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

Panini's Prizm football offering colorful selections
TBO.com (blog), August 22nd

There also will be 20 rookie cards and a short-printed rookie card variation per hobby box. Some of the inserts collectors will find are Fresh Faces, Introductions, Believe the Hype, Hands Team and Air Marshals. One of the autograph cards Panini...Read more

Does 2013-14 National Treasures Have the Best Rookie Cards of the Year?
The Cardboard Connection, August 22nd

Towards the end of the basketball card season, some truly high-end rookie cards hit the market. Kicking that off, and likely leading the way, are the 2013-14 Panini National Treasures Basketball rookie cards. Ever since Panini landed the exclusive NBA ...Read more

Your weekend down the Shore: Stewart, sports, grapes
Philly.com (blog), August 22nd

24, sports fanatics can get that Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card they've always wanted as R.K. Sports promotions holds its Sports Card, Toy, Comic, and Collectibles Show at the Wildwoods Convention Center. Aside from athletic collectibles and toys...Read more

Mo'ne Davis Autographed Baseball Sells For Over $500 On Ebay
Design & Trend, August 22nd

(Photo : Getty Images/Rob Carr) Mo'ne Davis #3 of Pennsylvania pitches to a Nevada batter during the United States division game at the Little League World Series tournament at Lamade Stadium on August 20, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania...Read more

MLB Insider: If Tigers win the AL Central, it won't because of Royals ...
The Detroit News, August 20th

That deal was so good for Neshek, some on Twitter suggested Lackey got ripped off worse than the Red Sox – when they actually traded Ruth to the Yankees. For me, it brings to mind a painful reminder of the time I traded a Cal Ripken rookie card for a...Read more

Upper Deck Releases Evgeny Kuznetsov's NHL Rookie Card
Russian Machine Never Breaks, August 19th

For all you Evgeny Kuznetsov superfans, here's some good news. Upper Deck has released the Russian's first NHL trading card as part of the 2014-15 MVP set. They hit eBay last week. In the photo, Kuzya wears a white Caps' away jersey and is in mid...Read more

2014-15 NBA Rookie Card Collecting Guide
The Cardboard Connection, August 4th

Fueling the most anticipation for basketball rookie collectors in recent memory, the 2014 NBA Draft class enters their inaugural season with much excitement and fanfare. Although their first official pack-pulled cards in 2014-15 NBA products are still...Read more

NBA Rookie Card Photo Shoot
LEX18 Lexington KY News, August 3rd

NBA Rookie Card Photo Shoot. Julius Randle (Los Angeles Lakers) and James Young (Boston Celtics) were two of 38 rookies in New York on Sunday for an NBA Rookie Card photo shoot. After a day of posing, dunking and goofing around with other rookies, ...Read more