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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Old Cardboard

Old Cardboard

Check out this well-organized collection of 500 sets of baseball cards, each over 50 years old. Browsable by type a… [read review or visit site]

The Baseball Card Blog

The Baseball Card Blog

Ben Henry's lively vintage baseball card blog, started in January 2006, offers hundreds of great posts on (and pict… [read review or visit site]

Cardboard Junkie

Cardboard Junkie

Dave Campbell's in-depth blog on old baseball (and some football) cards lives up to it's motto: 'do cards, not drug… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Roll up your socks for this Library of Congress collection showcasing hundreds of players on colorful early basebal… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

A home run for baseball collectors, this site features special online exhibits, ranging from a baseball-uniforms da… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Rc Rookie Auto Autograph Refractor Bgs 9.5/101952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Rookie2009 Bowman Sterling Gold Mike Trout Gold Refractor Bgs 9.5/10 Rookie Auto 30/501909-1911 T206 Walter Johnson Sweet Caporal R, Hof Psa Ex-mt 6 Rookie No ReserveMike Trout 2009 Bowman Sterling Rc Rookie Autograph Sp Auto Psa 10 Gem Mint 2014 Elite Teddy Bridgewater Rookie Auto 3 Color Jersey Card #11/15 Vikings1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Rc #253 Psa 3 Vg1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Rookie Card Ungraded #3112014 Bowman Inception Jose Abreu Rc Rookie Silver Signings Gold Auto 1/1 !!Byron Buxton 2013 Bowman Chrome On Card Rookie Autograph Auto #bcp-bb A31421965 Topps Fb Joe Namath #122 Rookie Psa/dna Autograph Ar7011963 Topps #537 Rookie Stars In Lucite Frame Pete Rose Pedro Gonzalez1994 Signature Rookies #35 Derek Jeter Yankees Rookie Rc Signed Auto 4310/8650Clayton Kershaw 2006 Bowman Sterling Rookie Auto Mint NineMike Trout 2011 Topps Update Rookie Rc Card #us175 Hope Diamond #/60 Sp Psa MintHi End! 1978 Topps #36 Eddie Murray Rookie Mint Psa 9 Nq(hof)razor Sharp Corners2012 Bowman Chrome Jorge Soler Rc-rookie Auto-autograph Cubs 1st Bowman CardTyler Glasnow 2013 Bowman Chrome Prospect Blue Refractor /150 Rookie Auto Rc1968 Topps Johnny Bench Rookie #247... Graded Psa 8 Nm-mt ... Centered1995 Signature Rookies Future Dynasty Fd3 Derek Jeter Rookie Rc Auto 395/10501993 Upper Deck Sp Foil Derek Jeter New York Yankees Rc Rookie1963 Topps Baseball File Copy 6-card Page. Willie Stargell Pirates RookieJavier Baez 2011 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor Rookie Rc Bgs 9.5 Auto 10 /1501989 Upper Deck Rookie Star Ken Griffey Jr #1 Bgs 9.5 Mariners Hof All 9.5 Subs1949 Bowman #226 Edwin Duke Snider - Brooklyn Dodgers Psa 4 Vg-ex- Rc Rookie HofByron Buxton 2013 Bowman Chrome Auto Autograph Bgs 9.5 Gem Mint Rc Rookie1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card Psa 6 Chicago Bulls Psa6 Rc BeautyJavier Baez 2011 Bowman Chrome Rookie Autograph Rc Bgs 9.5 Auto 10 Chicago Cubs1993 Upper Deck Sp Baseball Factory Sealed Box. *jeter Rookie*1993 Upper Deck Sp Derek Jeter 279 Foil Premier Prospects Rookie CardRoger Clemens 2013 Leaf Memories Rare 1985 Buyback Rookie Auto #17/21 A31451957 Topps Don Drysdale #18 Psa 8 Nm-mt Rc Rookie Baseball CardAddison Russell 2012 Bowman Aflac Rookie #/229 Auto Autograph 9.5 Gem Mint 1954 Topps #94 Ernie Banks Rookie Card Sgc 84 Near Mint Nm 7 Not Psa2014 Jose Abreu Prizm Auto Bgs 10 Pristine Pop 1 Wow Roy White Sox Panini RookieHot 2013 Bowman Chrome Lucas Giolito Blue Wave Auto Autograph Rookie Card Rc /501990 Leaf Donruss Frank Thomas Hof Chicago White Sox Rookie Rc Baseball Card 300Mike Trout /25 $1200+ Mint Angels Auto Rookie Jersey Patch Rc National Treasures2011 Bowman Sterling Mike Trout Rc Rookie #22 ($2,500) Derek Jeter Autographed 1993 Rookie Graded 10 Rare Greensboro Hornets1975 Topps #228 George Brett Rookie Card Rc Bvg 8.5Hall Of Famer Jim Palmer Rookie Card 1966 Topps #126 Baseball Card Psa 8 Nm-mt1968 Topps Nolan Ryan And Jerry Koosman Rookie Rc New York Mets SingleGreg Maddux Pre Rookie 1986 Procards Psa 9 Mint Pittsfield Cubs Minor League HofMike Trout Rookie Card #us175 --- 2011 Topps Update Series Mint!!!!!!!1992 Front Row Draft Pick Gold Derek Jeter #55 Psa 9 Rookie Yankees Hof1973 Topps #615 Mike Schmidt Ron Cey John Hilton Rookie Card Rc1980 Topps Rickey Henderson Oakland A's Hof Rookie Rc Baseball Card #482Mike Trout /109 $800+ Mint Rookie Auto Refractor Angels Rc 2011 Bowman Sterling1967 1968 Topps Baseball Card: Nolan Ryan / Carew Rookie Mantle Maris Stars Hof1968 Topps #177 Mets Rookie Stars Nolan Ryan Psa 4 1948 Bowman Warren Spahn Rookie Card #18 *********near Mint To Mint*********2011 Topps Update Mike Trout #us175 Psa 10 Angels RookieStephen Strasburg Auto Blue /250 Bgs 9 Auto 10 Rookie Card Rc 2010 Bowman ChromeByron Buxton 2013 Bowman Sterling Green Refractor Autograph Rookie Auto #ed/1252012 Marcus Stroman Bowman Chrome Rc Auto Rookie. Mt! Hot!2014 Bowman Inception Kris Bryant Black Variant Auto Autograph Rc Rookie On Card1954 Topps Ernie Banks Rookie #94 Sgc 50 Chicago Cubs (hof)1958 Topps #47 Roger Maris Rookie Cleveland Indians Beautiful Appears Nm-mintBryce Harper Auto Rookie Card Rc 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Bp1

Recent News: Rookie Baseball Cards

Source: Google News

Show off your prized sports memorabilia items
The Plain Dealer, July 30th

Do you have a LeBron James rookie card? A Bernie Kosar game-worn jersey? Or maybe a seat from the old Municipal Stadium! We want to see and hear all about your most-prized sports memorabilia. Send us a photo of your favorite sports item...Read more

Juggernaut Index, No. 20: The Kansas City Chiefs
Yahoo Sports (blog), July 28th

on the move to San Antonio? ? · Cleveland Browns safety Donte Whitner: 'We don't want nice' ? · Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel shows struggles in practice. ? · NFL Training Camp Outlook ? · Virtual Rookie Card: Mike Evans ?. Share this...Read more

Woodstock man amasses collection worth hundreds of thousands of dollars
Kingston Daily Freeman, July 25th

Provenzano was lucky enough to have about 1,000 from that time period, including pitcher Nolan Ryan's rookie card as a New York Met, and even earlier ones from the 50s like pitcher Sandy Koufax's rookie card as a Brooklyn Dodger. Beyond that, he had ...Read more

35th National Sports Collectors Convention: Five days of cards, autographs ...
The Plain Dealer, July 25th

Hunting for that elusive rookie card? Good chance someone will have it. Like a particular minor-league team from 40 years ago? There's a possibility someone will have a game-used jersey. And this year, said the convention's executive director Mike...Read more

Collect call: 2014 Bowman football
Tbo.com (blog), July 16th

The rookie card backs are missing that lead-in, perhaps because we all don't know what's coming next. The base set consists of 110 veterans and the same number of rookies. The box I opened featured 70 veteran base cards and 20 parallels. There were 80 ...Read more

Dime Q&A: Cleanthony Early On 'Melo, Phil & Some Light Rookie Hazing
Dime Magazine, July 14th

LAS VEGAS — Cleanthony Early is a name that grew in the basketball community as result of Wichita State's impressive and unexpected past season. Many projected the 6-7 forward as a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but it was the New York Knicks ...Read more

Griffey Upper Deck rookie card
SportsBlog.com (blog), July 12th

Then the Upper Deck company came along with its 1989 Ken Griffey Jr rookie card, and everything fell apart. Sure I had a few of the Griffey cards, but it started a craze that got out of hand. Instantly, the card was valued at $60, and it was indeed...Read more

The Card Beat: Sports Collectibles News for July 2, 2014
The Cardboard Connection, July 2nd

Dennis Eckersley Cards, Rookie Card and Autographed Memorabilia Guide - Dennis Eckersley excelled as both a starter and a reliever. Take a look at his rookie cards, other important cards, autographed memorabilia highlights and more. Marvin Harrison ...Read more