Gerrit Cole Rookie Card Guide and Other Key Cards of Note
The Gerrit Cole Rookie Card lineup isn’t small but it’s not too daunting, either. Clocking in at 15 cards, most are reasonably priced. The bigger challenge will come with trying to find a couple of them due to their rarity.
As the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, Cole garnered a lot of attention early on. However, his cards have never been in the hobby’s top tier. This isn’t due to his play. Cole’s career began in Pittsburgh where he was an All-Star. But it was in Pittsburgh, a challenging market to breakthrough in when it comes to collecting. And no matter how good a pitcher is, it usually requires a sustained career before collectors are willing to jump in en masse.
Since joining the Houston Astros prior to the start of the 2018 season, Cole has come into his own. In 2019, he was arguably baseball’s most dominant starter, leading the league with 326 strikeouts.
This has resulted in an uptick in Gerrit Cole cards, but not a lot. Most of his Rookie Cards and other notable releases remain relatively affordable.
Gerrit Cole Rookie Card Guide
The following is a list of base set Gerrit Cole Rookie Cards as marked with the RC tag in the Beckett database. Inserts are not included on this list.
2013 Bowman Chrome Gerrit Cole RC #30
Gerrit Cole’s first Bowman Chrome autograph came out in 2010 when he was part of the USA Baseball program. In 2012, the pitcher got his first Bowman Chrome autograph in a MLB uniform. Bowman Chrome is most popular with the prospecting side of the hobby. As far as modern Rookie Cards go, they’re often passed over. The result here is an especially affordable RC of the former Pirate.
Parallels: Refractors, Green Refractors, Blue Refractors (/250), Purple Refractors (/199), Gold Refractors (/50), Magenta Refractors (/35), Orange Refractors (/25), Black Refractors (/15), Yellow Refractors (/10), 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)
2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Gerrit Cole RC #6
Like the regular Bowman Chrome RC, perhaps even more so, comes Cole’s card in the later-releasing 2013 Bowman Draft. The photo is very similar so you might want to check the back for the right card number.
Parallels: Refractors, Black Wave Refractors, Blue Wave Refractors, Blue Refractors (/99), Green Refractors (/75), Gold Refractors (/50), Black Refractors (/35), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Wave Refractors (/25), Silver Wave 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)
2013 Bowman Draft Gerrit Cole RC #6
Having made his MLB debut in June, it was months too late for Cole to sneak his way into the 2013 Bowman Baseball base set. That explains his inclusion in 2013 Bowman Draft, an update set or continuation of sorts. Traditionally, Bowman Chrome is the preferred brand when it comes to RCs. And with those not getting much attention compared to some of the other Gerrit Cole RCs, the same can be said here.
Parallels: Silver Ice, Blue (/500), Orange (/250), Red Ice (/25), Purple Ice (/10), Orange Ice (/5), Red (/5), Black (1/1), Black Ice (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
2013 Bowman Sterling Gerrit Cole RC #33
2013 Bowman Sterling Baseball represents one of the toughest Gerrit Cole Rookie Cards to find. The product was a pricey one that centered on autographs. That meant relatively small print runs for the base cards. You might actually find some of the Refractor parallels more readily available that the base RC version.
Parallels: Refractors (/199), Gold Refractors (/50), Blue Refractors (/25), Purple Refractors (/10), Gold Canary Diamond Refractors (/3), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Red Refractors (1/1), Superfractors (1/1)
2013 Finest Gerrit Cole RC #99
Another Gerrit Cole done with chromium stock, 2013 Finest bypasses subtlety for something that looks like it might have sprung from a slick TV highlight package. Refractors parallels are the bigger draw here for many as well as Cole’s Rookie Jumbo Relic Autograph in the product.
Parallels: Refractors, X-Fractors, Green Refractors (/199), Orange Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Red Refracotrs (/25), Atomic 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)
2013 Hometown Heroes Gerrit Cole RC #137
Produced by Panini, the 2013 Hometown Heroes Gerrit Cole evokes a nostalgic appeal. Not only does this come through with its general design and layout but in the throwback card stock as well.
Parallels: States, Zip Code
2013 Panini Prizm Gerrit Cole RC #239
While Prizm is home to some of the biggest Rookie Cards in basketball and football, the brand does have quite as much appeal in baseball. There’s a lot of competition and history from several brands in the sport including Topps Chrome, Finest and Bowman Chrome. And while there are several Prizms parallels, the rainbow isn’t nearly as big as later Prizm sets.
Parallels: Prizms, Blue Prizms, Blue Pulsar Prizms, Green Prizms, Red Prizms, Red Pulsar Prizms, Orange Die-Cut Prizms (/60), Gold Prizms (/10), Finite Prizms (1/1)
2013 Pinnacle Gerrit Cole RC #182
In the 1990s, the Pinnacle line built a name for itself in large part due to its stellar photography. When Panini brought it back to baseball in 2013, the design elements were much bigger and the photography was no longer at the forefront. This is likely part of the reason why the 2013 Pinnacle Gerrit Cole fades into the background when compared to many of his other Rookie Cards.
Parallels: Artists Proof, Artists Proof Blue, Museum Collection
2013 Select Gerrit Cole RC #247 Autograph /500
Gerrit Cole has several autograph cards from his rookie season, but only a couple of those are Rookie Cards that are part of a base set. His 2013 Select card comes with a signature (on a sticker) with chromium stock. It’s also numbered to 500 copies. It has a relatively small number of parallels compared to many of chrome sets.
Parallels: Prizm (/99), Prizm Gold (/25), Prizm Black (1/1)
2013 Topps Chrome Gerrit Cole RC #210
The 2013 Topps Chrome Gerrit Cole Rookie Card offers a shiny twist on the flagship design. The starter didn’t appear in the main Topps line until Topps Update came out later in the season, so this one isn’t repeating anything. Refractors are a cornerstone for many, offering added colors and rarity. The card also has a variation short print version with Cole walking to the dugout.
Parallels: Refractors, Orange Refractors, Purple Refractors, X-Fractors, Blue Refractors (/199), Black Refractors (/100), Sepia Refractors (/75), Gold Refractors (/50), Red Refractors (/25), Camo Refractors (/15), Atomic Refractors (/10), Pink 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)
2013 Topps Chrome Update Gerrit Cole RC #MB-20
Cole is also part of the checklist for 2013 Topps Chrome Update, a Target-exclusive release. Chrome Update packs were limited to special blaster boxes and in relatively small numbers. This is apparent with the parallels as well. This one has just two versus the more than a dozen found in the main Topps Chrome set.
Parallels: Gold Refractors (/250), Black Refractors (/99)
2013 Topps Five Star Gerrit Cole RC #34 /75
With just 75 copies, 2013 Topps Five Star represents the rarest Gerrit Cole Rookie Card. It’s exceptionally hard to find on the open market today as they seemed to have dried up not long after the high-end, autograph-driven set’s release. While it doesn’t impact the card’s status as a Rookie Card, the RC logo isn’t on the front of this card like it is most every other 2013 Gerrit Cole release. It’s possible that a couple of copies could be sitting inconspicuously in singles boxes.
Parallels: Rainbow (/10), Five Star (1/1)
2013 Topps Heritage Gerrit Cole RC #H596
Part of the 2013 Topps Heritage High Number Baseball checklist, this Gerrit Cole Rookie Card is exclusive to a factory set that was only available through the card maker’s website. It took a while, but singles from the set have become quite popular, in large part due to the strong rookie crop and the multi-faceted popularity of all things Heritage.
2013 Topps Triple Threads Gerrit Cole RC Auto Triple Memorabilia #169 /99
As far as base set Rookie Cards go, this is the only one Gerrit Cole has in a MLB set that has an autograph. And it’s a memorabilia card to boot. Factor in the print run of just 99 copies and high-end nature of Triple Threads and you’ve got one of the most expensive Gerrit Cole RCs. That said, it might not be as pricey as you’d expect — if you can find one.
Parallels: Sepia (/75), Emerald (/50), Black Silver Ink (/25), Black Gold Ink (/10), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Ruby (1/1), Wood (1/1)
2013 Topps Update Gerrit Cole RC #US150
Christian Yelich, Nolan Arenado, Didi Gregorius, Anthony Rendon — 2013 Topps Update has a lot of notable Rookie Cards on its checklist. You can add Gerrit Cole to that impressive group. Although a readily available card, flagship Topps RCs like this carry a lot of clout and command solid prices given the fact they have higher print runs than a lot of other sets with less valuable cards.
Besides the RC, there’s also a Rookie Debut card, which is #US265. It’s part of a subset and isn’t traditionally considered to be a Rookie Card. As a result, prices are noticeably softer on this one.
For those looking for something tougher, the 2013 Topps Update Gerrit Cole also has a variation version where the pitcher is pictured in a black jersey.
Parallels: Emerald, Target Red Border, Walmart Blue Border, Gold (/2013), Camo (/99), Black (/62), Pink (/50), Sapphire (/25), Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
Other Key Early Gerrit Cole Cards
The following list highlights some of the most significant Gerrit Cole cards released prior to his MLB debut in 2013. It’s not a complete list but rather some highlights. A comprehensive Gerrit Cole baseball card checklist can be found in the Beckett database.
2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars USA National Team Future Watch Jersey Autographs Gerrit Cole #UFWA-8 /799
Upper Deck is responsible for the earliest Gerrit Cole cards, producing a variety of base, autographs and memorabilia cards through their USA Baseball license. While this is far from his only autograph in 2009, it’s one of the easier ones to find thanks to its sizable print run. The signature and swatch combination also brings some appeal along with the Future Watch name that’s usually synonymous with SP Authentic.
2010 Bowman Chrome USA Baseball Wrapper Redemption Autographs Gerrit Cole Gerrit Cole #WR28 /99
2012 Bowman Chrome has the most recognizable Gerrit Cole Bowman Chrome autograph. But it’s not the first. It actually came on this card about two years earlier. It was available in special wrapper redemption packs connected with 2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball. Limited to 99 copies, it’s another USA Baseball card of the pitcher.
2010 Bowman Platinum Relic Autographs Refractors Gerrit Cole #PAR-GC /740
Similar to Upper Deck the year before, Topps leveraged the USA Baseball license in several products once they took over. Case in point, an autograph relic in 2010 Bowman Platinum that has a relatively big print run of 740 copies plus additional parallels.
2010 Bowman Platinum Dual Relic Autographs Gerrit Cole/Sonny Gray #PDAR-GC /99
Cole appears on a couple of different multi-player autograph in 2010 Bowman Platinum. This one stands out because it features fellow USA Baseball teammate, Sonny Gray, on one of his earliest cards as well. Gray’s MLB career has seen its share of ups and downs, but some of those ups have been dominant.
2010 Topps Chrome USA Baseball Autographs Gerrit Cole #USA-4
For those that prefer on-card autographs, there’s the 2010 Topps Chrome USA Baseball Autographs Gerrit Cole. Supplies have largely dried up over the years so finding one may be a bit of a challenge.
2012 Bowman AFLAC Autographs Gerrit Cole #AFLAC-GC /225
Although included in 2012 Bowman Baseball hobby packs, this Gerrit Cole autograph is interesting in part because of when it was signed. The signature actually comes from back in 2007 when the pitcher participated in the high school showcase. Players were given additional cards, which can be found on the secondary market as well. Pack-inserted versions are easy to confirm thanks to the serial number on the front.
2012 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Gerrit Cole #BCP86
So it’s not the first Gerrit Cole Bowman Chrome autograph, but it is his first in a MLB uniform. It’s also the key Gerrit Cole card out of the thousands that are out there. It was included in 2012 Bowman Baseball.