Archive for Rookie Card Showcase

Rookie Card Showcase: 1961 Topps Matty Alou

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , on December 3, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

Before there was the Catching Molina Brothers, there was the Alou family, Felipe, Matty and Jesus — and later nephew Moises. The middle brother of the trio, Matty was signed by the New York Giants in 1957 and debuted with the team three years later when it was in San Francisco. He was never really a superstar, but his career was far from ordinary. He is a two-time all-star who made two World Series appearances (won a title with Oakland in 1972) and has a National League Batting Crown (.342, 1966) to his credit. He also paced the senior league in base hits in 1968 with 231, and amassed 1,700 hits during his 15-year career.

No one will ever mistake this particular card for being mint, but for the $1 bounty I paid, it works fine in the Rookie Card Collection.

This is the part 13 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1999 Ultimate Victory Rick Ankiel

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

1999UltVictoryRickAnkielIt took me a decade, but I have finally obtained a copy of the 1999 Ultimate Victory Rick Ankiel rookie and it is a beauty.

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.

Rookie Card Showcase: 2007 Bowman Heritage Tommy Hanson

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , on November 1, 2009 by Cardboard Icons
Another prospect box success story.

Another prospect box success story.

Here’s why I love keeping my cheap prospects separated: You never know what you’ll unearth. This is not the best Tommy Hanson rookie card on the market, but it happens to be the one and only one I own — and I didn;t really know it until I went digging through my prospects. For every 100 prospect cards that’ll never be worth the cardboard they are printed one, you find one card that makes the whole effort worth while.

Hanson should be on his way to earning 2009 National League Rookie of the Year honors, and this 2007 Bowman Heritage Prospects card shows Hanson without that scraggly goatee. Until I go out an acquire a Bowman Chrome rookie, this one will have to do for my personal collection.

This is the part 11 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1981 Topps Tony Pena

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2009 by Cardboard Icons



These three played a combined 40 years in the Major Leagues, that's pretty solid.

This post is kind of out of the blue, right? Not really. Recently, the MLB Network showed the classic 1995 ALDS Game One between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. The game ended in the 13th inning on a homer by guess who, Tony Pena.


I realize that there probably will be five people who read this, myself included since now one seems to give a crap about Tony Pena. But Pena has always been one of my favorites, even if he did hand the Red Sox — his former team — a loss during that playoff game.

When I was a Little League catcher, I liked to imitate Pena’s one-leg crouch stance, and once tried that funky deke move he used on base runners. Sometimes when a ball was thrown in the dirt, he’d pick it but then make a move toward the backstop as if he missed it. Sometimes it worked, other times it didn’t. When I tried it, the base runner didn’t fall for it, so I guess my intuitiveness went unseen. Did I mention I was 11 years old.

Anyhow, Pena’s sole rookie card is this 1981 Topps card, which he shares with two other players you probably remember: Vance Law and Pascual Perez. Not exactly the kind of card someone usually admits to owning, but I’m proud to say it is in my personal collection. That’s just how I roll.

This is the part 10 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.

Rookie Card Showcase: 2003 Bowman’s Best Ryan Howard

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , on October 25, 2009 by Cardboard Icons
Can this card again see a boon in popularity?

Can this card again see a boon in popularity?

I’m in the midst of preparing for the 2009 Cardboard World Series,  and felt it appropriate to show off perhaps the most intriguing card you’ll see in the Series. This is Ryan Howard’s best rookie, bar none.

At one point this piece of shiny, signed cardboard was getting $600 CASH on eBay. Yes, cash. But in recent years the card has come back to Earth and rested in the range of $250 book value, or $125-$175 cash. I got mine for $160 (it’s a BGS 8.5 about 16 months ago.)

As the Phillies look to defend their 2008 World Series against either the California Angels of Anaheim of the United States or the New York Yankees, I wonder where collector’s think this Howard will go in the future.

I cannot foresee the card reaching the magical $600 plateau again, but can it increase significantly in value? Will it sustain that new price if the Phillies repeat as champions?

When Howard burst onto the seen in 2005, clubbing 22 homers in an abbreviated season en route to his Rookie of the Year award, I was shocked at how fast this card rose in popularity. The reason: Howard was already 26 when he entered the league.

Alas here we are four years later and Howard looks as good as ever. He’s got his championship ring, trophies for Rookie of the Year and MVP, as well as one for being 2009 National League Championship Series MVP. But will another piece of hardware, namely another World Series Ring, translate into additional hobby love? Somehow I am doubting this.

This is the part nine of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.