Anthony Rizzo Rookie Card Countdown (And Other Early Cards of Note)
By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor
Sports has its share of breakout stars. But that doesn’t always line up with the hobby world. Anthony Rizzo rookie cards have been on collectors’ radars for a while now. But before 2016, they were still fairly quiet. But with the Cubs in place as legitimate World Series contenders, potentially for years to come, Rizzo’s profile has increased greatly.
And while he is on the cusp of hobby superstardom, his place is still a big step behind Kris Bryant and a lot of baseball’s core of young big names.
If you go by early Anthony Rizzo cards, the first baseman seems to be something of a traveller. His first cards have him with the Red Sox, the team that draft him in 2007. Rizzo’s rookies put him on the Padres. He joined San Diego in a trade following the 2010 season and made his MLB debut in 2011. He spent just one year in California before being traded a second time.
As a result, Rizzo’s first cards look a little strange because he’s known primarily for being a member of the Cubs.
Although his pro cards date back as far as 2007, Anthony Rizzo rookie cards are found in 2011 products. Unlike a lot of players, he has just a handful of actual rookies. And most of these are of the no-frills variety, which keeps them affordable, even as his star shifts upward.
Whether you’re curious about Anthony Rizzo rookie cards, prospect cards or other early issues, his key early cards are showcased below.
Anthony Rizzo Rookie Cards Countdown
The following is a list of Anthony Rizzo rookie cards from the Beckett Baseball database and price guide. Rankings are based on the price guide. Inserts and parallels are not taken into consideration, although details on many of these are included. Subscribers have access to current values.
6. 2011 Bowman Draft Anthony Rizzo RC #70
2011 Bowman Draft keeps it simple. And with a Chrome version out there, it might even be a little too simple for some. Like most every “paper” Bowman base card since the two brands merged, this one’s largely ignored in the grand scheme of things and carries the least value compared to other Anthony Rizzo rookie cards.
Parallels: Gold, Blue (/499), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Red (1/1)
5. 2011 Topps Update Anthony Rizzo RC #US55
It’s interesting to see how 2001 Topps Update has taken off. Much of that can be attributed to the set being home to one of the few Mike Trout rookies, but he’s not alone. Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt make for a pretty strong shadow. If the basic card is a little too basic, Topps did a bunch of different parallels to commemorate their 60th anniversary and bring more than just the standard color switches to the table.
Parallels: Cognac Diamond Anniversary, Target Red Border, Wal-Mart Blue Border, Gold (/2011), Diamond Anniversary, Black (/60), Hope Diamond Anniversary (/60), Diamond Anniversary Authentic Diamond (1/1), Gold Canary Diamond (1/1), Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
4. 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Anthony Rizzo RC #70
While their values are similar, the 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Anthony Rizzo rookie card comes out ahead of its plain Bowman counterpart. And why not? The chromium finish is an upgrade in quality, and appearance for many collectors. Plus, there are plenty of Refractor versions to go with it.
Parallels: Refractors, Purple Refractors, Blue Refractors (/199), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5), Gold Canary Diamond (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Superfactor (1/1)
3. 2011 Finest Anthony Rizzo RC #97
This card has a familiar photo as both the Bowman Draft Rizzos but the layout is much different. The chromium card stock is similar but the design is much bolder. This is standard for Finest, which rarely shies away from being loud. On the Rizzo rookie scale, this one’s middle-of-the-road. However, without a lot going for it in the way of upscale additions, it’s still very much affordable.
Parallels: Refractors (/549), X-Fractors (/299), Green Refractors (/199), Orange Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Red Refractors (/25), Die-Cuts (/10), Purple Refractors (/5), Framed Printing Plates Black (1/1), Framed Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Framed Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Framed Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Gold Canary Diamond (1/1), Superfractor (1/1)
2. 2011 Topps Tier One Anthony Rizzo RC #58 /799
This is the only Anthony Rizzo rookie card that comes serial numbered. At 799 copies, it’s not exceptionally rare. But most of the focus for the product is on the autographs and memorabilia cards. As a result, this card is a little tougher to find.
Parallels: Blue (/199), Black (/50), Purple (/25), Gold (1/1)
1. 2011 Bowman Sterling Anthony Rizzo RC #20
This card isn’t numbered. The base version isn’t autographed. So why is it the most valuable Anthony Rizzo rookie card? Have you tried to look for one? You shouldn’t have any problem finding Rizzo’s autograph from the product. Even the basic Refractor isn’t too hard. But like a lot of Bowman Sterling base cards, the plain version can be downright difficult to find. That’s because the product as a whole is centered on bulk autographs. Rookie cards are one per pack. And a lot of those are parallels. Factor in the high price tag and you’ve got a recipe for a tough card, serial number or not.
Parallels: Refractors (/199), Gold Refractors (/50), Black Refractors (/25), Purple Refractors (/10), Gold Canary Diamond Refractors (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Red Refractors (1/1)
Top Anthony Rizzo Prospect Cards
Here’s a look at some of the key Anthony Rizzo cards to hit before his rookies. It’s not an exhaustive list but rather a highlight of top cards and other important issues that came out before his rookie cards.
2007 Tristar Prospects Anthony Rizzo #85
This card carries more significance than value. It’s Rizzo’s first card as a pro player. It’s not from a popular set but it does pre-date his first MLB cards by three years.
2008 Donruss Threads Diamond Kings Signatures Anthony Rizzo #11 /500
While it would still be a couple of years before Topps included a Rizzo autograph in one of their Bowman products, Donruss/Playoff put the then-prospect in the Diamond Kings portion of 2008 Donruss Threads. Although there are unsigned versions, it’s the autograph that gets the majority of the attention.
2008 Tristar PROjections Autographs Anthony Rizzo #34
There’s a similar appeal to the 2008 Tirstar PROjection Anthony Rizzo autograph as his 2007 card. The only difference is that this is one of his first autographs. Compared to a lot of Rizzo’s other signed cards, it’s not worth a lot. For those concerned with on-card versus sticker autographs, this one uses the latter.
2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Anthony Rizzo #BCP101
2010 Bowman Baseball was the first product to include MLB Anthony Rizzo cards. He was still working his way up through the minors at the time. And because the card is an insert, it doesn’t fall under the traditional definition of a rookie card. It’s still important, though, even if its value isn’t that high. Both paper and Chrome versions exist. The chromium version is definitely the more popular of the two.
2010 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Anthony Rizzo #BCP101
Of all the Anthony Rizzo cards, this is his most significant. It’s kind of like a modern rookie in how its treated, combining the MLB thumbs up with the on-card signature. Refractor parallels are also popular with collectors, adding more of a chase and specific print runs.
2010 Bowman Draft Prospect Autographs Anthony Rizzo #AR
2010 Bowman Draft has a separate Anthony Rizzo autograph. It’s not nearly as popular or iconic. But that makes it more affordable than the Chrome Prospect Autograph, which could be a big consideration for many. This card does fall under the Bowman banner as opposed to Chrome. It also has the signature on a sticker.
2010 Bowman Sterling Prospects Anthony Rizzo #AR
Like his Sterling rookie card, Rizzo’s 2010 prospect card can be a little tough to find. However, it does seem to be more readily available than the 2011 base card.
Other Early Anthony Rizzo Cards of Note
Here are a couple of other key Anthony Rizzo cards that don’t fit under the traditional rookie card category but still might have a similar appeal.
2011 Bowman Sterling Rookie Autographs Anthony Rizzo #4
It’s safe to say that most collectors will pick a certified autograph over a base card. Do a scan of eBay and you’ll quickly notice that the 2011 Bowman Sterling Anthony Rizzo autograph is a lot easier to find than the unsigned card. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a significantly higher print run (people are more likely to sell an autograph than a base card) but there is probably something to it. And when it comes to card collecting, perception can be a big deal.
2011 eTopps Anthony Rizzo #45 /499
Before Topps Now, there was eTopps. And while the brand is the punchline in its share of hobby jokes, the cards themselves are actually quite beautiful. Rizzo’s card is numbered to 499, which isn’t a lot but its not scarce either. How many of those cards are actually out in the wilds of the secondary market is another thing entirely. Because of the high shipping costs, it’s likely a good chunk still reside in the Topps warehouses. That doesn’t make the actual print run smaller, but it does cut down on the available supply.
Because of the single-card distribution, it is not generally considered to be a rookie card under traditional definitions.
2011 Finest Rookie Autograph Refractors Anthony Rizzo #97 /499
Rizzo only had a few autographs in his first season in the bigs, each one a little bit different from the others. The design of his 2011 Finest Rookie Autograph Refractor is probably the boldest. It also comes hard-signed, which is a plus in the eyes of a lot of collectors. Like the unsigned base card, there are plenty of colorful Refractors to go alongside it.
2011 Topps Allen and Ginter Glossy Rookie Exclusive Anthony Rizzo #AGS5 /999
In 2011, Topps released Allen and Ginter as a factory set exclusively through the website. Cards came with a glossy finish and were numbered to 999. Another incentive was the addition of ten exclusive cards, most of which are 2011 rookies. Rizzo is among them. While many of the sets were broken up to sell as singles, it’s likely that lots still remain sealed as well.
2011 Topps Stickers Anthony Rizzo #274
It’s a sticker, not a card. That makes it tough to call it a “rookie card.” But it’s a simple addition for those looking for something just outside of the norm, especially given its low price tag.
2011 Topps Tier One On the Rise Autographs Anthony Rizzo #AR /999
Numbered to 999, there are 200 more copies of Rizzo’s Tier One autograph than his base rookie card. Of his 2011 MLB autographs, this one is the most understated in the design department. It has some gold foil highlights but it’s not done on chromium stock like Finest and Sterling. The card also has a Gold parallel numbered to 25. He also appears on a tough dual autograph with Freddie Freeman in the product.
Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.