All-Star Alex Gordon remembers his Rookie Card craze

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By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

NEW YORK CITY | Before Alex Gordon was an All-Star, he became an overnight baseball card star.

Gordon was a top prospect in the Kansas City Royals system in 2006, but that wasn’t what got people to take notice. It was a baseball card.

An Alex Gordon card was accidentally released in the 2006 Topps set, card #297.

It shouldn’t have been there. Under new MLB Players Association rules, Gordon was not allowed a Rookie Card yet because he was not on the Royals’ 25-man roster.

“All these people kept asking me about the card,” Gordon told Beckett Media on Monday. “I was playing in Wichita at the time and apparently it wasn’t supposed to come out. It got my name out there because of a baseball card.”

Gordon, who still has a collection of cards from when he was a child – he was a big Ken Griffey Jr., collector – was on the lookout for the 2006 Topps card. He didn’t buy any packs looking for it because he knew it was a tough pull, but would check out cards fans asked him to sign.

There are four versions of the card: a full card, a cutout card, a blank gold and a blank silver – all of which still pop up on eBay from time to time. The most popular is the full card, which features Gordon’s portrait on the front with full name on front and back.

In 2006, the cards sold for thousands of dollars in the initial wave. According to ESPN, a collector sold five of the cards for $5,761.79 at the time.

The card is still valuable, but has since come down in price. On July 6, a raw card sold for $113.61 on eBay and on June 9, a PSA 10 sold for $281.66.

Luckily for Gordon, he doesn’t have to scour eBay listings or hit up any shops to find the card. Several years ago, he played a game in Arizona where a broadcaster had five of the cards. He gave one to Gordon to keep.

“It’s something I wanted to have,” Gordon said. “I’m glad I was able to get one.”

That’s because it puts him on his way to completing a project he has in mind for when he retires.

“I want to try to collect one of each of my cards out there when I’m done,” Gordon said. “I could make a poster out of them.”

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor of Beckett Sports Card Monthly. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here. Follow Beckett Media on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Posted July 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Well since Alex made $18,793,000 throughout his MLB career, he can afford to collect all his cards. Most collectors these days can’t afford to collect all the cards of a single player.

  2. rick
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Great article, thanks susan!

  3. rick
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Susan or Chris: How many full version card are out that…. About of course. Thanks

  4. dmm77
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    If I remember correctly, Kieth Olberman was buying up these cards. I wonder if he’s the broadcaster mentioned in the article.

  5. robert
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Keith Olbermann makes sense for the broadcaster who gave Gordon a copy. While I believe Denny Matthews or Bob Davis or Paul Splitorff from back in 1986 may have collected Royals players and prospects trading cards since they work with the athletes everyday and have Royals pride, I don’t believe they make enough coin to justify dropping thousands of dollars on several Gordon rare rookie cards.

  6. Cardboard Picasso
    Posted January 19, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Definitely one of my favorite modern cards of all-time. In fact, I would say it is without a doubt my favorite due to the wild story that accompanies the card. This and the Bill Ripken FF are such classics!

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