the guidance of Bailey is simply staggering. The collection, amassed as a labor of love, has taken on a life of its own. It has dropped the jaws of many serious collectors who, when looking at it, see some of the finest one-of-a kind GEM MINT rookie cards in existence. Simply put, it is a collection that surpasses all superlatives and has captured the hearts of the two men who have compiled it. As with any major collector, Dmitri said that one of the greatest joys about the collection is sharing it with people. “When I’ve shown this collection to other players and coaches, they are in awe,” he said. “It gets them talking about their collections and they start wondering how their cards would grade. I especially loved showing the collection to my coaches. They are older guys and, in many instances, they have played with or against a lot of the guys whose cards I have. Looking at the cards brings back a lot of memories and nostalgia associated with the game.”
1954 TOPPS #128 HANK AARON GEM MINT PSA 10 (1/2) – DMITRI YOUNG COLLECTION $357,594
1948 BOWMAN #36 STAN MUSIAL GEM MINT PSA 10 (1/1) – DMITRI YOUNG COLLECTION $129,854
1969 TOPPS #260 REGGIE JACKSON GEM MINT PSA 10 (1/1) – DMITRI YOUNG COLLECTION $115,242
1960 TOPPS #148 CARL YASTRZEMSKI GEM MINT PSA 10 (1/1) – DMITRI YOUNG COLLECTION $83,813
1955 TOPPS #124 HARMON KILLEBREW GEM MINT PSA 10 (1/1) – DMITRI YOUNG COLLECTION $59,135