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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1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie Rc #177 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1990 Topps Frank Thomas Rookie Rc, Error No Name #414 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1968 Topps Johnny Bench Rookie Rc #247 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie Rc #177 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1975 Topps George Brett Rookie Rc #228 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1969 Topps Reggie Jackson Rookie Rc #260 Psa 8.5 Nm-mt+ (pwcc)1961 Topps Ron Santo Rookie Rc #35 Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)1963 Topps Pete Rose Rookie Rc #537 Psa 5 Ex (pwcc)1963 Topps #537 Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds Rc Rookie Psa 8 Nm-mt " High End "Kris Bryant 2013 Bowman Chrome Rc Autograph Sp Auto Cubs Roy Rookie1959 Topps Bob Gibson Rookie Rc #514 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)2013 Carlos Correa Bowman Chrome Auto Rookie Astros Roy1958 Topps Roger Maris Rookie Rc #47 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1967 Topps Tom Seaver Rookie Card #581 Psa 5.5 Ex++Carlos Correa 2013 Bowman Chrome Astros Rookie Auto Bgs 101966 Topps Jim Palmer Rookie Rc #126 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1987 Auburn Tigers Great Frank Thomas Rookie Rc Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie Rc #177 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1980 Wbtv Charlotte O's Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Rc #16 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1948 Bowman Yogi Berra Rookie Card #6 Psa 5 Ex2013 Bowman Sterling Carlos Correa Gold Auto Refractor Rookie #7/50 Astros1969 Topps Reggie Jackson Rookie Rc #260 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1985 Topps Tiffany Kirby Puckett Rookie Rc #536 Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)1954 Topps Al Kaline Rookie Card #201 Psa 5 Ex1989 Topps Traded Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Rc #41t Psa 10 Gem Mint1978 Topps #36 Eddie Murray Orioles Rc Rookie Hof Psa 10 Gem Mint " Flawless "1971 Topps Steve Garvey Rookie Rc #341 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1963 Topps Pete Rose Rookie Rc #537 Sgc 4/50 Vgex (pwcc)1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Rc #1 Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)1962 Topps Lou Brock Rookie Card #387 Psa 7 Nm1954 Topps Henry "hank" Aaron Rookie Card #128 Psa 4 Vg-ex1962 Topps Lou Brock Rookie Rc #387 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)Bgs 10 Kris Bryant 2015 Topps Chrome Orange Refractor Rookie Auto Card #8/25Mike Trout Bgs 9 Mint 09 Bowman Chrome Auto Rc Rookie Hi Subs Mvp 10au Sp GemBowman Chrome 2009 Orange Refractor Mike Trout Rookie Auto /25 Bgs 9.51954 Topps #128 Henry Hank Aaron Milwaukee Braves Rc Rookie Hof Psa 2 Good2010 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor Manny Machado Rc Rookie Auto 20/50 Bgs 9.51958 Topps Roger Maris Rookie Rc #47 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1967 Topps Rod Carew Rookie Rc #569 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1959 Topps Bob Gibson Rookie Card #514 Psa 6.5 Ex-mt++1987 Baseball Usa Pan-am Games Blue Frank Thomas Rookie Rc Psa 10 Gem Mt (pwcc)1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson Rookie Card #50 Psa 6 Ex-mt1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie Rc #177 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1960 Topps Carl Yastrzemski Rookie Rc #148 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1969 Topps Reggie Jackson Rookie Card #260 Psa 7 Nm2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Corey Seager Auto Rookie Dodgers Autograph2015 Bowman Chrome Autograph Brent Honeywell Orange Refractor Rookie Auto #15/251963 Topps Willie Stargell Rookie Rc #553 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)*sharp* 1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Hof Vg Ex ~rookie Rc~ No Creases Or Stains2015 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractor Rookie/rc Chicago Cubs Kris Bryant Sp1977 Chong Modesto A's Rickey Henderson Rookie Rc #5 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)1980 Tcma Reading Phillies Ryne Sandberg Rookie Rc #22 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1980 Topps Wax Box, 36ct Wax Packs, Rickey Henderson Rookie Rc? Bbce Auth (pwcc)1984 Donruss Don Mattingly Rookie Rc #248 Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)1979 Topps Ozzie Smith Rookie Rc #116 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1994 Sp Holoview Red Die-cut Alex Rodriguez Rookie Rc #33 Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)1982 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Rc #21 Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Bryce Harper Rookie Rc Auto Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)2012 Bowman Sterling Mike Trout Rookie Rc Auto #mt Psa 10 Gem Mint (pwcc)1967 Topps Rod Carew Rookie Rc #569 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)

Recent News: Rookie Baseball Cards

Source: Google News

Brooks Robinson auctioning cherished memorabilia for charity
Baltimore Sun, October 7th

But he spoke with just as much excitement about some of the less glitzy items in the collection — Robinson's personal copy of his 1957 Topps rookie card, his rookie contract and a scrapbook containing his original birth certificate. Not included in...Read more

How to fix your struggling fantasy football team
NFL.com, October 6th

Perhaps they want your signed Peyton Manning rookie card. If that's the case, what's more valuable to you -- material goods, or living forever as a fantasy champion? If the answer is the latter, than do whatever it takes to follow the slogan of the...Read more

UK ON EBAY | Jared Lorenzen rookie card, Antoine Walker bobblehead
cn|2, September 27th

THE INTERWEB — Antoine Walker and Jared Lorenzen cemented their Kentucky legacies this weekend by joining five other former Wildcats as 2015 inductees into the UK Hall of Fame. Big Blue Nation honored the Wildcat stars during halftime of Kentucky ...Read more

Is The Baseball Card & Memorabilia Market Still Bullish?
Forbes, September 17th

For example, if you had bought a 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps Rookie card in near mint-to mint condition last winter and sold it at the National, you would have enjoyed a $125,000 return on your investment; the card has almost doubled in value to $400,000...Read more

Phillies honor Pope Francis with rookie card
Philadelphia Sun Times, September 16th

Pope Francis' impending arrival has impacted seemingly every facet of life in Philadelphia, from the traffic to the mail to the police presence. Now, he's infiltrating Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies released a Pope Francis rookie card on ...Read more

Phillies celebrate Pope Francis visit with baseball rookie card
Allentown Morning Call (blog), September 16th

The front of the rookie card of Pope Francis the Phillies will give away Wednesday. The front of the rookie card of Pope Francis the Phillies will give away Wednesday. (Stephen Gross). Stephen GrossContact ReporterOf The Morning Call. What does the ...Read more

Ken Griffey Jr. dressed as his rookie card and catching a fish is all that ...
SB Nation, August 27th

Ken Griffey Jr. dressed as his rookie card and catching a fish is all that matters about Macklemore's new video. By Michael Katz @KatzM on Aug 27, 2015, 2:43p 5 · Tweet Share on Twitter (330) Share Share on Facebook Pin Pinterest 5 Comments...Read more

Mickey Mantle's Rookie Card Sets Record In Auction
Forbes, August 7th

The latest National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago closed with a bang, literally. As dealers were packing up in the final hours of the five-day show a storm raged just outside. The microburst ripped off billboards from their stands and flung...Read more