Card of the Day: 2007 Topps Josh Hamilton (Rookie)
Ah, yes, a Josh Hamilton post. I know his name is a buzzword on the Internet these days. Everyone wants to know more and more about Boy Wonder. His heroics at the Home Run Derby. His struggles with addition. His relationship with Jesus Christ. The meaning of all of his tattoos. And so on. Well, kiddies, hate to break it to you, but I aint going there. Enough has been said about Hamilton, so I want to stick strictly to cardboard-related matters today.
Here we have a 2007 Topps Series 2 Josh Hamilton “rookie card” as denoted by the ~OFFICIAL~ MLB rookie card logo. What you may find interesting about this card though is that it is not his rookie. In fact, it comes eight years after his real rookie card. Of course all of this was made possible through the wonderful marketing efforts of Major League Baseball. In 2006, MLB imposed the “Rookie Card Logo” upon card companies that had licenses to produce products. Basically what it boiled down to was that an official card could not be made of a player until he steps foot on an MLB diamond in an official regular season game. Part of this reasoning was to alleviate the confusion that had been built in the past when companies would make cards of minor leaguers several years, and during each of those years continue to call him a rookie. The point was to let collectors know when they had a rookie.
Well, it’s not quite that easy. We’re now in the third year of the logo and there is still mass confusion. Some people have embraced it, especially those who sell their cards on the eBay. But others outright hate the Logo because more times than not, the Logo rookie card is still the first card produced of the depicted player. Products like Bowman Draft Picks make cards of players when they are drafted and are allowed to because Topps (the maker of Bowman) was one of the founding fathers of modern baseball cards.
So what we’re left with is a player’s first card, and then a Rookie Card Logo (RCL) card, which may or may not actually be his rookie. Confused? It gets worse in the case of Hamilton.
Hamilton’s official rookies are 1999 cards, but from 2000 to 2002, manufactures still made cards of him and with the word “Rookie” or “Prospect” written on them. And now with the RCL, we’re looking at a fifth year of cards bearing Hamilton’s likeness and words stating that he is a rookie or a prospect.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, this is what Josh Hamilton’s REAL rookie card looks like. This is his 1999 Topps Traded rookie, currently listed at $6, four times the price of that 2007 card. His best card hands down is the signed version of this one. That one sells for almost $300.