By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

We’re prepping this year’s Rookies Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly soon and one thing is clear.

Rookie Cards reign in the hobby.

Whether it’s vintage firsts or modern-day rarities, RCs seem to demand our attention the most — so much so it can defy logic at times. Want a fresh sign of that? Panini America started selling Rated Rookie t-shirts last night — a rookie brand is now a clothing line.

When it comes to RCs, though, there are plenty of unclear areas, too. There are also many a personal definition for what is and what isn’t an RC and there are plenty of prospecting products that just make those personal tastes even harder to define.

We want to know what you think beyond your buying habits when it comes to Rookie Cards. Here, we present 20 rookie-focused questions — some serious, some fun — that we want to know your answer on. We’ll present some of your comments and the voting results in the issue after we see the results.

1. After six years, do you feel the Rookie Card logo is working in MLB?

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See the rest … after the jump.

2. Which sport’s Rookie Cards deliver best?

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3. Which rookie superlative is superior?

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4. The best Rated Rookie of the 1980s is …

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5. Young Guns: Cool cards or cool movie?

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6. In NASCAR, rookies have a yellow stripe on their bumper. True or false?

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7. Do you think non-seasonal sports like wrestling, MMA, boxing, etc., should have RCs?

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8. Who is the biggest rookie bust listed below?

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9. Which is the cooler Rookie Card?

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10. In baseball, is the Rookie Card more important now than it was in 2005?

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11. Which card is Mickey Mantle’s Rookie Card?

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12. In what year is Vince Lombardi’s Rookie Card from?

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13. Who was the first Hall of Famer to appear on a Topps All-Star Rookie card?

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14. Who do you think has the most Rookie Cards?

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15. Do you consider a parallel of an RC to be an RC?

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16. Do you consider MiLB, prep all-star/college or USA Baseball cards to be RCs?

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17. What, in your mind, is a Rookie Card, anyway?

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18. Do you understand what an XRC is?

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19. Who do you think is the NFL's hottest rookie to collect this year?

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20. Which current company has made the best RCs?

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Are you rookie-minded and have something else on your mind? Tell us in the comments below.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. djt5900 8 September, 2012 at 20:04

    I am a huge rookie card collector, and I consider a rookie card to be any card that either says is a rookie card (rc logo) or a card that says they’re a prospect. For example, I count Bowman Platinum Prospects, from Bowman Platinum, as a rc.

  2. Glenn 8 September, 2012 at 20:06

    Just got hooked again after twenty years. Wife and I have got the bug to bust up some packs again. So far lots of bowmen platinum, prestige football and few topps chrome

  3. Mitchell 8 September, 2012 at 20:29

    I consider rookies to be the year that they are MLB rookies. So in my opinion, any 2011 Mike Trout is a XRC. And as far as parallels, as long as it’s a base parallel. No insert set can be a rookie card.

  4. afff 8 September, 2012 at 20:35

    that was fun and it will be interesting to see the final result
    as for the RC’s it should only be limited to a player’s first non-insert card in a pro uniform and it would make figuring out which RC a lot easier in all the brands out on the market.

  5. Michael Chase 8 September, 2012 at 20:47

    I loved the questionaire! I am a huge fan of the RC logo and without it, I don’t consider any card to be an actual RC unless they are cards from before the RC logo came into play.

    I don’t really get the hype about prospect cards. I would rather have a regular Topps base RC than a prospect or “first on cardboard”. I mostly collect cards of players who are in uniform of a pro team. I don’t really care how they got there, it’s what they do in the big leagues that counts for me.

    Parallel RC’s are fine, but not Insert RC’s. Also multiple RC’s from different products is fine too as long as it’s from the player’s rookie season.

    Some wrestling cards have a sort of RC logo, for example Tristar’s TNA Products have a ” TNA Pro Debut” logo from the wrestler’s entry into the company. I think that is a great move on Tristar’s part.

    I’m looking forward to this year’s Beckett Rookie issue. It’s a subject that has touched all card collectors hearts, for better or for worse.

  6. J.R. Lebert 9 September, 2012 at 00:45

    Good survey. I definitely think that non-sports and/or non-seasonal sports cards should have RCs. Parallel’s of RCs are, in my opinion, still RCs.

    Also… if I had to rank it…
    1- The Rated Rookie logo
    2- The Future Stars logo on that Bo Jackson RC, and others…
    3- The Star Rookie logo on the Kevin Maas 1990 UD RC

  7. michael blade 9 September, 2012 at 07:09

    this was a great survey i think a rc is the first card that shows a player in thier prospective pro uniform

  8. charles 9 September, 2012 at 09:30

    its funny i read the comments above , most think the RC logo is the ture RC. but in baseball it seems that the Prospect cards are the more Valued, the other sports are not this way, some are limited like Hockey, and Basketball, i guess my point is that i am somewhat suprised by the answers in the baseball category, but its an very old far as non sports, or non-seasonal i don’t think most no about someone until they are introduced into the sport, its not the same as colledge sports so it mite be harder to define someones direction.and the XRC, there’s theres only one company that has the permit from MLB, MLPA, so they adjust they last product of the year, there is no comp, to run against.

  9. David Johnson 9 September, 2012 at 10:28

    Here are some tougher questions:
    Why do rookie cards from Topps Traded from 1988 and before say XRC, yet in 1989 they are RC not XRC; if it’s because Topps made a retail version of the set, then why isn’t the 1999 Topps Traded set XRC, since it was hobby only?
    Why are the 2001 UD Prospect Premieres cards labeled as XRC?
    Why don’t the rookies in the 1980s Sportflics sets have RC or even XRC designations?
    Does a coach’s card count as a rookie card if its from the coach’s first year coaching, and does it matter if the coach already has a card from his playing days?
    How will basketball rookie cards be defined for the 2011-12 rookies?
    Will the recent Upper Deck’s basketball cards ever be considered RCs or even XRCs?

  10. chrisolds 9 September, 2012 at 11:35

    David: With the XRC, the availability of product (Traded sets) changed over time so the tag largely went away. In later instances, the deciding parties determined that the cards (1999) were still readily available compared to past. The 2001 set, I’m told, is because of the set’s inclusions/licensing — a set can’t have RCs without a selection of veteran players, too, otherwise it’s more like a prospect set.

    Sportflics? I don’t know.
    On coaches, the RC tag is a bit inconsistent. I believe they are not supposed to have them.
    For the 2011-12 BK, it depends how the cards are numbered when they arrive. If part of the base set, they would have to be considered. If not, likely not. On the UD cards? Probably not as they are more like college draft picks sets.

    Overall, though, I don’t make those decisions so take what I said with a grain of salt. Those are the “answers” as I understand them to be.

  11. chrisolds 9 September, 2012 at 11:37

    Charles: But you should also keep in mind that there’s no direct correlation between an RC tag and a player’s most-expensive card.

  12. JonathanI 9 September, 2012 at 15:31

    I think it would be pretty cool if each company (not set or insert) had one RC per player. It would be easy for collectors to keep track of, but they would not sell as many cards. I remember setting out to collect every Sammy Sosa RC when he was playing. If memory serves, there are about eight. It was totally doable. (Actually, I missed one, but who’s counting?) How many players have only eight RCs now? Granted with only one company working with baseball at the moment, this would give us one RC per player, but this may force the hand of MLB to work with more than one company. This would be very, very good for us. Imagine the creativity competition would bring about!

  13. Kevin 9 September, 2012 at 18:46

    I think Topps should do away with the rc card rule implemented in 2006. From my understanding it was meant to simplify what a rc card is but in my opinion it just made things more confusing. The card companies didn’t even consider or think about new collectors. In 2007 people new to the hobby might have thought they got josh Hamilton’s very first card but unbeknownst to them his actual rc card came out in 1999. While Hamilton is a unique case in the hobby there are other countless examples but I believe Hamilton has the biggest gap at least to my awareness between a true rc card and a (rc) card label implemented in 2006. I believe this move has totally ruined the baseball card hobby, and people are still confused as to what a rc card is. If topps wants to make things consistent then they should either stop making bowman prospect cards or (my wish) and go back to the format back in the day and include draft picks in the Topps update sets. I am just getting my 9 yr old son in the hobby and it would be nice again to have the top draft picks in the Topps sets so my son has a chance to pull the top picks in a 1.99 pack. How cool would it be to pull a 2009 Topps Strasburg, a 2010 Topps Harper, 2008 Hosmer etc. with out the gimmick of the ssp. I dislike the gimmicks that the companies use these days and wish it would be more affordable so I could enjoy the hobby more with my son.
    The other thing I wish bowman would do is get rid of the 1st bowman card label. Again this may confuse novice collectors that a players 1st bowman card is their rc card which may not necessarily be the case. It just drives my nuts when I get a card that says 1st bowman card, then the next year or in the bowman draft set it says 1st bowman card again ala Bubba Starling, Pablo Sandoval, and Matt Moore just to name a few.

  14. Kevin 9 September, 2012 at 19:02

    To a testament of how the baseball card market is affected, a hobby shop close to me does not carry new baseball products because they don’t sell. Even the most popular new products that come out they don’t order because there is simply no interest, and we’re talking a town of 20,000 plus. I visited this shop in Feb. and again in May. When I purchased some packs in Feb. those packs had sat there from 1-2 years. I was wanting some Bowman that just came out in May and they did not have any and the owner stated that I was the only person who had purchased baseball packs in that 4 month period. The owner stated that is is simply because customers know they’re getting a true rc card in basketball or football, and the MLB rc card label just simply confuses people. While I’m sure this is not the norm across the country, the MLB rc card rule does affect whether some people collect baseball cards and even affects whether some shops order baseball cards.

  15. chrisolds 9 September, 2012 at 19:32

    Kevin: MLB logo is not Topps’ choice. It was implemented by the MLBPA to assist all of its card licensees to help level the playing field. (Topps has a grandfathered ability to sign any player to a contract, while other fully licensed companies can only sign players on MLB rosters.)

  16. Derek 9 September, 2012 at 19:36

    I’ve always loved basketball, and by extension football, rookie cards because of their definitive nature. You’re drafted, you sign, you’re rookie card is contained in that years issues. I wish baseball, even with their development procedure in place, would just follow the same model. I understand that presents a problem given the sheer number of draft picks, but why not just include all first round and supplemental round draft picks the year they are drafted? Then they can be featured in subsequent sets after they have been called up. It seems like having that sort of definitive draft class each year could spark some interest in the casual fan when it comes to baseball rookies. This could be easily achieved by including these cards in the Bowman base set and labeling them RC instead of “First Bowman Card.”

    Just a thought.

  17. Kevin 9 September, 2012 at 21:04

    By the way Chris, I love the 20 Questions. A different twist that was fun to answer!!! Please come up with more 20 Questions!!

  18. Bill 10 September, 2012 at 05:17

    Chris, the Islanders are my favorite team. That Scott Scissons questions made me laugh and cry at the same time. Freaking hilarious.

  19. bearcatlawjd 10 September, 2012 at 08:29

    Does anybody remember 1994 Collector’s Choice with its future foundations subset and 1995 Collector’s Choice SE with its rookie class subset? Both had silver and gold signature parallels. I always loved the 1995 SE set, card #1 Alex Rodriguez Rookie Class, Card #2 Derek Jeter Rookie Class. I am still trying to find a high quality gold singature of both players at a reasonable price.

  20. deeez 10 September, 2012 at 11:47

    topps is ruining the whole prospect vs rc thing
    it seems every prospects (at least good ones) has a bowman and or bowman chrome., a bowman chrome auto, a platinum auto and some base “inserts”, bowman sterling base and auto…. all before the crack the show
    when they are rookie logos a card in every product and even more autos

  21. Dan 10 September, 2012 at 14:14

    The term rookie card has become totally useless to me. The card I most want of any player is his first card of any kind. 1961 Lake to Lake Packers Ray Nitschke is FAR more desirable to me than is a 1963 Topps Nitschke. In more modern terms, I prefer a 2008 Trevor Bauer UCLA team issued stadium give away than any of his “rookie cards.”

  22. Dan 10 September, 2012 at 14:17

    … even with the more common stuff, the RC logo does nothing for me. It always kills me to pull a card with an RC logo on it when I’ve got cards of that player that were issued five or six years prior. “1st Bowman Card” is far superior in my eyes.

  23. chrisolds 10 September, 2012 at 14:30

    Dan: Unless the previous cards were from 2005 or earlier, they are not RCs. Since 2006, Bowman-brand prospect cards have been separated from the MLB veterans in sets, so they aren’t RCs — they are insert cards.

  24. Raylon C. Ruggles 10 September, 2012 at 23:59

    MLB Miscellany: Rules

    Determining rookie status:
    A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).

    My opinion as of a Rookie Card, is the year when he first batted or first pitch in the Major League game. Doesn’t matter if it’s the last regular game of the season and batted once and only took one pitch. Same as a pitcher and threw one pitch. That’s why they call it “The Show”

  25. Dan 11 September, 2012 at 12:45

    Chris: A rose by any other name. My point is MLB can keep their RC definition, it has nothing to do with which cards I deem most desirable, which is the first time a player has his face on a card.

  26. Cory Furlong 13 September, 2012 at 14:11

    I agree with what baseball has going on at the moment. No true rookie card until the player plays in a MLB game. Prospect cards and Milb cards will be just that.

    The down (or up)is if the player debuts later in the season he will have less rookie cards (See Mike Trout).

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