Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card Rankings and More
Active pitchers are one of the riskiest propositions in card collecting, unless it’s Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card or one of his other early gems.
Pitchers are always an injury or a couple of miles of their velocity away from their career being over. Brien Taylor, Todd Van Poppel, Alex Fernandez, Rick Ankiel — all were considered can’t miss superstars. The all missed, at least in the eyes of the dollars their cards used to command.
Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card Overview
Clayton Kershaw Rookie Cards didn’t start out in the hobby elite. It took time. Multiple Cy Young Awards and a masterful front half of his career certainly helped.
Today, Kershaw is a rare pitcher who has had a prolonged stay in the hobby’s top tier. No matter when he decides to call it a career, he’s all but ensured his place in Cooperstown already. An early end or a devastating injury might bring prices down to a certain degree, but legends are legends. We’re well past the prospecting part of Kershaw’s career. It’s now a matter of how far he goes.
As far as Clayton Kershaw Rookie Cards go, they’re not nearly as affordable as they once were. But there are enough out there that there’s stuff for everyone.
Clayton Kershaw Rookie Cards came out in 2008, when Topps and Upper Deck were the only companies making MLB cards. Both landed the Dodgers pitcher in several sets, including a handful of autographs.
It’s worth noting that 2008 SP Authentic had a redemption card for a Clayton Kershaw autographed Rookie Card that was ultimately not produced.
If you go back a couple of year, collectors can find several prospect and minor league cards, many of which go for a lot on the secondary market today. Some of these are just as important, if not more so, than many of Kershaw’s Rookies.
You can get a detailed look at every Clayton Kerhshaw Rookie Card, ranked by their value. Following that are highlights of key prospect and pre-rookie cards.
Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card Rankings
The following list features only Clayton Kershaw cards with the RC tag in the Beckett Baseball Card Database and Price Guide. Inserts and parallels are not taken into account. Exact values are available to Online Price Guide subscribers.
16. 2008 Upper Deck Documentary Clayton Kershaw RC
#3045, 3135, 3225, 3315, 3405, 3495, 3585, 3675, 3765, 3855, 3945
Before Topps Now and Panini Instant there was Upper Deck Documentary. The set charts the entire 2008 season with nearly 5,000 cards. Every game has a pair of cards, one for each team. With a Dodgers team set consisting of 163 total cards, it shouldn’t be surprising that Clayton Kershaw has several cards in the base set. Eleven to be exact. The pictures are the same but the game recaps are obviously different.
None are short prints or have other embellishments so all are considered Rookie Cards.
15. 2008 Upper Deck Goudey Clayton Kershaw RC #75
The 2008 Upper Deck Goudey Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card is based off of the iconic 1934 Goudey design. A few adjustments were made to the design, including making it traditionally sized as far as modern baseball cards go. It’d be hard for Lou Gehrig to offer his take so it was former Upper Deck spokesman Ken Griffey Jr. making an appearance on the front.
Although 2008 Goudey has a lot of short prints, this isn’t one of them so it remains relatively affordable.
Parallels: Mini Blue Backs, Mini Red Backs, Mini Green Backs (/88), Mini Black Backs (/34), Mini Taupe Backs (/8)
14. 2008 Bowman Draft Clayton Kershaw RC #BDP26
By 2008, Bowman was losing its power in the Rookie Card department. That’s because much of the focus shifted to prospects and Chrome Prospect Autographs a few years earlier. With Bowman Chrome available in the same packs, that’s the more popular of the two. Still, as Clayton Kershaw values continue to climb, this is one that remains enticing to some for its lower price point.
Parallels: Gold, Blue (/399), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Red (1/1)
13. 2008 Topps Allen and Ginter Clayton Kershaw RC #72
The 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card takes something of a minimal approach to layout. Made to resemble a tobacco card more than a century before, the Mini parallels may stand out more to some. This isn’t one of the set’s short prints so there isn’t much added as far as value goes beyond its RC status.
Parallels: Mini, Mini A&G Back, Mini Black, Mini No Number (Print Run: 50), Mini Bazooka (/25), Mini Framed Cloth (/10), Mini Framed Printing Plates Black (1/1), Mini Framed Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Mini Framed Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Mini Framed Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Mini Wood (1/1)
12. 2008 Topps Heritage Clayton Kershaw RC #595
2008 Topps Heritage draws its inspiration from 1958 Topps Baseball. For Rookie Cards, like Kershaw’s, that means a subset that looks a little different, based on the original Sporting News Rookie Stars cards. Kershaw is part of the separate High Numbers release, which came out later in the year.
Parallels: Black Back
11. 2008 Upper Deck Timeline Clayton Kershaw RC #98
2008 Upper Deck Timeline Baseball revolved around the company’s past designs. The result is several base cards for Kershaw in the set. While most have a tinge of modern nostalgia for long-time collectors, this design was new to the product. It’s a relatively simple card with not a lot of flair and the modest price reflects this.
10. 2008 Upper Deck Timeline Clayton Kershaw RC #187
Kershaw’s second Rookie Card in 2008 Upper Deck Timeline has its roots in 1995 SP Top Prospects.That means a hint of foil along the top and, more noticeable, a die-cut edge. Yes, that’s what it took to be premium in the mid-1990s.
9. 2008 Upper Deck Timeline Clayton Kershaw RC #304
The third Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card in 2008 Upper Deck Timeline is based on 2004 UD Timeless Teams. It might not be the most memorable set all these years later, but it certainly makes the year clear.
Kershaw has even more cards in the 2008 Upper Deck Timeline base set. However, because they’re short prints and these other three are not, they don’t carry the traditional RC definition.
Parallels: Gold (/100), Silver (/25), Autograph (/10)
8. 2008 Bowman Chrome Draft Clayton Kershaw RC #BDP26
Similar to the regular 2008 Bowman Draft card, Kershaw’s Bowman Chrome Rookie Card lurks in the shadows of his earlier autograph. This card also has a popular autographed variation as well. Still, it’s a clean card from a popular brand with a decent parallel rainbow adding to the challenge.
Parallels: Refractors, X-Fractors (/199), Blue Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Superfractors (1/1)
7. 2008 Stadium Club Clayton Kershaw RC #107
2008 Stadium Club was a return for the brand, which had been shelved after the 2003 set. Although photography is still at the forefront, it was brought back as more of a high-end product with an autograph per pack. Combine that with a confusing configuration and it’s not hard to see why it was overlooked at the time. The Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card in the set is simple enough with a simple design and bright photo.
It does have a variation that’s numbered to 999 with Kershaw pictured throwing from the mound. Kershaw also has an autograph in the main set, however it’s not regarded as an RC by traditional standards seeing as how he has a regular base card as well.
Parallels: First Day Issue, First Day Issue (/599), Photographer’s Proof Blue (/99), Photographer’s Proof Gold (/50), Photographer’s Proof Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
6. 2008 Bowman Sterling Clayton Kershaw RC #CK
2008 Bowman Sterling took the Bowman name to the high-end, stressing autographs and even memorabilia cards over base cards. With so many hits and significantly fewer base cards, the price tag for packs and boxes is high. Despite the no-frills approach, the 2008 Bowman Sterling Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card is fairly tough to find. Even though the spinoff brand was never wildly popular, this card still commands strong prices thanks to its relative scarcity.
In addition to its handful of parallels, the Kershaw card has a variation version numbered to 399.
Parallels: Refractors (/199), Gold Refractors (/50), Black Refractors (/25), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Red Refractors (1/1)
5. 2008 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection Clayton Kershaw RC Autograph #111
Ballpark Collection might not be the most famous of Upper Deck’s baseball brands, but it does have one of just four Clayton Kershaw cards to have both an autograph and the RC tag. It’s not serial numbered and production runs weren’t released, but this is one card that is not an easy find today.
4. 2008 Topps Update Clayton Kershaw RC #UH240 $120
A basic Topps Rookie Card from the modern era can’t carry much value, right? Wrong. The 2008 Topps Update Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card is one of a handful from the past few years to really take off recently. The 2011 Mike Trout and 2012 Bryce Harper are another couple of examples.
While far from rare, Topps Update doesn’t traditionally carry the same large print runs as Topps Series 1 and Series 2. It’s also not part of the factory set.
The other big reason is tradition. When it comes to cards, there’s none greater than Topps Baseball, thus giving flagship Rookies, like this Kershaw, a certain level of iconic status no matter the value.
Parallels: Gold Foil, Gold Border (/2008), Black (/57), Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
3. 2008 SPx Clayton Kershaw RC Autograph #151
If you busted a box of 2008 SPx Baseball and pulled Rookie Redemption #RR6, you received a Clayton Kershaw autograph. But at the time you didn’t know it. Upper Deck took the mystery redemption route with the cards. In 2008, it was a solid card that has only grown in the years since, both in status and value.
2. 2008 Sweet Spot Clayton Kershaw RC Autograph #133 /199
The 2008 Sweet Spot Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card has a lot going for it. The on-card autograph is the big one. Unlike SPx and Ballpark Collection, it’s also serial numbered — to a modest 199 copies. The card even has some texture thanks to the baseball stitching imprints running along the sides.
Parallels: Rookie Signatures 50 (/50)
1. 2008 Ultimate Collection Clayton Kershaw RC Auto Jersey #107 /99
2008 Ultimate Collection has the only Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card with both an autograph and memorabilia. The signature is actually signed on the swatch. The statement on the back says that it’s a game-used piece but doesn’t specify much beyond that, such as what kind of material it’s from. Numbered to 99, it’s also the rarest Clayton Kershaw RC.
Parallels: Gold (/25)
5 Key Clayton Kershaw Prospect and Pre-Rookie Cards
Like virtually every modern player, Clayton Kershaw had a bunch of cards out before he arrived in the majors. Here are five key cards that fit under the Prospect or Pre-Rookie category. You can see a full list from the Beckett Baseball Card Database and Price Guide here. Here are five of the highlights.
2005-06 Upper Deck USA Baseball Junior National Team Clayton Kershaw #USA86
USA Baseball sets continue to be the place to find many players’ first baseball cards. Such is the case for Clayton Kershaw, who was part of the 2005-06 Upper Deck USA Baseball box set. National team cards don’t get the same love as their MLB counterparts. It’s kind of like minor league cards from the 1980s and ’90s in this regard. But even if the values aren’t as big as a traditional Rookie Card, that doesn’t mean they’re not intriguing.
2005-06 Upper Deck USA Baseball Junior National Team Opening Day Jersey Signature Blue #CK /360
The 2005-06 Upper Deck USA Baseball sets weren’t limited to just base cards. They took a more premium approach adding autographs and memorabilia cards to the mix. Kershaw is present throughout the checklist. Among them is this autographed memorabilia card.
The card isn’t hard-signed and it’s not a sticker either. Rather, it’s a piece of paper that’s a cross between a cut and a sticker that has been embedded into the card.
2005-06 Upper Deck USA Baseball Junior National Team Signature Black Clayton Kershaw #CK /495
It’s not just autographed memorabilia cards in the set. Kershaw has regular autographs as well.
2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Clayton Kershaw Autograph #84
Any discussion about Clayton Kershaw Rookie Cards must include his 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft autograph. It’s not a Rookie Card by traditional definitions, which haven’t changed. But products and collecting habits have. Today, this is the cornerstone Clayton Kerhsaw card. Simply put, it’s the card to have. To many, it’s no longer affordable, though. This hasn’t slowed down this card’s growth but it has helped fuel others as some look to other options.
2006 Bowman Sterling Prospects Clayton Kershaw Autograph #BSP-CK
Bowman Sterling may have been presented as the high-end Bowman brand. But that’s more because of the number of autographs packs and boxes delivered, not so much their values. The 2006 Bowman Sterling Clayton Kershaw autograph is a strong card. However, it doesn’t come close to the popularity and prices as his Bowman Chrome Draft autograph. That doesn’t mean this card isn’t valuable (it is). It’s just not as valuable.