Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card Guide and Other Key Early Cards

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With all the excitement surrounding him, it shouldn’t be surprising that Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card interest is high. It’s the same with his other early cards, which date as far back as 2017 (2019 for MLB cards).

Rodriguez arrives in Seattle as one of their most hyped prospects ever not named Griffey or Alex. The centerfielder signed with the Mariners as a 16-year-old in 2017. After a rise through the minor league ranks over the next few years, Rodriguez broke camp with Seattle in 2022 and made their Opening Day roster.

Following a brief adjustment period, the youngster made himself known to not just Seattle but baseball as a whole. Rodriguez brings a toolsy skillset that combines power, contact, speed and defense. Not only that, but he does so with a level of electricity and enthusiasm that, fair or not, brings comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr.

When it comes to the Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card lineup, it’s not exactly as straightforward as most players today. Or is it? The answer likely depends on how the individual collector looks at the traditional definition of Rookie Cards and whether they stick with that, opt for first appearances or go with the RC badge that’s on virtually all of Rodriguez’s rookie-year cards — base, inserts and all points in between.

Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card Guide

2021 Bowman’s Best Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card #49

Like Wander Franco, Bobby Witt Jr. and several others, Julio Rodriguez is part of the weird 2021 Bowman’s Best situation. Going by traditional definitions that have been around for decades, Rookie Cards are typically defined as being the first year of base cards in mainstream sets. Since 2006, though, baseball players were left out of base sets until they made an MLB roster. Prospects still got cards, most notably in Bowman products, but if there were also MLB vets, they were part of separately numbered insert sets.

Then along came 2021 Bowman’s Best. For reasons not made public, veterans and prospects were put together into the same base set, thus making this a Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card. And by these traditional guidelines, the only Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card.

Yes, times have changed and some prefer to go with the rookie logo companies use now. That will mean that Rodriguez will have a lot of 2022 cards collectors chase. But there’s also a significant amount of people who are sticking with the traditional definition, which, pre-2006, saw prospects regularly included in base sets.

Parallels: Refractors, Atomic Refractors, Purple Refractors (/250), Aqua Lava Refractors (/199), Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Gold Lava Refractors (/75), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/10), Red Lava Refractors (/5), Superfractors (1/1)

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2021 Bowman's Best Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card

Julio Rodriguez Rookie-Year Card Highlights

The following focuses on 2022 Julio Rodriguez cards released following his MLB debut. This is not a definitive list of cards. Rather, it’s meant to highlight key releases, particularly early ones. A full Julio Rodriguez cards checklist is available in the Beckett database. We’ll add to this list as more 2022 baseball card sets come out.

2022 Topps Series 2 Short Print Variations Julio Rodriguez #659

The first Julio Rodriguez card in a Topps flagship line is found in Series 2 packs. While it looks like a base card, it’s actually one of the set’s Short Print Variations. Many collectors were expecting him to be a part of the main set given his Opening Day debut and similar situations in the recent past like 2019 with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Pete Alonso. However, with Rodriguez that card will be found in 2022 Topps Update Series Baseball. The likely cause of this is the lead time required for a product with such a large production run. That requires time to plan and print. By being a variation, there’s some added flexibility.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, 2022 Topps Baseball factory sets have a different card with the same number of Rodriguez running. This card is available in all versions of the box set so it’s not rare.

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2022 Topps Series 2 Julio Rodriguez

2022 Topps Series 2 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs Julio Rodriguez #87BA-JRO

This is the first live Julio Rodriguez autograph card available in packs following his MLB debut. Signed on-card, it’s fashioned after the often-used 1987 Topps Baseball design.

Parallels: Black (/199), Gold (/50), Red (/25), Platinum (1/1)

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2022 Topps Definitive Collection Rookie Autographs Julio Rodriguez #DRA-JRO

When it comes to high-end products, Definitive Collection is near the top for baseball as far as buy-in price goes. Landing in packs as a redemption, the base version has just 50 copies. Even after all of its parallels are taken into account, there are less than 100 total copies.

Parallels: Green (/25), Purple (/10), Red (1/1)

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2022 Topps Definitive Julio Rodriguez Rookie Autographs Redemption Card

2022 Topps Game Within the Game Julio Rodriguez #8

Many of the first Julio Rodriguez cards to arrive during his rookie season were online-exclusives. Available for three weeks on the company’s website, the 2022 Topps Game Within the Game Julio Rodriguez features the highly detailed artwork of Paul Jennis. The line is now in its third year.

Parallels: Rainbow Foil (/99)

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2022 Topps Industry Conference Autographs Julio Rodriguez #SA-JR

Another early Julio Rodriguez autograph using the 1987 design, this one wasn’t in packs. Rather, it was given to attendees at Topps’ annual gathering in Arizona. They also got to meet the young star. Also available is a dual autograph with another Mariner, Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez, who also made an appearance.

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2022 Topps Now Julio Rodriguez #17

Part of Topps’ cornerstone print-on-demand brand, this card commemorates first hit on Aprill 9. Initially available for just 24 hours, it sold 18,733 copies. That might be big and keep secondary market prices reasonable, but the card does offer a direct connection to one of J-Rod’s earliest MLB moments. Parallels were included as bonuses with random orders.

In addition to the regular card, Topps also sold autograph versions separately numbered to 99, 49, 25, 10, 5 and 1.

Parallels: Blue (/49), Purple (/25), Red (/10), Orange (/5), Gold (1/1)

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2022 Topps Pristine Autographs #A-JRO Redemption

Like Definitive Collection, 2022 Topps Pristine Baseball doesn’t have a base card but he does have an autograph redemption. Pristine Autographs use a similar design as the base set, including chrome-style stock. On-card ink is another feature on these. It also appears to be a fairly scarce card.

Parallels: Pristine Refractors (/99), Gold Pristine Refractors (/50), Orange Pristine Refractors (/25), Black Pristine Refractors (1/1)

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2022 Onyx Impressions Julio Rodriguez /75

It’s not just Topps that’s doing collaborations with artists to create baseball cards. Onyx Authenticated’s Impressions line features the work of Joe Johnson. Sold direct by the card maker, this card embodies Rodriguez’s nickname, “The J-Rod Show.” Parallels take the form of scarce autographs.

Parallels: Autographs (/24), Blue Ink Inscriptions (/4), Green Ink Inscriptions (1/1)

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Topps Living Set Julio Rodriguez #515

Topps Living Set Baseball has been going non-stop since 2018. Like Topps Now, it’s an online-exclusive release available for a short window of time. Here, it’s one week and not 24 hours. Based off of 1953 Topps, each image comes from an original piece of art. For Rodriguez, the arist is Jared Kelley. Selling 9,848 copies, if Topps sticks with its own rules for the Living Set, Rodriguez won’t appear again as long as he’s a Mariner.

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Topps Living Set Julio Rodriguez

Top Early Julio Rodriguez Cards

Here’s a dive into some of the key early Julio Rodriguez cards that came out before his MLB debut in 2022.

2017 Elite Extra Edition Autographs Julio Rodriguez #136 (also has base card)

The first Julio Rodriguez cards date back to 2017, not long after he signed with the Mariners as an international free agent. His autograph in 2017 Elite Extra Edition is part of a perennial prospect and rookie brand that dates back to the ’90s.

For those looking for one of Rodriguez’s earliest cards but one that’s significantly cheaper, this card also has an unsigned version that has 999 copies as well as a full assortment of parallels.

The outfielder is also part of the product’s Future Threads Silhouette Autographs checklist, offering some ink alongside memorabilia swatches.

Parallels: Aspirations Purple (/50), Status Die-Cut Red (/35), Aspirations Blue (/25), Emerald (/25), Status Die-Card Emerald (/25), Aspirations Tie-Dye (/10), Tie-Dye (/10), Status Die-Cut Tie-Dye (/5), Aspirations Gold (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Status Die-Cut Gold (1/1)

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2017 Elite Extra Edition Julio Rodriguez Autograph

2017 Panini Contenders International Ticket Autographs Julio Rodriguez #3

2017 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Baseball marks the very first Julio Rodriguez cards. Releasing in October, his International Ticket Autograph pre-dates his Elite Extra Edition cards by a couple of month.

Using Contenders’ trademark ticket theme, J-Rod is an international prospect from the Dominican Republic on the card. There is no mention of Seattle anywhere.

Despite coming out two years before his first MLB cards, this card remains somewhat affordable, all things considered (particularly when you compare it to Rodriguez’s first Bowman Chrome autograph).

Parallels: Draft (/99), Cracked Ice (/23), Playoff (/15), Championship (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2017 Panini Contenders Julio Rodriguez Autograph

2019 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Julio Rodriguez #CPA-JRO

This is the torch bearer of all Julio Rodriguez cards. Like pretty much every 21st century baseball star, his first Bowman Chrome autograph is king. It’s what most look to when questions of the best Julio Rodriguez card arise. Found in 2019 Bowman Baseball, it’s his first autograph card in a MLB uniform. Just as important, though, is the Bowman Chrome brand, which is one of the most popular in the hobby.

Going beyond the base version, which sports an on-card signature, are more than a dozen different Refractor parallels.

Parallels: Refractors (/499), Speckle Refractors (/299), Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Atomic Refractors (/100), Green Refractors (/99), Green Shimmer Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Gold Shimmer Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Orange Shimmer Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5), Red Shimmer 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)

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2019 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Julio Rodriguez

2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects Julio Rodriguez #BCP33

Not everyone can afford the 2019 Bowman Chrome Julio Rodriguez autograph, especially now. His standard Bowman Chrome Prospects card, also found in 2019 Bowman Baseball, is virtually the same in every regard except for the signature.

While not a traditional Rookie Card (Prospects are viewed as inserts), this card is basically treated like one. That means a lot of movement and strong prices considering the standard version doesn’t bring a lot of flash. That’s what its colorful Refractor rainbow is for.

Parallels: Atomic Refractors, Refractors (/499), Speckle Refractors (/299), Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Blue Shimmer Refractors (/150), Aqua Refractors (/125), Aqua Shimmer Refractors (/125), Green Refractors (/99), Green Shimmer Refractors (/99), Yellow Refractors (/75), Gold Refractors (/50), Gold Shimmer Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Orange Shimmer Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5), Red Shimmer 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), Transcendent VIP Party (1/1)

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2019 Bowman Chrome Julio Rodriguez

2019 Bowman Chrome Mega Box Prospects Julio Rodriguez #BCP33

One could view this card as a parallel of Rodriguez’s 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects card. However, it’s also stands on its own. Available exclusively in 2019 Bowman Mega Boxes at Target, the configuration includes exclusive packs. The cards in these have the distinct “Mojo” pattern running through the background.

The Bowman Mega Box has been around for several years now and has carved out a popular place among prospect collectors.

Parallels: Purple Refractors (/250), Green Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Black Refractors (1/1)

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2019 Bowman Chrome Mega Box Julio Rodriguez

2019 Bowman Prospects Julio Rodriguez #BP33

As far as values go, this may be at the bottom of the Bowman hierarchy when it comes to the primary prospect line (Bowman Chrome Autograph > Bowman Chrome > Bowman) but as the price of Julio Rodriguez cards rises, there’s a place for more affordable options. And even at the standard Bowman level, which some refer to as “Paper,” the 1st Bowman notation still has a lot of pull.

Parallels: Camo, Sky Blue (/499), Purple (/250), Blue (/150), Green (/99), Gold (/50), Orange (/25), Red (/5), Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Transcendent VIP Party (1/1)

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2019 Bowman Heritage Chrome Prospect Autographs Julio Rodriguez #53PAJR

When it comes to 2019 Julio Rodriguez autographs, this is one of the less seldom seen. A big part of that is likely that 2019 Bowman Heritage Baseball flew under a lot of radars as it was an online-exclusive. While it uses the popular Chrome stock, the design might be a little too minimal as well as Rodriguez’s name isn’t even printed on the front.

Parallels: 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)

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2019 Bowman Sterling Prospect Autographs Julio Rodriguez #BSPAJR

2019 Bowman Sterling Baseball represents the brand’s premium release of the season. The big reason for that is the fact that there’s an autograph in every pack versus the one per Bowman hobby box. And yet, this Julio Rodriguez autograph is significantly cheaper than his similar Bowman Chrome offering. That’s the power of the Bowman Chrome name and tradition more than anything else.

Parallels: Refractors (/150), Wave Refractors (/125), Speckle Refractors (/99), Orange Refractors (/75), Gold Refractors (/50), Blue Refractors (/25), Black Atomic Refractors (/10), Red Refractors (/5), Superfractors (1/1)

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2019 Bowman’s Best Best of 2019 Autographs Julio Rodriguez #B19JR

Like Sterling, a lot of collectors won’t have the same level of sticker shock with the 2019 Bowman’s Best Best of 2019 Autographs Julio Rodriguez. Just like Chrome, it’s an MLB card with an on-card signature. Yet, its value is less. So for those looking to spend less on an early Mariners autograph of the young superstar, this is another option.

Parallels: Refractors, Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Atomic Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/10), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Superfractors (1/1)

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2019 Bowman's Best Julio Rodriguez Autograph

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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