Few things elicit the adrenaline rush of snagging a legend’s rookie card. The player’s innocence, his untapped potential, and the invariably youthful image all combine to make rookie cards extremely collectible. Plus, everyone loves firsts.

Rookie cards of superstars are especially coveted. Jackie Robinson first appeared on 1948-49 Leaf and Hank Aaron debuted on a 1954 Topps. Roberto Clemente’s first baseball card was also a Topps, printed a year later in 1955.

Collectors have various reasons for obtaining rookie cards. One, no doubt, is an untarnished love of the game or adoration for a particular player, but in recent years, a major motivation has been pure speculation. Some people deliberately invest in the rookie cards of unproven players, hoping they will become stars one day and that their card will skyrocket in value. The most dramatic example of this occurred in the summer of 2010 with the escalation of prices for Washington Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s cards. Before Strasburg had thrown his first major-league pitch, his cards were selling on eBay for thousands of dollars.

Rookie cards tend to be a player’s most valuable baseball cards, but that isn’t always the case. For example, Mickey Mantle’s 1952 Topps card is widely considered more sought-after than his 1951 Bowman rookie card. Nor is Babe Ruth’s 1915 M101-5 Sporting News rookie card his most desired. In recent years, the historical preoccupation among collectors for rookie cards has been further eroded by the advent of specialty cards, such as game-used-jersey or game-used-bat cards, as well as autographed cards.

Some stars never had rookie cards. Lou Gehrig, for one, debuted in the big leagues in 1923 but did not have a baseball card until a 1932 U.S. Caramel card. Some collectors consider a player’s first card his rookie card—for them, that ’32 U.S. Caramel is Gehrig’s rookie card—while others believe a player’s rookie card must be released during his first season.

In 2006 there was a minor clamor to standardize what constituted a rookie card—card companies complied. Now, no player is eligible to have a rookie card until he is a member of his team’s 40-man roster (as a footnote, a player can still be in the minor leagues and on a 40-man roster at the same time). Once a player achieves this milestone, his first card is given a rookie logo on the front. As for minor league players, they get “first year cards” which mark a player’s pro debut, albeit in the minors.


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Recent News: Rookie Baseball Cards

Source: Google News

BAR 4.18.14: 'Born to play baseball'
Cincinnati.com (blog), April 18th

During his first decade in Seattle, he became a cultural icon ? from his prized ?89 Upper Deck rookie card to the Nike commercials and video games. The Reds acquired him on Feb. 10, 2000 in a trade for centerfielder Mike Cameron, pitcher Brett Tomko...Read more

Upper Deck gives CSU fan battling cancer his own rookie card
The Coloradoan, April 17th

Not everyone has to cheer for CSU, but how can you not root for the Rams' biggest little fan? In August, we brought you the story of 8-year-old Jack Miller, a Colorado State University fan from Louisville battling brain cancer. He's a kid who's been...Read more

Chase is on for SVSU alum Jeff Janis rookie football trading cards from recent ...
Bay City Times, April 17th

Football fans shopping at their local big box store, or visiting a trading card shop have the opportunity of pulling the former Saginaw Valley State University wide receiver's rookie card out of packs in recent releases from Leaf and Upper Deck. As a...Read more

Jack Miller, the 9-year-old inspiration for the Colorado State Rams football ...
Estes Park Trail-Gazette, April 16th

Friends of Jaclyn will be releasing details on how fans can own the 2014 Upper Deck Jack Miller “Star Rookie” card in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Upper Deck encourages everyone to check out the Friends of Jaclyn official website and to like the ...Read more

The Card Beat: Sports Collectibles News for April 15, 2014
The Cardboard Connection, April 15th

Includes extensive card info, rookie card checklist, images and more. 2014 Leaf Johnny Manziel Draft Predictor Football Cards - 2014 Leaf Johnny Manziel Draft Predictor is an eBay-exclusive set that depicts the quarterback with every NFL team. Those...Read more

The Card Beat: Sports Collectibles News for April 14, 2014
The Cardboard Connection, April 14th

Harmon Killebrew Baseball Cards, Rookie Card and Autographed Memorabilia Guide - Harmon Killebrew cards and autographed memorabilia are some of the most affordable for 500 Home Run Club members. Find out about his rookie card and more...Read more

Upper Deck Produces a Rookie Card for Capitals Emergency Goaltender Brett ...
Russian Machine Never Breaks, April 1st

The 31-year-old video coach has suited up twice for the Washington Capitals on an emergency basis. His NHL debut occurred on December 12, 2008, when the Capitals hosted the Ottawa Senators. With Jose Theodore gone down that morning with a hip ...Read more

The Card Beat: Sports Collectibles News for March 31, 2014
The Cardboard Connection, March 31st

Andre Dawson Cards, Rookie Card and Autographed Memorabilia Guide - A superstar with the Expos and Cubs, Andre Dawson was one of the most feared hitters in baseball in the 1980s. Learn about his rookie card, autographed memorabilia and more...Read more