When I was building my Sports Card Trifecta of Jose Altuve, I struggled to determine his rookie card. Should I have bought his 2011 Topps Update, because it has the official rookie card logo? Or should I have purchased his 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects card, because it's his earliest card featuring him in an Astros jersey?
2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP137
I realize that based on the current eBay sales between the two cards, I'm in the minority. At least he doesn't have any Team USA cards featuring him as a 15 year old. Or worse... he could have had four different rookie card logo cards in Update like Cody Bellinger has in this year's set.
Don't worry. I'm not going to be a disgruntled collector or blogger who goes on an epic rant. I just wish card companies would go back to the days when collectors could open a pack of cards and easily identify an athlete's rookie card.
For example... if someone gave you a pack of 1980 Topps baseball cards and you pulled this:
1980 Topps #482
You'd instantly know that you hit the jackpot and pulled Rickey Henderson's lone rookie card.
If you tore into a pack of 1983 Fleer baseball and discovered this:
1983 Fleer #360
You'd know that you pulled a Tony Gwynn rookie card.
And if you tore into a pack of 1989 Upper Deck baseball and saw this:
1989 Upper Deck #1
You'd know immediately that you were holding a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.
1981 Topps #302
1981 Topps Traded #850
Even when Donruss Rookies, Fleer Update, and Topps Traded box sets added a layer of confusion to the mix, collectors were still able to decipher a player's true rookie card from his really cool Traded set card.
C'mon COMC... don't collectors already have enough on their plate with current rookie cards? Stop the shenanigans and drop the RC tag. 80's rookie cards are suppose to be simpler to define. Back then it felt like most of us were at least on the same page when it came to defining what a rookie card was.
These days... I'm not so sure. Maybe you can help me.
Do you have a simple way to define a rookie card?
I feel like things would be so much better if we (collectors, card manufactures, grading companies, card shop owners, price guide websites, and everyone else involved in our hobby) could stand on common ground.
At the very least... it'd be less annoying.
Happy Sunday and sayonara!