Rookies hold a special place in the hobbyist's hearts. There's just something about the first time a player's image graces cardboard or foil in a major league uniform that makes many of us want to figuratively swoon. But sometimes, it's not always the rookie card which is the gem of a player's career collection. This is especially true of pre-80's players. Sometimes scarcity plays a role, sometimes there's novelty, and sometimes there's an image that will be imprinted upon the collectors' consciousness.
The next 20 cards on the list provide some more insight into the mind of the investor/collector during the tail end of the baseball card boom.
Multi-Player Rookie Cards
A rookie is a rookie because it´s the first card in which a player is featured. One practice by Topps has been to group rookies together by team or position or even randomly. One would think intuitively that the first solo card of a popular player may be more sought after, but that is hardly ever the case. These are the multi-player rookies in this grouping.
77. 1981 Topps Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers Future Stars-Fernandomania was a fun, but shortlived phenomena that didn´t extend much past his first few excellent years.
74. 1978 Topps Paul Molitor/Alan Trammell Rookie Shortstops-Still a great card with two impact players (including one Hall of Famer).
73. 1970 Topps Thurman Munson Yankees Rookie Stars-The 1971 Topps card of Munson is a good example of the first solo star outshining the true rookie.
68. 1965 Topps Joe Morgan Rookie Stars-The best part of the card for me...The .45s logo on the caps.
66. 1967 Topps Rod Carew American League Rookie Stars-He is paired with a completely random player. This was actually a double printed issue.
63. 1977 Topps Dale Murphy-The significance has faded as the memory of Murphy´s run atop the National League has been noted as a not quite Hall of Fame career.
Single Player Rookie Cards
79. 1959 Topps Sparky Anderson-interesting in that not many manager´s rookie cards are considered chase-worthy (who weren´t great players).
76. 1966 Topps Jim Palmer-It´s a great portrait of the Orioles star
72. 1988 Score Rookie/Traded Roberto Alomar-It´s hard to see where this card rates now. This set is still not the easiest to locate for a reasonable price and it has held most of its value over the years.
70. 1976 Topps Dennis Eckersley-People always seem to forget he was a pretty good starter for 10 years or so before becoming ¨The Eck¨
65. 1949 Bowman Roy Campanella-If only the card were larger in size, it would be easier to store.
62. 1949 Bowman Duke Snider-If only this set were aesthetically pleasing, it would make for more memorable cards.
61. 1952 Topps Eddie Mathews-Can you name the players that had more home runs than him in the ´50s? Neither can I.
First Topps Cards
As you can see this listing is very Topps-centric, so here are some more.
78. 1953 Topps Satchel Paige-The Browns logo on the card is priceless.
73. 1958 Topps Stan Musial-His first card since 1953 Bowman. One of the premier players ever just didn´t have enough collectible cards to chase from his career.
Scarce and Interesting Cards
Sometimes circumstances make the card significant.
80. 1973 Topps Roberto Clemente-The legend´s last issued card with the practically perfect 3000 hit stat in the career line. It should have been a proper tribute card since it was released after his death (though printed beforehand)
71. 1970 Topps Nolan Ryan-The one time Ryan was shown as a World Series champion. This card is a high number and part of that 1970-1972 high number period, where most of the cards have been seen only on the tail of Halley´s comet.
69. 1959 Fleer Ted Williams #68-How is so much revealed about which cards are pulled from the production process? This card may be a reason why this is done, to drive demand.
67. 1969 Topps Mickey Mantle white letter variation-A printing error across a series leads to a frenzy for Mantle´s last issued card. Would you rather have the corrected version or the error?
64. 1953 Topps Willie Mays- The first pose of Mays as the splendid fielder he was.
There´s less controversy in this grouping regarding the choices. Most can be argued in some way...i.e. significant for their time. What do you think of the selections so far?