Rookie Card Showcase: 1999 Ultimate Victory Rick Ankiel
Back in 1999, this Ultimate Victory product was a huge hit, primarily because of this Ankiel card, which was one of the most coveted cards in The Hobby. Ankiel at the time was a budding pitching prospect who looked like he was ready to jump right from the minor leagues into the Hall of Fame. This led to a massive following for his rookie cards, particularly this one. This set is highly condition sensitive, and for 1999, it is considered one of the premium releases. It’s almost like an Upper Deck chrome version of the basic Victory set, but highly condition sensitive — the overlay tended to be off center, and the edges were prone to chipping.
We all know the story of Rick Ankiel by now. He was an awesome pitcher during his rookie year until he sputtered in the playoffs and he was never the same. Within a season his pitching career was over. But Ankiel is a hell of an athlete, hence he was able to make the transition into a power hitting outfielder.
Now a decade after it’s release, these Ankiel cards are a little easier to come by, but hardly a common. The Ultimate Victory set was peppered with solid rookie cards such as Josh Beckett, Alfonso Soriano and Tim Hudson, but this Ankiel is probably still the most sought after card, if not second right behind Beckett — whose popularity has increased with his move to Boston. You can still expect to pay about $10 for this card.
This is the part 12 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.