Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Rookie cards

I don't know if it makes this blog less readable - but I've decided to skip the festivities of the holidays, Christmas and New Year's and plow through.

There is nothing like a true rookie card in your hand picturing a Major League rookie - especially if you pull one out of a pack, featuring a rookie star or a player projected to be pretty good.

After reading a baseball card message board post about picking up 2007 parallels of Alex Gordon, Cameron Maybin and Justin Upton for cheap - I got curious as to whether their original 2007 cards [not the parallels] would be considered true rookie cards.

I was at a Walmart and they had a Beckett magazine to leaf through. When I saw listings for some of Gordon's 2007 cards, there was a just an RC designation, but no parenthesis - I didn't quite understand how Gordon's 2007 cards can be considered rookie cards, because there seemed to be a glut of Gordon cards [Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Draft, Bowman Heritage, Bowman Originals - only from Topps of course since they can sign minor leaguers to make cards of them before they reach the Major Leagues] from last year [aside from the 2006 Topps cutout that wasn't supposed to be, supposedly], while Maybin and Upton had their share of cards [nearly the same Topps products Gordon is in, plus cards from an AFLAC set produced in 2005].

I couldn't see Beckett price guides labeling the 2007 cards of Gordon, Maybin and Upton as anything but rookie cards (RC) with a parenthesis - when I looked at another Beckett, I saw Gordon, Maybin and Upton's 2006 cards listed with no designation.

Why aren't 2007 cards of Hunter Pence, Phil Hughes, Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Braun considered non-parenthesis rookie cards - the answer is probably because Pence, Hughes and Pedroia had rookie cards in 2004 products [produced by Topps, Fleer Top Prospects, Donruss Elite Extra Edition and/or a combination of all] while Braun had true rookie cards produced by Topps in 2005.

The MLBPA rookie card rules were not enforced until 2006 - if first-year cards of Pedroia and Braun were made last year, they'd still have cards considered as true rookie cards in the price guides. So any first-year player card Topps produced in 2006 through the present [why aren't they tagged as XRCs?]

The rookie card rules changed the way first year cards produced by Topps were classified [company had to differentiate the numbering] - so in some respects, how could the 2006 cards of Gordon, Maybin and Upton be considered true rookie cards? They basically are not recognized as having any status with regards to being a first-year card or rookie card.

Certain first-year cards [parallels and autographs] - will still command the most value as opposed to just your basic run of rookie cards. The fact you can find true rookie cards of Gordon, Maybin and Upton however adds some name value to certain 2007 products featuring the three players in addition to other rookies like Tim Lincecum and Joba Chamberlain. Its kind of disappointing however because even though there have always been a 'better card,' the true rookie cards you'll pull out of packs these days are likely worth $3 compared to cards [likely autographed and certified] worth $75-$150.

It isn't worth bragging about to pull cards only worth a few bucks - when it comes to rookie/rookie-year/first-year/xrc cards, there is some vanity involved in having one of the best ones, even for the stereotypical collector types who would think nothing of their own appearance.

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